Spent a couple of days in New York last week at the NewsCred #ThinkContent Summit. The theme was convergence, and the speakers covered a lot of ground. Here are some sub-themes that emerged.

3 Take-Aways from NewsCred's #ThinkContent Summit

1. Content marketers must adopt, adapt and improve.

Content marketing has been around since soap operas and the Michelin guide, and it's changing fast.

"Content is evolving. It's not just "what" (product, service, message) anymore. It's who, why and how."

Across the speakers, there was a sense that personas and scripted buyer journeys are already over. People engage with content because it connects to our identities and our lives, and finds us where we are. Prescribed personas and journeys miss the emotion that comes from needs, wants and meeting them. Yes, even for B2B.

From my notes on a talk by Veronique Lafargue, Google's global head of content marketing:

Google's Veronique Lafargue: "Buying is an emotional journey."

That means having the right kind of content (words, pictures, both) out there so the customer can find what we want when we want it.

Everything doesn't have to be "snackable", notes First Round Capital's head of content & marketing Camille Ricketts. Sometimes people need more information:

Camille Ricketts: "When people want utility-based content, they want a manual."

Other times, a photo or series of photos tells the story better or amplifies it more effectively, according to Instagram's global head of business & brand development, James Quarles:

Instagram's James Quarles: "People are embracing more expressive content."

Content Marketing Tips:

  1. Uncover unusual angles to tell your stories
  2. Encourage, source and share customer/user stories
  3. Look for new stories to tell: profile your employees, explain how your business solves its own problems to deliver its product or service, show how your people(employees and customers) individually and collectively improve the world.
  4. Use words and pictures (video, photo, illustrations, collages, etc.) to tell richer stories that have emotion.

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2. Focus on content marketing performance.

Bill Morrison, Emerson's vice president of global communications & integrated marketing explains that it all starts with the right focus for your content strategy:

Emerson's Bill Morrison says content strategy should include credibility, creativity and utility.

Alex Cheeseman, NewsCred's head of global marketing solutions says it's time to move away from vanity metrics toward measurements that carry meaning for customers and the business:

Customer Value Metrics from NewsCred's Alex Cheeseman

Business Value Metrics from Alex Cheeseman

His boss, NewsCred Founder & CEO Shafqat Islam, suggests using these filters for content:

Content Measurement Tips: Review the analytics you're currently using and see how many of the criteria and metrics listed above can help you create more meaningful measurements.

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3. Great content has true power.

A final word on the impact of great content from Rob Candelino, general manager/vice president of marketing, haircare for Unilever:

Unilever's Rob Candelino: Create content with purpose that is purposeful and you can change society.

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