5 Key Takeaways From Content Israel 2015
Last week, industry experts from all around the world came together for a one-day conference in Tel-Aviv’s Habima Theater. It may seem crazy that hundreds of people could spend over 9 hours discussing content, but there really wasn’t a dull moment.
There were many amazing speakers and moderators, including Penguin Strategies’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Perry Nalevka, who moderated 2 very interesting panels.
Most of the Penguin team was there, as industry leaders from publishers, agencies, brands and startups took a detailed look at the strategies, technologies and platforms used for content marketing.
Just in case you weren’t there, I’m going to highlight what I thought were the top 5 takeaways from the day.
1. Stop Trying to Hit Homeruns
Since 1901 there are only 45 professional baseball players who hit more homeruns than strikeouts. That’s saying a lot!
As Chris Moody said, “you can build something awesome, but nobody may come. You need to be in the right place at the right time.” It would have been great if Chris told us exactly where to be in order to “go big”, but that would have been more of a magic show than a marketing conference!
What resonated with me was this message: Don’t convince yourself that you need to win it all, or it’s not worth trying. Focus on one main goal to start off with, and go from there.
2. Turn Your Emails into Content
Do you get emails from clients asking a bunch of questions? Most of us do. We may not think about it much, but the truth is that those emails are a massive opportunity.
Aside from having a captive and relevant audience in the form of the emailer, you also have a unique insight into the sort of questions that your clientele – or potential clientele – want to see addressed.
Once you answer their question and press send, keep the topic alive. The questions you answer in your email should be turned into blogs.
Instead of guessing what your customers want to read about in your next blog, follow their lead. Emails are a source of content that you shouldn’t overlook.
The next time you’re asked a one of those questions, you’ll be able to direct the inquirer to your blog. You’ll save time, generate more blog and website traffic, and most importantly, satisfy your client in a comprehensive and timely manner.
3. It’s the HOW that’s changed
“People haven’t really changed, but how we make our decisions has.” These words, spoken by Alex Cheeseman, have been echoing in my head for the better part of the last week.
Cheeseman made a compelling argument for the claim that technology has advanced faster than humankind. It’s a tough point to dispute, but that premise was only the foundation for his broader point: Knowing this allows marketers to “hack” the decision-making process and leverage available stimuli to achieve a desired effect.
For example, nowadays, people won’t make a purchase until they’ve Google-d it. Instead of getting frustrated at this new reality, realize that Google-ing is a predictable step and you should use it to your advantage!
Get to know your personas, their full purchase journey, and create content that will speak to them, and pursue them.
4. Understand & Map Out Personas
Personas are a great way to help understand your audience, and are essential for developing better marketing campaigns. If you’re a startup and don’t know your customers, Matt Barby suggests you start off by running surveys, using different focus groups, or implementing custom tracking methods to see who’s visiting your website.
Once you’ve finished the initial research to identify your personas, you need to understand them and their needs. This involves mapping out the interests and problems facing each persona.
Not only will this give you good insight, but it will also enable you to write content that they’ll find more interesting.
Matt also made mention of some other ways to gain insight into the needs of your personas. These methods include:
- Choosing your form fields wisely
They are a huge opportunity to gather more valuable information about customers that you can use to your advantage.
- Speaking to your sales team
Communicating and working with the sales team is what takes your marketing to the next level. Bridging this gap is the key to success.
5. Content Marketers: It’s Time to Get More Harsh
As Eli Pakier stressed, content marketers still have a lot to learn from advertisers. Advertisers have been around for centuries and have developed a rigorous approach that’s still – to some extent – absent in content marketing.
Today, marketers are too easy on content, while the world of content is only getting more confusing. As many speakers mentioned, the sales process is no longer linear- it has turned into a funnel, where the conversion rate of each stage is different from that prior.
Marketers need find a way to keep users around. It’s not enough to just sell a product.
What resonated with me was the solution Eli suggested. He said that content marketers need to be more objective, upfront, while creating a more holistic solution to their business needs.
“It’s not just about telling stories, but managing the customer’s long-term interaction with the brand.”
After a day packed with teachable moments and forging connections with so many knowledgeable people in the industry, I’m excited to begin implementing many of these takeaways from Content Israel 2015.