Content Marketing World #CMWorld Twitter Chat Recap 7/1

Yes, I know I’ve been slacking. I missed the last two weeks of #CMWorld Twitter Chats -- but I promise I have a good excuse. My wife and I welcomed our first child (a baby girl named Penelope Alice), and I’ve been rather preoccupied. Will you ever forgive me?

I hope so, because although I missed what must have been two incredible #CMWorld Twitter Chats about Lead Nurturing (hosted by Ardath Albee @ardath421) and LinkedIn (hosted by Bernie Borges@bernieborges) -- I had 7/1 circled on my calendar since the start.

This week, the legendary Joe Pulizzi (@joepulizzi) is leading the charge and discussing the topic “Preparing for the Future of Content Marketing”. Joe is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, author of several content marketing books, and one of my favorite experts in the industry.

Obviously I was excited about this one. If you missed it this week, here is my recap:

Q1: What have been some key changes in the content marketing space in the past 12 months?

There was a wide variety of answers to this question, but they all focused on one thing: content marketing is expanding and becoming more refined. Some major themes included a greater emphasis on analytics, better defining of personas, and the growing popularity of content marketing overall.

Content marketing is playing a greater role (perhaps the biggest role) in overall marketing strategies. I think that as this becomes more widespread, marketers will be trying their luck with different mediums (podcasts, newsrooms, etc.), and will be better able to prove their worth to the C-level.

Here are some great responses to this question:

Karen Webber (@webber_karen)
A1 Big shift from just doing content marketing to doing it well. Strategy & measurement have never been so crucial

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A1: Inside large enterprises, the term has gained popularity.  Most marketers are aware of cm.  Helps with getting buy-in.

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A1: I’m starting to feel, maybe for the first time, that content marketing is becoming a credible discipline of marketing.

Ardath Albee (@ardath421)
A1: I'm seeing more companies developing personas and more tightly targeted, personalized content

Q2: What are some things you espoused/believed about content marketing but have since changed your mind on?

My answer to this question was that I initially believed B2B content marketing was all about bland corporate copy. Now I know that successful content must contain an element of storytelling and personality to be successful. What's more compelling: dry lifeless text, or something lighter that seems like it was written by a person and not a machine?

I liked the comments from Joe Pulizzi and Arthur Hilhorst below. Joe makes a good point regarding social media. A lot of companies/individuals are too focused on follower count and paid advertisements instead of focusing on the social nature of these networks. Arthur's response is a fantastic point regarding the importance of a strategy. Content marketing isn't something you should start without a foundation or plan.

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A2: Building audiences on social networks are not as important as they used to be. They are becoming pay to play.

Arthur Hilhorst (@arthurhilhorst)
A2 content marketing without a solid strategy is often a lost effort!

Q3: How do you see content marketing changing in the next two years or so?

Although it's impossible to be sure (or too specific) with answering this question, I think one thing is clear: content marketing will keep growing -- just look at how far it's come in the past few years!

As more marketing departments turn to content marketing, marketers already in-the-know will expand as well, incorporating other mediums and tactics into their existing plans. While marketing departments experiment with more visual and interactive media, it's hard to specifically say what the next big thing will be. What is sure is that content marketing is only going to keep growing.

Take a look at what some others had to say:

Michele Linn (@michelelinn)
Q3. I am really intrigued w/ concept of content engineering -- planning content once and reusing in multiple ways

James Svoboda (@Realicity)
Q3 Content is getting more interactive and the user experience will be more personal and tailored.

Ardath Albee (@ardath421)
A3: More "people" will be writing content, rather than brand as sole author - humanize!

Pamela Muldoon (@pamelamuldoon)
A3 Content Strategists will be a key component to marketing teams & if smart, other depts. in the company.

Q4: What skills do content marketers need to learn to prepare for the future of content marketing?

I'm not sure if my answer is specific to just the future of content marketing, as it holds true in both the past and present, as well. To me, content marketers need to have a nice blend of both journalism and story-telling skills (in addition to a laundry-list of other skills).

A good journalist is factual and impartial and story-tellers are often the opposite. And while that may be a hard thing to balance, I believe both are crucial to successful content marketing. Journalism skills can help demonstrate industry expertise and product features, while story-telling skills helps to draw in your readers and promote engagement.

In addition to this, here are some other great thoughts:

Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz)
A4: Agile thinking, ability to story tell, connected & able to embrace change!

Tom Treanor (@RtMixMktg)
A4: SEO, SocMed & Writing for Web are 3 key skills for Content Marketers. Design, basic HTML/CSS, Video are nice too

Pamela Muldoon (@pamelamuldoon)
A4 Sociologist. Understanding human behavior is critical in today's digital marketing process.

Q5: What new positions do companies need to fill to prep for future of content mktg? (CCO, Editor, Content Architect, Journalist)

I think one of the most crucial positions for the future of content marketing is what I'm calling a 'super editor'. Going beyond proofreading and fixing grammatical mistakes, this super editor needs to edit for consistent tone and voice while tweaking copy to ensure it will be effective for a given audience.

This super editor will fully understand your market, audiences (personas), and your content marketing strategies to maximize the potential reach and conversions of your content. That said, he or she will also have to be an expert proofreader and optimize for SEO. No one said it'd be easy.

These answers help support this need:

Traci Browne (@tracibrowne)
A5 Editor (a real journalist/editor with experience) is most important...then fill in where needed.

Michele Linn (@michelelinn)
A5. Editorial skills are key. How to find the right topics and team; how to manage the process for effectiveness & efficiency

Michele Linn (@michelelinn)
A5. You need someone who owns the audience -- how will you capture them? Nurture them? Turn them into evangelists?

Q6: What social channels do you think you'll be focusing on the most? Is this a shift from current plan?

Like the second question asked; this one is hard to answer definitively. While all marketers know the big social media players today (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) -- no one knows what will come next, or what will no longer be useful in years ahead. Ben Heyman said this well in his Tweet below.

Additionally, Joe Pulizzi weighed in well on this question (as he always does). He mentions that (although not a social channel), he's focusing on experimenting with podcasts in his content marketing efforts. But more to the point of the question; he writes that it doesn't matter which specific social channels you use as long as it's the one your target audience is using.

These are the three tweets referenced above:

Ben Heyman (@heyheyman)
A6: The social channels I think I'll be focusing on the most are ones yet to exist! Who knows where things will go?

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A6: It’s not really a social channel, but I’m keen on podcasts (especially for targeting marketers).

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A6: Other than that, I’m most interested in content that can be easily shared on the audience's platform of choice.

Q7: How can you best prepare yourself/your company for the changes in store for content marketing?

I thought this one was straight-forward and many of the answers were similar. Due to the changing nature of content marketing, the only way to prepare for future changes is to stay flexible. By this, I mean don't focus on one medium. Create strategies and goals first that will work on a multitude of platforms and formats. This way, you'll be prepared to experiment with new programs and stay ahead of the 'next big thing'.

Brian Fanzo's thought below was slightly different than the others. He suggests to put some time into video or audio interviews as many thought leaders aren't too fond of writing. We found great success in this, especially when dealing with the C-suite. It's a great way to promote and broadcast ideas from the leaders of your organization without taking up too much of their valuable time.

I liked these takeaways today:

Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz)
Not everyone loves writing.. I found doing video interviews & allowing for recorded voice.. Key is make it easy on SME’s.

Ardath Albee (@ardath421)
A7: You need a strategy with built-in flex to accommodate change - it's not going to stop

Arthur Hilhorst (@arthurhilhorst)
A7 my strategy is month to month, nice and flexible !

Kate Eidam (@kateeidam)
A7: Agility. Flexibility. Willingness to experiment and pilot programs. Open, honest dialogue with your C-suite.

Carmella Lanni (@vegecomgirl)
A7. Get to know your audience, Develop core personas. Follow behavior (#sociallistening & analysis). Be flexible

Q8: What will your key content marketing priority / priorities be over the next 12 months?

I've pasted Joe Pulizzi's response to this question below. He encourages making your content marketing strategy (and education of that strategy) a top priority over the next 12 months. While this isn't a groundbreaking concept, it's crucial to successful content marketing.

A clearly defined content marketing plan will not only focus on audiences and types of content, but on the business goals as well. How does your company define success? Lead generation? Site traffic? Final sales? Defining this early and communicating it with your team will increase the efficiency (and prove the worth) of your content marketing efforts.

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A8: Make sure content marketers have strategic business plan behind tactics; really focus on education process.

Q9: Thinking about what lays ahead, if you could have one content marketing superpower, what would it be?

The ability to see into the future, of course!

Other than that, I included a few other good answers below. Yet again, I think Joe Pulizzi had the best response to this question (he knew the questions ahead of time -- he was cheating). The ability to write a blog post on demand would be fantastic. As he wrote, sometimes the creative juices just aren't flowing. We hear this a lot from marketers and that's why we offer content marketing services to supplement or manage your efforts.

Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)
A9:I would love the ability to create & write a blog post on command.  Sometimes creative juices aren’t flowing.

Carmella Lanni (@vegecomgirl)
A9. I want to be Conversion Woman! LOL

Ruchita Dudani (@ruchitad)
A9) the power to read audience minds; will help with feedback and relevancy

Q10: When it comes to looking forward in content marketing, where (or from whom) do you get the best advice?

Almost all of the responses mentioned either Joe Pulizzi and/or the Content Marketing Institute (examples below). While these are obvious (and very good) answers, I think an important place to get advice is to generate it yourself by learning from your past mistakes and missteps. Yes, this is a cheesy answer but it speaks to the need to experiment and to stay flexible with content marketing. The discipline is constantly evolving, and the best way to stay ahead is to adapt based on what has (or hasn't) worked for you in the past. And of course, by following Joe and the Content Marketing Institute.

Rachel Wimberly (@TSNN_Rachel)
A10 -@joepulizzi, of course

Susyn Elise Duris (@SusynEliseDuris)
A10. Seriously?@CMIContent

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