Have you ever had the opportunity to geek out with your heroes? I have. Last month I was in Cleveland, Ohio, hanging out with content marketing “legends” (as we say in Australia), including Andy Crestodina, Ann Handley and Carla Johnson.
I adore them all and hang off their every word. They’re real thinkers in our profession. It’s worth not only listening to what they have to say, but changing the way you do business on the back of it (whether you’re a content marketing agency or a business running your own content marketing strategy.)
So, here are my favourite tips from my heroes at Content Marketing World.
Andy Crestodina on building websites that convert
Andy delivered a couple of presentations at Content Marketing World. Like a total fanboy, I went to both. One was on conversion optimisation — something every content marketer needs to be thinking about. He argued there are two types of visitors to every website:
- Those looking for information.
- Those looking for a transaction.
As a result, every page on your website should either create awareness or create an action. In both instances, you need to remove any insecurity the reader might have by providing answers. So, here’s a tip from Andy for each kind of page.
- You need to answer the questions people are actually asking, so use a service like AnswerThePublic to find out what people are searching for.
- Video is the most powerful form of testimonial. Use them liberally. Have a testimonial on every page.
By the way, Andy is like a God. We met God.
Ann Handley on how to write better content
Ann Handley wrote a book called Everybody Writes. I’m a writer. She’s a writer. She gets me. I mean she doesn’t even know who I am. But she gets me. I know this because her presentation used EB White’s fantastic book Charlotte’s Web as both an analogy for content marketing (if you know the book, Wilbur is the product, Charlotte is the content marketer, and Homer Zuckerman is the audience) and an outstanding master class in storytelling.
What’s the hot tip that was rattling around in my giddy head as I walked away from Ann’s presentation?
“Observe like Fern in the book.”
OK, that’s only going to make sense if you know Charlotte’s Web but the gist is to use active words that represent action. In the book, Fern:
Why? Bam! Action puts you in the room. It’s vivid. Your writing suddenly has impact.
Carla Johnson injects a little humour into content marketing
Not all their videos are about company culture. There are lots of testimonials and product road tests, too.
There were actually plenty of examples of this on show at Content Marketing World: companies, with really important but terminally dull products, that were using humour to create a connection with their customer. After all, even if you’re selling a B2B service or product, there’s still an actual human making the purchase decision. And folks love to be entertained.
OK stop. You have to watch this example. It’s actually one Doug Kessler mentioned in one of his presentations, but it’s totally worth showing here.
That ad is possibly my favourite thing that ever existed. And I have kids*.
So, what’s the lesson here?
“Humour creates an intimate relationship,” Carla said. “It’s humanising. You can cut through the noise with laughter.”
And one last thing from Content Marketing World 2017
This year was my first time attending Content Marketing World. It was worth every penny of my boss’s money. And I enjoyed spending it, frankly.
What’s so brilliant about it is that I didn’t just get to meet my heroes, I also came away from it with a head filled with ideas, potential improvements and plans. (The boss came away with her own ideas, too. You can read them here.)
At Lush – The Content Agency we’re always up for a chat about content marketing. If you have any questions, reach out. I’d be pleased to hear from you.
*I don’t have kids.
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