11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments From Content Marketing World

The Content Marketing Institute knocked it outta the park once again. Last year’s inaugural Content Marketing World event drew 600 of the world’s top content professionals. This year, the event compelled 1,000 of the top content brains to spend a week together — sharing content strategies, trends, challenges, success stories, case studies, awards and parties.

I have oodles of deep, “game-changing” takeaways that are sure to take our team and our client engagements to the next level. However, as with last year, I also relished many “simpler” moments that caused at least one of my eyebrows to take flight. These are in a “tossed salad” format — no particular order.

1. Print needs a second (or first) look.

In fact, Nenad Senic (@NenadSenic) reminded us that deriving a content marketing plan without considering print is downright silly. Particularly because print is still an extremely immersive medium.

68% of US consumers said customer magazines influence their purchase behavior. Nenad’s examples were compelling — and *not* limited to B2C. Even Google has its own *printed* magazine. Heck, I’d read it. Wouldn’t you?
A sidebar Nenad eyebrow-raising moment: English is not Nenad’s first…or even second language. Yet, his speech and presentation was flawless. Way to make the rest of us look bad, Nenad 😛

2. Email trumps social — hands-down. So there.

I’ve never jumped on the whole “email is dead” thing. But, the eyebrows really went up when ExactTarget’s Jeff Rohrs (@jkrohrs) pointed out that email is actually social media’s “secret weapon.” How do you get notified when your LinkedIn followers update their profiles? Email. How do you know when you have a new Twitter follower? Email. How do you know when someone comments on your YouTube video? You get the idea.

Email may not be “sexy” to Pinterest-obsessed marketers…but it’s still the most consistent, reliable digital messaging medium out there. Oh…speaking of Pinterest…how do you know when someone has repinned your pin? You guessed it.

3. Not everyone is on board.

I was floored at the end of my presentation on Customer Stories when someone from a not-to-be-named company stepped up to the mic.

They said that if their employees share company success stories of any kind — and get quoted as a result — they’re out.

What amounted to “get quoted, get fired,” was a stark reminder that some industries and corporations are going to be slow to adopt transparent content — even when it’s proven to be far more effective than traditional marketing.

What I especially loved about this year’s event was the evolution of discussions just like this one. We’ve grown from just talking about concepts and are now talking about the realities of managing Content Marketing.

Instead of admiring the problems we’re tackling them. I love this!

4. Rick Springfield is 63.

No…really…he is. We even sang “Happy Birthday” to him at his concert on Wednesday night. My eyebrows actually got a little cramped on this one. Really Rick? 63?




5. Slideshare gets 60 million visits a month.

Even more shocking: most of those visitors are business decision-makers searching for information. The six most-used tags on SlideShare are business, market, trends, research, social media, and statistics. I sat in on Todd Wheatland’s (@toddwheatland) session last year. The circled, starred and scribbled note when I left: “Learn more about Slideshare.” Apparently, Todd realized that this was a takeaway for everyone. So…this year he chose Slideshare as his sole topic. Now I see that we simply must push some Slideshare trials with select clients. Great eye-opening info, Todd — thank you! That’s what I call listening to your audience.

6. Conference mobile apps really CAN rock.

The group at Flirt Communications (@flirt_creative) had my eyebrows raised well before the conference even started. The Content Marketing World app was so outstanding that I didn’t crack open my printed guide once. Didn’t need to. I had my entire custom agenda in the palm of my hand, along with a dedicated social network for the conference right there. I could share updates with attendees alone — OR shoot the updates out to my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn communities if I wanted. Bottom line: I didn’t have to “spam” my family and friends on the networks, yet could be active with my content geek peeps. A beautiful balance.

I kinda couldn’t shut up about this app. It was not only innovative  — it was invaluable.

7. “Gamification” is not what you think.

Playing is a lot more fun than working, right? Well, the concept of “serious” gaming is trickling into the content marketing world. However, it can be as simple as adding a gaming “layer” to your content — not a full-throttle game. Think frequent flyer programs. It becomes a “game” in the end, right? Russell Sparkman (@fusionspark) got our wheels turning.

8. The “Why”

Okay, this one was big. Marcus Sheridan (@TheSalesLion) challenged us to ask ourselves WHY we do what we do…and to keep that at the heart of our stories.

So…he made me think…

Why am I a Content Marketer? Well…after years of traditional copywriting and marketing — where the goal was to convince, I fell in love with the idea of creating content with a “higher purpose.”

Content Marketing is about helping others make decisions, solve problems, better their lives and improve their standing in the workplace or their home. Talk about a more fulfilling use of my passion!

Good stuff Marcus. Eyebrows sufficiently raised…

9. Jack Hanna is hilarious.

Okay, we knew about Jack’s dedication to wildlife conservation. What we didn’t know was that he’d make us laugh so hard with his self-professed “A.D.D. or H.D.D. thingy” style of storytelling. The cats were cool. But, Jack’s touching story and delivery almost had me in tears.

10. Speakers can be spoiled.

I’ve spoken at many events. However, I can honestly say I have never encountered an event team that made the speaker’s job so stinking easy. I’m used to planning for drama. I’m used to surprises. I’m used to distractions. The Content Marketing World team rolled out the orange carpet for its speakers in such classy form. I was relaxed. I was focused. I was able to deliver with zero distraction. Oh…and did I mention the speaker gift? Don’t even get me started :)…

11. We are family.

Yup. I’m gonna get goopy here. I had a surprisingly hard time saying good-bye this year. This never happens to me at conferences. Not only did I get to reconnect with dear friends from last year, I formed some incredible new relationships in a community that just “gets” me. Yes, many of us bonded first on Twitter — but the face-to-face friendship-building and knowledge-sharing was tremendous. That doesn’t happen at other professional events. Not even close.

Want to learn more?

If you’re even remotely in the content marketing universe, Content Marketing World is a must-attend. If not the annual event, check out the Content Marketing Institute’s list of webinars, workshops and upcoming event “down under.”

Deana Goldasich

Deana Goldasich, CEO and founder of Well Planned Web, plans and implements Content Marketing to help clients nurture leads, market their expertise and create an impactful presence online.

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  1. Jim Kukral on September 8, 2012 at 1:11 am

    I agree. It really is probably the best show out there now. Great summary.

  2. Deana Goldasich on September 8, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Thanks Jim! Glad you stopped by! 

  3. ChadPhares on September 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Great summary. The conference was excellent.

  4. Heidi Cohen on September 8, 2012 at 11:52 am


    Great conference roundup. I agree Content Marketing World was a well planned event that left nothing to chance. Big round of applause to the Content Marketing World team. The Content Marketing World conference is worth the investment regardless of your business.Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen

  5. Deana Goldasich on September 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks Heidi. Ugh! I didn’t get to meet YOU up there. Love your work! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words!

  6. Barry Feldman on September 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Deana, I loved all 11 points and am a big fan. Gotta’ say though, #11 was mighty. Hoping to get to know you more in the year to come and being one of those guys that you’ll have one of those goopy goodbyes with. Great stuff on Marcus’s “why” and I too got a lot out of Todd and Joe’s slideshare session. Love Slideshare.

  7. Ian Cleary on September 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Hey Deana, great round up.  It was great to meet you at the event.  I’d never have found out how much fun you are without meeting you in person!  Keep in touch!


  8. disputblog on September 9, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Dear Deana, thank you again for such kind words. It was worth it to go to your session first to learn how to do it. 🙂 Nice meeting you and let’s stay in touch. Cheers, N. 

  9. toddwheatland on September 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Nice wrap-up Deana, and thanks for the mention… I’m still struggling with #4 myself….

  10. Joakim Ditlev on September 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Great summary, Deana. I really enjoyed the show and the networking sessions – and good to get some of your highlights from sessions on other tracks. 

  11. Joe Pulizzi on September 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Deana…I love them all, but #11 hits the hardest.  There is something amazing and special about this group of people.  Everyone really cares and believes that a rising tide really does raise all ships.  I continue to be humbled by all this.

    Thank you, my friend, for helping to fight the good fight.

  12. Deana Goldasich on September 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Indeed, Barry! I hope we get a bit more time together next time as I really enjoy learning from you on Twitter (and beyond)! Looking forward to keeping in touch until next time 😉

  13. Hunter Boyle on September 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm


    I was trying to find a few favorites within this excellent list, but I gave up when it passed the 50% mark. That said, I especially love #8 and #11 (and have to give a shout-out to #2, of course).

    Fortunately, Joe and the team are ramping up these events, so it won’t take as long to reconnect in real life as it did to finally meet! Thanks again for providing another example of why this field is so important. Cheers!  

  14. Kym Wootton on September 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Come on now, you have to tell us what the speaker gift was!

  15. Bhaskar Sarma on September 12, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    It sounds like you had a whale of a time over there. Hope to be there next time.

    I have been thinking long and hard about Slideshare too…this is a platform that seems under rated but has the potential to be so much more engaging. Is more visual than text, takes less time than video. Why are we waiting?

    What did you talk about on stage?

  16. Deana Goldasich on September 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Indeed, Slideshare’s states were shocking. Todd Wheatland really opened our eyes! I spoke on Customer Stories and how a single interview can unlock a boatload of content. http://wpw.mx/ONL43e

    Hope to see you there next time Bhaskar!

  17. Deana Goldasich on September 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    OMG, it was the BEST speaker gift e-vuh, Kym! Signed-by-Rick 45, along with an iTunes download of his greatest hits! I’ve been rocking out ever since! 🙂 

  18. […] 11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments From Content Marketing World – Deana Goldasich […]

  19. […] 11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments From Content Marketing World – Deana Goldasich […]

  20. […] 11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments From Content Marketing World – Deana Goldasich […]

  21. […] conference responded with a recap of the event titled, “11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments from Content Marketing World”. A few of the more interesting conclusions included a plug for print media, the realization that […]

  22. […] conference responded with a recap of the event titled, “11 Eyebrow-Raising Moments from Content Marketing World”. A few of the more interesting conclusions included a plug for print media, the realization that […]

  23. ambreen11 on March 2, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Online content marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective
    ways to promote your small business and can include videos, blog posts,
    tweets, Facebook updates, articles and images.Awesome write up. Thanks

  24. Farrel Conejos on June 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Prints? And I thought prints are already out considering the rapid growth of our technology. With the introduction of smartphones and iPad’s which has the capabilities to read online posts and online magazines, I thought that print issues are no more. But then again, I was wrong. A truly eyebrow raising fact. Thanks for sharing this informative post

  25. Kara Parlin on October 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I don’t think people realize how much of their lives have game-like elements. Trying to make all green lights on the way to work. You score “points” for doing great work and “level up” with a promotion. Jesse Schell is also a great speaker on the topic of gamification. He spoke to the R&D group when I was at Hasbro, and it was a great talk.