I live, breathe and write about content marketing. I also attend a lot of conferences. This week I am at Content Marketing World 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. Because I sit through many keynotes and sessions, I have high expectations. I need to be engaged and learn new information regularly. This isn’t to say that I know everything there is to know about content marketing, but I have heard a lot of the same things. However, there is a difference between hearing the same old things, and hearing the same exciting things. Here are just a few of the exciting things being overheard at CMWorld. 

The Power of Direct Relationships

Mitch Joel, Author, Six Pixels of Separation

One of the most important outcomes of the mobile, social, local world is that marketers now have the Power of Direct Relationships. We now have the ability to have a direct relationships with consumers, rather than having to engage flatly through print or other web 1.0 marketing.

So, what does it mean to have a direct relationship? It means actively competing against your peers for the attention of the consumer. But attention is valuable, thus your content should be as well.

Despite the fact that most content marketers think producing enough content is their biggest challenge, Mitch Joel suggests that marketers should be more concerned about providing valuable, useful and engaging content.

Joel presented the following scenario: You buy a pair of headphones at Target. You like the brand on Facebook, as well as the store from where you purchased them. Question: Who owns your consumer relationship? Facebook, Beats by Dr. Dre or Target? The answer -- YES.


Leverage Your Brand Influencers

We had the opportunity to meet up with Jennifer Beaupre, the director of marketing at BlogFrog. BlogFrog’s influencer marketing platform is used by brands to rapidly scale their social presence, amplify online conversations and generate buzz around their products.

Built as a blogger network, BlogFrog matches bloggers to brands to create branded, yet authentic content based on topic, vertical market and reach. In an effort to accentuate the influence of bloggers and to promote a new way for brands to get content generated around their products, bloggers have the freedom to write and create conversations, without becoming content farmers.


BlogFrog's technology platform connects brands to a network of over 100,000 social media influencers and in return, brands can manage every step of the program from content publication, distribution, timing, reach and consumer engagement from within one dashboard.

Brands get to keep tabs on how their brand gets talked about in the blogosphere, but doesn't get to control the content. However, thanks to their astute marketing network, BlogFrog is able to connect the right people with the right brand, diminishing risk and bad press. 

Don't Be Boring

Julie Fleischer, Director, CRM Content Strategy, Kraft Foods

We often hear that great content marketing combines accurate insights, a strong sense of value-exchange, and the right distribution channels, which can maximize relationship while minimizing media costs. But what makes great content?


Oreo's Daily Twist Pinterest board

Consider your content marketing brief. How is your content driving purchases? What story are you telling to connect your brand with the actions associated with your products?

Remember those Oreo cookies memes? Probably made your mouth water, didn’t it? But it also probably spoke to your emotional and cultural sensibilities, as well. Not only does each one of these Oreos serve to make you hungry, it serves to make the Oreo relevant to all kinds of interests, activities and events and issues.

Position Your Customer, Not the Brand

Deana Goldasich, CEO, Well Planned Web

Goldasich says that you may have created the solution, but your customer owns the experience. How do you make them the hero? First you can let them start to own the customer experience. They are the ones using the product, so let them talk about and let their words speak for you.


An example of how customers tell their stories about brands.

Second, you can make their story relatable. Start collecting customer stories and curate them appropriately so you can tell them at the right time -- which is the final piece -- relevance! Not all customer stories are valuable all the time, but if used correctly they can be valuable when you need them.