My Top 10 Takeaways from #CMWorld

image2 (1)After two fantastic days at Content Marketing World 2015, my brain is swirling with thoughts and new ideas. Both days of the main conference were filled with great topics, wonderful speakers and networking with marketers from all over the world. (53 countries to be exact!) Here are my top 10 takeaways from this conference!

1. Andrew Davis is the best presenter I’ve ever seen. I thought this at last year’s CMWorld when he was one of the keynote speakers, and the same goes for this year. I went to his session on Social Momentum, and I can say that this was my favorite session of the conference. Main takeaway: Stop making noise and instead build social momentum. Stop vomiting your content on every channel and instead distribute your content when your audience needs it, not where.

2. Jay Baer had the best one liner of the conference that really stuck with me: “Are you creating content, or are you making a difference?” I won’t elaborate more on this, because I believe this statement says it all.

3. Saying “no” is a powerful thing. Kristina Halvorson, one of the opening keynote speakers mentioned we always want to say “yes” but when we say yes to everything we do a lot of little things and overlook the big things and the talents of others. Main takeaway: You always have to start out with “Why?” Why are we doing this in the first place?

4. Does your content pass the “mom test”? Jay Baer’s keynote was awesome. His key point: Your mom will always tell you the truth, no matter if you want to hear it or not. So, would your content pass the mom test? Main takeaways: If your mom doesn’t like it, no one will. Content is having a transformative impact on the world- so don’t give up! You’re under a lot of pressure to me a “marketing machine”– but don’t forget we are lucky to do this. Creating content is an honor and an opportunity to help people and improve lives.

5. Ann Hadley’s breakout session on “Good Content vs. Good Enough Content- a fight for sore eyes” had great tips for creating bigger stories, bolder marketing and braver tone of voice. Main takeaway: 51 percent of B2B companies will spend more money on content marketing in 2016, but only 30 percent know if their content marketing is effective.

6. “Hug your Haters” session with Jay Baer: Customer feedback= a petri dish for content marketing. A place where ideas can flourish! Main takeaway: Embrace the complaints of your customers- if will make you a better marketer. Complaints and questions of your customers= your content marketing ideas!

7. Juntae Delane’s session “Smart Content: Using Big Data to Inform Your Content Marketing Strategy” had great points. My main takeaway: We create content first and then analyze the numbers. We need to flip it around and analyze the numbers first and create your content from there.

8. Orange snacks are everywhere! Main takeaway: Who knew there were so many orange snacks?

9. John Cleese was hilarious! I was in tears at some points from laughing so hard. Main takeaway: John can’t believe people live in Cleveland. (Hopefully his opinion changed after walking around!)

10. Our learning as marketers never stops. I think that was my favorite part about the conference; being surrounded by 3,500 like-minded professionals who face the same struggles and challenges. Main takeaway: If you can make it next year, I highly recommend going to this conference in 2016. Save the date- Content Marketing World will be back September 6-9!

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4 Content Marketing Lessons from Chuck Testa

Screenshot from Chuck Testa adI bet you thought this blog post would teach you four content marketing lessons from Chuck Testa – you are absolutely right. It will.

We can make all the jokes we want.  The ad for Chuck Testa and Ojai Valley Taxidermy is hilarious and has spawned hundreds of equally hilarious memes. Whether or not Testa knew he was making viral gold, he has taught us several content marketing lessons along the way.

1. It doesn’t take a lot of resources

Looking past the infamous video, Testa regularly posts taxidermy tips on YouTube.  I don’t know much about taxidermy, but he appears to be a thought leader in the industry and has a lot of advice to give.  Testa repurposes the video content into blog posts on his basic WordPress website and links posts back to a gallery of his work and an online store selling a “NOPE!” shirt (If you haven’t by now, watch the video).

Even though all the elements are basic, they come together in a cohesive strategy.

2. It’s not about production value

Testa’s taxidermy tips are about two minutes long, use absolutely no editing and are shot on Handycam with no external microphone. But they provide great value to his audience. I’ve seen several educational YouTube videos shot in HD quality with eccentric narrators. I’ve also watched a grainy, muffled smartphone video to remember how to tie a Full Windsor.

The production quality of educational content is low on a viewer’s priority list.  The first thing on the list: quality of content.

3. It’s focused on the audience

If you are not a hunter or aspiring taxidermist, please do not watch Chuck Testa’s other videos. If you are a vegetarian or animal lover, I implore, PLEASE do not watch his other videos.  They are somewhat graphic and are not targeted at you.

I’m an animal lover, but I’m also from a small town in central Ohio where the first day of deer-hunting season is considered an excused absence from school. These are the people who make up Testa’s audience.  I can picture several friends back home on the edge of the seat while watching Testa’s tips for mounting an antler rack.

4. It’s all about seizing a fleeting opportunity

We may never know if Testa recognized the treasure he possessed when uploading that video to YouTube. One thing we do know, he embraced it.  Testa still regularly retweets people using his signature catch phrase. My personal favorite, “Homework finished? NOPE #ChuckTesta.”

He also held a contest to find the best Chuck Testa memes and posted the winners on his website. Viral video stardom is fleeting to say the least. Testa immediately used the video to draw traffic to his website, Twitter and Facebook page. When your name comes up and your website traffic spikes, you have to act to ensure the spike lasts as long as possible.

Making do with a simple WordPress site, he blogs, syndicates his social media feeds and regularly updates and repurposes site content.  You might think he uses a digital marketing agency. Nope – it’s just Chuck Testa with a well-executed content marketing strategy.


Top Ten Ways to Identify if You’re Today’s Digital Marketer


Do you love digital communications? Has your spouse, significant other, life partner, family, mom or dad asked you to stop boring the neighbors with stories about SEO, content ladders, PPC, analytics, tweets or your latest blog post? Do you brag about the size of your Klout score? If so, read through our list of Top Ten Traits of a Digital Marketer to see if we describe you.

  1. Do you have an opinion?  Social media is just that–social.  Do you watch conversations online and actively engage in discussions via Twitter, Linkedin, blogs and forums?  Being a part of the social media strategy and conversation is key.
  2. Do you like geometric shapes (i.e. the digital marketing funnel)? We’ve left the information age and entered the attention economy.  Digital marketers need to understand how to be relevant with content and services utilizing a variety of inbound marketing strategies and tactics.
  3. Can you communicate in 140 characters or less? More importantly, do you love the written word?  From PPC to blogs, content is important, but optimized content produces results.
  4. Do you get a tear of joy every time you see a spreadsheet? One of the most important roles digital marketers play is understanding what the success metrics are and how to find them in Google Analytics, SEM reports and website search engine rankings. Basically, you need love data.
  5. Do you like to talk… a lot? Digital marketing strategy is built on communications and the strongest relationships with clients, media, business partners and peers is built on face-to-face discussion. If you just communicate through emails, texts and blogs, you’re missing out. Remember what we said about being social.
  6. Are you a lifelong student? We are all teachers and students because digital marketing strategy is continuously evolving and we all must be constantly learning. If you’re an old dog who isn’t learning a new trick every day, stick to a traditional agency.
  7. Do you embrace change and new technology?  Change is constant and rarely is the market leader the same every year.  That’s what makes Facebook and Google so amazing. They continue to be dominant in an industry where technology and competitors change daily.  We all must be looking for the next big emerging technological breakthrough… or at least the next big thing this month.
  8. Do you like to lead?  The digital marketing space is bold and exciting and no place for the timid. Brands and companies are looking for ways to connect in ways not done before and leaders to take them there.  If you’re not willing to be bold and take some risks, digital marketing isn’t for you. Remember, you learn a lot more from failure than success.
  9. Do you stay calm under pressure? In today’s face paced digital world, digital marketers have to juggle the needs and wants of each client. This may seem like a delicate balancing act, but with the right tools, you can easily calm the storm.
  10. Do you know your Klout score? The knowledge of wealth you share online will influence others now more than ever. Since 2008, the content you share online is measured on a scale from 1-100 in terms of influence. What’s your number?

The traditional public relations and marketing skill sets have changed dramatically over the last five years, but one thing’s for sure: Digital marketing is here to stay.  If you answered yes to several questions on this list, digital marketing may not be for you, however; if you answered yes to more than eight, you should probably contact us.

For more information on the future of digital marketing, visit or