People, Data & Stories: A Content Marketing World Recap

Kiley Peters

Content Marketing,

We just got back from spending almost a week back in Cleveland, Ohio attending Content Marketing World (2021)! This year was an experience unlike any other due to the hybrid nature of the conference, with about a quarter of the previous year’s attendance in person and another quarter attending virtually, the atmosphere and energy were a bit subdued, but nonetheless, amazing content all around.

Here are a few insights gleaned from this year’s Content Marketing World:

First, we know about demographics, psychographics, and behavior as the building blocks of audience personas. However, there are a few missing pieces that really allow a persona to shine and those are circumstances for conversion and psychological profiling. Without understanding the psychological makeup of your audience, you’re going to miss the mark. This is why audience research is so critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Secondly, until you understand the circumstances for conversion, you won’t really know where to place your energy. And all of this is relevant to personalization and machine learning because machine learning can help us create more personalized and dynamic experiences and it can also help us create better psychological profiles. But it takes a human touch to connect the dots and tell the story in a branded, empathetic, and evoking way.

Focus on the Entire Customer Journey. We often focus on the infamous marketing funnel. However, many times we’re forgetting that this process is no longer a funnel, but more of an infinity loop, circle, or flywheel - pick your favorite visual. The point is, it’s not linear, it’s far more cyclical than the traditional marketing foundation we may have built our careers on, this more accurate journey has no clear entry or exit.

Collect Quality Data. This is nothing new, but we’re hearing it over and over again, collecting quality first-party data is one of the greatest competitive advantages any brand can have. Make sure you’re updating your email preference centers, your website analytics is tracking properly, etc. Gather data that you can use and is not dependent on a third-party cookie or platform. This is likely going to point you to refine your email marketing program.

Dive into Psychological Profiling. We have all heard about audience personas, the importance of personalization, and how machine learning is going to take over this industry. Well, let’s dive in a bit deeper here.

So let’s not forget about ensuring we’re nurturing our clients/customers once they’ve bought in. Let’s not forget about creating content that answers the right questions in the right medium at the right time for our specific audience. Let’s not forget that a prospect may enter our loop at a point other than the one we had mapped out. Let’s also acknowledge that a blog post answers a different question than a YouTube video than an eBook and they could all be part of one audience journey or pieces of different journeys. Let’s focus on adding value where value is desired and being helpful neighbors more than door-to-door salespeople.

Less is More. We’re overwhelmed with content. On numerous occasions during this conference, we heard studies that clearly stated audiences are inundated with content. And then we also heard that the solution many brands have opted for is to create more content. This just doesn’t add up. Again, focusing on the needs and wants of our audiences, let’s give them what they need, not what we want. Streamline and focus your content to be the best at your specific corner of the world and then share that value. Stop spamming, content vomiting, and inundating clients and customers. It’s the fastest way to lose them.

AI is our Friend. As mentioned above, we are all aware of the advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Many creatives and digital marketers are fearful we’ll be replaced. However, I offer this to you: embrace AI and machine learning - it’s your friend. These technologies are here to save you from the repetitive tasks you do on a daily basis when you wish you could be connecting dots and thinking creatively. Collaborate with machine learning to make your work better and stronger. Embrace AI and augment the work you’re currently doing so you get better outcomes for your clients and become instrumental to their success. You can learn more at Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute as a starting point!

Tell Stories and Humanize Your Brands. We’ve said it so many times before, but it still rings true - people matter most. Humanize your brands by focusing on the details and the humanity in your message. Share the specifics of the impact by building up the challenges and the obstacles that need to be overcome and make your clients the hero, not you. Be real. Be vulnerable. Be honest. The world is craving it and you’re uniquely you. Only you can do what you do. So tell your story.

These are just a few of the key takeaways from this year’s Content Marketing World. I encourage you to check out more at Content Marketing Institute and follow along as we’re about to dive into a whole new onslaught of expectations as we are working our way through this pandemic.


Founder & CEO

Kiley Peters is the Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique audience research, content strategy, and website creation agency primarily serving brands targeting Millennial Moms or business owners. She is also the Founder of the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurial moms through the steps of starting a virtual business. She also launched the Brainchild Fund, a nonprofit initiative to support women and girls in business and entrepreneurship Follow her on Instagram.

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