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Game On: How to Power-Up Your Content Marketing Game with Insights From #CMWorld

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right.

If you’re a classic gamer, you’ll recognize the Konami Code used in popular games as a way to uncover gaming cheats or special effects. And if you attended Content Marketing World last week, you’ll recognize that sequence from trying to find your way through Huntington Convention Center to find your speaker sessions.

And even if you’re not a gamer and weren’t able to attend the conference this year, you’re in luck. The team at TopRank Marketing has compiled some top tips for powering up your event attendance and our coverage of stellar content marketing sessions from the biggest content marketing conference of the year.

How Team TopRank Marketing Levels Up

Attending a conference like CMWorld requires an investment. Not only is there a monetary cost for gaining access to amazing sessions, it requires an investment of time. And if you really want to get the most out of events, it’s essential that you’re planning ahead how you’ll tackle the week (which is so much more than just showing up on Day 1).

#1 – Plan Your Sessions Ahead of Time

As soon as the agenda for a conference is released, our team begins the process of identifying which sessions we will attend and live blog. Having a plan makes navigating a large conference much easier and more successful.

#2 – Provide Valuable Insights for Attendees By Speaking

Our CEO Lee Odden has spoken at every single CMWorld to date. And I had the honor of speaking there for my very first time this year. Presenting at conferences provides a great opportunity to share the expertise of your team, and connect with attendees.

If you are presenting, the quality of your content and your engagement with the audience is key for success.

Here are a couple of attendees top takeaways and feedback from our presentations:

Workshop: Rocket Science Simplified: How to Optimize, Socialize and Publicize B2B Content

Solo Session: The Confluence Equation: How Content and Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success

Solo Session: Influencer Marketing is Only for B2C (and other lies your parents told you)

#3 – Engage on Social Media

At large events like CMWorld, attendees spend just as much time looking at their phones as they do each other. In fact, when everyone was filing out of one of the keynotes, I noticed the crowd was moving exceptionally slow. Why? They were all furiously tweeting takeaways!

When an event has a hashtag, take advantage. You’ll have access to a very engaged audience (both those attending and those participating from afar).

Often at events, Chris Penn utilizes a data algorithm to identify the most talked about and engaging individuals or brands at an event. As you can see, TopRank Marketing and Lee Odden were strong contenders at this year’s CMWorld.

Image via @cspenn

#4 – Interact IRL

For our team, one of the amazing benefits to attending events is the opportunity to interact with clients like the team’s at LinkedIn and DivvyHQ, partners, prospects and influencers. On Wednesday at CMWorld, we had the pleasure of hosting a dinner for some of our favorite marketers including Brock Stechman and Brody Dorland of DivvyHQ (client), Carla Johnson, Michael Brenner, Dave Charest, Mark Boothe, Peter Krmpotic, Eli Schwartz, Tim Washer and Jesper Laursen.

Event Coverage of Our Favorite Players

If you didn’t get to attend all of the sessions you’d planned to, or were following from home, we have a treat for you!

Below you’ll find our team’s event coverage of some of our favorite CMWorld sessions:

LinkedIn’s Megan Golden on Building a Blockbuster Content Marketing Strategy (Client)

LinkedIn's Megan Golden at Content Marketing World

A #B2B blockbuster #contentmarketing strategy monetizes a brand’s expertise. @Goldmegs #CMWorld
Click To Tweet

How Amanda Todorovich and the Cleveland Clinic Monetized Their Blog (And Why the Resulting Revenue is Just Gravy)

Content has to be interesting, valuable, and useful above all else. @amandatodo #CMWorld
Click To Tweet

Influencer & Content Marketing: Solving the Confluence Equation with Lee Odden

Influencer Marketing activates internal & industry experts with engaged networks to co-create content of mutual value and achieve measurable business goals. @leeodden #CMWorld
Click To Tweet

Andrew Davis Helps Content Marketers Grasp & Keep Audience Attention with the Curiosity Factor #CMWorld

If we are going to create better content we need to learn to consume content better. @DrewDavisHere #CMWorld
Click To Tweet

Ashley Zeckman Dispels B2B Influencer Marketing Lies at CMWorld

Ashley Zeckman at CMWorld

Rather than unapologetically telling us to buy a product, #B2B influencers are collaborating around an idea. @azeckman #InfluencerMarketing
Click To Tweet

How Twitch is Breaking New Ground In Audience Engagement 

Authentic and real-time #video can be better than immaculately produced when it comes to engaging an audience. Jane Weedon, @Twitch #CMWorld
Click To Tweet

Allen Gannett Shares His Secrets to Racking Up Millions of LinkedIn Video Views 

We’re living in an age where authenticity is key on #socialmedia. People want to hear stories from individuals. @Allen on #LinkedIn #video #CMWorld
Click To Tweet

Bonus Level: Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing

For a number of years, the TopRank Marketing team has partnered with Content Marketing Institute (CMI) to help provide helpful insights from top speakers. And this year was no exception!

Thank You For Helping Us All Level Up!

It doesn’t matter if you were a veteran speaker or first-time attendee, the beauty of an event like CMWorld is that we can all connect and learn together.

If you were lucky enough to attend this great event, what was your top takeaway? Tells us in the comments section below.

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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
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The post Game On: How to Power-Up Your Content Marketing Game with Insights From #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

Check Also

The Community Imperative: Engaging in Conversations Rather Than Disseminating Information

Building Online Communities in B2B

Building Online Communities in B2B

What does effective marketing engagement look like?

In the common model we see today, it’s something like this: Brands push out relevant messaging, hoping to compel a response or interaction that leads to a conversation (and maybe ultimately a conversion). This can be anything from a comment on a social media post to a chat window initiation.

Nothing wrong with that. These back-and-forths between brands and individuals are important ingredients toward building trust and loyalty. The problem is that, as a sole method for driving engagement, the cast-and-wait approach is too dependent on explicit triggers to spark these interactions.  

Devising and creating content that drives targeted engagement is hard work. It’s worthwhile, but hard, and sometimes even well conceived plans miss the mark. What if you were able to develop a self-driven engagement engine, which fostered strategic conversations built awareness among your most valuable customers and prospects?

Enter: Communities.

Why Communities Matter to Digital Marketers

In his seminal book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Seth Godin writes about turning scattered groups of followers into a unified “tribe,” which he defines as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

Human beings have long gravitated toward these communal experiences, elevating the collective power of their interests, beliefs, or passions. According to Godin, a group needs two things to become a tribe:

  1. A shared idea
  2. A way to communicate

The internet has taken care of No. 2, making it easy for strangers around the globe to come together via message boards, social media, subreddits, etc. So really it’s about identifying that mutual idea, or focal point, and taking the lead in rallying people around it.

Coordinating Communities for B2B Marketing

It’s not uncommon for tribes to form around a B2C product or service. For example, my fiancée follows several social media groups dedicated to Oreo cookies. People in these communities share updates about new flavors, and where they can be found. Other examples of strong brand communities include Sephora, LEGO, and Starbucks.

In the B2B space, this is more challenging. People aren’t generally drawn to, say, cybersecurity software in the same way they are to their favorite coffee or cosmetics brand. But that’s not to say there isn’t a deep level of passion for cybersecurity — it’s a prevalent issue throughout our society, and one that many professionals spend their entire days thinking about. The key lies in hitting the right resonant note and facilitating connections.

In the case of cybersecurity specialists, we have to ask: What questions burn in their minds? Which elements of the subject excite or agitate them? Where do discussions among hardcore followers tend to center? This type of empathetic mindset should be at the core of our DNA as modern marketers.

Building B2B communities doesn’t always mean trying to create a “brand community” where your company and its offerings are the primary focus; this can be tough to accomplish, and even when you do, you’re unlikely to pull in many members outside of your existing customer base. The more effective approach, from my view, is building communities around interests and commonalities that align directly with what you do.

Pinpointing the ideal focal point for your community requires an acute understanding of the people you serve, derived through copious research. We can apply many of the same tactics for identifying best answer opportunities to arrive at data-driven conclusions about the most avid areas of curiosity for our audiences. If your customers are repeatedly asking the same questions to Google, they probably want to discuss them amongst one another as well.

Where Can You Build Online Communities?

Let’s say you’re interested in starting a community around a certain topic relevant to your brand. Where might go about doing so? Here are some popular options:

  • Facebook Groups: It’s the world’s most popular social media platform and a prevalent hub for connecting around common interests. We wrote recently about the value of Facebook groups for B2B brands. And Facebook’s recently announced redesign will put groups at the center of the experience.
  • LinkedIn Groups: Often a better contextual fit than Facebook for B2B social media groups, as LinkedIn is (of course) structured around professional topics. Last year LinkedIn made its Groups feature more accessible by integrating it into the mobile app.
  • Forum/Message Board: The online message board traces its origins back nearly to the dawn of the internet, when it was called a bulletin board system (BBS). Today, these platforms for organized digital discourse remain prevalent and — when well populated — highly active and engaging. This post from HubSpot offers some step-by-step guidance for launching your community in such a fashion.
  • Microsite: A special section of your website dedicated entirely to allowing your customers and audience members to interact with one another. It might be a message board built within your site, or a more customized setup. Whatever the case, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to navigate and follow conversation threads.

Benefits of B2B Community-Building

“Community is important because it brings people together. Community keeps people loyal, makes them feel like they matter. It also lets the company show how much they appreciate their customers,” according to Mary Green, a community-building specialist who shared her insights with B2B News Network.

Beyond the overarching loyalty imperative, here are a few other practical advantages to creating an online community:

  • Firsthand audience research. Marketers are always endeavoring to understand what matters most to their audiences. In many cases, this requires considerable guesswork. But by monitoring a community, you can watch conversations play out organically, seeing what impassioned followers talk about and how they talk about it. This can serve as a crucial springboard for your content planning. It might even help inspire new product features or service offerings.
  • User-generated content. “Brands and influencers can make great content, but the phenomenal stuff comes from the discussion. User-generated content is gold,” says Green. I’ve written here in the past about the power of UGC for authenticity, and online communities can be an excellent resource for uncovering it.
  • Finding and cultivating influencers. Within these communities, you’ll frequently see particular experts emerging with strong voices or magnetic insights. These might be candidates to incorporate more deeply into your influencer marketing strategy.

B2B Brands Running Strong Communities

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few companies that set the right example with B2B community-building:

Bank of America

They major national bank created a small business online community, which they describe as “a forum for small business ideas, insider tips, and the industry knowledge you need to help your small business grow.”

As you scroll through the links and discussions within, you’ll find that much of it is unrelated to banking or even financial matters, and that’s just fine. The point is that numerous customers and prospects are coming to BoA’s website to talk shop.

Bank of America Online Community


The QuickBooks Community is basically a public knowledge bank where users can help each other solve problems and learn new things. There are product-centric areas for QB troubleshooting, as well as general business discussions. Intuit company reps are also active participants in the community.

QuickBooks Online Community


Jamf Nation describes itself as “the largest Apple IT management community in the world.” It’s a perfect example of owning a niche, and mobilizing a community while keeping product promotion on the backburner. Members are welcomed to “Dialog with your fellow IT professionals, gain insight about Apple device deployments, share best practices and bounce ideas off each other.”

Jamf Nation Online Community

Find Your Tribe

As marketing emphasis shifts more and more toward delivering holistic experiences, community-building should be a key consideration for practitioners everywhere, especially in B2B where the opportunity is especially ripe. Herein lies the next frontier of digital engagement.

Want to learn more about B2B brands that are finding more authentic ways to engage? Check out our post: Flipping the B2B Marketing Script: 7 Brands That Talk to Consumers, Not Companies

The post The Community Imperative: Engaging in Conversations Rather Than Disseminating Information appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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