14 Lessons From Our Content Marketing Conference

14 Lessons From Our Content Marketing Conference

I’ve been to a lot of content marketing conferences, and I finally got to see one from the inside out.

Last week, the Convince & Convert team partnered with our friends at Uberflip to produce and host CONEX: The Content Experience.

750 content marketers joined us in Toronto, including many Convince & Convert readers, clients, and fans. Thank you!

It was a fantastic experience, and I can’t wait for the next edition of CONEX: The Content Experience (which will be August 20-22, 2019)

I learned a lot about hosting and co-producing a content marketing conference, as well as some new ideas from our lineup of amazing speakers. But instead of just passing along my own recollections and notes, I thought it would be more interesting to provide my favorite tweets from CONEX, so you can see what real attendees thought of each speaker. Tweets are presented in chronological order.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You can watch the livestream of the event here: https://contentexperience.uberflip.com/live-stream-2018/

No More Random Acts of Content
Karine Bengualid picked this up from our very own Anna Hrach (a strategist here at C&C) who ran an outstanding pre-conference workshop on how to create the ultimate editorial calendar. (note: We will be offering this material as an online course this Fall).

No more random acts of content! #conex @annabananahrach @convince @Uberflip

— Karine Bengualid (@KarineBen) August 20, 2018

Content Success is About Remixing the Content
The theme of the CONEX content marketing conference was “Remix” and several speakers talked about repackaging content, and merchandising it better for content consumers. This trend was kicked off by Uberflip CMO and co-founder Randy Frisch, in his opening keynote. Kevin Webb tweeted this concept from Randy’s talk.

Marketing’s ability to remix the right content makes or breaks the content experience @randyfrisch #conex pic.twitter.com/7Od8LGJIfv

— Kevin Webb (@KevinWebb) August 21, 2018

Viral Means Nothing
My old pal Scott Stratten brought some thunder to the opening keynote and indicted the entire notion of trying to go viral with content marketing and social media. Yvonne Tsui tweeted one of many quotable Stratten-isms. (listen to Scott on the Social Pros podcast)

Vanity viral aka the great social reach around. It feels good, it means nothing. If it doesn’t move the needle it doesn’t matter. @unmarketing #ConEx #contentmarketing

— Yvonne Tsui (@life_of_Y) August 21, 2018

The Best Content Marketing Experiences Have 4 Ingredients
A highly relevant presentation from Nate Skinner of Pardot was next up on the agenda. I hadn’t heard this framework from Nate before, and I really liked his construct. So did Alex Fasken, who also grabbed a photo of the accompanying slide.

“The best experiences have 4 ingredients: entertainment, education, escapism and aesthetic” @renniksn @Uberflip #Conex pic.twitter.com/yaQJqL12Jd

— Alex F (@alexfasken) August 21, 2018

Behavior Change Starts with Perception
Tamsen Webster is on fire. She’s a content coach and idea whisperer who’s Red Thread system is being used by more and more executives and professional speakers to add clarity to their messaging. (disclosure: she’s worked with me) Tamsen brought her ideas to the stage at CONEX too and had a big impact on Madison Harbin and many other attendees.

“You can’t change WHAT people do without changing HOW they see it”. Great session @tamadear #CONEX pic.twitter.com/qHRvOXa2uA

— Madison Harbin (@Mads_Harbs) August 21, 2018

Content Is Critical at All Stages
As I mentioned in my introduction of him (I was the emcee at CONEX: The Content Experience) Carlos Abler of 3M may be the smartest bald guy I know. Or perhaps he’s the smart guy with the least hair. Either way, he knows a LOT about content. He brought a ton to the stage at the event, especially his ideas about content at every stage of the customer journey. Stephanie Totty tweeted about it.

“There is never a touch point in the customer experience when content is not involved – it’s a complex journey and relationship that requires thoughtful setup.” @carlos_abler #conex

— Stephanie Totty (@Tottums) August 21, 2018

Honest and Transparent Content Creates Customers
This may be the quintessential quote from a Marcus Sheridan presentation. Marcus preached the gospel of no b.s. content at CONEX, and had the audience transfixed, as usual. Nice .gif usage here from Katrina Couto! (Listen to Marcus on the Social Pros podcast)

“Honest and transparent content is the greatest sales and trust-building tool in the world.” – Marcus Sheridan, @TheSalesLion#CONEX @Uberflip pic.twitter.com/TRnj8ow8Vt

— Katrina Couto (@KatrinaMktg) August 21, 2018

Time to Play the Feud
One of the highlights of our particular content marketing conference is The Content Feud, which closes out day one.  Inspired by Family Feud, we pit content marketing strategists against content marketing practitioners in a five-round quiz show, with me as the host. In a nail-biter that went down to the last question, the strategists (captained by Ann Handley) retained their title.

Fun way to keep up w/ marketing trends, content, digital & more at @Uberflip’s Content Feud #conex pic.twitter.com/K7j7toKBx7

— Lara Martinez (@LAMKVH) August 21, 2018

Customer Retention is the New Marketing
As anticipated, a tremendous day two opening keynote from Joey Coleman, whose book “Never Lose a Customer Again” may be my favorite business book so far this year. Joey also co-hosts the awesome ExperienceThis! show that we used to produce via Convince & Convert Media. Thinking through retention-based content resonated with Melanie Persaud. (Listen to Joey on the Social Pros podcast)

Customer retention! The next frontier in marketing? “We’re not just here for you in the beginning, we’re here for you all the way through.” #conex @thejoeycoleman pic.twitter.com/MPvOFgQ5BJ

— Melanie Persaud (@Melanie_Per) August 22, 2018

Social Video Isn’t TV
The delightful Caitlin Angeloff runs global social at Docusign and brought a supremely relevant and tactical presentation about social video, especially Facebook Live, to the CONEX event. Demand Gen Report tweeted one of Caitlin’s key points, about the real-time interactivity of social video. (Listen to Caitlin on the Social Pros podcast)

“Social video should NOT be a mistake for TV. Television doesn’t let you interact with your audience. Facebook does.” –@caitlinangeloff of @DocuSign #conex pic.twitter.com/wES4txgz9W

— Demand Gen Report (@DG_Report) August 22, 2018

Engage Buyers on Their Terms, Not Yours
Laura Ramos from Forrester delivered tremendous advice rooted in new research. Her talk centered on empathetic content: being prospect/buyer focused instead of company focused. Brandi Smith grabbed this photo and Tweet.

Great advice @lauraramos from @forrester. Engage buyers on their terms, not yours. Provide the right level of access and personalization based on where they are in the buyers journey #conex pic.twitter.com/nh4I5v6uGR

— Brandi Smith (@brandismith01) August 22, 2018

Create More Content Without Actually Creating More Content
Corinne Sklar is the super smart CMO of Bluewolf, and shared her concept of “Plucking the Chicken” at CONEX. What she means by that is that if you have a piece of content, if you keep plucking, you can create several other iterations and version of that content, boosting content efficiency. We call that “atomization” here at C&C, but I like a good chicken metaphor, as does Deirdre Buckingham (who won a return trip to next year’s CONEX during the event).

How can we extend our content and keep it going… without creating MORE content? #PluckTheChicken ??? @csklar #Conex pic.twitter.com/mmpPltZTyw

— Deirdre Buckingham (@dlaubuck) August 22, 2018

Don’t be Clever. Be Vulnerable
I wore a Buzz Lightyear outfit when I introduced Matthew Luhn, a legendary storyteller from Pixar.

A post shared by Jay Baer (@jaybaer) on Aug 22, 2018 at 9:13am PDT

With that less-than-ordinary lead-in, Matthew took the stage at CONEX and blew us away with heart and poignancy. His advice that content marketers are trying to get too cute was spot-on. His talk really resonated, including with Function 1, who grabbed this great photo in their tweet.

Storytelling advice from Pixar’s @matthewluhn: “Don’t be clever. Be vulnerable and honest.” #ConEx pic.twitter.com/Q7bXAzmZ8b

— Function1 (@function1corp) August 22, 2018

Ignoring Video is the Avoided Handshake of 2018
Amy Landino brought a warm, story-filled approach to her presentation on the importance of video content. She emphasized video’s ability to build community, and also shared her own formula for creating authority videos. Super useful! Dionne Mischler grabbed this photo from the balcony at the Royal Conservatory of Music, in Toronto. (Listen to Amy on the Social Pros podcast)

“Ignoring video is the avoided handshake of 2018.” Schmittastic #conex pic.twitter.com/dSN3MXSHUs

— Dionne Mischler (@MischlerDionne) August 22, 2018

Bridge the Curiosity Gap to Create Content Success
The legendary Andrew Davis delivered a hilarious and important keynote presentation about curiosity and delayed gratification, poking holes in the “audience is too distracted” excuse for poor content performance. Watch this one on the live stream: you’ll be glad you did! Mo Waja was on the scene to capture this tweet.

Earning attention means bridging the Curiosity Gap between what your audience knows and what they want to know. @DrewDavisHere #Conex pic.twitter.com/V7E81dE1HB

— Mo Waja (@iammowaja) August 22, 2018

Mobile isn’t for Serving Content it’s for Utility
Bonin Bough is the former head of digital of Pepsico and the former global head of media and digital for Mondelez. Bonin closed out Conex: The Content Experience with a roaring keynote that reminded attendees that mobile can (and should) do a lot more than it’s doing today, in most cases. Maya Chendke was paying close attention!

Mobile isn’t a medium to serve content, it should create utility. @boughb talking through crazy #mobile realities. #CONEX #mobilemarketing #contentmarketing

— Maya Chendke (@mayachendke) August 22, 2018


That’s a wrap. 14 lessons from our content marketing conference. You may have your own takeaways. Watch the on-demand livestream and see for yourself. It’s free!

Huge thanks to everyone at Convince & Convert and Uberflip for their work on the event. And massive thanks to all the speakers, sponsors, and attendees.