TCMA 2016 – ‘Reaching Higher’
The bar was set extremely high for day two to follow – but it certainly didn’t disappoint. Ann Handley – author of WSJ Bestseller ‘Everybody Writes’ – delivered a brilliant keynote about creating bigger, braver and bolder content.
I learned a lot about how to develop a brand tone of voice, but Ann’s main message was so clear: “The biggest missed opportunity in Content Marketing is playing it too safe!“
The lightning talks from the TCMA faithful continued to inspire: Laura Lucas focused on how to monetise content output, Ali McGill inspired superb customer service through utilising design principals, and the virtuoso storyteller, Kev Anderson, earned a standing ovation after his moving talk on finding your own personal stories to bring authenticity to your content.
Colin Gray – TCMA’s very own Mr. Podcast – gave some of the best practical advice of the conference, setting out how to produce multiple forms of content efficiently from just one idea source. One topic could potentially become a blog post, a video, as well as a podcast – with each medium suiting different audience segments.
Colin highlighted Podcasting as a way of creating fanatical fans through a richer, more intimate content connection, before offering his tips on how to batch produce ‘seasons’ of content to keep audiences wanting more.
Day two’s penultimate keynote talk came from the brilliant Bert van Loon, whose ‘Content Strategy Roadmap‘ demonstrated that our businesses must have a shared, in-house vision for our content.
This goal-setting process keeps us on track, and gives our content relevance. I had never come across Bert or his ideas before, and his ‘Roadmap’ was a real eye-opener for me.
TCMA 2016 – ‘Cracking the Content Code’
TCMA 2016’s headline act, Mark Schaefer, had been in the audience and mingling with delegates over the course of the two days. He had taken in the whole conference before delivering his talk, aptly entitled: ‘Reach Higher’. Mark explained that at the beginning of each new digital era, it becomes more difficult to be heard or found amongst all the online ‘noise’.
Building on what advice had been given over the course of TCMA, Mark stressed the importance of producing consistently high-quality content – however, it’s not enough just to publish content anymore. How do we get our content seen, and shared?
With the amount of content now available online – and blocking up our newsfeeds – the focus now shifts to ensuring our content is sharable. People are far more likely to buy a product or use a service if it has been recommended by a friend; so Mark emphasised the significance of creating an emotional connection with our audiences, by being more ‘human’ when producing content.
It’s about building trust, not traffic, and nurturing our ‘alpha audience’ – or those who always share our content. For content marketing to be successful, it takes time. In contrast to traditional marketing or advertising, you won’t necessarily see a return on your investment overnight.
But that’s not what it’s all about. First and foremost, it’s about creating advocates of your company – by building an audience, growing the awareness of who you are and what you do, and inspiring engagement with the information you provide.
Once you break into that ‘opt in’ stage, and begin seeing leads, that’s when you start to see a return on the time and money invested in producing evergreen, sharable content.
It was at this point I realised how far we had come since TCMA 2015 with ACA. We have come through the ‘Awareness’ stage, and are now in the ‘Opt-in’ stage, in which our content is now bringing in leads.
Our first time at TCMA was about becoming aware of what content marketing was; 2016 was our ‘opt-in’ moment – our understanding of its benefits were now much clearer.
TCMA 2017 – ‘A Starting Point for All’
Mark stated that ‘Content is no longer the finishing line; it’s the starting point’, and I feel that this message summed up my feelings about TCMA 2016 overall.
No matter what stage you are at with your content marketing, or whether this is your first, second, or third time at the conference, TCMA is always a starting point. It’s the starting point for new ideas, new connections, and new motivation.
I left TCMA 2016 with more than pens and books this time. There are some amazing people doing some amazing things, and it’s a real privilege being a part of TCMA and having the chance to learn from this influential group.
A huge well done and thanks to Chris and his wonderful team for what was an unforgettable conference. Chris Marr’s enthusiasm and leadership is really refreshing, and having so many international keynote speakers in one room was all down to his hard work.
Chris lives and breathes content marketing, and TCMA could really revive your business if you feel it might be suffocating in a crowded market. Tickets for next year are selling-out fast, so if you are interested in attending TCMA 2017 – good luck!
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