Content Jam Takeaways


Recently, I had the pleasure of attending Content Jam, a daylong content-marketing conference in Chicago sponsored by Orbit Media Studios, Mightybytes, StoryStudio Chicago and several others. The conference included four tracks about content marketing: Strategy, Creation, Promotion and Measurement.

Although the sessions offered several takeaways that will be helpful as MMG embarks into the world of content marketing, what I found most instructive was the example of the conference itself.

It’s easy to get a bit trapped in the digital dimension when thinking about “content” that might prove useful in promoting your brand. Sure, you can create blog posts, slide shares, flip books, infographics, etc. But why not consider sponsoring an event as well?

Some of the best content with the greatest lasting power has an offline event at its core – a party, a fundraiser, a volunteer effort, an educational forum – any event where people learn something, have fun, or both.

For example, I wonder how many blog posts were written about Content Jam by organizers and participants in the lead up to and aftermath of the event? Just look at how many SlideShares were spawned by the conference alone. That’s some seriously smart repurposing.

In any case, I learned a lot during the Content Jam sessions that will help the MMG team as we get grooving with our own content marketing strategy. Here are just a few of the insights that I found helpful:

1) Start small. Don’t worry about developing an entire editorial calendar. Set a specific and realistic goal and choose a metric that will serve as your barometer for success. Then test and iterate. In other words, put a premium on getting started and learn as you go. Keywords and strategy matter, but so do experimentation and evolution.

For more on this, check out Tim Frick’s Content Jam SlideShare comparing the Lean Startup Cycle with the Content Cycle.

2) Be unique and offer value. Take the time to find something valuable to share and to develop it into a story. There’s already plenty of digital rubbish out there. If you use your natural voice and share your individual thoughts, you’ve got a better shot at engagement.

The presentation 16 Things Panhandlers Can Teach Us about Promoting Our Content by Brad Farris offers some humorous examples of how to stand out from the crowd.

3) Remember your audience and your brand essence. Yes, use your own voice so that you can be personable. But don’t forget who you’re speaking to and don’t forget your company’s personality. Content marketing offers an opportunity to explore and define the best tone and style to express your brand.

Although your positioning statement isn’t blog post material, you are endeavoring to communicate your value prop by providing something useful and engaging.