Content Marketing World is taking place in Cleveland this week. Billed as “the largest content event,” the annual conference attracts nearly 4,000 marketers who come from all over to learn from the speakers, peruse vendors, and take advantage of the networking.

With that many marketers all in one place, everyone is focused on different takeaways. Here’s what a few of the attendees we talked to had to say about their biggest “a-ha” moments at the conference.

“It’s becoming more important for Public Relations and Content Marketing teams to proactively collaborate to have the biggest impact,” says Dominic Garcia, Senior Director of Content Marketing, Druva.  

“One example is original research, where the full potential of the project can only be realized when you have an integrated plan. It also extends to brand – once you embrace the idea that every piece of content is a representation of the brand, you begin to recognize that everything a content team produces should be held to the same standards of quality and messaging as PR activities.”

“One of the biggest challenges in content is how to stand out from the crowd, to create something engaging and memorable and worth sharing,” said Fran Merlie, Executive Editor, GREGORY FCA. “Nearly every speaker I’ve heard has touched on ways to do this: Andrew Davis reshuffled a dull case study video like a reality TV editor, adding curiosity gaps and tension. Ann Handley talked about how every email newsletter needs a tell — a sign it could only have come to you. Jay Acunzo called on everyone to question conventional wisdom and best practices and find their own answers. It’s still tough to stand out, but by focusing on what makes your organization unique and honing your voice, you can make it happen.”

“What’s interesting is that PR folks have been content creators from the get-go,” said Stacey Vaselaney, president of SLV Public Relations.  “What’s changed is the ways in which people now consume content, and understanding this ever-changing content consumption landscape is crucial for my work to be effective. I particularly enjoyed hearing Andrew Davis talk about the “Curiosity Factor” and it’s role in sustaining the attention of your audience.”

“I think for years the industry has been struggling with the difficulties of content creation, but this year I’ve noticed a shift,” said Kristen Hicks, a writer and content marketer based in Austin, Texas. “Creating great content still matters, but it’s become so competitive that there’s not much point in doing it if you don’t also have a promotion plan. A good promotion plan has to center building relationships with people who can expand your reach and amplify your content for a larger audience. It’s not easy, but influencer marketing is the most effective and authentic strategy for promoting your content that I know of.”

“There’s one session everyone will be talking about for weeks and months to come: “The Curiosity Factor,” which challenged the notion that “snackable content” is what every content consumer wants,” said LaDonna LaGuerre, Director of Content Marketing at Bright Horizons. “I wouldn’t say this was the case for long-form content, but it was absolutely a plea to marketers to create more tension, more drama…to work within the “curiosity gap” to earn the attention of your audience. Andrew Davis presented a counterintuitive approach to making memorable, captivating content that people will want to watch, read, and hungrily consume. Let’s face it: isn’t that why all four thousand of us came to Cleveland? If this conference was only this keynote, I would fly away feeling satisfied.”

Kim Moseman, Digital Content and Marketing Coordinator for Crews Control, says that one of her favorite moments was Lee Odden’s workshop on how to optimize, socialize, and publicize B2B content. “Lee says, “If you want to be the media, become the media.”

Takeaway

For PR pros, one of the biggest themes this year is integration. As public relations, influencer marketing, content marketing, and social media continue to overlap, better integration is a key focus for many working in PR today. Developing valuable content is a theme that runs through all the work that we do, making Content Marketing World an ideal event for pros who specialize in these disciplines to follow and attend.

If you’re looking for a full-suite platform to assist in your PR and marketing activities, we can help.