Best of Content Marketing Conference 2013

We recently attended the 3rd Content Marketing Conference in Cologne to find out about any pioneering innovations or knowledge in the area “appealing marketing content for customers”. Our personal gist here:
Right at the start in an exciting keynote speech from Thomas Knüwer (one of Germany’s top bloggers with Indiskretionehrensache.de) we learned that advertising messages are no longer simply forced onto a potential customer. Today it is a matter of data based and target group optimised content strategies. He encourages marketeers to put the user’s intention at the centre of their activities. Users do not search for brands but for solutions and TOP content. This is the only way to turn customers into brand ambassadors, committed to the brand. Knüwer’s tip is to undertake an extensive keyword search beforehand. As proof, more or less, he showed us among other things the Schwarzkopf website, which multiplied its visitor numbers twenty-fold with a content-based hair magazine. Products have taken a back seat since then. The top quality content created since the re-launch also generates a wealth of opportunities for social media communication.
Of course “video” shouldn’t be left out of any content marketing conference! Alexa Russetti (Regional Director of Brightcove) went in to bat for the moving image medium. In her experience, video content has a 53 x higher probability of landing on the first page of any search – if universal search results are provided. “If an image says more than 1,000 words, a video says 1.8 million words in a minute,” she said (A film shows 30 images per second). Nevertheless videos have to be brief and concise (Editor’s note: We know this from our years of experience in producing countless explainer videos. ;-)).

The “Premiere League” of content creation came to the forefront next with Doris Huber, Creative Head of Content Marketing for the Condé Nast publishing company. For her, the proven success factors for good content are:

• A high level of imagery

• Well-researched and well-written texts

• Modern aesthetics and spacious type in the layout

• Exciting topics and formats

• An interesting journalistic angle

She conveyed her axiom of “content has to appeal to the user, not the sender” in the pithy assertion of “editorial story vs. advertorial story”, which can be loosely translated as “quality journalism instead of advertising content”. If you want to catch premium fish you will need to use high quality bait, is her motto. She therefore neglected classic SEO elements.
Some other practical tips we picked up on are:

– SEO experts in many places recommended an article length of 300 words as optimal; this has proven to be too short for top quality content. Texts have meanwhile apparently settled down to around 500 words (reported Thorsten Abeln, Managing Director of TREYCON).

-Jens Fauldrath (SEO expert and Managing Director of takevalue Consulting): “Putting brand messages in the way of the user and his solution is counterproductive!” Fauldrath used Excel screenshots to illustrate the value of a sound preliminary analysis for a professional digital marketing strategy.

– Katharina Mitropolos (Business Performance Manager of Tengelmann New Media) Packed some useful insight briefly and concisely into the formula “Content is king, but data is queen”, Mitropolos explained how she manages to ensure that the content which users receive in their search queries is coordinated exactly to his phase on the customer journey – hence the stations they traverse before actually making a purchase. If the search queries were longer and more specific it is to be expected that the conversion would move become clearer and it would be possible to provide the corresponding content. Explanatory videos for her are an excellent medium for rendering easy-to-consume content.

– Arne Stoschek, Managing Director of Text provider says: “Don’t be afraid of high content production costs!” There are numerous “treasures” in most companies that need only be unearthed. With a systematic approach, diverse media can be created from any content in just one production step, whether as a snippet, podcast, press release or animation.

– The first and most important question marketeers should ask themselves should be: “What social determination does my brand have?” (Thorben Hansen and Enrico Hanisch from the advertising agency Philipp und Keuntje). If a brand has a clear message it will find followers, as communities can identify themselves with the product. With this headwind the brand can position itself more assertively. She used examples of how brands such as Astra and Audi utilised Facebook for such activities.
Our conclusion: It is no longer a question of whether content marketing is an important tool. Instead, it’s about identifying what the most effective strategies are and discovering new ways of implementing them. Oh and one more thing; the majority of experts we spoke to confirmed that explanatory videos are an ideal utility for SEO-optimised pages… ☺
More details of the event (unfornatuarely only in German) can be found at t3n.
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