While this is a separate conversation, I am convinced that the concept of conferences is dead. Having attended many in the past, I got simply tired of being sold to. ThinkContent, however, is my second time attending an event that is called a Summit, and it was different. Good different. How are summits different from conferences? From my understanding, the fundamental difference is that in summits it is one company that curates all the speakers, while conferences are largely organized by 3rd parties that aren't buyers or sellers.
The entire summit was packed with valuable knowledge. This was one of those rare times when I battled scribbling notes while trying to stay as focused as I can on the knowledge that the speakers were dropping. Without further ado, here are the top 9 insights that I got from the summit:
1. Everyone produces content. Few companies produce valuable content.
The unfortunate reality is that there is already more content being produced that can ever be consumed. Whenever brands got the note that they need to produce content, most have clearly missed the most important footnote -- content needs to be valuable. Without adding value to consumers through content, you are just producing noise.
2. Brand publishing is blowing up.
Only seeing speakers like Tomas Kellner first-hand do I see the extend to which some brands invest in building their audience. (Tomas is the managing editor of GE Reports have previously spent 8 years at Forbes where he wrote about business and technology.) This just shows how seriously some brands are starting to take content. Publishing industry continues to evolve, and I will not be surprised if some of the greatest publishing work will come from brands.
3. You've got to earn your audience.
This does not mean you cannot use paid channels to drive readers to your content. What it means is that for them to come back, you have to seriously consider your user engagement and re-engagement strategy. On the most fundamental level, you need to think about the value they get from the content when they come to your site.
4. Don't build your house on rented land.
Brands that have built their distribution channel solely on social are already starting to feel the pressure due to increasing content production on these social networks that affects their organic reach. More brands need to think about ways they can have more control over their content distribution channels.
5. Emoji it up!
Make your brand a bit more human by adding another dimension to your social media posts. Do I even need to repeat the current buzzword 'millennials'? NewsCred's Michael Brenner writes on the topic at The Guardian.
6. Static content is so 2008.
Video content is being democratized and brands need to embrace user generated video content to spice up their content consumption, particularly on mobile.
7. Ads are not cool.
Sorry banner ads, but none seems to like you any more.
8. Make a customer the hero of your story.
Take your consumers on a journey. Tell them a story. Share with them your view of the world.
9. Buzzfeed has won my heart and my brain.
Aside from amazing work they do on the creation of content, what really blew my mind is how deep the dig to understand that make content go viral. These guys have it down to science. If I were to summarize the main lesson from Buzzfeed's talk by Ze Frank, President BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, is to segment your customers and build content to connect to a specific emotion they have. When segmenting your audience, go granular. Then divide this by 10. That's how granular you need to go.
Those who are looking to learn more about the event, can do so here.
Ps. StackAdapt or myself are in no way affiliated with NewsCred, and this piece is written simply for educational purposes.