Master Summary of the Content Marketing Master Class New York 2013

I had the great pleasure of attending my very first Content Marketing World Conference last Wednesday in New York City. The Content Marketing Master Class was an inspiring, hands-on workshop put together by Content Marketing Institute, Target Marketing and Publishing Executive.

Attendees had the chance to soak in valuable insights from top industry influencers.

Speakers included:

  • Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute
  • Robert Rose,  Chief Strategist, Content Marketing Institute
  • Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Social, LinkedIn
  • Michael Gerard, Chief Marketing Officer, Curata
  • Amanda Maksmiw, Content Marketing Manager, Lattice Engines
  • Sarah Skerik, Vice President, Content Marketing, PRNewswire

Here’s a round-up of what these bright talents had to share.


Joe Pulizzi Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Stepping on to the stage with his infectious smile and a signature piece of orange garment, Pulizzi kicked off the conference by providing an overview of the challenges and opportunities that content marketers face in an increasingly noisy marketing landscape.

The complexity of today’s customer journey makes it imperative for brands, more specifically,  for those of us in charge of upholding the content marketing engine for those brands, to put in place defined strategies and processes for attaining sales objectives with targeted, contextual content.

The slide below was featured to showcase the difference in content marketing success rates when brands have a documented content strategy and dedicated resources supporting the entire content workflow, versus those that don’t.

Unsurprisingly, respondents that rated their organization’s content marketing effectiveness as “least effective” felt that producing content was their biggest challenge.

To which Pulizzi retorted,

“If you don’t have a clear content strategy, you always feel that the solution is more content.”

What’s really at the heart of content marketing is not more content – but having a clear sense of the mission of your content.

Follow Joe on Twitter: @JoePulizzi

Robert Rose, Chief Strategist, Content Marketing Institute

Rose led our journey through the workshop, filling our think tanks with ideas, examples and exercises to help us develop a strategic process for finding our brand story, identifying audience personas and unearthing the unique value that truly differentiates us as a brand.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Align content with the buying stages. Content assets should work to guide the user in the right direction, provide a logical next step and provide a convincing reason to take that step.
  • Thought-leadership programs are the key to loyalty. Storytelling has the power to create demand. (Ex. When the movie Finding Nemo came out, clownfish became the primary choice for children’s aquariums, exponentially increasing demand in pet stores)
  • Content marketing lives and breathes because of audiences, not buyers. Create experiences for influencers in order to influence demand.
  •  “WHY” is at the heart of your story. Here’s how to find it.

Rose gave us a great little exercise to do called the 5 Whys. This question-asking technique is used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The idea is to keep asking ourselves “Why is this topic important to [insert target audience here]” and  to keep asking ourselves that question until we hit that emotional mark that communicates not what we’re selling but why we’re selling it.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @Robert_Rose

Amanda Maksymiw, Content Manager, Lattice Engines

Amanda’s presentation was about fueling content marketing with influencers. She shared her 4 step process for building your influencer networks.

1) Build the plan. Consists of setting goals and performance targets (ex. double traffic, double conversions, measure success by community size, # of organic mentions etc.)

2) Identify “Who”. Consists of discovering and building a database of influencers to reach out to and engage with. (ToolsLittleBirdVocusTapInfluence)

3) Prep/Engage. Consists of tracking engagement with influencers.


  • Log your activities
  • Keep track of your progress
  • Document ideas that come from conversations.  Garner new ideas

4) Pitch. Consists of reaching out to influencer strategically in order to incite them to collaborate with you.

Other insights:

  • “Simplicity Rules: show the value, make it hard to say no”
  • Automate some of your communication
  • Share your best content

Follow Amanda on Twitter: @amandamaks

Michael Gerard, Chief Marketing Officer, Curata

Gerard’s presentation fired off tons of little light bulbs in my head, as he discussed tools and techniques for curating content in order to support your content production demands.

Similar to how museum curators gather, organize and manage collections, content curation involves a content specialist or team to consistently find, annotate and share the most relevant and highest quality digital content on a specific topic for their particular niche or industry.

Rather than putting all your eggs into creating original web content, 30% of your efforts could also be spent collecting and re-purposing the thoughts and ideas of other authorities in your industry.

At iProspect, we refer to this as community-building content. Community building content is achieved by reaching out to key influencers in your industry in order to increase readership and visibility within the community.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelgerard

Sarah Skerik, Vice President of Content Marketing, PRNewswire


I was delighted to learn that the new buddy I was sitting next to during the conference was one of the presenters, Sarah Skerik! She had some great insights to share both on and off stage.

She encouraged us to “rip off” tactics from newsrooms.

“Big media still does an excellent job at garnering viewership and still fires more social conversation than any other source,” she says.

Here are some of her top newsjacking tips:

  • Piggyback on most popular stories (Ex. most emailed, most commented, etc.)
  • Build on the attention current events generate.
  • Issue press releases to announce blog posts (loved this one – you could even create a series of related-theme blog posts and create one press release with links to each piece in the series).
  • Use editorial calendars to inform topics and timing.
  • Leverage sponsored/owned content.

Free PR Tools

Follow her on Twitter: @SarahSkerik

Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Social, LinkedIn

Miller thundered on to the stage with the energy of Vince Neil. For those of you unfamiliar with Vince, he is the lead singer of Mötley Crüe —one of Jason’s favourite rock groups (among other 80s rock gods like, The Cult, Guns N Roses, Cheap Trick and more.)

Commixing his passion for rock concert photography and content marketing there were two nuggets that resonated most with me.

1. Put paid behind your good content. You need budget and headcount for content marketing and when you create great content you need to strategically promote it using paid and organic means.

2. Your content is turkey. Miller left us with a great analogy that was offered to him by content marketing expert, Rebecca Lieb.

Her #1 piece of advice for content marketers that feel they can’t create enough content is to “Find the content you have and treat it like leftover turkey.”

Make sandwiches, soup, salad, casseroles –find your inspiration for content in the slide below!

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonMIllerCA