Content Marketing World 2014 Conference Recap in 5 Keywords

Was it a must to go to Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland this year? It is with a big YES I answer this question and let me tell you why. I chose the formula of keywords, to return to a particularly difficult to summarize event. Here are the best moments, the most inspiring ideas, the biggest lessons, the greatest encounters and a whole lot of emotions experienced these past two days in the largest conference in the world of content marketing!

1. Show

After a relentless day of travel, here I am finally going through the exhibition of the” Content Marketing World” lobby. I head to the huge “Exhibit Hall B” and already ringing in my ears the notes of the song by The Script, Hall of Fame, “And the world gonna know your name…”. It is 8 am, the music plays as orange and yellow spotlights project a show in front of the huge stage scrutinized by nearly 2,500 pairs of eyes, and the excitement is palpable.

It’s Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 and Joe Pulizzi appears on stage, in his delightful orange costume. His introduction covers the movement of content marketing that continues to grow, pretty much as fast as this conference. 4 years ago, Cleveland received 600 people and a half type “high” concluded the inaugural Content Marketing World. Clearly, things have changed , no doubt about it!

Photo source:

Barely 48 hours later, the show was still going strong and it was up to Frank Underwood to get on stage to close the event. A line up that never ends, stars in our eyes, tired from 48 hours of paying attention and listening however still eyes wide open: at last, behold, the one and only Kevin Spacey. In a tone of humor and like a father giving his children advice provided by his long and varied years of experience, Kevin Spacey surrounds his story around 3 fundamentals: conflict, authenticity and hearing.

First, the conflict creates tension and tension creates engagement. To do this we must think outside the box, go for the unexpected. Things have never looked better than when we do not know where we’re going.

Second ingredient of an extraordinary storytelling: authenticity. Tell a story that brings the truth and try not to take it for what it is not.

Finally, attention must be brought to the hearing; a movie is nothing without an audience. Same goes for a brand. It is nothing without its consumers, customers, fans!

The actor also praises risk taking and some people do not hesitate to take it literally as the girl who has seized the microphone and asked Kevin Spacey if she could go on stage and take a picture with him!

His speech ended on very positive notes: free your audience let them choose how they want to consume the content that is offered. Regardless of the platform, it’s the content that matters. The last word: there has never been a better time to create content!


Photo source:

2. Inspiration

It is difficult to choose the most inspiring moments from all those experienced these past 2 days. Andrew Davis’ orange glasses were definitely one of them! He also adds some humor and the ability to wiggle his body to the loud music way (too) early morning. The problem he brings up about the path of the consumer raises an overwhelming relevance. Created in 1898 by Elmo Lewis, the “funnel” on which the majority of our marketing strategies based seems obsolete. In over 100 years, a lot has happened: planes but mainly computers, internet, smart phones and tablets have become part of our everyday lives.



Andrew Davis demonstrates his argument by an operation quite baffling consisting of enumerating all the research he has done when he said to himself he would add a picture to his presentation for his speech at the conference.

The focus is therefore now on inspiration. We must try to inspire our audience to guide the path of the consumer. It must feel as if the content that is presented to him, gives an irresistible urge to act.

Photo source:

3. Encounters

Content Marketing World is not a simple conference, it is an experience. The friendliness of the people, their openness, their proximity and desire to share about their goals, successes and challenges faced every day in businesses brings participants closer together in a captivating way. At each session, people would sit next to each other and discuss, exchange smiles, business cards and advice.

And sometimes more! In a chance of life a life time I met Andy Crestodina in the elevator of the hotel as I was making my way to the party of the conference called “ContentFest”. Speaker friendly, Andy introduced me to a lot of very interesting people like Ian Cleary, Michael Stelzner and many others.

The Skyword team, sponsor of the event and one of our major partners in terms of content strategies at iProspect Canada also proved very warm. Do not hesitate to consult their excellent videos to live the experience.

4. Lessons

In meeting Andy, I gained a wonderful rich evening of meetings and discussions but also excellent teaching in his intensive session on Wednesday morning and a photo “selfie” in his PowerPoint presentation! Luck happens when induced.

Indeed, he gave us several tricks to better understand the expectations that may have visitors of a site, about the content.

Analysis of the best pages on the site, query analysis on the site and setting up filters for optimizing these pages, interlinking of strategies, promoting content and extent of open rates, guest blogging, etc. Also some explanations on how social affects search.

Source: Andy Crestodina

To stay in the analytical field, Adrian Vender, analytics director at Internet Marketing Inc. has offered us access to interesting articles that everyone should carefully keep in their bookmarks “Must read ab-so-lu-te-ly” :

Stephan Spencer also gave a good performance looking back at the biggest mistakes made by SEO content marketers.

The importance of the perspective of Google, bad choices in terms of SEO marketers, here are my selected pieces:

  • Search only for “Likes” and not the “Links”
  • Target audiences without relying on solid analysis of varied data
  • Do not pay attention to keywords. Soovle, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner are  free tools to target the right keywords.
  • Breaking’ the site: careful not to confuse 301 redirect, 302 etc.

Lack of SEO knowledge in content marketing professionals is as surprising as striking. Yet these two disciplines intrinsically linked and cannot function properly without each other!

5. Emotions

Between humor and seriousness, Scott Stratten (UnMarketing) and Robert Rose (Content Marketing Institute) transmit remarkably well their messages to a tired audience.

Alert as if it was the first hour of the first day, I listened to the emotional speech from Robert Rose on the future of content marketing. A future that will emerge under the yoke of customizing content and a seventh era of marketing in search of the most perfect possible human experience.

Photo source:

Scott Stratten, for his part, argues his case before a laughing audience. It calls for authenticity, checking each piece of created content thoroughly and accountability for marketers to face their sources. It also demonstrates on how mistake (one can naturally think of related videos of brutal FedEX deliveries) can become an opportunity in terms of content marketing!

Photo source:

A message never passes as well as when it evokes emotions from the audience.

In conclusion

Content Marketing World is the largest event for passionate and specialists in the content marketing world. Although the speakers and participants for the majority, American or interested in what is happening in the American market, there is no other major event quite like this anywhere else. So great initiative! What can be better to move forward professionally than to meet those who are doing the same as you? Thank you for giving us a chance to get together! This event can only get better as the discipline expands.

And finally, I would not hesitate to repeat Kevin Spacey’s words, “It’s all about the story. Start with the story”.  You know where to start now!

This article was originally written by Marie O'Neill.  Mayghann Doyle also contributed.