Content marketing show 2014: live blog

Posted By Axonn on 16th July 2014

We are ready to go with the Content Marketing Show 2014, where everyone who loves content marketing as much as we do get together to learn from the experts.

We’ll be updating this page throughout the day with notes, pics and thoughts on the talks.


Fantastic playlist, with Simon Dunant asking the good folks of Rough Events for an iTunes compilation album.

Cool to have some sign language interpreters on stage as well.

content marketing show audience.jpg

Can a brand ever be truly social?

Stephen Waddington (@wadds)

Stephen starts by comparing social media to a party, with brands trying to adopt personalities of people at a party.

  • Nice but dim

    Dull brands that try to insert themselves into conversations, for example asking people who love their mums to Like a Facebook post on Mother’s Day.

  • Nutters

    Uses the Kenneth Cole/Cairo example as a brand being slightly mental and completely irrelevant. We need to be empathetic!

  • Auto-mate

    Brands misusing tools and in the process forgetting to think about what content they are publishing.


  1. Don’t post rubbish to the internet.
  2. Become a truly social brand – uses the O2 social media presence as an example.
  3. Social networks are by nature a place where people share deeply human and personal stories. When people are at their rawest, amazing things happen at a very personal, human level. Brands should connect on social in human way.

After sharing a very personal story about his family’s story with cancer, Stephen gave Coppafeel a shoutout.

A fantastic start to the day. Great content in Stephen’s talk shows how people rally around shared, human experiences.

How to use data for your content strategy?

Johary Rafidison, Grayling PR

I swear everything sounds better when presented in a French accent.

Book recommendation: The Social Animal – David Brooks

Trust what people do, not what they say (cases in point: World Cup stats on Google Trends, and naughty Facebook’s mood experiment)

Tips and tools for using data research to shape your content strategy

  • Most of the data you need is already available and most of the time you can get it for free, for example Facebook Insights, Google Analytics/Trends/Keyword Planner, Iconosquare, Nodex.
  • Use this data to make your story. A creative planner working in tandem with a data analyst is one of the best ways to craft stories.
  • Present this data in an interesting or cool way, using tools such as Gephi and CartoDB.

Content Marketing Yearbook 2014: Highlights and Low-lifes

Fergus Parker, our CEO

Fergus talk.jpg

Content marketing is magic. It makes us feel good. It is a silver bullet. Fergus mentions that 823% of marketers will quadruple their content budgets this year – a tongue in cheek reference to all the stats flying around about content marketing.

Wrong. Effective content marketing isn’t simple. It’s complicated.

The facts: £4 billion spent on content marketing in the UK. However, just 48% of marketers say their content marketing is effective. That means £2.1 billion is wasted – the equivalent to 14,100 trips to space, the world’s 15 most expensive properties in the world or 29 million years of Netflix.

Need to focus on getting the “why” right.

Your content needs to inspire, educate, create an emotional connection, reaffirm people’s beliefs, transfer inner meaning and purpose, be relevant and be authentic.

You need the three pillars of content marketing: strategy, content creation and technology (more on that here).

Content marketing low-lifes:



don draper.png


Buffer blog

Ford: Mother’s Day Dream Car

and “Generic brand video”

(Check back soon for the slides from Fergus’s presentation.)

The buyer persona guide referenced at the end of the presentation can be downloaded for free here.

Case study: create an inbound marketing strategy in a boring industry

Jasper Martens from Simply Business (an insurance company)

Content needs to be a part of the purchase decision funnel, so you need to engage people pre-purchase. Even when they are not directly looking for insurance, or they are already insured, help them with content.

Simply Business has used Google+ Hangouts to help people start up their own business, how to market and finance it. They got experts in to dispense advice and used a meeting room as a studio.

Audiences weren’t great, but what they did with it afterwards was what mattered – repurposing the Hangout by publising it to YouTube, creating Q&As and so on.

60% of nearly a million annual unique visitors visit the Knowledge & Community section on the Simply Business website.

When traffic started to flatline, Simply Business decided to go a bit bigger. They published WordPress for Small Businesses and a Step-by-Step Guide to Social Media Success. These were outsourced to an agency as Simply Business didn’t have the in-house resources.

They also published an infographic “Hungry Tech Giants” which was featured on TechCrunch and nearly crashed the Simply Business site. Not all traffic was relevant, but a significant chunk was.

Use data if you have it. If you are collecting data from site users, analyse that in order to shape your content strategy. If you have lots of data and a PR agency, discuss this with them to see if there are opportunities for coverage. (This goes for your content marketing agency as well!)

How Simply Business structures their content marketing:

  • Weekly content meeting
  • Editorial calendar
  • Content facilities in-house
  • External help


  • Growth in social following
  • Increased search visibility
  • SEO revenue for new customers up from 7% to 19%
  • 8% of customers engaged on social media pre-sale.
  • Customers who are engaged with content have a higher renewal rate.

Back after a coffee break, and time for…

Why people share stuff online

Emma Dunn from Caliber

You can’t create content that will definitely go viral (see point 10), but

Use your social currency! Share content that will make people look good.

Be unexpected! Emma mentions Susan Boyle and suggests how appearances can be deceiving.

Trigger emotions with your content. Content that makes you feel sad/content isn’t that shareable, but surprise, fear, anger and amusement make the heart race and are more likely to result in shares.

Usefulness is important, but don’t try to be everything for everyone. Create content that will be really valuable to a specific niche.

People share stories that allow them to tell the world about their identity. People love to tell others about themselves (no wonder Buzzfeed does so well..) Provide a tool for people to show their identity.

Stories such as the Kony 2012 campaign tell a compelling narrative and this encourages people to share.

Interesting that a lot of Emma’s points echoed those made by Fergus earlier about how you need to create content that will be shared by people who already have an audience made up of your target audience.

poker talk.jpg

Why thinking like a poker player will make you a better content marketer

Andrew Tipp

  1. Data

    Poker players today are analytical and thoughtful. Data tells a story and everything begins and ends with data in content marketing. This is hard for people with an editorial background who sometimes prefer to act on instinct.

    Don’t be a cowboy!

  2. Tells

    Poker tells offer insights so for example gestures or facial expressions. For content marketers, we can look from “tells” from Google – algorithm updates, for examples.

  3. Expectations

    Expected value is a mathematical equation to do with whether a bet has a positive or negative expectation. Content marketers need to make decisions with positive expectations, which involve success over long-term strategies and results, and a focus on the end game.

  4. Oppontents

    Study your competition to understand how they are outplaying you. Who are they targeting, what’s their strategy, what formats are they using, where are they getting coverage?

  5. Strategy

    Different types of player mean you can’t always use the same strategy. You need to be adaptable and create original strategies for every campaign. Don’t rely on branded templates and beware general best practice tips.

  6. Winning

    In poker it’s not about putting everything on the table in one go. In content marketing most of your wins should come from your “smallball” content – bread and butter content. These are useful pieces of content that your audience want (and ideally what your competitors haven’t got).

  7. Losing

    Avoiding big losses is as good as creating big wins, and the best way to minimise losses is to A/B test your campaigns.

  8. Folding

    Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.

    Don’t persist with content that doesn’t work. EVEN IF:

    • It worked before
    • It was in the content audit
    • The client’s already paid for it
    • It was your idea
    • It’s the only idea

And now the whole audience has this song in their heads…

How a journalistic approach and a magazine mindset can improve branded content

  • Headlines are very important – don’t fall into the trap of writing with Google in mind.
  • Research your interviewee aka “stalk before you talk”
  • Agree interview questions beforehand aka “ask before you task”. Don’t necessarily email them a list of questions, but give them an idea of the topics.
  • Pick a suitable time and place. Think about interruptions and noise if you’re going to have a dictaphone.
  • Check your tech. Charge your devices and make sure there’s enough free memory on them. Take a pen and paper as back-up.
  • Mix business with pleasure – it will help your interviewee relax and be more open.
  • It’s a conversation, not an inquisition! Think twice about Q&As as they limit how much colour and warmth you can bring to the narrative.
  • Listen for soundbites. Half sentences don’t make memorable quotes, but a great soundbite can make a perfect headline or tweet.
  • Manners cost nothing, so thank interviewees for their time. (A bit depressing that this is something that needs to be put on a slide… don’t people in content marketing have good manners in general?!)
  • Check your facts – send a draft before publishing!
  • Get it up, get it out. Unseen content is useless, so spend as much time promoting it as it took to create it!

Think like a journalist in 3 steps

  1. Sniff out an angle
  2. Create a great story
  3. Drink like a fish

Axonn CMS picnic.jpg

We are back after lunch and it’s good to see most of the audience managed to resist the lure of London’s beer gardens. Our team from Axonn enjoyed a picnic lunch in Russell Square and we’re ready to keep live blogging, tweeting and learning this afternoon. First up it’s Raph Goldberg from Tanglewood talking about video.

The Hero’s Journey: using archetypes in video marketing

Raph Goldberg

Transformation occurred: Faster internet meant video content was more accessible on mobile phones.



Examples of archetypes

Practical tips:

  1. Always think of the viewer and what you want them to do after watching your content. Who are they, why are they watching it, what do you want them to do and how will you get them to do it? Answering these questions will help you shape your content.
  2. Use exisiting characters that people know and deconstruct or subvert them!

Making animation for the web

Wes West

Animation is a good way to tell a nice, short story without a need for sets or actors. You can also do anything – send characters to space, you name it – and this allows you to be truly original. Animation is friendly and it gives you total control.

Animation could be a cheaper option than videos, depending on the brief.

The animation process

One good way of finding someone to work with is to look at what animations you like and finding out who the agency behind that is.

  • Start with a concept and outline what will be made.
  • Consider the message and then develop the script
    with a clear call to action.
  • This is sent for sign-off and sent to a voice-over artist.
  • Storyboard
  • Animatic – basic sketch of what the animation might look like
  • Artwork
  • Animation
  • Post-production, which might include sub titles or music

Getting past the buying objection with problem-solving content

Nicola explains the various stages of the buying cycle. It’s funny how everyone basically talks about the same four stages but calls it something slightly different.

We need to draw content marketing inspiration from the process of consultative sales, which involves first finding the problem and then presenting solutions.

Mine the data to figure out what people are asking, for example your site’s search logs. But if you want to know what people who don’t know about you but who are your potential customers are asking, go to what Nicola calls the “bottom of the internet”: sites like StackOverflow, MoneySavingExpert, Quora and Mumsnet. Using connectivity search queries to find conversations people who are currently considering a purchase talking about on forums. DataMiner Chrome extension allows you to scrape conversations and information, and then export it to a spreadsheet for analysis.

Doing this will give you inspiration for content that people actually want. If you create this content well, you offer answers to potential objections before they are even raised.

Coffee break!

How to arrange a successful international bloggers event

Marcin Chirowski

Bloggers are overwhelmed with requests, so it is hard for content marketers to break through the clutter. The key to this is to build a relationship – start on social media and listen to and engage with them.

There are three broad levels of engagement, starting with social media, which is the easiest way of outreach and has the lowest return. Next you have conferences/meetups and events, and next 1-to-1 relationship building which is the outreach activity with the highest effort and highest value.

blog influencer.jpg

Here is how to run such an event…

Before the event:

  • Set objectives
  • Select target audience
  • Research with a local person
  • Connect via social media
  • Send a custom RSVP invite
  • Stay connected


  • Give the best experience possible
  • Connect with each person
  • Capture media


  • Online follow-up/competition
  • Involve bloggers’ audience
  • Stay connected

Motivational Content Stories for the Down Trodden


  • Find a universally appropriate angle for your content
  • Get professional researchers involved
  • Publishers are partners, so involving them means they buy into publishing content. Also, get on the phone! It’s much harder to say “no” on the phone than via email.
  • Make internal staff into experts to help develop good B2B content.
  • Develop the blog as a resource to link to.
  • Promote staff as content/industry experts to other sites.

Really hoping laptop number 2 lasts long enough to let us finish this blog… If we disappear, you know we are hunting for a plug socket!