Last week, the content team hopped in the car and took a trip down I-90 to Cleveland to attend Content Marketing World 2014. It was a chance for us to learn what is on the leading edge of b2b marketing, to reinforce or adjust our best practices and to be inspired to create new opportunities for our clients (and partake in classic American roadside eats).

We’re bringing you the highlights in an easily digestible list:

Google is at the centre of the universe.

Andrew Davis reimagined the classic prospect funnel and buying process as a loop. Prospects are more often than not starting out with a Google search and working outward through loops of search and information retrieval. They will often find your website. Then, they may search for your company’s presence on LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Facebook. They may search Google News to learn if you’ve been in the headlines or caught media attention for various projects. The news stories may lead these prospects to the trade magazine publications that are publishing relevant b2b stories.

If they are satisfied with what they find they may go back to your website and engage with some of your website content. And then go to LinkedIn to see connections who’ve done business with your company…Lost yet? We know prospects are consulting multiple resources and doing their own research. This talk modelled a prospect’s path as simultaneous and looping toward every buying decision.

Good writing turns TL; DR into GR; LI.

At motum b2b, we often talk about how visuals and videos are increasingly important tools to communicate and engage your audience. But that doesn’t mean you can just leave writing by the wayside.

A talk from Ann Handley substantiated our notion of the central importance of writing. Visuals always have more impact when they are accompanied with true, enjoyable and humanizing brand stories with a “strong unforgettable voice”. You have to choose your words carefully and tell the stories that only you can. It helps to turn Too Long; Didn’t Read into Great Read; Loved It.

Strategy is integral to content marketing success

Seems a lot of content marketers are still winging it most of the time. Several strategic sessions emphasized the importance of having a plan and checking in against it, “plan, do, check, act” every week. One of the sessions even spoke about planning a “brand cliffhanger” just like the classic TV drama writers do. Sounds like a good idea to us!

Native Advertising is the next content marketing buzzword

Really, Native Advertising is the next reincarnation of sponsored content. We got a sense of where the industry is going listening to a panel of experts from leading content platforms such as Mashable, Tumblr and BuzzFeed that offer native advertising and the agencies who utilize it on behalf of their clients. Native advertising becomes where media and brand content intersect. But the media platform has much more of an influence on the branded content so that it seems in the character of the platform. A great example of this is the “Dear Kitten” video posted to BuzzFeed from Purina.

There is no such thing as too many cats in a presentation. Sort of.

Need we say more.

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