The Bay Area Content Marketing Meetup is nearly five years old.
For the first four years, we met in-person, once a month in the Bay Area. For much of those four years, we met in an office building in San Mateo, thanks to the support of DNN Software, and later, the support of 3Q Digital.
More recently, we moved to Redwood City, thanks to the support of Talend. And then the global pandemic hit and we were sheltered at home. That didn’t stop us from “meeting up,” though. We quickly shifted to online meetups using Zoom.
We gather once or twice a week at noon PT.
Rich Schwerin, one of our founding members, affectionately calls it our “Zooms at Noon.”
All of our online meetups are free to attend and EVERYONE is welcome (we still have “Bay Area” in our name, so sometimes people ask if they’re invited — of course they are!).
We still see Bay Area regulars in the Meetups. But now that the Meetups are online and open to all, we see people from all over the world, including one member who joins us from Mumbai, India.
I record each of our online talks and post them to YouTube. In this post, I provide highlights from each one. Also, feel free to visit our YouTube playlist.
Making thought leadership cool again (Lee Price)
“Thought leadership” is a sought-after, but loosely understood “thing” that marketers aspire for. Kind of like the age-old “engagement,” right? Lee Price is a thought leadership consultant.
Not surprisingly, Lee has been speaking and writing about how she defines thought leadership and how you can become a thought leader.
Nugget of wisdom: “Thought leadership has always been about thinking in public, but now it’s even more important to show your thought process … It’s not just about the decisions you’re making, it’s how you’re thinking about it, what questions you’re asking, what information you’re trying to gather.”
How marketers can survive the pandemic (Joe Pulizzi)
Our last in-person meetup was in March 2020, when Joe Pulizzi visited us at Fieldwork Brewing in San Mateo, California. Joe has a new book out called “Corona Marketing” and he joined us on Zoom to do a Q&A about it.
One attendee (Cecile) asked Joe how he’d plan differently if he launched Content Marketing Institute during the global pandemic. His answer intrigued me.
Nugget of wisdom: “If you look at the greatest media brands and content platforms of all time, they always started doing one great thing, whether it’s Red Bull doing Red Bulletin magazine or The New York Times doing just the newspaper.”
Event marketing: communicating change (Cathy McPhillips)
In the midst of changing one event in 100% virtual, and giving another in-person event a more robust digital experience, Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) Cathy McPhillips discussed how their team is handling this.
Note: Recently, CMI announced that Content Marketing World 2020 is going virtual.
Nugget of wisdom: “Identify what’s different about us. What makes our event a good one? We spend a lot of time looking at technology, making sure it’s dependable, making sure it’s accessible for any of our attendees that want to be there and making sure it’s a good user experience.”
A B2B marketing framework: the galvanizing story (Doug Kessler)
How can your marketing and your brand stand for something that sets them apart? With a big, fresh, surprising, magnetic, galvanizing story.
A galvanizing story is a clear, compelling, structured narrative at the heart of your brand that unites everything you do and say.
Doug Kessler discussed the five elements that make up the galvanizing story and how your brand can apply this framework to your marketing.
Nugget of wisdom: “Without a galvanizing story, strategy and execution are disconnected. Content is isolated. Tactics are stuck in their swim lanes. With a galvanizing story, strategy, content, marketing, sales and demand generation all have a focus and a shared, guiding concept.”
The importance of emotion in marketing (Ester Liquori)
How can you earn the loyalty of your audience?
Go straight to their heart. In other words, connect with them emotionally. If you enter their heart, you also win their loyalty.
Ester is based in Turin, Italy! When our meetups moved online, Ester found us and started attending our talks, even though it was 8pm local time. I was so excited that Ester agreed to do a presentation for our group.
Thanks, Ester! 🙏
Nugget of wisdom: “Emotions help us tell a better story. They can remove uncertainty and fear and make us fall in love with a brand and the stories that a brand wants to provide to us.”
Learn to use Canva (Mariana Padilla)
Mariana Padilla is Founder and CEO of Red Lab Marketing. Mariana provided an awesome, hands-on workshop on how to use Canva. She showed features available in both the free version of Canva, as well as the paid offering, called Canva Pro.
Nugget of wisdom: “The Brand Kit is a feature of Canva Pro, a paid subscription. There, you can create up to three brand fonts and an assortment of brand colors. I can set up my brand color palettes for different clients I work with. I believe you can have as many brand colors as you want.”
Content as the fuel of your ABM strategy (David Brutman)
David Brutman, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Folloze, laid out a content-powered ABM framework and shared examples of companies executing content-centric ABM strategies effectively.
Nugget of wisdom: “With ABM, you have to be extremely focused, you have to know your customers well and you need to be very strategic in the way you build your outreach to them. As you engage them, you can land and expand. If done right, the results are pretty amazing.”
AI-generated sales and marketing messaging (Lately)
Lately uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to turn blogs posts, videos, podcasts and more into social posts. Yes, it generates the post copy automatically, learning from what works best from your social media history (analytics).
Nugget of wisdom: “Netflix learned what we wanted to watch. Then they used that data to start recommending other shows. And then they got real smart. Now that they know what’s most popular, they create their own content, which is now the most watched content on the platform. That’s what Lately is in the process of doing.”
Kate and Lauren from the Lately team provided a hands-on demo. Check it out.
Pivoting from in-person to virtual events (Okta)
The team at Okta has done an amazing job pivoting from in-person to virtual events. They shared these numbers:
- 48 live events cancelled
- 48 live events postponed
- 25 events went virtual
- 72 virtual events added
Under a tight timeline, they moved their Oktane annual event from in-person to virtual. It was a tremendous success.
Nugget of wisdom: “With all these events being virtual, we really have a great opportunity as event managers to think about becoming content producers. We put so much work and effort into building all this content, so what we started to do is maximize those programs by recording them.”
Social media marketing during the pandemic (Carter Hostelley)
Good friend Carter Hostelley, CEO of social media marketing agency Leadtail, discussed how B2B brands should think about social media marketing during the pandemic.
Nugget of wisdom: “The pandemic is different because it impacts everyone. I started to understand that this crisis is different, and if we don’t acknowledge it, it’s like we’re living in a different world. And that wouldn’t make any sense.”
Using improv for marketing (Kathy Klotz-Guest)
Kathy Klotz-Guest “helps rebels in HR and Marketing lead, create and speak boldly with improv and humor.” Kathy runs a company called “Keeping It Human” and is author of the book “Stop Boring Me!: How to Create Kick-Ass Marketing Content, Products and Ideas Through the Power of Improv.”
This was a first for me: attending a hands-on improv workshop over Zoom. Kathy did a great job and I had so much fun. I’ve attended Kathy’s in-person improv workshops and found the online experience to be just as good.
Nugget of wisdom: “The cornerstone of improv is this concept of ‘yes and…’ It’s the concept that says that I can’t change the cards I’ve been dealt. You do get to change your reaction and ‘yes and’ says that I’m going to meet people where they’re at. I’m going to find the best way to move forward that is integrative.”
Curiosity as a coping mechanism in marketing (Sarah Greesonbach)
Sarah Greesonbach, founder of the B2B Writing Institute and writing consultant at B2B Content Studio, unpacked three questions that helped her: 1) Deflate pressurized situations, 2) Awaken her curiosity, and 3) Navigate uncertainty in business and marketing with more confidence:
What would that look like?
What else could be going on here?
Who knows more about this than I do?
Nugget of wisdom: “If you’re feeling really blocked about solving a problem, throw out all the details and zero in on what it would look like if the problem is already solved.”
Google Analytics (Kyle Akerman)
Kyle Akerman, a web analytics consultant, gave a great overview of Google Analytics. He then took the wide universe of things available in Google Analytics and distilled it down to a few, manageable reports that content marketers can focus on.
Nugget of wisdom: “Think of Google Analytics as your car dashboard. Think how difficult it would be to drive your car if you didn’t have any indicators of how things were running.”
PR and content (Michelle Garrett)
Michelle Garrett, Writer and PR Consultant at Garrett Public Relations, gave a presentation about how PR and content marketing can work best together. Michelle started with a definition of “public relations,” then detailed why PR matters in today’s digital branding world.
Nugget of wisdom: “A lot of times people see PR as just press releases and media relations and it’s really a lot more than that.”
Competitive intelligence tips and tricks using Google (Andreas Mueller)
Andreas Mueller, Chief Strategist at Bloofusion, showed us a series of tips and tricks for using Google for competitive intelligence. Using Google, you can find so much more information about competitors than you thought possible.
Tip: Set up a Google Alert on your competitor. Include the filetype:pdf parameter (to limit your search to PDF files) and you can keep tabs on new content (e.g., white papers) they’re publishing. You can then go to your boss to make the case for new white papers your team should be developing.
A new framework for media training (Deirdre Breakenridge)
With thousands of experts ready to share their expertise, it’s not enough to just show up for your media interviews with your prepared messaging and executive presence.
Today, there’s a media training approach that moves you from one-off interview to relied-upon, trusted media resource.
Deirdre Breakenridge spoke about Media Training with a “FEEL” lens (facing Fears, having Empathy, living with Ethics, unleashing Love).
Nugget of wisdom: “The next level of empathy is emotional. That’s when you start to have a little bit of trust in the conversation with your media person or the people who are watching and listening. What you’re doing is mirroring back some of their language as someone is talking to you.”
Storytelling for content marketers (Kelvin Gee)
Kelvin Gee, Modern Marketing Evangelist, Strategist, Enabler & Trainer at Oracle, presented a storytelling framework that content marketers can utilize.
Nugget of wisdom: “We willingly give up hours of our attention to watch TV shows. So maybe it’s not a matter of attention span, it’s a matter of interest span.”
Humanize your brand (Jessica Ann)
Humanizing your brand was the theme of Jessica Ann’s talk. Jessica discussed Human Content, what it is and its benefits, along with how to differentiate yourself in the Idea Economy.
Nugget of wisdom: “Human content is what connects. There’s really nothing that makes us feel more joy as humans than a good transformational story.”
Troubleshooting your marketing challenges (Maureen Jann)
Maureen Jann, Chief Marketing Strategist and Founder, SuperDeluxe Marketing, did a “live workshop” where attendees posed their marketing challenges and Maureen addressed them on the spot.
Nugget of wisdom: “There’s a ton of virtual options to make connections. I have more opportunity to connect with people personally than I ever have before, because everything is virtual and I don’t have to spend a lot of time travelling.”
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile (Randy Ksar)
Randy Ksar is living proof on the ROI of LinkedIn: he used the service to land his current job. The foundation of your LinkedIn presence is your profile. Randy gave us useful tips on how to make our profiles better.
Nugget of wisdom: “I recommend that you post video to LinkedIn. It can be a simple as talking about yourself. I’ve seen that on-demand video performs better for me on LinkedIn than on YouTube.”
Survival guide for B2B marketers (Jill Richards & Johannes Hoech)
Two CMOs, Jill Richards and Johannes Hoech, recently published emerging insights about marketing in the current landscape. They gathered insights from interviews, research, and their current client and work experiences.
They shared early results of what seems to work right now for B2B marketers.
Nugget of wisdom: “I see that a lot of smaller organizations don’t know how to leverage LinkedIn and use it for nurturing and low-cost outreach.”
Customer Data Platforms (Tom Treanor)
Tom Treanor, Head of Marketing at Arm Treasure Data, explained what a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is and how brands are using them.
Nugget of wisdom: “If a company wants to use AI, there has to be a certain scale of data to make that work. A CDP allows them to get all their customer data in one place and information from a variety of channels.”
Increase web conversions with Hushly (Geoff Rego)
Geoff Rego, Founder and CEO of Hushly, gave a presentation and demo on how Hushly can increase web conversions by 51+% on existing traffic.
Nugget of wisdom: “The traditional model is, give me four or five pieces of information and then you get to view my content. We flipped the model. We allow the user to engage with the content. We offer them related pieces of content that can be personalized. At the point where they want to save the content, we just ask for their business email address.”