The Thread Summit Keynote Speaker Shawn Amos, Founder & CEO (Freshwire) "Content Marketing is Dead"
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The Thread Summit Keynote Speaker Shawn Amos, Founder & CEO (Freshwire) "Content Marketing is Dead"

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Shawn Amos is a seasoned curator of content. He has lived through the trends of the last 20+ years, and approaches content is a whole new way - with mindfulness...

Shawn Amos is a seasoned curator of content. He has lived through the trends of the last 20+ years, and approaches content is a whole new way - with mindfulness...

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The Thread Summit Keynote Speaker Shawn Amos, Founder & CEO (Freshwire) "Content Marketing is Dead" Document Transcript

  • 1. Today,  I’d  like  to  give  you  a  bit  of  my  own  history,  my  take  on  where  we  stand  at  this   moment  in  :me,  and  where  I  think  we’re  going.  I  then  want  to  share  a  few  pieces  of   Colorado  content  I  think  are  cool  and  give  you  a  few  things  to  think  about  as  you   move  forward  in  your  own  content  journey.     This  is  more  of  heart  conversa:on  than  a  head  conversa:on.  I  know  we’re  addicted   to  data  and  devotees  of  numbers  which  I  dig  too.  But  this  social  media  space  is  a   game  of  science  and  art  and  in  my  experience  with  clients  I  oBen  see  them  using   science  as  an  excuse  to  avoid  the  art.  Don’t  be  afraid  of  art.  I’m  sure  you’ll  get  lots  of   people  giving  you  valuable  pieces  of  hard  data  over  the  next  day.  I  encourage  you  to   pair  it  with  the  soBer  side  of  storytelling  and  together  find  a  path  forward  for  you.     Throughout  this  conversa:on,  I’m  going  to  ask  you  to  alternately  think  of  yourselves   as  users  of  social  media,  consumers,  and  marketers/business  owners.   1  
  • 2. I  grew  up  making  content  before  it  was  called  content.  I  made  things  with  my  hands   likes  cookies  with  my  dad,  movies  in  film  school  and  records  in  what  used  to  be  called   the  music  business.  Everything  started  with  a  story  I  was  excited  to  tell.  And  that’s   s:ll  the  case.  What  excites  you?  Excitement  is  contagious.  What  is  your  story?  What   are  you  excited  to  share?       So  the  leap  from  making  stuff  to  marke:ng  stuff  is  not  that  far.  It’s  all  storytelling.   The  fundamentals  of  storytelling  have  gone  unchanged  for  thousands  of  year.  We   want  to  be  inspired,  see  something  of  our  best  selves  —  a  glimpse  of  who  we  might   become.     However,  the  way  we  tell  stories  has  changed  drama:cally.   2  
  • 3. Think  about  the  fact  that  the  way  we  reached  large  audiences  went  largely   unchanged  for  over  200  years.  The  most  effec:ve  way  to  reach  people  at  scale  was   through  print  —  newspapers,  magazines.  We  had  a  long  :me  to  master  print   communica:on.  Then  radio  came  along,  then  TV,  changing  the  form  factor.  But  we   had  50+  years  to  master  it.  Now,  in  the  past  16  we’ve  had  more  media  changes  than   the  past  300.     In  2012  Google  sold  more  ads  than  all  newspapers  and  magazines  combined.  And  this   doesn’t  even  address  more  recent  plaYorms  social  apps  like  Tumblr,  Vine,  Pinterest,   Snapchat     These  plaYorms  have  demanded  changes  in  the  way  we  tell  stories.  This  stuff  is   really,  really  new.  No  one  has  mastered  it.  How  could  we?  It’s  s:ll  s:ll  changing.  It’s   the  wild  west.       3  
  • 4. When  I  started  Freshwire  in  2009,  the  phrase  ‘content  marke:ng’  had  not  entered   the  lexicon.  In  fact,  in  2009,  most  of  my  :me  in  2009  was  spent  explaining  what   ‘content’  meant.  What  a  difference  a  few  years  makes.  Content  marke:ng  has   become  seriously  ubiquitous  and  seriously  overexposed.   4  
  • 5. A  flood  of  companies  and  services  have  come  into  the  marketplace  —  some  run  by   really  smart  and  talented  people.  All  of  them  carving  up  this  social  media  maze  into  a   million  slices.  Some  are  one  size  fits  all  companies  promising  to  scale  content   overnight,  some  promise  to  make  videos  that  will  go  viral,  all  are  products  of  a  world   we’ve  created  where  we  need  to  be  always  on,  always  plugged  in.       All  of  them  are  selling  a  24/7  real-­‐:me  rush  to  be  always  relevant.  And  to  be  fair,   they  —  we  —  are  only  selling  what  we  see  mirrored  around  us.  Marketers  are   mimicking  the  “always  plugged  in”  behavior  we  exhibit  as  users  of  this  technology.     The  myriad  of  offerings  and  catchphrases  has  created  confusion  amongst  our  clients.   I'm  sure  you’re  confused  about  what  the  hell  to  buy  or  who  the  hell  to  hire.     Content  marke:ng  has  not  only  become  over-­‐saturated  as  a  term,  it  has  perverted   the  very  essence  of  marke:ng  —  what  is  noble  about  marke:ng.  The  art  of   marke:ng.  There  is  a  a  bit  of  madness  in  this  content  marke:ng  rush.  One  that  is   wholly  unsustainable  and  oBen  crumbles  under  its  own  weight.  We  are  in  a  bubble   that  is  close  to  popping.     So,  as  an  early  entrant  into  this  field,  it  may  seem  counter-­‐intui:ve  or  suicidal  to  say   what  I’m  about  to  say  but  here  it  is.   5  
  • 6. It  isn’t  just  marketers  who  killed  content  marke:ng,  it’s  consumers  as  well.  We’ve   reached  a  :pping  point  as  marketers  and  consumers  —  as  humans.  Let’s  look  at   some  stats.  A  bit  of  data.  I  know  you  guys  dig  data.   6  
  • 7. Forget  marketers  vs.  consumers  for  a  second.  Let’s  just  think  about  ourselves  as   people  all  sharing  this  same  moment  in  :me.  We  are  all  addicts.  We  share  and  we   share  and  we  share.  Maniacally.  OBen  mindlessly.       But  this  is  the  way  we  communicate  now.  It  is  not  going  to  change.  It  will  level  off.   Standards  and  prac:ces  will  emerge  but  this  fundamental  shiB  is  wriien  in  stone.   7  
  • 8. And  as  consumers  we  have  more  control  than  ever  over  what  content  we  consume   and  how  we  consume  it.  The  formerly  cap:ve  audience  now  directs  our  own  media   experience.  We’re  :me-­‐shiBing,  we’re  ad-­‐blocking,  and  we’re  focusing  more  and   more  on  niche  social  plaYorms  and  communi:es  -­‐-­‐  basically  doing  everything  we  can   to  get  away  from  tradi:onal  adver:sing.     8  
  • 9. And  we  are  turning  to  one  another  for  consumer  reviews.  We  want  the  real  story,  not   a  slick,  packaged  marke:ng  campaign.  Brand  control  has  shiBed  to  us  —  the   consumer.  And  we  are  more  than  happy  to  talk  brands  up  or  down  all  over  the   Internet.     9  
  • 10. In  fact,  brands  wading  into  social  media  was  a  defensive  move  at  first.  An  aiempt  to   control  the  message  as  they  did  in  newspapers,  radio  and  TV.   10  
  • 11. But  lo  and  behold,  social  media  turned  out  to  have  a  business  upside.     11  
  • 12. And  in  par:cular,  gekng  users  to  ac:vely  engage  with  content  suddenly  became   every  brand’s  goal.     12  
  • 13. Along  with  the  growth  of  social  media  networks,  the  idea  of  “content”  began  to   expand.  Why  wait  for  a  consumer  to  upload  a  video  of  your  product  if  you  can  create   one  yourself?  Why  wait  for  a  consumer  to  write  a  how-­‐to  guide  if  you  can  write  one   yourself?     13  
  • 14. So  by  2010,  about  a  year  aBer  Freshwire  opened  its  doors,  many  companies  were   realizing  that  maintaining  sustained,  regular  communica:on  with  customers  was   either  too  :me-­‐consuming  or  beyond  their  capabili:es.       14  
  • 15. Brands  are  not  dissimilar  to  consumers  in  that  they  are  oBen  crea:ng  and  sharing   content  without  knowing  exactly  why.  We  are  mindlessly  crea:ng,  publishing,   consuming  content  with  liile  to  no  strategic  underpinnings.     15  
  • 16. So  we  are  all  having  the  same  experience  —  brands  and  consumers  alike.  Itching  this   compulsive  itch  to  share,  like,  retweet,  favorite.  We  are  all  hooked  on  content.     We’re  hurling  forward  at  breakneck  pace  at  an  unprecedented  volume.  We’re  all   “marke:ng.”    It’s  important  to  understand  these  plaYorms,  how  they  differ  from  one   another,  how  they  can  be  leveraged.  It’s  important  to  learn  how  to  tell  stories  on   each  of  them  and  it  can  be  complicated.     But  the  manic  speed  and  incessant  pace  is  not  needed.  Moreover,  it  cannot  be   absorbed  and  bring  any  real  value  to  us.     16  
  • 17. And  this  is  the  :pping  point  we  have  reached.  We  are  leaving  content  marke:ng  and   entering  an  era  of  content  mindfulness.   17  
  • 18. The  emerging  realiza:on  that  we  do  not  have  to  be  always  on.  We  do  not  have  to  be   half  present  everywhere  but  rather  fully  present  in  the  places  that  maier.   18  
  • 19. And  this  IS  science.  There  is  data  to  back  this  up.  Major  educa:onal  ins:tu:ons  are   studying  this.     19  
  • 20. 20  
  • 21. This  could  be  called  the  social  media  overload  mind.   21  
  • 22. And  it’s  becoming  mainstream.     22  
  • 23. We  are  realizing  that  our  content  crack  addic:on  needs  to  be  broken.   23  
  • 24. Anyone  know  what  this  means?     Last  weekend  [14  Feb  2014],  the  Verge  published  an  ar:cle  :tled  “You're  not  going  to   read  this  But  you'll  probably  share  it  anyway  “       It  detailed  a  study  by  web  analy:cs  firm  Chartbeat  who  studied  the  sharing  habits   around  Upworthy  content.       24  
  • 25. This  is  what  they  found.  It’s  the  very  defini:on  of  mindlessness.   25  
  • 26. As  a  result,  Upworthy  has  begun  a  using  a  new  metric  to  gauge  the  effec:veness  of   their  content.  They  are  gekng  away  from  the  no:on  of  “more”  and  replacing  it  with   the  no:on  of  “mindfulness.”   26  
  • 27. Aien:on  =  mindfulness.  If  we  come  in  contact  with  stories  that  maier  to  us  —  that   reflect  our  inner  life  —  we  will  share  them.  And  the  creators  of  those  stories  will   maier  to  us.  The  brands  that  maier  to  us  do  so  because  of  their  ability  to  represent   the  way  we  feel.  We  express  consumer  loyalty  because  of  the  values  of  company  as   much  as  the  perhaps.  More  so,  perhaps.   27  
  • 28. We  are  slowly  leveling  off  and  returning  to  storytelling.  Stories  that  are  meaningful   enough  to  share.       28  
  • 29. Now  this  is  where  art  and  science  meet.  Or  really  where  planning,  strategy,  and  art   meet.  We  host  storytelling  workshops  for  our  clients  as  a  way  to  get  them   comfortable  living  in  these  new  social  media  waters.  These  are  ques:ons  we  ask  at   the  top  of  those  workshops.     Being  in  the  moment  allows  real-­‐:me  to  happen.  Real-­‐:me  maiers  but  not   everything  needs  to  be  real  :me.   29  
  • 30. Let’s  take  a  look  at  some  Colorado  companies  and  what  they’re  doing  to  create  their   own  space  online     30  
  • 31. Denver  recrui:ng  company  BWBacon  not  only  has  "bacon"  right  in  their  name,  they   do  a  fantas:c  job  of  demonstra:ng  their  brand  story  online.  They  are  not  here  to  sell.     This  is  the  thing.  The  brand  —  your  product  —  is  not  always  the  hero  of  your  story.   That's  the  challenge  to  meet:  how  can  you  tell  your  story  without  your  products   being  in  the  center  of  it?  Their  Facebook  page  on  any  given  day  could  be  men:on  an   employee  ski  party  or  a  Broncos  game  or  an  ar:cle  about  how  Colorado  is  a  great   place  to  work.       31  
  • 32. This  is  the  opposite.  These  are  a  bunch  of  magazine  ads.   32  
  • 33. Remember  magazines?   33  
  • 34. Quick  LeB  in  Boulder  is  a  great  example  of  a  company  that  promotes  itself  by   promo:ng  its  knowledge  of  the  industry.  Quick  LeB  is  a  web  and  mobile  app   development  company,  and  they  do  a  great  job  of  promo:ng  themselves  as  credible,   relevant  and  community-­‐oriented.     They  blog  regularly  with  :ps  for  programmers.  They’re  a  big  supporter  of  STEM  so   they  sponsor  school  programs  and  hold  hackfests,  which  provides  even  more  content   for  them.     Something  else  we  really  liked  is  that  they  have  a  presence  on  GitHub,  the  popular   online  hub  for  programming  projects.  It’s  a  great  example  of  knowing  where  you   should  be  online,  which  is  becoming  increasingly  important  as  social  networks   con:nue  to  appear.     34  
  • 35. Cura:on  is  not  a  dirty  word.  Many  brands  need  to  get  comfortable  with  the  fact  that   other  voices  exist  on  the  internet.  Sharing/cura:ng  other  people’s  content  helps   achieve  scale  with  limited  resources,  creates  community  and  is  old-­‐fashioned   networking.  All  brands  and  people  want  their  stuff  shared.  It’s  okay  to  share  others’   relevant  content  just  as  you  wish  others  to  share  yours.     W.J.  Bradley  Mortgage  Capital  sees  its  Facebook  page  to  aggregate  important  news   and  informa:on  like  mortgage  rates  and  housing  values.  They’re  inser:ng  themselves   into  their  fans’  days  in  a  way  that  helps  establish  them  as  up-­‐to-­‐date  and   knowledgeable  about  the  industry.     35  
  • 36. MarkeYorce  in  Louisville  is  a  consumer  analy:cs  company  –  they  take  customer  and   industry  intelligence  and  deliver  it  to  clients.  So  you  can  imagine  they’re  sikng  on  a   lot  of  data.  To  promote  their  own  exper:se,  they  take  their  informa:on  and  turn  out   whitepapers,  infographics  and  webinars,  available  to  anyone.  They’re  establishing   themselves  as  thought  leaders  with  a  wealth  of  valuable  content.  If  a  company  was   looking  for  a  consumer  analy:cs  solu:on,  MarkeYorce  would  stand  out.     36  
  • 37. Before  we  get  into  a  mini  storytelling  workshop,  a  few  ques:ons  to  ask  yourself:     What  value  am  I  providing  my  customers?   Do  I  want  to  be  in  charge,  or  part  of  the  community?   Am  I  a  social  media  user?   How  will  I  involve  my  customers?   Do  I  have  the  in-­‐house  resources  to  maintain  a  long-­‐term  strategy?       Please  remember,  storytelling  is  equal  parts:   •  soul  searching     •  strategic   •  opera:onal   37  
  • 38. Okay,  let’s  do  a  bit  of  the  soul  searching  part.  The  goal  here  is  to  get  you  thinking   about  stories  beyond  your  products.  Thinking  about  the  common  space  you  share   with  your  customers  and  how  you  can  meet  in  that  shared  area.     We’ll  do  part  of  this  privately  and  part  of  it  collabora:vely.   38  
  • 39. 39  
  • 40. 40  
  • 41. 41  
  • 42. Hopefully,  you’ve  begun  to  find  your  storytelling  voice  and  you’re  beginning  to  see   how  it  can  be  sustained.  These  exercises  are  essen:al  to  build  a  sustainable  and   meaningful  content  strategy.  They  should  involve  a  cross  sec:on  of  stakeholders   from  your  company.     In  a  full  workshop,  we  would  dig  into  strategy  —  dissec:ng  the  right  plaYorms  for   different  parts  of  your  story,  developing  an  editorial  calendar,  iden:fying  resources,   defining  objec:ves  for  content.  Then,  we’d  get  into  coordina:on  between   departments  so  workflows  can  be  defined  and  everyone  is  on  same  page  with   requirements.     The  end  product  is  guide  that  defines  your  voice,  your  values  and  your  master  story   narra:ve  but  also  a  playbook  that  gets  everyone  aligned  on  how,  why,  and  where  you   tell  the  stories  you  have  chosen  to  tell.   42  
  • 43. 43  
  • 44. 44