Event Recap: Digital Summit Portland

Portland sign

Last week I attended Digital Summit Portland for the second year in a row, and once again walked away with a rolodex of new information surrounding digital marketing. This event brings marketers together from all walks of life (think agency creatives, sales team members, marketing personnel from large corporations), and offers two days of lectures on topics ranging from SEO best practices to creative Snapchat campaigns. This year we had the great privilege to attend keynote presentations from Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple (eek!) and Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, and were offered intensive workshops on focuses of our choosing, mine being content marketing strategy.

As a Social Media Director, content strategy drives everything I do. So you can imagine how motivating it felt to get into a room filled with like-minded professionals to discuss the latest industry trends and best practices. I’ve touched on content marketing in previous blog posts, but I wanted to share some key takeaways from this year’s conference because it’s such an important topic for present day marketing, and because knowledge is power!

1. Know your audience

Knowing who you’re speaking to, what their needs are and where they prefer to digest their content is key. At KO, a lot of our current marketing efforts focus on Boomers and/or Millennials given the brands we represent. But each of those larger audiences come with their own digital habits, and they can of course be broken down into very granular segments when you get into the weeds with details like parents/singles or city dwellers/suburbanites. They all need and deserve unique content.

What was really interesting to dive into at the Digital Summit was a workshop on the newest crop of consumers, Gen Z, that was led by Meredith Chase from Swift. She walked us through a day in the life of a Gen Z teenage boy, and it was eye opening to learn which channels he is turning to for media consumption (YouTube and Snapchat are huge!), and how that impacts content strategy for brands that are trying to reach him. This is a generation of consumers we’re going to all need to keep our eyes on, and I for one am excited to take on the challenge.

2. Focus on the moment

We were told over and over again throughout the conference that although a large percentage of marketers pump out content frequently, only a few felt their strategies were truly working. Consumers are fed so much content throughout each day, yet only choose to engage with a small percentage of what they see. So how do you make sure you’re part of the elite group that actually receives engagement? Here are a couple of quick tips:

  • Understand what information your audience is seeking, and create that content for them. If you see the same question being asked on your social media channels, create a piece of content that answers the question. It can be in the form of a case study, an informational video, a quick blog post, an infographic, etc. The list goes on!
  • Tell an old story a new way. We saw a great example of this from an animal shelter that launched a program called Mutual Rescue. They chose to take a new path in telling the story of rescue animals, turning away from the traditional heartbreaking stories we typically see, and instead sharing powerful stories of how animals rescue the people who adopt them. Their video content went viral and turned what was intended to be a smaller campaign into an entire program. Check out their work!

The bottom line here is, don’t create content just to have something to post. Make it meaningful.

3. Be a team player

A successful content strategy requires a team. Even if you’re working with one strategist and one writer/producer, you absolutely need people in place that are qualified for and dedicated to the task of creating content on behalf of your brand. It takes a village, even if it’s a very small one.

I could go on about all of the learnings I took away from Digital Summit for days (seriously), but I’ll leave you with this: if you’re looking for a way to stay in the know about industry trends, this conference is for you. It does not disappoint!