Content Israel 2015: 8 key takeaways after everything’s said & done

Content Israeli 2015 won’t be back for another year but the major takeaways from last’s week fast-paced conference at Habima Theater are going to stick around. The talks included top-town overviews of the industry, strategic frameworks for companies large and small, and actionable tips for every content marketer. Here are the perspectives I found most profound and the presentations I found most helpful.

The challenge of content marketing

Bob Rosenschein

1. Bob Rosenchein, Founder of Curiyo, started off Content Israel 2015 with a short history on content marketing and why it’s gotten so damn difficult of late.

“In the good old days, we could pack our sites with keywords and the Google bots would dutifully help us be discovered. But that basic proposition has dramatically changed.”

How? Now we have AdWords, One Box, and the Knowledge Graph pushing down our hard-won organic results; Apple checking Google (and bashing us) with ad blocking; and Facebook gobbling up every online minute between native videos and Instant Articles. Meanwhile publishers are competing with clickbait – and making our jobs to earn user trust harder by making them feel cheated.


The difference between content marketing and that dirty word…

Eli Pakier - so how should we be thinking about content2. Eli Pakier, Head of Content at MRY, talked about the differences in how content marketing and advertising are perceived. He ran an informal study and found that the words used to describe content included:

  1. long
  2. liked
  3. valuable
  4. educational
  5. cool

Meanwhile, the words used to describe advertising:

  1. interruptive
  2. immediate sell
  3. disliked
  4. mass market
  5. short

One marketer he interviewed said, “Advertising is like grape flavored medicine while content marketing is like medicinal pot brownies.” Or as Carrie Bradshaw said, “A squirrel is just a rat in a cuter outfit.”

The problem with this is that some marketing execs like to play a game of pretend that content has nothing to do with sales.  One Chief Creative Officer said, “We are not motivated by sales.” Another VP of Global Creative & Content said “We are not here to sell anything: this is pure entertainment.”

But Eli doesn’t think this is genuine, and it isn’t (or else Content Israel 2015 wouldn’t have been so fixated on profitability and ROI). He concluded, “We are in the business of selling.” Make no mistake.


Corporate content marketing

3. Carlos Abler, Content Marketing and Strategy Lead at 3M, spoke on “Content and Digital Transformation in the Enterprise” but really his talk was about how to turn content marketing into a science at a $32B company, and he wasn’t shy. Carlos told me afterwards, “getting to the frameworks that glue a content marketing strategy together and turn it into a transformational plan is where I like to step in.” Or as Eli said, “Carlos puts the fear of content in people.” Find his presentation below and don’t say you weren’t warned:

Content and digital transformation in the enterprise from Natalie Edwards

Actionable tips for the rest of us

4. Matthew Barby gave a condensed version of how he comes up with content ideas at Hubspot‘s Global Head of Growth & SEO, including screenshots of specific questions he asked Reddit. His process was step-by-step and would be helpful to any company embarking on a content marketing program that needs a quick dose of strategic thinking. Here’s Content Israel’s run-down of his talk and the full presentation below.

Inbound Marketing: How Content is Your Secret Weapon #contentisrael15 from Matthew Barby

5. Chris Moody‘s presentation should’ve been called “how to turn your company into a content-creation machine.” His tips seemed at once obvious and yet immensely valuable. “People don’t like to stare at blank documents,” Chris said. “Most people aren’t trained writers. Within 5 minutes of staring at a cursor, people run away to Facebook or Pinterest.” Chris’ 5 tips aim to stop that from happening. Here’s Content Israel’s run-down of his talk and the full presentation below.

5 Ways to Create More Profitable Content Israel from Chris Moody

Another approach to content

6. Chris and Eli converged on an important point: the value of user-generated content (UGC). While Chris shared stats that showed UGC converts at a rate of 4:1 over high-effort content like blogs, Eli emphasized that brands should be focused on creating off-line connections.

Content marketers think way too much about how they’re telling their brand story. Instead of telling brand stories, make customer stories happen in real life. Don’t focus on story telling, but story making. How do we have an impact on real life? Who did this in a great way? Coca-Cola with their “Share a Coke” campaign. Everyone has a story (including me) of seeing their name on a Coke bottle, or a friend sending them one. Coca-Cola created endless opportunities for brand connections in real life.

If marketers followed Eli’s advice, they’d have a big leg up on the UGC that’s so effective at converting customers.

What makes a content marketer great?

7. Chris and Carlos separately emphasized the importance of talking to your sales teams. “The difference between an OK marketer and a great marketer is whether they talk to sales,” Carlos said.  Chris spoke at length about it:

“71% of sales representatives receive materials from marketing, but 42% say they aren’t involved at all in the development process. Profitable content, converts and creates revenue because it results in qualified leads. If marketers aren’t making the sales people happy, they won’t care about what the content marketers are creating.”

The future of content marketing

8. Eli also spoke at length about how the market for content is going to change drastically in the next 5-10 years. To marketers in the entertainment industry, Armageddon is coming in 2022. Netflix is about to knock off major networks in terms of rating and minutes watched, but 2022 represents the end of NFL football contracts with major cable providers and that gives execs chills. Yahoo just paid $100M for streaming rights for a who-cares game. Meanwhile, Apple has a market cap bigger than all the major cable players combined. Content may be switching hands in a big way very soon. The times they are a-changing.

Bob Rosenchein is an American-Israeli serial entrepreneur. His latest startup is Curiyo. He founded, ran, and built (NASDAQ: ANSW) to a top-20 U.S. property until 2011, when it was purchased by Summit Partners for $127 million. Previously, Bob created the first Hebrew word-processor for Windows and helped Microsoft design and develop Hebrew and Arabic Windows, for which he received the Prime Minister of Israel’s Software Achievement Award. In 2009, Rosenchein was named as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalist for the Metropolitan New York region. He can be found on Twitter at @bobr.

Eli Pakier is a VP, Group Strategy Director, and Head of Social, Content, and Partnerships for MRY. Eli leads strategy on Visa as well as creating the discipline for navigating brands through the content development process. Eli has 14 years of experience at agencies Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and Starcom MediaVest Group throughout the US and China. He has led strategy on the largest business in China, P&G Olay, won countless awards for Mars, Skittles and Starburst, and launched everything from sedans to super cars for Nissan and GM.

Carlos Abler is the Content Marketing & Strategy Lead at 3M. Carlos helps organizations achieve content excellence as an enabler of customer experience, serving business goals, across all dimensions of customer engagement. Since 2012, Carlos has been facilitating transformation at 3M in the Global eTransformation group, working with a broad array of functions on the quest for the ever-elusive unified enterprise content strategy aligned holistically to customer needs. He can be reached on Twitter at@Carlos_Abler.

Matthew Barby is the Global Head of Growth & SEO at Hubspot. Matt is an award-winning blogger, an industry speaker and a lecturer for the Digital Marketing Institute. Matt’s work has been featured on the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, TheNextWeb and Entrepreneur. He can be reached on Twitter at @matthewbarby.

Chris Moody is the Director of Content and Social at Oracle Marketing Cloud. Chris is focused on effectively executing content and social to drive more business results. The mission of Chris’ team is to help marketers get promoted by providing the tools and educational resources they need to be a modern marketer. Chris has a lovely wife, son, daughter, and pug in Raleigh, NC. He can be reached on Twitter at @cnmoody.