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6 Key Learnings on Content Marketing from Social Media Marketing World

More than 2,000 people descended on San Diego last week for the second annual Social Media Marketing World, produced by Social Media Examiner. And with more than 120 speakers during the two-day conference, there were plenty of “tweetable moments”. Since nobody actually takes notes at conferences anymore, one of the best ways to review one’s learnings is to look at the Twitter stream.

I attended several panels and keynotes on content marketing, and learned a lot from a wide variety of experts. Here are some of the best takeaways from my live-tweeting:

1. Be helpful. Be "the best teachers in the world" for your industry, says Marcus Sheridan, a.k.a., The Sales Lion (@TheSalesLion). He advises to “become the Wikipedia of your industry” by finding out what people are asking, and answering them. He asks: "When prospects visit our website, do we help solve their problems better than anyone else in the world?" You can either address the questions of your customers and prospects or not, but somebody will.

2. Relevancy is key. “Real-time marketing is about what’s relevant, not what’s trending,” says Vanessa Sain-Dieguez of Hilton Worldwide (@vsdieguez). Jay Baer of Convince and Convert (@jaybaer) adds: "Create content that matters. Create content that people cherish rather than content they tolerate."
 
3. Relevant, interesting, timely, and entertaining. That’s a great formula to ensure successful content marketing, says Mark Schaefer, author of Return on Influence (@markwschaefer). He also shared what he called the “dirty secret of content marketing”: "You don't have to be the best, you just have to be first and overwhelming."
 
4. Channel matters. Content can be more planned on Facebook but Twitter content really needs to be real-time, says Susan Beebe of Tyson Foods (@susanbeebe). Know your audience, adds Laura Fitton of HubSpot (@Pistachio). Sharing the same info across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is fine but you’ll need couch it differently for each audience. And “if your content sucks, fix it,” says Walmart’s Umang Shah (@umang_shah). If you have good content that isn't working, it could be a channel problem.
 
5. Write for the people, not the brand. "We're doing a lot of talking at people, and not enough talking with people," says Nichole Kelly of Social Media Explorer (@Nichole_Kelly). Chris Brogan of Owner Magazine (@chrisbrogan) adds: “Stop telling your customers how awesome you are and tell stories about how awesome they are.” And Baer sums it up by saying: “Brands talking about themselves in real time is boring – faster.”
 
6. Helping employees helps the company. Dell helps employees optimize their LinkedIn profiles, which benefits the brand's SEO initiatives, says Dell’s Connie Bensen (@cbensen). The result? 95,000 of 110,000 global employees are following the brand on LinkedIn. That's a lot of brand advocates! Helping employees boost their LinkedIn profiles helps them and the company “look good” – even after they leave, adds Michelle Lapierre of Marriott Rewards (@mmlap).

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