They say the third time’s a charm. But as past Content Marketing Conference participants can attest, Josh Steimle’s first two CMC speaking engagements were charming in their own right—and we couldn’t be happier that the prolific content creator, published author, marketing executive/entrepreneur, and industry influencer is returning for more.

He shares some thoughts with us here, ahead of his CMC18 session, in his Speaker Q&A:

 

Q: What excites you most about presenting at CMC18?
A: This is my third time speaking at CMC so I know the quality of the event. I keep coming back because of how well the speakers are treated, how organized the event staff are, how well the event is branded and marketed, and because the other speakers are awesome and I love networking with them and seeing their content. I’m still talking with my team at my marketing agency about content from the event two years ago and how we can implement the tips we got.

Q: Why is NOW the time to master content marketing?
A: As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is now. It’s never too late to start. Anyone can start with content marketing today, even if they’ve never done anything with it before, and get results. There’s no good reason to not master it right now. There is still so much opportunity for companies of all types to implement any one or more of 1,000 content marketing tactics. The companies that didn’t start 5 or 10 years ago are behind, but they can catch up, and the secret is that 95% of your competitors are just as behind as you are, so if you start now, you’ll quickly be at the head of the pack.

Q: What does it take to connect with customers today—and how can great content do that?
A: I know, I know, it’s cliche, but authenticity is the name of the game. There’s a name for bad content marketing, and it’s called advertising. There’s a name for great advertising, and it’s called content marketing. Sometimes the difference is the quality of the production (we can all think of great commercials we’ve seen that were slickly produced), but authenticity is what bridges the gap to make us trust a company so that we’re willing to pay for what they have.

Vulnerability isn’t the only key to authenticity, but it’s a big one. Do things that scare you. Share secrets. Say things your competitors won’t say. When your customers see that you’re willing to talk to them in a way that serves them, that gives them value, and that you’re willing to take risks to do that, then they will trust you, and they will choose you over your competitors.

Q: If there was just one thing you could convince all content marketers to do, what would that be?
A: Make it personal. Put real people in your content marketing, and behind your content marketing. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. People don’t like doing business with faceless corporations.

You might think I’m talking about influencer marketing and that you need to go hire influencers, but that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying turn the team you have into influencers. Make your CEO an influencer, like Richard Branson is an influencer for the Virgin brand companies. Make your COO an influencer, like Sheryl Sandberg is for Facebook. Find staff who are willing to be active on social media, speak at events, write for publications, talk to the press, and give them the tools, resources, time, and incentives to become your influencer marketing campaign. Do this the right way, and you’ll have a steady stream of content that will do your marketing far more effectively, and at a dramatically lower cost, than traditional advertising.

 

Learn more about Josh and don’t miss his session, How to Become a Contributor to Top Business Publications, on May 3, 3:05pm-3:45pm.

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