3 key takeaways from Content Marketing World in Washington DC

By October 13, 2023For Companies


The keynote stage at Content Marketing World

Creating world class content for the Amply network is just one of the ways Jobbio helps publishers drive reader engagement to their job boards. Content helps foster meaningful connections with both our partners and their audiences. As a result we’re driven to maintain a keen awareness of evolving trends, ensuring we stay ahead in a dynamic digital landscape. 

With that in mind, we travelled to Washington DC to attend Content Marketing World (CMW),  the premier annual conference for content marketers.

Over the course of two days we heard from some of the finest global marketers and experts in the business about a host of topics: content ideation and creation, case studies, SEO and data advice and insights, and the pros and cons of generative AI within the field were just a few.

wordpress at the smithsonian

WordPress wine at the Smithsonian

We had a bit of fun too: an invite-only evening reception sponsored by WordPress at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery offered CMW attendees a rare opportunity to experience that “behind the scenes at the museum” life, as we sipped cocktails and browsed the gallery’s selection of presidential portraits. 

Hunger Games star Elizabeth Banks was a hit as the keynote speaker. Banks has moved into directing (she’s behind Cocaine Bear) as well as ownership of wine-in-a-can brand Archer Roose. 

Both of these career pivots have informed her ability to connect and engage with the right audience, in order to tell them a story they’ll be on board with. As a result, there was a lot to learn from her irreverent, informative approach.

Of course, we did the hard yards too. Attending talks and workshops to gain insight and advice was the core part of why we were at CMW. Here are the three main things the Jobbio team took away from this year’s conference.

  1. AI is the future for content (whether we want it or not)

The rise of ChatGTP and the awareness and adoption of generative AI tools this year, meant use cases for artificial intelligence were high on the agenda at CMW.

Kerushan Govender, CEO of Blacfox, a high-growth strategy firm based in Cape Town, suggested that content marketers use an emotional measurement to decide when and how to use generative AI. 

expo stage, cmw

Talks and seminars took place across a variety of stages

“AI is a time saving device,” he said. It is also a tool. “It is a method to save a ton of time on work, but humans should adjudicate that content, because human content performs better.”

“Human content performs better”

Govender asserts that “Gen AI always plays it safe, never takes a firm position on anything, and always misses the heart as a result.” His approach is that AI should be used for “the stuff you don’t want an emotional connection from, for example emails, because not all content is equal.”

He also suggests that we create risk ratings for prompts, where 100% safety is asking gen AI to check spelling or grammar, for example, but a high risk rating is asking it for facts. “There is a massive problem using gen AI for research as it hallucinates and has out of date information,” he says.

Writer’s Alaura Weaver, who is the senior manager of content and community at the enterprise generative AI company, presented on the topic too. She says that AI is best used to help prevent burnout and that burnout-type tasks should be given to AI tools––that way, writers and teams have more time for the actual creative stuff they enjoy.

Where it shines, she says, is in cutting down time on very templated activities, such as product descriptions, which can form bottlenecks for teams. These often follow a format an AI tool can be trained on. Or, you can use it to enforce style and grammar rules, or take care of compliance issues. 

“AI can write the stuff anyone can write,” she points out. “We want to avoid random acts of content as opposed to strategic and targeted work.”

Weaver also says that AI tools can be used to re-purpose the content you already have, for example creating social or email copy, creating more faster and turning your existing work into something new.

  1. The right content builds trust

At The Well, the editorial platform of Northwell Health, content has been a leading differentiator for the healthcare provider. Andrew Hanelly from Revmade, Northwell’s content marketing agency, explained that they were helped along by the fact that the “internet rabbit hole of anxiety” means that misinformation spreads virally.

“There is more advice than ever, but also more stress,” he said.

This represented an opportunity for Northwell. “Chief decision makers felt alone, they had no go-to source and no way to develop a relationship before a problem happens.”

Rosaleen McMeel and Kirstie McDermott

The content team took a break from work for some required sightseeing

Revmade did a full audit of Northwell’s digital footprint, which included a mindshare assessment to find out who the influencers were in the space. 

It also conducted social netnography (the study of the perceived and symbolic meanings, consumption patterns, and other cultural information in the social context of digital environments) by looking at what was being asked on sub-Reddits and what relevant health content was being shared on TikTok, for example.

That research led them to create a number of targeted content formats to present health-based information to their audience so that they could join the conversation, and correct misinformation. 

Some of The Well’s formats include advice columns, a “what I wish you knew” format, a “so you’re a…”, a day in the life of healthcare pros feature, as well as expert-driven YouTube videos.

It worked. Northwell Health has, through The Well, built trust with its audience as a go-to source of expert, verified healthcare advice––which of course means the brand is top of mind when a healthcare service is needed.

  1. SEO is as alchemical as ever

Frustratingly slippy, SEO has always been a discipline that is subject to huge change––several talks mentioned Google’s triggering Panda update of 2011, which was a seismic shift in how the search engine ranked websites.

It’s true that SEO experts are seasoned and used to adapting and changing their tactics, because this is a field where there are so many “well, it depends” type of variables. 

What one expert says may not be what another one would recommend and this was highlighted clearly across the talks at CMW.

At Ryan Brock from DemandJump’s “SEO Memorial Service” talk, he highlighted seven tactics that are now obsolete. Well, depending on who you talk to, that is. Among those were his assertion that the funnel, or AIDA buying journey, is dead and that gated content no longer performs.

CMW event

The scale of the CMW event is really impressive

Brock also said that “We shop differently now, and wanting all the traffic isn’t a thing––but wanting relevant, targeted traffic is. Search is a proliferation as opposed to a funnel,” he said.

Perhaps controversially, he added that relying on your domain authority is now also irrelevant. Instead, he advises that you look at a “pillar strategy” for content. “Pillar pages, hubs and spokes for aligned content works better, even if your DA is low,” he said. 

Search volume was another element he outed as out with the ark. “We have traditionally trusted Google’s Adwords data as accurate, so people use the keywords by default,” Brock said. 

But because many people ask questions as opposed to entering two or three keywords, these are treated differently by Google, with Adwords indicating less search volume, or zero search volume for questions. This isn’t accurate, he says.

And lastly, he also said that keyword cannibalisation “is not a thing, this is now dead”. Topical authority builds via content on the same things, Brock says. “It is in fact important to cover the same topics as we want to focus on aligning content to customer behaviour.”

How this can help you

If you’re a publisher looking for a new revenue stream, our Amply network could be the key to unlocking more money for your business. Through our custom job boards, widgets, newsletter insertions and expert content, we can help you to attract an audience of passive job seekers––with guaranteed minimum revenue guarantees. 

Interested? You can contact us now to find out more.