Thousands attended Content Marketing World 2014.

Content Marketing World 2014 recently pulled in a few thousand professionals and sponsors from more than 50 countries. Together they explored the latest cutting edge strategies in the industry.

If you weren’t among those in the know, never fear, here’s the inside scoop:

Nuts and Bolts

This year’s event was bigger than ever, with greater attendance, added workshops, lots of opportunity to network, and even a movie star – Kevin Spacey – among the presenters.

It took place at the brand-spanking-new Cleveland Convention Center, nestled behind a grassy sloped lawn across from First Energy Stadium, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and Lake Erie.

Companies on hand with tools and presentations included Content Launch, Curata, Emma, Kapost, Marketo, TapInfluence, Wright Media and Zerys.

Keynote Speaker, Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis, storyteller extraordinaire, delivered the keynote address.

“Telling a great story isn’t easy,” Davis told his audience. “Tying your storytelling to revenue growth is even harder.”

He stressed that revenue-driving moments arise from great content. His tips for making the difference include: Building suspense; inspiring reflection, thought, action or desire; and invoking empathy by getting people to relate and care.

The CM Evangelist

Joe Pulizzi, who has been singing the praises of content marketing forever and a day, urged the audience to make a strategy, write it down and review it on a regular basis. Scrutinizing content is far more effective than analyzing traffic, he said.


Unmarketing guru Scott Stratten wowed attendees with his talk on social interactions. He believes that timely response to users is almost as important as the quality of the interaction. Transparency is equally important though.

He cited the FedEx incident where drivers were caught on camera throwing customer packages around. FedEx announced the problem and their plans to change it, rather than going into cover-up mode. Be ready and be real.

Yeah, Content Marketing is BIG.

Native Advertising

Less-obvious advertising, such as branded content and sponsored posts, are hot hot hot right now. Vehicles that don’t allow actual advertising are prime candidates for native (read “undercover” or “blended” advertising).

The panel agreed that Mashable, BuzzFeed, Tumblr and other properties still respect agencies as brand partners, but the landscape is ever changing.

Experience Marketing

Robert Rose Spoke about quality of interactions over quantity. He views successful content marketing as the creation of great experiences.

Kevin Spacey

It’s a good think Kevin Spacey made the closing keynote speech, because he certainly is a hard act to follow. (Last year William Shatner did the honors.)

Spacey greeted the audience with his usual wry humor, guessing that the audience was wondering why they hell he was there.

An actor, the House of Cards star reminded everyone, is actually a master story teller. Chomping on goodies from his CMW favor bag, he said that “When you connect with an audience, it’s your job to educate, entertain, and surprise them.”

He pointed out three elements of storytelling: conflict, authenticity and audience. Tension compels, authenticity builds trust, and you need an audience to deliver those things to, or all efforts are moot.

Photos courtesy of Content Marketing Institute