Content Marketing: ContentJam Recap

I recently spent the day at ContentJam in Chicago.  Designed for people who create or curate content for the web, ContentJam is a one-day conference filled with expert sessions in the SEO, promotions, marketing, content strategy and creation arenas.  In this first post of my Content Creation and Management Series, I’ll be sharing with you my notes from the amazing sessions that I attended and crediting the speakers along the way.  This was the second year of ContentJam, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there is a 2014 ContentJam.  It was an incredible day of learning!

Content Creation & Management Series: Content Marketing, The Past and Future Trends from ContentJam (

Gini Dietrich, @ginidietrich,

Content Marketing – It’s not a fad – storytelling has been around for hundreds of years.

  • 93% of marketers use content marketing
  • More than half don’t have a documented content strategy
  • 75% have someone in place focusing on content
  • Of the top 10  tactics marketers use today, eight are content related
    • social media
    • articles
    • e-newsletters
    • blogs
    • case studies
    • videos
    • articles on other websites
    • white papers
  • More than half of marketers plan to increase their spending in this area.
  • With writing and design the most outsourced tactics in content development
    • writing
    • design distribution
    • editing
    • content development
  • There’s a place for all of us


The Non-Sales Vision Content

  • Don’t Sell!  Be a Visionary instead
  • What’s the vision 15 years from now?   Who do you want to be ?  What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Example:  SpinSucks.  They are changing the perception of PR industry.  They talk about things are are done really well, and those that are doing it poorly.  They are creating an opportunity for brand awareness, opportunity management, and want to work with leaders in a certain field.  Very careful about the types of things they discuss.  Visionary!
  • Example:  Zingerman’s in Michigan.  They are teaching people how to become foodies instead of trying to hard sell people their products.
  • Example:  Chicago Cabbie (on Twitter at @ChicagoCabbie) is providing a resource and education for people coming to Chicago.  He’s becoming an expert about what’s what in Chicago, and making himself the go-to person for information about Chicago.  Not creating sales immediately, but creating thought leadership.
  • Can you answer questions that people want to know in an interesting way??  That’s content!!!

Brand Journalism:  interesting way to tell the company’s story as if you are a reporting or newspaper. 

  • The next up and coming coolest thing
  • Create content on your own and do it from an interest way.  Remove the “reporter” and do it yourself.
  • Example:  MailChimp tells the customer stories in a really interesting way
  • Examples:  Lego Club  brought in kids to talk about what they are building on their own and include it in their magazine.
  • Example:  Open Forum through American Express:  Support Small Businesses Across the Nation.  Used the readership to build “Small Business Saturday”.  Provide content for small businesses – the kinds of things that you need to know and need to grow a business.
  • Example:  HSBC Global Connections – exploring the future of world trade.  Created content which allows you to think about going global with your business.  What the future of world trade is.  Different cultures.  Not selling product but teaching you how to do your job better.
  • Tell the story in an interesting way that doesn’t sell.
  • Neiman Journalism Lab:  trying to figure out the future of journalism.  How you can monetize your content – look at what they are doing.  Non profit.  Tons of information about monetization

Native Advertising and Sponsored Content:  Monetization

  • Native advertising is advertising that looks like regular content.  Not supposed to interrupt the experience.
  • Example:  Devour is a great example of paid advertising side by side with their unpaid content.
  • David Ogilvy had it first in 1930 with “The Guiness Guide to Oysters”
  • Example:  BuzzFeed – sponsored content.  Presented by . . . .  Content that is sponsored by advertisers.
  • It’s creating the same experience but people are paying for it.
  • Unique playlists for working out:  Gatorade created playlists on Pandora for working out.  Keeping Gatorade top of mind

Employee Stories

  • Make your employees part of the story.
  • REI – Employees in Action that support the REI vision.  They are telling the stories on the wall in their stores.
  • Mayo Clinic Blog – employees share personal stories of what they do outside of the hospital so that people
  • Tony Shay at Zappos – changed this.  Shared that they have a parade once a month at work.  Let everyone see inside the employees.  In everything that they do they tell the story.  Wrote a great book – Delivering Happiness, a must read.  His customer service people can do anything!  They want to know who they are dealing with and who they AREN’T dealing with. When you have something in common with people, that’s who you begin to buy from.  People buy from people.
  • T-Mobile:  Employee Recruitment.  Share your stories about your positions when there is an open position of the same level.  Here’s what you can expect if you are inside our culture and you have this job.
  • What if we scare people or prospects away?  GOOD!  Then you aren’t wasting your time with the people who aren’t the right fit.

How can you implement these strategies for your blog or business?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

You can view Gini Dietrich’s full presentation “Content Marketing in 2014 and Beyond” on Slideshare.  Thank you , Gini, for making it available!



  1. These are some interesting bits of information. I think more companies will be using bloggers as they learn the value of what we write and the reach we give to their businesses.