Content Marketing World – A Narrative-Driven 2018, A Back-To-Basics 2019

The largest event in the realm of content marketing, Content Marketing World is fast approaching. As we pack our suitcases, organize our notepads and business cards, and prepare a schedule for attending sessions, it’s worth taking a look back at last year’s Content Marketing World convention and see how the tone of content marketing has changed from that year to this.

Since so much of getting ahead of your competitors is accurately predicting changes in the space, it behooves us all to review so many large predictions made by so many acclaimed marketing experts, and perhaps compare them to what’s being predicted this year. It’s not just about predictions either, but about savvy professionals riding trends. Are these trends still in motion, or have they careened off the side of a cliff?

Finally, many keynote speakers from different sessions in 2018 are returning this year in Cleveland. What were they presenting last year compared to this year? Let’s take a look at a several stage comparison between 2018 and 2019’s Content Marketing World (CMW).

Major differences between 2018 and 2019 CWM

In 2018, there were plenty of talks related to a single theme – storytelling. In’s 2018 preview of the great sessions at CMW, Joe Lauzauskas, Melanie Deziel, John Butcher, and Denise Roberts McKee all brought with them talks, not on AI, machine-learning, algorithm snake-charming, etc. but on storytelling and audience immersion.

Melanie Deziel, founder of StoryFuel, former Director of Creative Strategy for Time Inc., and first Editor of Branded Content at The New York Times’ T Brand Studio, showed us how to use journalistic integrity to create content that matters. What, journalistic integrity? Actually yes; in many ways the stock-and-trade of a journalist is very similar than the content marketer.

Last year Contently’s Director of Content Strategy, Joe Lazauskas took on the same topic from a different angle – namely neuroscience! The session was a high-energy, enlightening journey into the cutting edge of the neuroscience of storytelling. We learned about storytelling techniques that spike empathy, attention, and purchase consideration in our brains and had the rare opportunity to participate in a live neuroscience experiment, the kind you always hear about from Brainiac’s like Kahneman.

Denise Roberts McKee covered storytelling from a visual perspective. The COO of About Face Media demonstrated how to think like a documentarian to create shareable, absorbing, content. Expect to learn about story archetypes, storyboarding, character development, and serial content development.

John Butcher, author of Storytelling for Virtual Reality brought attendees up to speed on the power of audience engagement via immersive narratives and experiences via VR and other technologies.

In half a week, the lucky few who attended CMW 2018 got lessons on storytelling from all kinds of academic disciplines. Those lucky few attended a neuroscience lecture, a creative writing workshop, a journalism seminar, and a video production boot camp.

Returning Guests

Unfortunately, Tina Fey will not be a returning guest at this year’s Content Marketing World. Fortunately for us, the incorrigible and ageless, the tireless and manic man-about-town/world Henry Rollins, has found time out of his busy schedule to attend and produce a talk. Here are some returning guests and how they’ve changed their own records.

Allen Gannet

Allen Gannett, best-selling author, LinkedIn video pioneer, and TrackMaven CEO produced an incredible session last year about how to go from 0 to 1 million LinkedIn video views. In 2019 his session is for all types of audiences, not just LinkedIn sharks, and explores the science of trends.

This represents a trend of itself, a trend in the 2019 CMW that looks to go back to basics in many ways. Gannet’s session will analyze what makes some ideas become huge hits and what attracts consumers to specific trends.

Chris Penn

The titles of his 2018 and 2019 talks should give you an idea of what Chris Penn Co-Founder and Chief Innovator, Brain+Trust Insights gets up to.

2018 – How To Use AI To Boost Your Content Marketing Impact.
2019 – Specific Applications Of Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning To Enhance Your Marketing Campaigns.

If you have it in your mind to learn about how AI can impact your outfit or how you might utilize it in different ways, Chris is just the mega nerd you need.

Andrea Fryrear

In her talk last year, President and Lead Trainer at Agile Sherpas and author of Death of a Marketer, taught how to incorporate more flow-based practices (outside of SCRUM) from the Kanban world into your agile marketing strategy.

This year, her talk is titled: Failure is Feedback. How To Succeed at Agile Marketing By NOT Doing These Things. You’ll hear real case studies, and help the listening enjoy a more optimistic perspective and use their past mistakes to create a roadmap for Agile marketing excellence going forward.

Joe Lazauskas

As we mentioned earlier, Contently’s Director of Content Strategy, Joe Lazauskas, talked last year about neuroscience, about storytelling, and about how content can be written and shaped to instantly appeal to someone in a sort of biological-hack/marketing-hack.

This year, unlike Andrea and Chris, he’s taken a completely different course in preparing his talk for CMW 2019. His 5 Big Traits – The Content Marketer of the Future talk allows you to see inside the mind of top, industry-leading content marketers across the world, what makes them tick, and how they produce idea after idea with the goal of helping you develop into the marketer of the future.

New faces, new themes

As we mentioned before, it seems many of the sessions in the lineup of this year’s CMW sort of relate to beginner topics, how-tos, 101s etc.

For example, the opening keynote is simply a must-have on your sessions-to-attend list for this year if you are intermediate or still learning, or anything other than a full on success story. The speaker is Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and a highly respected figure in the industry. Joe will be sharing his ‘Content Marketing Commandments’ with his audience for the first time ever in a talk called Content Marketing Commandments for 2030.

In fact, with over 225 sessions at this year’s CMW, a mere 8 can be related to future trends and AI/machine-learning application and technology. That’s not to say that there won’t be plenty of hours chewed through with talk of the future of content marketing, but perfecting the art, seems to be the more prevalent theme.

Now let’s explore some new faces and radical sessions you won’t want to miss.

Mouth Moves – How to Conquer the New Frontier of Voice Content, Alexa, and Smart Speakers

If you are keen to know about the disruptions in marketing brought about by the introduction of voice content, you just cannot miss this session. Jay Baer, the famed keynote speaker, talks about the roles that voice activated content can play in marketing and how smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Siri, Bixby, Cortana, and Google Home are becoming the fastest-adopted consumer technologies.

Jay Baer, the reputed business strategist and keynote speaker, has advised more than 700 companies till date including some of the biggest names in the industry. He is the best-selling author of five books, including Hug Your Haters. The founder of Convince & Convert, a strategy consulting firm, Jay has also created five multi-million dollar companies.

Strategies, Tools, and Techniques to Level Up Your Impact and Authority Through Confident Live Video

Does Live Video set off butterflies in your stomach? Are you not too sure of handling complex tools, live video technology, and content sharing? This session can help you step only on lilly pads as you learn how to utilize live video to engage your audience. Ian Anderson Gray, a highly respected figure in the world of marketing and a leading international keynote speaker, will show you how to produce confident, professional, and authentic live video using specific strategies, tools, and techniques.

Ian Anderson Gray is an authority in the area of Live Stream Videos. He is the founder of Confident Live Marketing Academy and Seriously Social. Ian has spoken at numerous conferences across the world and is also a trained professional singer.

Are You Binge Worthy? How to Create Episodic Video Content That Engages and Grows Your Audience Without a Netflix-Level Budget

It’s 2019 and we can all agree video is a non-negotiable for any brand. But you can’t just make a handful of videos a year and expect success – the power is in consistency. This is where episodic content is your best friend. Just look at the hours you spend binging on Netflix. From how-to and training content, to Japanese manufacturing methodologies, Chad and Mykim are going to break down how brands are winning with an always-on video strategy.

Chad Lakin is VP of Shootsta North America, one of the world’s largest video production solutions.

Don’t Let Them Scare You, A Machine Can’t Do Marketing

Rather than discussing this or that way for machine learning, automation, and AI to improve marketing strategies, Temeka Vasquez demonstrates how marketers should continue to recognize that only they can do their jobs.

Marketers continue to gracefully manage the difficult task of finessing consumer influence with an overlay of deep data-driven and timely knowledge. Modern marketers are expected to be some mix of a natural creative, a trends hawk, and a data scientist. And, in a time where virtually every sector is being disrupted and threats of automation are looming, marketers are jumping at opportunities to upskill themselves. But a machine cannot do what we do.

Tameka is Assistant Vice President of Marketing for the High-Tech and Manufacturing division of Genpact, a global professional services company, and a Professor of Marketing Management at St. John’s University. Tameka also serves as a Strategic Advisor to Opus AI, a startup that is focusing on leveraging artificial intelligence to ensure fairness in hiring practices at large organizations.

In conclusion

CMW has a lot to look forward to, especially if you are a marketer of intermediate skill, as most of the talks, sessions, and workshops will be aimed at help you improve your business. Henry Rollins’ legendary storytelling and energy is a must see, and all in all, it looks like it’s going to be the best CMW to date.