Non-Obvious Content Marketing: Highlights from Andy Crestodina’s ICC Keynote


Even though it’s been two weeks since the sun set on the 10th annual Intelligent Content Conference, the sage words shared by the conference’s exceptional speakers and workshoppers still resonate. Their insights and stories struck a chord with attendees desperate for a content reinvention and in the grand scheme of content marketing, their advice couldn’t have come at a better time.

According to, there are an astonishing 30 trillion unique pages on the web. This number is overwhelmingly impressive, but it can also be a little disheartening. With so much content out there, how can we possibly set ourselves apart from the rest? How can we find success in an age of information overload?

Because of this recent surge in content, we are experiencing a tidal shift in the way content marketing is planned and executed. Marketers are investing in video, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, advanced content optimization tools, and countless other trends and softwares that may give them more visibility.

There is nothing inherently wrong with investing in softwares and tech tools. Audiences crave personalization and expect businesses to be at the forefront of innovation. However, if your content doesn’t make your audience base feel something, then the money spent on those cameras, AI systems, and VR/AR softwares will have been for nothing.

Go Beyond the Obvious

Content marketing doesn’t have to be overly difficult or expensive, it simply requires a little out of the box thinking.

Storytelling was one of many unofficial themes of ICC but it proved itself to be the most relevant. Andy Crestodina, the king of content marketing tips, tricks, and tactics, strolled onto the ICC main stage to the beat of a classic rock anthem and proved to us, in under an hour, that content reinvention could be more nuanced and less convoluted.

Below are five key takeaways from Andy’s keynote speech that anyone who works with content should remember. Learn them, live them, and make your content less obvious.

Exceed Expectations Through Email

When you stroll into a coffee shop, you’re more likely to tip your barista when they go above and beyond for you. People like being treated like they’re important. Personalized experiences should never be underestimated and they should extend to every facet of your outreach strategy, including email.

When we think about building connections with our peers, audience, or even coworkers, we tend to glaze over our day to day email correspondences. We forget that going the extra mile to answer an inquiry can have a huge impact on the person at the receiving end. As the old adage goes, we should treat others the way we want to be treated. We should strive to exceed expectations wherever we can and not limit those cordial engagements to special occasions.

Andy suggests answering our day to day emails in extensive detail. He claims that by doing so, we are not only building unexpected connections, but we are turning those back and forth messages into collaborative content. For example, let’s say you get an interview request. Instead of answering the questions coldly and with short one-liners, why not go above and beyond and include infographics and/or substantial chucks of information or personal anecdotes with the interviewer. They’ll never see it coming and you have a new piece of collaborative content ready to share on your website or blog.

Connect with Collaborators (Zero-Waste Marketing)

“If you’re not making friends, you’re doing it wrong” – Andy Crestodina

Content is a networking tool. Whether it’s a quote, a short testimonial, a collaborative guest post, or an email interview, you should always strive to include people in your marketing strategies. Connect with people who will give you a sales benefit, before your content even goes live. This is especially true for content optimized for social media.

In his keynote, Andy recommended adding a CTA for engagement at the end of all correspondences. A simple, “don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to collaborate on anything at all,” goes a long way. Networking can boost engagement and bring traffic to your site and/or content.

Make Every Page a Testimonials Page

Humanizing content has never been more important. Relatable content that hits an emotional nerve excels and we’d be wise to include that sort of content anywhere we can. Adding quotes from customers or collaborators on various pages of your site can add another layer of credibility. Andy even goes so far as to say, “make every page a testimonials page!”

Testimonials can stem from contributors or guest bloggers, customers, industry experts, or even your own team members. The language pulled from honest testimonials is more natural than an in-house write-up. Word of mouth should never be underestimated as a marketing tool and your audience will appreciate your honesty and openness.

Testimonials can also make great blog posts, which can lead to an SEO boost.

Repurpose Content

Your old content doesn’t have to wither and die in some lost, forgotten corner of your website. If it’s good, and still relevant, then dig it up and re-share it on your socials or boost it to the top of your web page or blog. Also, your internal documents (i.e. press releases, announcements, proposals) can be content too. You can always fluff them up with new photos, videos, or add a quote or two from one of your new collaborators secured by following the previous points.

“Do Something Important Before You Do Something Urgent”

It can be tempting to dive right into your emails as soon as you punch in but you should always strive to do something important before you do something urgent. Start your day off by accomplishing something that will have a meaningful impact on your content strategy. Whether it’s finishing a blog post, adjusting your social media calendar, or conducting an interview, dedicating the first hour or two to your work schedule will give you a boost for the rest of the day. It’s a modest trick but it could have a major impact on your productivity and the quality of your content.

For more of Andy Crestodina’s addictive insights, check out our latest conversation with him here. Continue the conversation below and let us know how you’ve made your content less obvious.