Less than two months into my new position at Point To Point, I had the opportunity to spend a day at Content Marketing World 2015 in downtown Cleveland. Even though my day began at 7:15 a.m., it was exhilarating to be at the industry’s largest content marketing event surrounded by like-minded professionals.  

My schedule was packed with great sessions and loads of useful information. Here are the key takeaways that left me most inspired:

Be Authentic.

Thursday’s opening keynoter, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Washington Post reporter and co-author of For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice, set the tone for the day. He collaborated with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to promote veteran awareness by telling their harrowing stories of sacrifice and showing how their skills are needed in the workforce once they return home. Authenticity is at the heart of Starbucks’ initiative to build a positive brand image. Its pledge to hire at least 10,000 veterans and spouses by the end 2018 aligns closely with its brand mission “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” He said that hiring veterans isn’t charity, it’s good business and that if you’re not authentic, your customers will see right through it. Rajiv reminded us of the basics. Our clients have an authentic story to tell and it’s our job to help them tell it with purpose.

Get more mileage out of your content.

Repurpose. Repurpose. And then repurpose some more. I attended 101 Ways to Repurpose Content, a session led by Amy Higgins, Sr. Manager of Social Media for Zendesk. It was great to hear all the ways her organization has taken long-form content – like an ebook or white paper – and turned them into bite-sized content snippets, such as an infographic or a blog post. As the end of the day, content efforts should be scalable and every piece of content can (and should) be repurposed in new formats across nearly all channels. As part of our B2B content marketing strategy, we discuss this with clients on a regular basis and see that this effort not only amplifies the volume of content but it also extends the value and return of the client’s investment.

Content is no longer king. The audience is.

Hear me out. I’m obviously not saying that content has gone by the wayside (see takeaway above). We just have to think about it differently. Chad Pollitt, Co-founder of Relevance.com, dropped some nuggets of wisdom in the Advanced Content Promotion Techniques session. Did you know that every minute of everyday 571 websites are launched, 350,000 tweets are tweeted and 48 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded? That’s a lot of content! What’s the point of creating incredible content if no one ever sees it? Investing in promotion to ensure that audiences are exposed to the content is a crucial consideration when developing strategies and recommendations for clients. While owned content is the foundation, leveraging paid strategies to boost awareness paves the path for a greater share of voice and gets that content in front of new target audiences.

Content marketing continues to quickly evolve and it is up to marketers – particularly those in the B2B segment – to embrace it and take action. While the conference challenged us to think bigger and bolder when it comes to content as we drive toward success, brands must start now to make real changes to effectively engage customers and prospects.