Humanity shapes the ‘past and future’ of content marketing

Over 3,500 attendees from over 50 countries recently gathered in Cleveland for the world’s biggest content event, the Content Marketing World 2017. While around 220 speakers covered various aspects of content marketing, their keynotes seemingly pointed to one direction: that the future of content marketing lies in humanity, a strategy that marketers had already unearthed in the past.

The Furrow always sees to it that there is a human story behind its content, an approach that made the publication successful since 1895. In fact, many believe that John Deere’s brand magazine is the world’s oldest content marketing. To date, it reaches about half a million consumers in the U.S. and Canada and about two million customers worldwide.

Joe Pulizzi: “Brands Need a Loyal, Trusting Audience”

Pulizzi is the founder of Content Marketing Institute and the first speaker at the expo. According to his opening keynote, brands should not stop at simply building an audience. What they really need is to have a loyal and trusting audience. He added that while you cannot quantify emotions, you could always engage your audience and run surveys to find out how they feel toward the content.

Likewise, Robert Rose, chief content adviser of the same organization, took the crowd down memory lane and discussed briefly how brands rented audiences in the past. Rose pointed out how Netflix is now changing the game by building its own audience. He then added that the latter’s value goes beyond buying things. With today’s technology, audiences have the power to share content and provide feedback that help brands understand them better resulting in a more focused content.

Caroline Nuttall Urges to Challenge Conventional Wisdom

Meanwhile, CEO and talent advocate Caroline Nuttall emphasized in her talk that there’s an overpopulation of experts whose pegs for content types only adhered to conventional wisdom.

While she did not criticize the how-to type of content marketing, she urged attendees to rethink their strategy and take an eccentric approach where they do away from the general beliefs. The thing is actually laying fresh new insights on the table.

Jay Acunzo, who is the podcast host of Unthinkable, echoed the same sentiment when he highlighted the importance of intuition in his own talk. Acunzo furthered that to be exceptional in your content, you have to provide your readers with your own answers instead of following someone else’s solution to the problem.

Cor Hospes: Make Love, Not Content

Merkjournalisten creative director Hospes went rather romantic in his keynote when he stressed about love being the most important part of content marketing. He also raised the issue on how some companies only care about gaining traffic and sales when all marketers have to simply love the brand, share stories, inspire people, and let user’s experience speaks for itself.

Coca-Cola is a good example of a brand that values storytelling.

Being around for 130 years, however, has made any new feature unreliable to excite consumers. Hence, Coca-Cola started casting its product as if it were a character in a larger story, which enables them to continue telling timeless stories to a very loyal audience.

Kate Santore, integrated marketing lead at Coca-Cola, shared that the brand has indeed long lost its narrative control over its stories but that the brand took it as a blessing in disguise because, now, fans across the globe produce their own Coca-Cola campaign videos, making them the “marketers” of the century-old brand themselves.

Content Marketing: Where the Future is Rooted From the Past

Humanizing content marketing has always been the key ingredient of The Furrow. In fact, its publication manager David Jones shared that the agriculture and brand publisher’s recipe — since its first issue over 120 years ago — is all about telling stories that folks enjoy reading.

A century later, marketers remain adamant about incorporating humanity into its content for good reasons. It is a strategy that keeps on proving itself, and this was exactly what the speakers at the recently concluded Content Marketing World 2017 tried to imbibe to its audience.


Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute

Caroline Nuttall, Monumental Shift

Cor Hospes, Merkjournalisten