CMA live PF team

In company with some of the sharpest marketing minds around

CMA live PF teamAs one of the Profitable Firm’s content writers, attending my first CMA Live was a real thrill. Not only did I get to meet up with the PF team in person (some for the very first time), I also got to spend two days in the company of some of the sharpest marketing minds around.

I’ve been to plenty of industry events like this over the years, but at the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event like this.

I took something from every single speaker. That just doesn’t happen at other conferences. Usually there are one or two (or three or four) where you zone out and doodle in the margins until someone calls lunch.

But CMA? It was all killer, no filler. And I learned a whole bunch.

Iain Gorman CMA badge

So, what exactly did you learn at CMA Iain?

Well, on my walk to the venue I learned that whoever wrote this sign needs to hire a proofreader.

Proof read content

Why should I apologise? I don’t even remember starting construction!

But you were probably asking what I picked up from the conference from a copywriting and content marketing perspective. I knew that.

Without further ado, here are my big 3 takeaways:

1. Don’t be afraid to have an opinion (!!!)

After reading quite a few GDPR posts over the past 6 weeks, it struck me just how reactive business owners can be to the news and events that impact their industry. And that tends to result in far too much similar content. It’s all usually very factual and very inoffensive. Snooze.

But as Mark Asquith so eloquently pointed out, no-one remembers the middle. We don’t create to blend in.

Let’s all be prepared to have an opinion. Let’s evoke strong emotions and get people talking. Whether it’s GDPR, Brexit, the Autumn Budget, or pineapple on pizza, nail your colours to the mast and stir up some debate!

2. Your content should be audience (client) led

Let me just say, Ann Handley is great. I’ve followed her on Twitter for a while (you can too), and I was very excited to hear her speak live. She certainly lived up to her billing as a digital marketing pioneer.

Ann perfectly encapsulated something that’s been rattling around in my own mind for some time:

We need to understand what our audience needs, and not just assume that we know what they want.

In other words, if you find yourself saying “we need a piece of content for…” NO! Instead, consider what your clients need, what they’d like to read, and what sort of outcome they desire. We don’t create for the sake of creating.

3. “Until” is the most powerful word

I’m a big fan of Chris Brogan – I’ve read a few of his books and I’ve followed him intently since I decided to dip my toe into the world of content writing some 8 years ago. By the time Chris stood up to speak as the closing keynote of the conference, he’d thrown his billed talk out the window and written something new based on what had gone before. And let me tell you, it was captivating.

However, one moment grabbed me above all else. It was when Chris stated that “until” is the most powerful word.

No-one needs your content, “until they do.”

For me, this summed it up where content marketing is concerned. Your clients aren’t coming to you to read your blog or download your e-book. They’re coming for your expertise. But that doesn’t mean you can stop creating value with your content, or disregard content marketing altogether. You never know when it’ll make all the difference.

I’ll Be Back; You Can Come Too

The truth is, I’ve barely scraped the surface of what made CMA Live 18 so enthralling. For a more in-depth look at that, brew yourself a cuppa and click to read Karen’s post: It’s not just me: 9 messages from other content marketers, for accountants.

(Oh, and check out Chryzia’s amazing sketchnotes in her post: My First CMA Live Conference. Hashtag sketchnote envy.)

One thing’s for sure, I’m planning on returning to CMA, and you can come too!