This is a site about personal finance. Apparently, since I set up this site back in 2010, I have been engaging in something called content marketing. I didn't set out to do this; I hadn't even heard that phrase when I began.
But last week I went to The Content Marketing Academy annual conference in Edinburgh, where I was asked to deliver the closing keynote speech at the end of day one. I had some experience of the TCMA community in advance of the conference, but I was blown away by the closeness of the community, and the meeting of minds over those two days.
- Best conference I've ever been to
- Some world class speakers, plus me!
- A community feel like no other that I've ever experienced in business
- Sign up here for next year's event
I shared the stage with some world-class speakers, feeling very much in the presence of internet royalty. SavvySexySocial's Amy Schmittauer opened up proceedings, showing us how video can increase our likeability, and giving some concrete tips on how to do video well. I winced as she spoke, as I think that every one of my 300-plus videos fails on at least one of Amy's criteria for success!
We had some lightning talks from Caroline McKenna who encouraged us to build trust through out content, and Col Gray, who spoke about finding your brand tone of voice. This latter session really got me thinking about MeaningfulMoney's voice and what I want it to be going forward. Food for thought indeed.
Then came a real highlight for me. Kate McQuillan of Pet Sitters Ireland told how, through the power of blogging, she has built her dog-walking and pet-sitting business to – I kid you not – a multiple six-figure business which has now being franchised across Eire. What a story! Kate answers the questions her audience are asking. It's basically as simple as that – very inspiring!
I missed Richard Tubb's session as I was out being interviewed for a live Blab, but I caught Julie Christie's lightning talk about how she is using webinars to drive traffic to a paid course. She is also experiencing much success, and as I have recently launched a course myself, I was interested to hear her views.
Then some chunky Yorkshireman said some words, which were, I think, fairly well received! 😉
On Friday, proceedings were kicked off by Ann Handley, who I'm ashamed to say I hadn't come across before. She delivered a hilarious and challenging talk about creating bigger, braver and bolder content.
A key takeaway was Ann's encouragement to make sure that even if the ‘label falls off', people should be able to tell that my content is mine, through the voice I project. I think I'm fairly consistent, but I know that this exhortation will be one of those that will stay at front of mind whenever I'm creating.
Then Kevin Anderson of The Story Edge made us all cry with his incredibly moving story of how he had finally become a contented writer, and his own life had changed dramatically as a result. Kev received a well-deserved standing O after ten minutes of pure gold.
Colin Gray, The Podcast Host, spoke well about the power of podcasting for creating fanatical fans. Preaching to the converted in my case, but great to hear.
Laura Lucas spoke about making money from content before getting traffic to your blog. My abiding memory of Laura will not be her talk, excellent though it was, but of ten minutes with her in the bar at the end of day one, where she asked some insightful questions about my business that I've been thinking about ever since. Clearly, she knows exactly what she's doing!
Next up was Bert van Loon, a Netherlander who clearly knows his onions about this stuff. Sporting some excellent trousers, Bert talked strategy – so important to be effective with content. Bert really, really got me thinking and I'm making some changes to this site as a result.
One more lightning talk from Alasdair McGill about marrying content marketing with service design once your content consumers become clients (I had to learn this the hard way when more clients came in to me from MeaningfulMoney than I could cope with), and then the stage was set for the closing keynote from Mark Schaefer.
Mark is a bit of an online marketing legend. I'd read some of his stuff, but not much. I'll be doing much more reading now, once I've finished with Ann Handley's book. Mark talked about finding the Alpha Audience and igniting your content with a BADASS strategy – best acronym ever, but you had to be there…
My key takeaway from Mark was that it is essential to measure the right results at the right time in the journey. So for example, with the audience I am privileged to enjoy, I don't need to be measuring web traffic as such. instead I should be measuring things like customer advocacy and social sharing. Lots to work on here I feel…
Why am I talking about this here?
If I had an active personal site, I might have put this review on there, but I don't so it's here instead. But there's kind of a link.
I've talked about making more money here before, a couple of times even. As well as controlling the dosh we already have, there's no harm in bringing more in to make life a little easier. And now we live in an amazing time in history when, thanks to the power of the internet we can do so more easily than ever.
Now this is not about online scams or so-called passive income streams. No, I believe – and this was the subject of my keynote – that if you share your expertise and commit to serving an online audience, that audience will look for ways to pay you back.
What can you do to add something to the sum of human knowledge and understanding? Can you share your knowledge through writing, podcasts or video in order to help other people move forward with their particular challenges?
The folks at TCMA2016 were all like that. An amazing bunch of people committed to making the world a little bit better by helping others, and in the process seeing business success too.
I cannot wait to return next year. If you have a business. If you want to learn how business is done in 2016 and beyond you need to be there too. Sign up here for the early bird package.
This was, hands down, the best conference I've ever been to. And, like most folks in business, I've been to a LOT of conferences. It didn't feel like a conference. It felt like family, and an especially engaged and encouraging family at that.
Edinburgh is a beautiful city, which I enjoyed exploring in the limited time available. I also had some photos taken by the super-talented Julie Christie, which will grace the website revamp – watch this space.
Hub by Premier Inn is a brilliant place to stay in either Edinburgh or London.