Thanks be to God that The Hustle’s first Con Con did not suck or this would have been a painful AAR.
Welcome to Con Con. Two Drink Minimum
Con Con was a one day conference on how to create great content to grow you business. It brought together some of the best and brightest content marketing talent on the planet. Mix that with some free Lagunitas beer and you have the makings of a pretty stellar Friday, 4th of November.
As most of you know, conferences can really suck so kudos to the entire The Hustle staff for planning a stellar event with awesome speakers, great food, and a fantastic venue.
Special thanks to Kendall “Better Than MC Hammer” Baker for doing a stellar job as emcee. It’s a tough job to keep the event flowing and filtering out all my stupid Twitter questions.
Below is my notes and take-a-ways from the event for those of you that could not make it or maybe missed some of it. Feel free to make comments or send me a note if I missed something or you feel I’m full of it.
For the speakers, I might have gotten some of your quotes wrong, I apologize in advance. I’ll fix whatever I messed up if you just let me know.
Great content starts with knowing your audience and being authentic with yourself. If you don’t write for yourself, it will not come across as genuine. Build an audience persona and write to that persona — the narrower the better. Put different content on different channels since your audience will consume it in different ways. Know your metrics and what works for you — not all social media channels may be worth it. You need to build an influencer brand. Banner ads are dying. Brands and consumers want engagement. Messaging is the next era of the Internet. Don’t be all brand, brand, brand — it’s annoying and will feel too much like self-promotion.
Networking Sucks. It’s like being at a bad orgy with business cards — Hassan S. Ali
Ellen V. Lora from Pure EVL
EVL was interviewed by Andrew Chen of Uber on How She Built Her Brand. She was a substitute for someone who canceled. It was a rough one to start with and I’m glad Andrew threw in a little of his own experiences.
Content has to be consistent and the style needs to look good. You want to build your as well as the brand you are promoting. It’s never good to do one offs or take a selfie with a product. That’s not authentic and people will know that. You have to be selective on what you promote.
You have to be authentic and consistent. Your brand matters as much as the brand you promote.
Derek Flanzraich from Greatest
Derek’s personal story made his talk How to Make Content That’s 10x Better than the Competition a lot more relatable. He has had some challenges with his weight and wanted to education people on health and wellness.
Derek’s approach is quality over quantity and he breaks down his process into A-B-C-D as follows:
- A: The Audience. Who is your audience? What do you want them to do? Make it so narrow. Super serve them.
- B: The Brand. You need a Personality Profile for your site to make your brand. Tone of Voice. Once you have that, then you can figure out what platforms to be on.
- C: The Content: You want something huge that draws you in. A Weenie is what Disney did. It’s a big thing to head towards.
- D: The Distribution: If You Build it, They won’t come. Unique Consistent Value. Do something that no one is doing on the chosen platform.
Derek is a big fan of Walt Disney and loves his attention to detail. The details matter a lot. The future is long term brand trust and engagement. If you are in it for the money, that’s wrong. It’s really hard and you probably won’t make it. Content is power so wield it responsibility. The CEO job is being paranoid of the present and optimistic on the future.
Content is power so wield it responsibility.
Dave’s talk was on Building a Social Empire and how Bleacher Report had to pivot to stay ahead of the curve.
Super important to know what is working. Display media was not going to increase their budgets. Brands were moving to Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social is where the audience is at which means we had to transform into a social media savvy company.
Advertisers want an influencer brand which means you need to be able to shape your business to influence people. We create content that’s sharable and the ads don’t get in the way. The culture of sports is more interesting than the sports sometimes. We looked at everything in sports and could figure out what was hot every day, 365 days a year. That’s how we figure out what to publish, when. Now, 90% of our content is in house generated.
It’s hard to build a subscription business. You need to grow an Influencer Brand
Grant Marek from Chubbies
Grant’s whimsical talk presented The Anatomy of a Viral Video which was funny and informative in that Chubbies in your face kinda way.
Components of a viral video include:
- Substance: What you talk about.
- Audience: Know what you audience is into.
- Timeliness: Right place and the right time with the right content.
- Have Friggin’ Fun: The more the better. It will show through in your final product.
You need to understand your audience and the time period. Pre-’97 cultural things don’t work for us since our audience can’t relate. You don’t need a big budget or a celebrity. The biggest thing I learned is that you have to write for yourself. If we can’t relate to it, then it won’t work.
First 5 minutes, we can figure out if a video will go viral: 1 share for every 100 views is the magic number for going viral.
A share is the most important thing. It’s word of mouth marketing.
Josh Entman from Jukin Media
Josh’s presentation on Distribute or Die: How to Get Your Content Seen was a interesting journey on how you have to pay attention to where your content is going.
Over 500 hours of User Generated Content (UGC) on YouTube every minute. UGC is 35% more memorable than other media and 50% more trusted. You have 2 seconds to hook someone since drop off is like 40% in the first 2 seconds. Our model is simple:
Identify Great Content -> Find the rights holder -> Make a deal -> Monetize
Any content can be monetized. December views are 2-3x that of November. December is the best month of the year. People want to feel good and see best of compilations.
You have 2 seconds to hook someone into your video.
Adam is a passionate technophile that loves to simplify technology. His talk, Creating a World Class Launch Video or “Feel Something, Dammit.” explored “who am I?”. His talk was the longest talk but the most personal and insightful meditation on the importance of finding the essence of your product or service.
Adam founded his company by accident. Think of Sandwich as the opposite of Chubbies. You probably have a little imposter syndrome. We all do. It’s natural to feel that way. Anything can be media and has potential to influence. We take complicated ideas and make them simple. Words have value and the ones you use are important. What you feel is what you reflect so it’s important to believe in what you are doing.
Words have value and the ones you use are important.
Adam wins the best answer to my stupid Twitter questions:
Q: What’s your favorite technology to explain to your grandmother? A: Tolerance.
Yes, DIGG is still around and Gary’s talk about What Does the Data Say? was a deep dive into the eras of the Internet and what it all means. Really well done and informative with lots of great data.
The Internet eras according to Gary are:
- 1995-2005: Portal Era — AOL
- 2005-2010 — Open Web Era — Digg
- 2010-2015 — Mobile Era — Facebook
- 2015-???? — Messaging — ?
What defines each era is where content discovery happen. Millennials spend 10 hours on the Internet or mobile with 30% of that time spent in messaging.
Your Product is Content + Packaging + Distribution.
All are important to get right since the consumption loop is always changing. Some major Asian news agencies are publishing direct to WeChat and shutting down their website.
Email is the single biggest way to access people since everyone has an email address. It’s the same for everyone. Concerning Chatbots, I feel that they will be used a lot for customer service.
Each era of the Internet requires a different mindset since there is a constant changing content consumption loop.
Elizabeth Tobey from Medium
Before Elizabeth’s talk about Creating Content for Conversation, I was not completely sold on Medium. I guess I just did not get why you would put your content on Medium instead of on your own blog or site — Elizabeth changed my mind.
Network and distribution is what is unique about Medium. Responses to content are more important than the original idea in her opinion. Responses are handled just as original content so it grows the same way. Medium pioneered Highlights so that the writer can see what readers really resonated with. That’s a huge value.
If you are only going to publish a small amount of content, then the network effect on Medium will help you out a lot. Medium allows the rare publisher to get exposure — that’s a lot harder with your own website or blog.
The Medium effect does grow additional traffic to your website
Hassan S. Ali from The Onion
Hassan’s keynote How to Promote Your Brand Without Seeing Like You are Promoting Your Brand was the perfect end to a content rich day. The one thing that was a surprise, to me anyway, was that they do original content for brands. Who know? I guess just me.
Hassan gave us all permission to promote ourselves. It sucks to do it but you have to do it. There is a Catch-22 to this and it’s that self-promotion kills consumer trust. Hard sells reduce credibility by 29%. You need to vary up your content so you don’t fall into the self-promotion all the time trap. Sharing ratios 5/3/2 or 3/3/3 work well. You can also share or generate different types of content like testimonials, interviews, case studies, gifs, infographics, and user/customer spotlight. Remember to be authentic and don’t put the brand front and center. It’s too much.
Don’t be all brand, brand, brand. It won’t work and it comes across as too sellie, sellie.
Two Worlds Collide
Surprisedly, I met someone at Con Con who knows a thing or two about my utterly stupid hobby of piling bricks in a backpack and walking around a city in the middle of the night for a stupid patch that I can’t get enough of. I was happy to find out that some of those patches are made by Violent Little Machine Shop. I even got a new one for my collection. It’s pretty cool to see The Hustle bring all sorts of people together. Heck, I even saw a guy name Scott in a suit and tie — keepin’ it classy hustle tribe.