Introvert’s Guide to Surviving Content Marketing World

It’s that time of year again – the orange takes over, excitement fills the air, and we all descend on to Cleveland to attend Content Marketing World.

It’s no secret that Content Marketing World has a special place in my heart, along with the entire CMI team, and the incredible people I’ve met over the past three years.

But it can also be overwhelming. I’m an ambivert and conferences where I am “on” all the time for 4 days straight can take a lot out of me. My energy gets zapped once the adrenaline wears off, especially if I’m not practicing self-care throughout the conference. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot better at preserving my energy in order to survive the week as an introvert.

I want to share a few of those tricks with you. I also reached out to the #CMWorld Slack Community to get their input.

So, here are a few ways you can survive Content Marketing World as an introvert.

Planning is crucial.

From the second you pick up your badge at registration, it’s going to feel nonstop. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have a game plan for sessions, networking, and “me” time. Before you arrive at the convention center for the first day of sessions, have a plan in place.

Block out “me” time

I cannot get through an entire day of sessions and networking without taking a break. It can be going for a walk outside, or even back to my hotel room to decompress for 30 minutes. The amazing thing about conferences like CMWorld are the ample opportunities to network, which gives you a chance to walk away for a little bit.

“Make sure to schedule some alone time. It’s OK to head back to your room for an hour, or walk offsite for a cup of coffee to recharge your batteries.” – Erika Heald.

Use Twitter to your advantage

I absolutely love Twitter because it allows me to keep connected even when I’m not in the room. Throughout the conference, use a tool like Tweetdeck so you can have a column dedicated to the #CMWorld hashtag. It’ll allow you to engage with others before you even meet them face to face.

As a result, you’ve already made a connection without the awkward small talk that comes from walking up to strangers. I’m personally a prolific tweeter during conferences, both during sessions and networking events. It helps me feel connected and lets my personality shine before I awkwardly stumble over my words in person.

Prepare to take risks.

Last year at Content Marketing World, I challenged myself  to introduce myself to 5 new people every single day. Trust me, it was a daunting task. I tend to stick to my quiet corner or huddle with the people I know. It was a daunting task that I made a little easier by simply going up to people, extending my hand, and saying, “Hi, I challenged myself to meet new people today and you’re one of them. I’m Berrak.”

Sounds a little silly and it definitely felt a little silly but you know what? It worked because it was a straightforward ice breaker. The worst thing that happened were people politely shaking my hand, saying their name, and being uninterested in engaging beyond that. It happens. Even at a networking event, you won’t connect with everyone you talk to but you know what? It’s OK to take that risk.

It goes the other way too. Ben Rome, a CMWorld attendee I met at lunch last year who I’m running a session with this year suggests the following:

Typically a wallflower at networking events? Challenge yourself to talk to 2-3 people. Overly extroverted? Challenge yourself to listen more and engage the conversation, rather than dominate it.

Break the ice.

I know, the idea of striking up a conversation with a stranger can be daunting. The great thing about CMWorld is that our badges have a few key pieces of information that can help break the ice. I just talked about my ice breaker trick, so let me share with you a few suggestions from fellow CMWorld alums.

“What made you want to come to this conference?” and also, “Who was your favorite speaker/who are you most excited to see?” – Jason Schemmel

“Is this your first time seeing Joe’s Orange suit?” – Jeff Renoe

Keep the conversation going

The most important thing about connecting with new people at Content Marketing World (or any other conference) is the follow through. Last year, I was so excited about the conversations and connections I’d made, I started a CMWorld Community Slack (You should join us!)

“Reaching out to the handful of people I connected with at last year’s event and using LinkedIn to email leaders of workshops, sessions and labs I’m considering taking. The latter has a twofold benefit: honing down the wealth of learning opportunities and two, making a human connection.” – Lorraine Thompson

As intimidating and exhausting a conference can feel to an introvert, it is possible to survive it with your energy intact. I have one last tip to share with you before I see you at the opening reception:

There are more of us introverts than you may realize. There’s a good chance the person sitting quietly next to you isn’t sure how to start a conversation, either. Keep it simple, and keep it kind. A welcoming “Hello” can go a long way.

Oh and if you’re at Content Marketing World this week, I would love to see you at our session on Thursday where we’ll put all the pieces into place for you & your community.

Want to connect with me before coming to my session on Thursday? Here’s where you can find me throughout the conference.

See you around Cleveland, content nerds.

Content Marketing Lessons from My Unexpectedly Viral Tweet

On July 31, I got a news alert. Scaramucci was out as the White House Communications Director after 10 days. I don’t know why but the first thing I thought of was avocados. So, my very first tweet that had the link to the news article had that reference.

I even thought it was funny enough to post as my Facebook status that morning, which received a lot of engagement. I was going to go on with my day. I needed to get ready for my flight.

Then, I got hit with a couple more ideas to post on Twitter. After all, the entire internet was on board. This was the creative relief we needed from the onslaught of, well, reality. So, I tweeted out a few different references. I used different hashtags. I sometimes referred to him as The Mooch and other times, used #Scaramucci.

A couple got likes. Some retweets here and there, but nothing major.

Until.

This was actually a throwaway tweet. I just kind of posted it as I thought about it and then posted my favorite, which had a Game of Thrones reference. I thought if any of my tweets that day got any traction, it would obviously be the Game of Thrones one.

To my surprise, it wasn’t. It was my ‘throwaway’ tweet that resonated the most with people for some reason. It was even included in a Buzzfeed News roundup.

I said RIP to my notifications and got ready for my flight.

My one “viral” tweet reinforced what I’ve been telling my clients about content marketing and social media all along. So, here are my learnings from my 24 hours of internet fame.

You have to be flexible with your content

Once you have a content strategy and editorial plan in place (and for the love of coffee, please have these in place), what you put out into the world cannot be repetitive. You won’t know what resonates with your audience until you’re putting out content that actually resonates with your audience. This means that you have to be flexible enough to play around with the wording and types of content you’re releasing into the world.

While it’s important to have a consistent voice, that doesn’t mean your voice has to be rigid.

Hashtags don’t guarantee exposure

I really thought that this tweet would be the one that got the most engagement. I was using multiple references, and #GameofThrones is still relatively active on Monday mornings.

As you can see, I was wrong.

Numbers don’t tell the whole story

My viral tweet received over 153K impressions, but what does that mean? Not much, to be honest. It means that with over 900 retweets, it made its way in front of a lot of eyeballs on Twitter, but I only got a single follower from it. 87 people cared enough to click over to my profile to learn more about me.

When you’re asking your social media manager or content manager to create viral posts, are you thinking about the implications? Just because something strikes a chord with your audience doesn’t mean it’ll lead to money in the bank for you.

Want to break down the actual ROI of content marketing? Jay Baer has a great formula. Spoiler: It involves actual math.

Don’t squander the first impression opportunity

My tweet had nothing to do with the content marketing and strategy services I offer. The audience it would drive to my profile were most likely not my target customers. But what if one set of eyeballs belonged to a small business owner scrolling through Twitter between phone calls or while eating lunch? My pinned tweet when I woke up that morning was a general post about the services I offer, linking to my website.

After the tweet picked up traction, I quickly drafted another tweet that I pinned to the top of my profile:

Cheesy? Yes. But potentially effective.

It was an unexpected experiment that was fun while it lasted. That’s the thing about content marketing and social media. Not everything will be a home run.

Amplifying your voice through the noise requires planning, tenacity, and a whole lot of flexibility.

Have you ever had a tweet go unexpectedly viral? What was your experience like?

 

Oh, by the way, are you going to Content Marketing World this September? I’m speaking about leveraging content to elevate your community with an amazing group of professionals. We’d love to see you in our session! If you haven’t registered yet, you can use BERRAKBIZ100 to save an additional $100!

#TuesdayThrees: Keys to Being a Successful Ghostwriter

I’ve always considered writing to be my passion.

My mom taught me how to read and write when I was four, and the running joke of my life has been that no one has been able to stop me since.

However, it was never supposed to be a career path, especially ghostwriting.

When I went into law, writing would be a crucial part of my career, but to get paid to be a writer? That seemed utterly ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, I wrote under a pen name for the first part of my freelance career.

I wrote for content mills, for local real estate companies, and for agencies that paid me next to nothing for my work.

I was essentially a glorified ghostwriter, and ironically, there’s really no glory in being a ghostwriter. (more…)