The VPM Blog

Everything the Light Touches is Content

Posted by Don Crow on May 26, 2016 9:25:40 AM

I'm currently attending Digital Summit Atlanta 2016 and thought I'd share some of the energy and ideas that bubbled up during Day 2 (last day!). If you missed the recap of Day 1, you can find it here.


Wednesday morning rolled over me like a Camden Ridge garbage truck: loud, unapologetic and on a mission. Tuesday evening was my eighth wedding anniversary, and even though our 6-year old daughter was in-tow, we managed to celebrate like, well, parents with young children do.

The energy was down at Digital Summit Atlanta on the second and final day, and it had nothing to do with bad coffee and stale muffins. That said, I gave the day my best shot. After all, my team was back home meeting with clients, cranking on one of two summer campaigns and doing work that matters for our clients.

The first session that caught my attention and held it was Cliff Seal's (@cliffseal), No One Cares about Your Content - Yet.

Aside from Cliff sporting a smedium t-shirt, he rocked the main stage and delivered the goods early with this slide:


Wow, how true is that simple image and statement, and how often do we as marketers and business owners overlook it? We tune out bad marketing, poor advertising, and then get up in the morning, get dressed after scrolling through feeds full of mostly crap and go to work and probably produce more crap. We ignore the things that we as humans respond to, in order to create what analytics and machines tell us is has a higher probability of getting a click through.

I tell anyone who listens, we (VPM) create marketing you can fall in love with, and anyone who listens casts a weary eye towards me. Who can blame them? We have to get better at content and by better I mean, more human. Unfortunately, too many organizations (other than ours) are looking at bots and automation as the way to increase billings with a minimal amount of human capital.

After Cliff left the stage, we had a networking break, aka, everyone runs to charge their phone or coffee cup. *sigh*

Next up, and conveniently for me, on the same main stage was Arnie Kuenn (@ArnieK) of Vertical Measures. The problem is, his session - How to get 77% more traffic from your existing content, didn't make my tweets so I have no proof other than this screengrab of my main takeaway:


NOTE: I did SnapChat his intro!

For purely selfish reasons, this is the perfect slide for those who wonder why they should hire and / or retain an agency. Most organizations can't see the forest for the trees and sadly, they stifle the innovation of most of their very entrepreneurial employees for the sake of hitting a quarterly goal. Agencies operate outside those barriers in the same way that Special Operations Forces operate outside the "normal" military branches. They have specific missions, highly trained and motivated practitioners and are led by folks who still walk the walk and don't just talk the talk. Or at least they should....

After a hilarious set of Al Madrigal reading Yelp! reviews, we all welcomed Ann Handley (@annhandley) of Marketing Profs (@MarketingProfs) to the stage. Similar to Day 1's, Gary Vaynerchuk keynote, I highly recommend you connect yourself with Ann and the work she's crushing. She is to content marketing what Gary is to Entrepreneurship in my mind. She's also more likely to respond to your tweets than Gary. #JustSaying

Ann had a lot to cover and I appreciated her challenging us to:

  • BIGGER context.
  • BRAVER marekting.
  • BOLDER perspective.

She had examples aplenty and in trademark style injected a little dry humor with background slides to keep the keynote moving. But it all settled into the zone when she dropped this truth bomb on us:

I mean, seriously. For as long as Verge Pipe Media has been an agency, actually even when it was a blog / hobby, I searched for that catch phrase that put into perspective the world we live in now of user generated content, branded content, shared content and web / print / social / traditional content which is now tying us together and splintering us into more fragments than we ever imagined.

Everything the light touches is content.

It's what we do, it's the ecosystem we live in. It's the clouds and dirt and everything in-between. It's what you're doing when you bash a restaurant, share a buzzfeed article, promote your newest certification or share photos of your kids and dogs. You, yes you, are a media company of one. And you've got more power than most corporations did 50 years ago because the only permission you need to publish content is paying your internet or cell phone bill (or maybe both).

Bigger. Braver. Bolder. Everything the light touches is content. You can bet I'll be folding this into our team meetings and forward direction at VPM.

Millennials again dominated the discussions today and like yesterday, I'm going to ask you to download our FREE eBook on Marketing to Millennials. Maybe you know all there is to know. Maybe you know nothing at all about selling to this group that claims to be advertising agnostic, yet responds to ads from select brands at uber rates. Wouldn't you like to know why?

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