Interested in content strategy but don’t know where to start?

You’re not alone. This week more than 600 marketing professionals gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the annual Confab content strategy conference hosted by content gurus Brain Traffic.

From those just getting started to seasoned professionals, the two-day event brings together those who have a passion for improving content. I’ve collected a sampling of insights from a few of the first-day speakers.

#1 – When you invite outsiders to come in and help tell your story, your brand vision gains humanity and diversity.
– Katrina Craigwell, head of global digital programming at General Electric

Identify influencers of your target audiences and give them access to your company to tell your stories through their voices and channels. Example: GE invited six influencers and six super fans on a special tour of GE Aviation. See it on Instagram at #GEInstawalk or http://www.ge.com/instawalk.

#2 – Content is a conversation. There are five key questions every brand must answer before it can have that conversation. Our content strategy tools can help us answer them.
– Ahava Leibtag, president and owner of Aha Media Group
Question                                         Content Tool
Who are we speaking to?              Audience persona
Who are we?                                   Identity pillars
What are we saying?                      Messaging architecture
How are we saying it?                    Voice and tone
When and where do we say it?     Editorial calendar

#3 – Rethink your campaign positioning to start with the customer and what his/her goals are.
– Natanya Anderson, social media and integrated marketing coordinator for Whole Foods

Brands want to tell their story. But the most successful brands start with the customer story. Whole Foods had a business objective to sell more groceries in January. Instead of talking about their products, they started with what was on the mind of their customers in January — to live a healthier lifestyle. Whole Food’s campaign, “You can do it!” helped people make one healthy change a day by offering tips, not product benefits.

#4 – Make your own work more visual. It will help you sell your content strategy ideas.
– Michael Metts, a visual content strategist

If you’re having trouble getting an idea across, make it visual. Four ways to make your ideas visual:
• Simple sketches on paper or whiteboards
• Mind maps to show delineation between things or to show borders
• Diagram to show spatial relationships or periods of time
• Mockup to show a low fidelity representation of how it could look

#5 – Inspire emotional connections to encourage brand loyalty.
– Cristal Guderjahn, the singing content strategist

Emotions connect us and satisfy the notion that we’re all in this together. Three ways to inspire emotional connections with your audience:
• Be authentic
• Use natural language
• Inspire

Want more content strategy tips and practices? Follow #ConfabMN on Twitter for real-time updates.

Also, be on the lookout for a recap of the second day of Confab here on Undercurrent.

About Keesia Wirt

Keesia, content strategist at Two Rivers Marketing, is a self-proclaimed content nerd. Her favorite tools include audience personas, crotchet hooks, whisks, and duct tape. If you want to talk content, email her at keesiaw@2rm.com.