I spent this past week at the Gilbane Conference in Boston, MA. This was my first time attending Gilbane. The organization and the conference have a solid reputation for bringing key industry leaders together, and I was anxious to check it out.
The most surprising thing I found at the Gilbane Conference was the wide variety of vendors who exhibited. There were many CMS companies, a few translation companies, universities, and even an eBook conversion shop. I had to wonder – are the people making buying decisions about CMS software the same as the people making translation decisions? It would seem to me that those responsible for a corporate CMS are probably not involved in translation or in developing eBooks. I also don’t think that they are involved in buying content creation services, which is why Content Rules did not have a booth there.
The variety of vendors got me thinking about the overall structure of the conference. It was well-divided into interesting tracks. The two tracks that interested me the most were the Customers & Engagement track and the Content Technology track.
The Customers & Engagement track had a varied lineup of speakers. Overall, I didn’t hear much that is new. Content rules. Yes, we know that. Everything is content. Yep. People make buying decisions based on content, not based on product or service. Check. We all need an organized social media strategy. Agreed. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are important vehicles. Uh-huh. Some of the presenters were very engaging, and I enjoyed those sessions very much. Other presenters, well, they just shouldn’t present.
My favorite session of the conference was the Day 2 Keynote delivered by Joe Pulizzi. I have followed Joe on Twitter and have been reading the Content Marketing Institute blog for a long time. Joe’s presentation covered interesting ground for me. I learned a number of things. The little lightbulb that I took away was this: Any content I create should be re-imagined or re-purposed 10 times. Yes,10 times. For some of you, maybe that, too, is a “duh?” moment. But I have not really spent a lot of time preparing for re-purposing my content from the beginning.
If I create a whitepaper, it should also be used for Twitter fodder, LinkedIn information, a post on my company’s Facebook page. But, how about a short video on YouTube? Or a Powerpoint presentation on Slideshare? How about an article in an online magazine? Even an infographic? The critical part of creating content is to have a strategy for each piece. Think about the many uses before you create it. Don’t just create a whole bunch of content and throw it out there. Plan and measure.
The worst part of the conference was the extremely poor acoustics during the first day keynote. I wear hearing aids. Very expensive hearing aids, in fact. And I was sitting fairly close to the PA speakers. I and many others in the room, could not hear the presenters. And that is simply unacceptable. A bunch of us tweeted about the problem. At times, it got better. But as speakers changed, it got worse. Why pay the price of entry (which is not cheap), if you cannot hear what people are saying? I sure hope that the folks at Gilbane fix the sound system for next year.