Why I’m so excited to moderate the “teams and culture” track at Content Marketing World 2018

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I’m confirmed and booked to attend my fifth Content Marketing World in Cleveland in 2018 and will be moderating the Teams and Culture track on Thursday. That also means that I’ll pay attention to sessions and learn things from them. Last year, in contrast I didn’t attend a single session and presented at the ScribbleLive booth for two days.

Other times I’ve attended and spoken. This time, I’ll be doing a quick 38-hour turn that will allow me to catch some sessions on Wednesday (more about that below), reconnect with friends and then moderate Thursday.

On Thursday, here’s what’s currently on tap:

Sessions range from failing together to transforming existing skills into the new world and more. Highly relevant stuff.

I’m happy to moderate this track because culture matters. A terrible culture that is stuck won’t help you innovate – no matter what tools get bought.

Teams are important because we can’t scale success without other people’s help (aka the team).

Culture and the assembly of the right teams also comes back to leadership. This isn’t about top down blah blah but good culture and teams don’t happen without good leadership. This short story that I wrote in 2016 popped up. (We’ll get back to Content Marketing World shortly.)

[CULTURE] Why leaders should never share their authentic story (or opinion) first

We all have our own versions of our intertwining stories. And that’s fine and great. Many stories have multiple versions. But we need to remember that the last version we heard of the story that we were participants in also affects our own version of that same story.

Let’s take a roomful of people that report to one person also in the room. Depending on who speaks first in that conversation, the story discussion can lead into totally different directions.

Let’s say the leader says “this is the story.” How likely do you think it is that anybody will disagree with them? Probably not very likely, unless the group has a super open and collaborative environment. In most organizations that’s the story and we’re sticking to it-unfortunately. It can be similar with opinions.

So how do we get people to participate in their own stories? One way to go is for leaders to speak last. Don’t share your opinion and let others go first. That can be hard for leaders because after all they are typically leading. But it’s worthwhile to let everybody participate in our shared stories. It opens the floor to other perspectives and allows everyone to actively participate. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend this when a decision has been made and is being presented! That’s a different scenario.

Just remember that simply by going first we can shape other people’s willingness to take part. Even if we didn’t mean to hinder the discussion, we may have.

So culture and teams dynamics are a huge part of content marketing and digital transformation.

On Wednesday, of Content Marketing World …

Wednesday at Content Marketing World

Once I arrive in Cleveland I’m hoping to attend these sessions:

1:45 pm

Being better than best practices

Your best practices might not be mine. And if everyone implements the same things they might not be a differentiator anymore.

Immersive storytelling (VR, etc.)

Personally, I think it’ll be a while before us everyday content marketers will use virtual reality storytelling but if you can figure out a way to it certainly would be a differentiator – especially if you can get people to consume it!

Related: How to use VR in your storytelling

How to leverage CTAs

Obviously, I can’t attend three sessions in the same hour, so I’ll have to make some tough and in-the-moment decisions. This session is led by my friend and Director of Content Marketing at MedTouch Mariah Obiedzinski. Her and I led a daylong workshop at the conference together a few years ago and she’s a rockstar content marketer and worth listening to.

2:50 pm

The B2B marketer’s guide to monetize audience

In the 2:50 slot I’m planning on listening to this session on how to monetize your B2B audience and how to think like a publisher in that model. That seems relevant to what I’m currently doing in the B2B publishing space.

It should be another good trip to Cleveland. If you are planning on attending and want to connect here’s my contact info.

Pieces of this article were first written in 2016, updated and added to this new 2018 article.