Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why many social media talks at conferences are a waste of time


January 7, 2017

Social media, Speaking

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I love blogging, implementing social media strategies and also speaking at conferences. First, it helps me spread the message and techniques of authentic storytelling, which includes social media. It also gets me to see the world. Here’s a look at my confirmed travel for 2017 so far: 

So there’s some value in speaking at conferences and attending too. I always learn something new and make new connections. 

Book Christoph to speak at your event here. 

But here’s where many (not all) social media talks cross the line to useless. 

Every time people share things that are no longer doable, what’s the point? We can’t actually learn this tactic because it no longer works. But great success story! Hmm.

This really hit me when I listened to a great speaker of how they used a social media network to drive growth. But since they’ve done that a lot has changed with that network. So literally it’s not repeatable. Not even by them. 

Why do you think there are so many sites that make a living telling you the latest social media (and even digital marketing) updates? Because stuff changes. All the time. They never really run out of content. 

This is especially a problem some (not all) event planners cause:

  • They ask for proposals months in advance. (A lot can happen)
  • They ask for “actionable steps.”

The actionable steps thing. I get it. We want to do it, but if stuff changes how can that be locked down months in advance? And seriously, you expect people to become experts after listening to a 30-minute talk? Can I learn to be an event planner in 30 minutes? Nope. I couldn’t even learn it after working with awesome event planners on my team for years!

Before you event planners jump on my back, no offense meant and I would not want to and could not be an event planner myself. It’s one of the hardest jobs. I’ve been blessed to work with some great ones over the years. Nonetheless, I hope you consider this feedback when it comes to talks surrounding topical niches that change. And social media and many other digital marketing tactics do change frequently. 

What worked yesterday may no longer work today, but something else does. We just need to figure out what that new thing is and do it NOW!

And sometimes networks just shut down. Imagine if somebody was planning a talk about Vine or Blab. Those have been or are being closed down. Who knows what will happen with other networks months in advance? Not me and I work on this kind of thing daily. 

With that being said though, there are many higher level topics that do work. Examples include:

  • How to use live video. Even if networks change, live video will stay one way or another. 
  • How to come up with content worth sharing. 
  • How to stay abreast of the currently best distribution strategies.

Just some examples and there are others sure,  but something to keep in mind. 

Long-term relevance is achieved by implementing a larger strategy with the current tools. Not the other way around. 


Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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