Content and the crystal ball: Tuesday morning summit highlights

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The 2014 Widen User Summit kicked off yesterday with office hours and social events, and this morning marks the first in-depth info sessions. 

Joe Pulizzi, content marketing expert, author, and strategist, started the morning with an engaging keynote, followed by talks by Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering and Director of Product Management Deanna Ballew.

Video and in-depth analysis will be available in the coming weeks, but here’s some highlights from the presentations this morning.

Joe Pulizzi, “The Evolution of Content: 5 Elements to Consider”

Joe Pulizzi keynote speaking at Widen Enterprises User Summit, 2014.

It would be easy to dedicate an entire paragraph to Joe Pulizzi’s accomplishments. Here are two links to fast-track the intro: Pulizzi’s website and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). He founded CMI and is widely considered to be an expert in the field of content marketing.

The evolution of content, as Pulizzi explains in the words of George Carlin, is that "people collect stuff". In this case, digital stuff. For many companies, that might be images, animations, and blog posts. Between websites and social media, there are endless opportunities to share and market that content.

How can you do it effectively, though?

Pulizzi started by establishing two key aspects to success in content marketing: consistency and strategy. Without consistency, even the best content can get lost in the shuffle. Strategy helps solidify when you publish, and more importantly, it helps you determine exactly who your audience is, what you deliver them, and what you want the outcome of the interaction to be.

The five elements of content marketing encourage you to look at where, when, why, and how you distribute content. Without knowing your mission and audience, you aren’t being effective in content distribution and you may not be reaching the people you need to be.

Once you have established your roadmap and developed a strategy, Pulizzi has tips on how to discover and build relationships with influencers and how to spend marketing money wisely.

Matthew Gonnering, “Connecting Marketing Content”

Widen CEO Matthew Gonnering

Widen CEO (and Madison’s Most Fit CEO 2012) Matthew Gonnering took the stage after Pulizzi to discuss how to connect content to the seven dimensions of wellness: social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, intellectual, and physical.

Thinking about content in terms of meeting your audiences needs allows you to develop content that build relationships, connects in meaningful ways, addresses values and beliefs, and provides stimulating information.

“Balance is the key to success,” explained Gonnering, who went on to show how Widen helps a diverse customer base connect to each dimension. 

Reaching more than one dimension gives your brand depth and authenticity. Gonnering offered examples of how organizations can leverage activities and initiatives they may already be involved with to capture new content and engage audiences.


Deanna Ballew, “Widen Product Roadmap”

The morning strategically transitioned from Pulizzi’s large-scale look at content marketing to Gonnering’s suggestions for a holistic approach to connecting your content. It was Director of Project Management Deanna Ballew’s roadmap that showed exactly how Widen is planning tools and updates that make content management easy.

Deanna Ballew, Widen Director of Product Management

Media Collective is undergoing a series of changes that will help you capture, share, analyze, and organize content. Ballew shared key aspects of version 8.0, including improved analytics, a sleeker and more organized interface, and endless options for integrations.

Analytics are the “crystal ball” of digital asset management, allowing you to track asset use to inform future campaigns and have data on who is using what assets. Future developments include analytic dashboards that will allow users to assess data at a glance.

Some changes to the look and feel have already occurred to take advantage of screen real estate and mobile use. More are planned that will allow you to see and share content more easily. Software features will boost internal sharing, enable mobile viewing of all content, and allow for seamless social media posting.  


The morning was rich with information on how thinking strategically about content makes for efficient, successful marketing and how Widen can power those efforts.

Follow the blog for further information on Widen User Summit 2014 topics, follow #WidenSummit on Twitter for real-time updates, or check out who is attending the 2014 User Summit.

Topics: Events, Widen Summit

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