Content Marketing Quotables From Content Jam 2013

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“I came, I puked, I left.”

That was James Ellis, explaining what bounce rate means in Google Analytics, at the Oct. 17 Content Jam conference at Chicago’s Columbia College. It was my favorite quote in a day full of great quotes from Chicago’s best content marketing experts, all brought together by the folks at Orbit Media Studios

It’s not easy to make analytics fun (or funny) but Ellis had his audience engaged, laughing, and learning from start to finish. That’s the spirit of Content Jam, where marketers took a break from taking themselves so damn seriously and got real about content marketing, story telling, and measuring success.

I spend most of my time writing, and while I never fail to learn something new when talking to another writer, I spent the day trying to shore up my weak spot, analytics.  That sent me to several of the analytics and metrics sessions, where the speakers were great about making a complicated topic accessible.

Here are a few other favorite points from my day bouncing around Content Jam.

Kate Eyler-Werve“Key performance indicators depend entirely on what you aim to do, your industry, and your audience.” – Kate Eyler-Werve, Mightybites

We all get or ask questions like:

“What’s a good amount of website traffic?”

Which puts content marketers in the unenviable position of answering, “it depends.” But sorry, it does. There aren’t universal answers.

If you have nothing of value on your website, no amount of social media work is going to drive quality traffic your way. If you’re putting a lot of effort toward gathering petition signatures, you’re going to see traffic to other pages drop at the expense of that effort.

You have to measure your work in the context of what your business and organizational priorities are. So, yes, what constitutes good numbers depends on what you emphasize.

James Ellis“Aggregate numbers are lies.” – Ellis.

When he said this Ellis was referring to the over-emphasis on traffic numbers when analyzing Google Analytics.

For those experienced in digital marketing, this wasn’t news, but for most clients it is.

“You don’t want traffic,” Ellis explained, you want the right traffic. He gave a tutorial on how to segment out the “filler” visitors to get insights from the website traffic that matters to you. Those are the people who visit several pages, stay on the site for longer stretches, or complete goals you’ve set up.

His lesson:  there are a lot of ways to get someone to your site. The value is in getting the right someone there doing the things you want them to do when they arrive.

Marti Konstant

“They say you just take this content you have, chop it up and spit it out in all these different channels…well, it’s actually really hard to do well.” – Marti Konstant, Konstant Change

Thank you Marti!

No, this wasn’t about analytics, but as a content creator, I loved this. We’ve all read books and white papers about how easy it is to create content and spin it out across all your different promotional channels (Facebook, Twitter, Video, Blog, Infographics…). Then we try it and – wouldn’t you know – it actually takes time!

Oh, and how many people do you know who can write a great blog and also happen to have the skills to create a quality infographic or video? It’s a pretty rare combination, and when you dig a little deeper with the experts who call it “easy,” you usually find out that they have a designer who makes their graphics, or they outsource some research.

So no, you shouldn’t beat yourself up because you can’t be a multi-platform star in 45 minutes a day.

I learned a lot at Content Jam 2013, and our Lightspan team will be writing about it a lot in the weeks ahead. If you were there, I’d love to hear your top takeaways in the comments.

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Writer and content strategist Myles Dannhausen joined Lightspan in September of 2012. The new West Town resident brings a decade of experience as a writer, reporter and editor and small business owner to Lightspan.
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  • saltlab

    Full disclosure: Avinash Kaushik coined that definition of “bounce rate.” I’m good, but not Avinash good.

    • You just totally ruined it for me now… 😉 #kidding

    • Myles Dannhausen


  • Can I throw in one of my own?

    “Fingers are 44px” ~ Mana

    I found that amazing and I’m sure that most of the targets on my emails are smaller than 44px. Made me want to make EVERYTHING BIGGER!

    • nothing more frustrating than trying to tap on those tiny tiny links… right?

  • Amy Walgren

    The comment most misunderstood by corporate managers I have worked for is, “If you have nothing of value on your website, no amount of social media is going to drive the quality traffic to your website.” Websites need to be relevant to the customers you are trying to attract and most often should be managed on a local, not a national, level.