Lily Harder, Vice President of Mintel Comperemedia Research attended Content Marketing World in Cleveland. Lily attended sessions, workshops and gained insight from the conference floor which she shares below.

More than 4,000 marketers, marketing experts, and content writers from around the world came together to share insights on what makes great content in today’s high-speed world at this year’s Content Marketing World.

The theme of this year’s event was “Game On,” a connection between gaming and content, where the enjoyment lies in the challenge by developing tactics to reach the next stage, learning from failure, and eventually mastering the craft. Like content marketing, building relationships along the way accounts for much of the excitement, and was at the heart of this year’s theme.

In addition to the many workshops, product demos and early morning yoga, the biggest takeaways from this event came from the speakers. The keynote address came from the animated and engaging Andrew Davis, author of “Brandscaping.” Davis used a large mystery box on stage to illustrate how curiosity and the magic of a build-up can keep an audience tuned in, prolonging their engagement with your content. Creating “curiosity gaps” results in tension, which is “the emotional anxiety we feel when there is a gap between what we know and what we want to know.” Davis introduced a mathematical formula to explain how consumer attention equals tension over time multiplied by the payoff.

In the “How your competitors can improve your content strategy” session, Ellie Mirman, CMO of Crayon, likened content marketing to the Swiss army knife of marketing because of its ability to help with SEO, thought leadership, product differentiation, and more. Mirman discussed the importance of assessing the competitive landscape such as conducting a content inventory to determine who is going after a similar audience as your company, even if they are in a completely different industry.

Writer and actress, Tina Fey delivered the final keynote address to close the conference, touching on topics such as writing to developing a personal brand and modern technology. Fey talked about her own personal brand, despite not having a presence on social media and not knowing how to listen to a podcast. Her technological shortcomings aside, Fey talked about how her kids engage with media and technology – a nod to the future of content consumption. She referenced the time her oldest daughter asked to watch Saturday Night Live and although she gave her permission, her daughter found the whole process of trying to figure out how to access local network TV so complicated that she gave up and went back to watching YouTube. When asked about the future of media, Fey acknowledged technology is such a powerful tool that’s allowing our society to create consumer content from anywhere, even suggesting the future of television may live inside a McDonalds Happy Meal.