3 Major Takeaways from Internet Summit ‘15


This past November, I spent two days attending the Internet Summit in downtown Raleigh, NC. This is every digital guru’s mecca. On average, I drank a cup of coffee for every tweet I live-tweeted and learned an immense amount in my highly-caffeinated state.

1. Content, content, content

Everyone is talking about it but nobody knows what to do with it.


Jason Miller, Group Manager of Content Marketing and Social Media at LinkedIn, suggested to “repurpose content like leftover turkey.” But, I have a hard time digesting that at face value. He followed it up by breaking down a healthy content mix that prevents content teams from burning out, which is a sound solution to a current business problem.

In the world of content marketing, the biggest mistake we make is sacrificing QUALITY over QUANTITY.

Hear me out for a second – I live and die by the adage “work smarter, not harder,” however, creating quality, shareable, viral content is more than being agile, efficient and nimble. Yes, you have to be all of that too. But first, you need “context,” or in non-marketing lingo, you need “feeling.”

In social media, this is something we speak about constantly. The mindset of the moment is engrained in our head because it’s at the very core of the content we create. No one will RT your tweet unless it resonates, unless it is relatable, or unless it is real.

Optimizing off context requires training, perception and intuition. Melanie Deziel, Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc., nailed it by saying, “Don’t only talk about your product/service, aka don’t be that guy at the bar who is only talking about himself.” At Ignite Social Media, we’re quite familiar with this since Social Media Is A Cocktail Party, so behave accordingly.


Maybe instead of cutting corners, we should look from within our own industry to find professional content creators.

If anyone knows how to create contextual content, it’s journalists. No matter the storytelling medium, your piece of content will always require the 3 arcs to storytelling – a beginning, a middle, and an end. Maybe the solution is to “Hold ourselves to the same standard as the newsroom?” This insight comes from Stephanie Losee, Executive Director of Brand Content at POLITICO, who hosted a talk called “Beyond Content: The Case of Brand Journalism.” ­

But, this would require us (agencies, brands, platforms) to start staffing like newsrooms.

Is the industry ready for church-and-state aka editorial-and-advertising to officially be dead? In my opinion – it doesn’t matter if the industry is ready or not. What matters is who can do it best, and first.

2. Social, and Google, run the Internet

Social is still the unicorn of the Internet world. And, Google is still the Google of the Internet world. No surprises here. But, if your livelihood is built on either of these platforms – it’s a good time to be in business.

Maybe it’s my millennial naiveté, but I was in awe at how many are still figuring out the importance of social within their marketing mix.

Beverly Jackson, VP of Social Media and Content Strategy at MGM Resorts International, quoted John Grant’s “The New Marketing Manifesto” by opening with, “Authenticity is the benchmark against which all brands are now judged.”

This is something I think about a lot. It’s quite easy to say anything in 140 characters, but if you can’t back it up then why say it at all? When I think about accounts I work on, I always give it the personal litmus test – would I share this on my own channels?

Ryan Oliver, Head of Brand Strategy for the East Coast at Twitter, provided what separates the best brands on Twitter from everyone else – timely, adventurous, customer-focused, resourceful, insight-driven and full of personality. Essentially, it’s the epitome of what it takes to be a unicorn.


Online visibility will make or break your brand. SEO nerds (I say this with love) will firmly attest to this. What’s the point of having a website if no one can find it? Social, aka Facebook, has allowed the ability for anyone, or any brand, to have a web presence beyond the traditional WordPress template. Facebook has the potential to be a one-stop-shop for Small Business owners, who are anxious about investing their entire marketing budget for SEO and website development.

Beyond visibility, discovery is equally as important. There are ways that Google can be your best friend when learning about how consumers are interacting with your brand.

#ProTip from Dezeil: Use Google as a way to see what people are naturally talking, or asking, about your product.

3. Women in the Internet

I went to 12 speakers and half were women. I overheard many attendees voicing the biggest difference between this year and previous Summits were the number of women present.

Face it, the Internet is not just a man’s world anymore. Moreover, 2015 is not just a man’s world anymore. I say this in jest as the glass ceiling is still ever present. But women are creatively breaking it with their own tools: Lenny Letter, Girls Who Code, Be Your Own Muse, and LearnVest are all examples of women carving their space in the Internet world.

Maybe Silicon Valley will take note.

Russel Simmons (yes, THAT Russel Simmons) spoke candidly about diversity in the industry.  He said what we’re all thinking, feeling, and tweeting but lack the agency to say it.


Ignite Social Media