A Marketer’s Take on C.C. Chapman’s #3TYVR Talk

Last week, C.C. Chapman—who co-wrote Content Rules with Ann Handley—toured Third Tuesday chapters throughout Canada, ending in Vancouver where I had the opportunity to hear him speak.

Instead of relying on PowerPoint slides, C.C. spoke briefly to us about the book before fielding questions from the audience on such varied topics as ethics, corporate employees on social media and outsourcing content creation. He was personable and down-to-earth, leading many of us to ask if he might be the next Regis!

Third Tuesday Vancouver: C.C. Chapman
Photo by Jeremy Lim. All rights reserved.

Be Human

“Be human,” C.C. reminded us. Don’t shill—tell a story that evokes emotion to connect with your audience.

But, oftentimes, C.C. said, Marketing, PR, and legal staff get in the way of real interactions between organizations and their audience. As proof, he spoke from personal experience about working for Coca-Cola and urging senior staff to respond to a crisis immediately by video. A week went by while staff waited for clearance from the legal department, allowing the issue to fester unattended.

Of course, I don’t believe that C.C. was blithely slagging everyone in these professions. A speaker’s talk can be like a 140-character tweet in some respects with limited time and space to adequately address all the nuances of a given subject.

Still, I have to provide the flip side as someone in the Marketing/Communications field.

Trust Your People

The best spokespeople I’ve worked with talk from their heart rather than a script. Recently, I helped organize an open Q&A panel with senior members from my department. Before the event, we spent a couple of meetings prepping the panelists. Largely, the preparation consisted of reassuring the panelists that they didn’t need a list of key messages. Instead, we ensured that they had stats and timelines to fall back on in case they needed to. And practiced some of the questions they’d likely face. After all, these were our senior people—subject matter experts who were passionate about the organization and its vision.

To paraphrase C.C., your employees have the organization’s best interests at heart—they don’t need to be tightly controlled.

And not all marketers are intent on killing real, spontaneous, honest interaction. Really. In fact, Content Rules will help many of us make a case to the C-level suite for creating good quality content that humanizes our organizations.

How are you building the case for content?


For more on C.C. Chapman’s presentation, take a look at:

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6 thoughts on “A Marketer’s Take on C.C. Chapman’s #3TYVR Talk

  1. I totally adored CC Chapman and loved his presentation. He is wonderful and super smart. I’m just surprised that some of his tips were seen as a revelation by so many people. As I indicated live, the questions were substantially basic. I would definitely send some of the people who asked such basic questions to CopyWriting or Social Media 101. Sorry, I may sound harsh, but seriously!

    Also – side note, as I told Stephanie Scott – I prefer to be called Raul rather than @hummingbird604 when linked on anyone’s site (and thanks for the link, Tracy! It was great to see you and give you a hug.

  2. Thanks, Raul. I’ve corrected the attribution for your Liveblog–thanks for the heads up.

    When I first read your tweet about how basic the questions were, I cringed a little. After all, I thought, we’re all on a different trajectory in terms of our knowledge and mastery of digital tools.

    And then we started hearing questions about how to use Twitter. Really. Really?! That’s when I came around to your position. C.C. handled all of the questions with respect. But if you don’t “get” Twitter, I don’t think a #3TYVR event is where you should start exploring its virtues or applications. Time for you to spend an evening on Mashable and get up to speed. If that sounds elitist, I’m sorry but we’re getting great speakers and should make the most out of each opportunity.

    Great to see you and thanks for creating a liveblog–great resource.

  3. I’m glad you see my point, Tracy – most people find my views rather controversial and somewhat snobby, I will admit. But what they should bear in mind is I have been in this space for almost 5 years, living it, breathing it, practicing it. I eat, breathe, sleep social media (in addition to my academics). I even consult on it (very specific projects, though)

    I agree, with the caliber of speakers we are getting, it’s time to get up a notch. My mission is to bring the collective level of the social community up. If it is by challenging people to ask tougher, more in-depth, better directed questions, so be it. And I’m glad that you are joining my task force 🙂

    Great post, Tracy!

  4. I do a lot of public speaking and the truth is that there are always a handful of the most basic questions. Sure, they get old and I’ve answered them before, but it is important for all of us to remember that it wasn’t that long ago that we were asking those questions too and that we’ve got to keep answering them so that everyone can move forward.

    Thanks for the write up and it was great to get a chance to chat with you a bit before the whole thing got underway.

    Keep pushing and asking for forgiveness, not permission. Seems it has been working out great for you so far.

  5. C.C., thanks for adding your voice and advocating temperance and tolerance. You really are a good digital dad to more than just your kids ☺

    I understand your desire to keep everyone moving forward—on the whole, I agree. After all, what is “basic” to you will likely be news to me.

    *small voice* I just think questions about “why” and “how” to use Twitter have bogged down more than one meetup. */small voice*

    Thanks for letting me pick your brain and signing my book (!).

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