Keynote Speaker Erik Deckers Tells Us to Be Better, Be Human

After we enjoyed some delicious coffee from Junction and breakfast tacos from Fuzzys, we were ready to get educated by our great Confluence lineup.

Kellen McGugan, emcee, welcomed the first speaker to the stage at Confluence Conference and we were off!

Erik Deckers kicked off Confluence Conference as our first keynote this year. He invited us to reminisce on the creation of the Internet and AOL while pushing us forward into the future of content marketing.

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Deckers is the owner and president of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing agency in Indianapolis, and has co-authored and published four books. He is currently working on the third edition of Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy.

Deckers starts his talk by laughing and mentioning how some content marketing speakers might start their speech by saying “make good content,” but he disagrees with that because you never go into the day thinking “suck at your job today.” He argues that we always plan to do our best and can only continue to try our best and add quality to our content.

When the Internet was first created, people were concerned with how the Internet would change our community and separate us. And yes, the Internet brought many changes of how we interact but also brought a million more ways that we can communicate and find like-minded people..

The Internet allows us to find niche groups that we wouldn’t have been able to find in the past, like marble collectors or beer can enthusiasts. There are millions of communities online where you can find any kind of hobby you could ever imagine. Do a search. You’ll discover that your very strange hobby has a following.

Deckers takes us down memory lane to tell us about the first content marketing pieces in history.

We have been doing content marketing for years, it just wasn’t called content marketing! There was Furrow,  a magazine by John Deere, and the Michelin Guide, and Lego Club which was a magazine for Lego kid enthusiasts. Content marketing has been alive for years, it simply wasn’t titled “content marketing.”

eric deckers

Now, there are infinite content pieces on the same topic. It’s hard to come up with an idea about social media that isn’t already written, while just a decade ago there might not have been any books covering it.

Today, you can craft the most perfect content and it will be buried by tons of other content. Where is all this content coming from? It’s software writers and robot writers, along with people creating a lot more content to inform their customers, or audience.

What are some crazy statistics on content on the Internet today?

By year 2020, the internet will increase by 600 percent. Robots can write 5 million stories in a single week.

You have most likely read a story that has been written by a robot. Companies like the Associated Press, Forbes, and even the Minor League Baseball are using robots to create content, or using software. However, there is a difference with this content. These pieces are like MadLibs where its a “____ verb ____,” and not storytelling. It’s simply factual and never emotional and creative. Robots cannot write opinion pieces or use feeling like humans can.

Deckers believes in people that are still story-telling and using the word “said.” He explains how he hates that teachers are telling students to use verbs like, laughed, shouted, etc. but not to use said. He argues that said is not dead and to still use it.

When big news comes out, we don’t want to hear from robots but from the expert who knows what they are saying and can explain it in an interesting, creative way.

What does future hold for content marketing?

It’s the same as it has always been. It is about words, images, and sounds. We will continue to tell stories. We learn things as a society by hearing it and then telling it to others, and that will never change. While Facebook and social media channels will go away some day, story telling never will.

Deckers leaves us with the idea of being better than the robots and everyone else. Create meaningful content.