Due to travel, I missed the Content Israel 2015 Conference, I really wanted to attend.  If you are a startup, or for that matter, any company or organization looking at your content strategies for 2016, there’s a lot you can learn from sFBI’s Natalie Edwards.

Natalie Edwards - Marketing Director for sFBI, a Tel Aviv-based startup studio that's building startups that solve everyday problems

Natalie Edwards – Marketing Director for sFBI, a Tel Aviv-based startup studio that’s building startups that solve everyday problems

Natalie is Marketing Director for sFBI, a Tel Aviv-based startup studio that’s building startups that solve everyday problems. She’s currently at work on Pulse Play, a smartwatch for racket sport players, Bosco, a parental insights app, and Carehood, a platform for helping loved ones in their times of need. She can be found on Twitter at @natalieanneink.

I caught with Natalie through an email interview and here’s what she learned and shared.

What were you doing at Content Israel 2015?

My training is as a journalist and I’ve always felt like I get the most out of conferences when I write about them.

It also gives me an excuse to talk to everybody.

Of course, since I’m working around the clock as a Marketing Manager at a startup studio, any conferences I go to better be aligned with my day job. I offered to write a few stories for the Content Israel organizer and he accepted.

What can people learn for their content strategy in 2016?

There’s no excuse for not thinking strategically about content marketing.

Tools are plentiful and inexpensive, and the content marketers behind marketing software are there giving out free advice left and right.

You need to watch out, of course, for the fluff: “be authentic,” “write engaging content,” etc, but over time you develop a hawk-eye.

I spoke to Matt Barby from Hubspot, Chris Moody from Oracle Marketing Cloud, and Carlos Abner from 3M – they are all very nice guys that all marketers should follow.

Bob Rosenchein from Curiyo was on to something when he said marketers should be closely watching Apple, Google, Facebook, and the major publishers (BuzzFeed, HuffPost, etc.). Content doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and the major players are competing on a very high level for every minute users are online. The only way content marketers can compete is by focusing on reader empowerment and long-tail content production.

Finally, all eyes on video.

Sarah Snow from Glide, Sivan Barnea from Magisto and Ari Sherbill fromPowtoon were all there espousing the value of high-quality, inexpensive video.

There are still some agency guys out there who believe video starts in the thousands and should only exist as part of high-end marketing campaigns, and arguments erupted in the panels, but the push was towards finding moments to connect with users and maximizing user-generated content.

What can we learn from Natalie & sFBI?

I’m currently at work on the content strategies for three startups and it’s become a predictable process.

It’s not the science that Carlos Abner has over at 3M, but it’s a neat, step-by-step approach.

Of course that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or that I ever stop learning. Figuring out what makes people click is a continuous learning curve and it’s never something I can state with confidence for long. As I grow each startup’s audience, I’m constantly experimenting. And I never stop reading.

I heard somebody say at Content Israel that the Facebook like is dead, and I believe that.  Not only because I see so many pieces of content get meaningful clicks and no likes, but also because a like has no ROI.  People used to say that social media was all about branding, but that’s not true anymore – everything can be measured against strategic goals.

Eli Pakier from MRY touched on that in his talk – the line between content marketing and advertising is becoming invisible even if content marketing takes a “low-burn” approach.

I’m a very big believer in talking to customers as early as possible and looping them in on the startup.

Each of our startups has a core group of people that are passionate about the product and it’s my job to keep talking to them and trying to expand their numbers. Ari Sherbill from Powtoon spoke about this, the importance of the “tribe,” and I agree with him. Anything above that core group of passionate users is just vanity metrics. Don’t get me wrong–I use them–but I know what really matters.