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Together, they attracted nearly 30,000 marketers. To make the most of it for our teams, and our lovely readers (you!), we asked some of the smarterst marketers in attendance:
What is your single biggest marketing takeaway from this year’s conferences?
They did not disappoint!
In this post, I’m going to share some top takeaways you can put into action by the time you’re done with your next cup of java ☕️
Before we dive in, it may be helpful to know what these conferences actually are!
If you’re unsure, no prob.
Created and hosted by Hubspot, INBOUND is the largest marketing conference in the world, with nearly 25,000 registrants. And Content Marketing World, created and hosted by Content Marketing Institute, is the gold-standard of content marketing conferences.
— Jordan Loftis (@jordan_loftis) September 5, 2018
INBOUND features big-name keynotes like Alex Rodriguez and Scott Harrison. But the nitty-gritty marketing talks are found in hundreds of breakout sessions scattered around a giant convention center (that looks like a spaceship).
— Jordan Loftis (@jordan_loftis) September 6, 2018
Content Marketing World is similar, with keynotes from the likes of Tina Fey. However, it’s razor focused on content marketing — as the name implies.
Cleveland Rocks! Stop by and say to these handsome devils at #cmworld. You might even get a signed #10xMarketingFormula book! @njellering @EricPiela @garrett_moon @k_n_elson pic.twitter.com/tvFFTMMhqH
— CoSchedule (@CoSchedule) September 5, 2018
Each conference has value in its own right. Now, here are nine takeaways from top marketers and brands on the heels of these notable conferences.
When Hubspot looks at their audience and reach on Medium, 87 percent of the people they reach are not in their contact base. That’s total brand awareness! Add to that, Medium is one of the only places on the internet where long-form content can go viral. Medium has a specific use case: brand lift and reach. But to be successful on Medium you have to work the algorithm. For example, right now, you have to get 50 people to clap within the first 24 hours to simply get on bat. If you’re writing stuff people don’t want to share, you’re not going to get any traction. Medium is a discovery platform.
To me, this was a fascinating take on the content platform. Really, it almost turns Medium into another social network.
So, if you have a Medium blog, like our 10x Marketing channel, consider digging into what makes great content spread there. And think of it as a brand lift and reach platform.
The one thing that stuck out for me (and I’ve found myself talking about) was from Joe Pulizzi’s big-picture keynote about goals. I didn’t know this, but Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee, wrote down his goals in a letter to himself. He committed to becoming an international martial arts superstar, making $10,000,000 and giving the most exciting performances to his fans.
Joe suggests we all do the same by writing down our goals, focusing on helping others, and removing distractions for our lives. Great advice for marketers. Great advice for everyone. Thanks, Joe.
There you have it. Write down big goals, focus on helping others, and remove distractions from your life. It’s interesting that often, doing the job of marketing well means pairing your ambition for growth with a desire to be truly helpful to your audience.
To stand out, Ian suggests focusing on optimization as well as attraction. He says:
The number of companies investing in content marketing is increasing every year, so it’s becoming increasingly challenging to get onto page one of Google. We’re not even in the race unless we produce high quality content, but we also need to focus more on the optimization of this content and promotion. Optimization includes optimization for SEO, but also includes areas such as optimization for readability, as well as attracting people you need to keep people on your site reading your content. In addition, we also need to invest more time in promoting content organically and through paid advertisement. No matter how good the content is if you’re not investing the time in the promotion you won’t get the value from it.
Ian hints at a simple content marketing framework that works incredibly well: create, promote, optimize.
Create content people love and search engines understand. Then aggressively promote that content through paid and organic channels. And finally, don’t neglect] optimizing it for the long haul.
John Hall, co-founder of Calendar and advisor to Influence & Co., knows a thing (or twelve) about content marketing. Influence & Co. uses smartly-placed content marketing to help clients become influencers in their fields.
Here’s what John said on the heels of CMW:
I think the biggest focus at Content Marketing World this year was what companies can do as a differentiating factor so that your customer sees you differently than others in the industry. Whether it be my talk on increasing distribution, or Jay Baer’s talk on Talk Triggers, or another speaker, there were clear hints of being unique with marketing tactics and not just copy others. I think that stood out to me as something for brands to focus on moving forward.
Around CoSchedule, we call unoriginal tactics “copycat marketing.” While you can certainly get inspired by other brands doing things right, copy-paste marketing jobs will give diminishing returns.
Why? Because if everyone’s doing it, your brand looks like everyone else’s.
Dewitt Jones talked about imagining the extraordinary in the ordinary. To me, great content marketing does that, too:
- It takes sometimes pedestrian tactics and elevates them. I spoke about in my efforts to retool Total Annarchy, my own newsletter (AnnHandley.com/newsletter) and called out what I see others doing really well with email newsletters. (Most companies are missing the boat completely on them.) (And I say this with love in my heart.)
- It takes everyday customer questions and sincerely tries to deliver the best answer it can to them, to become that trusted resource. Mitch Joel, Dorie Clark, and I talked about that in our panel on Longform Content (the “Long Tales,” as Mitch cleverly titled it!). Robert Rose talked about this too.
- It takes the ordinary moments of business and elevates them into stories that resonate.
On the heels of John Hall’s advice that we take unique paths as content creators, Ann’s advice is interesting.
Instead of trying to go 180-degrees from the norm, she suggests elevating even the “pedestrian tactics” like newsletters.
And how does a marketer do this? By developing trust and answering real customer questions with insight and value.
It is so easy to fall in love with every amazing idea presented at Content Marketing World. But, as many of us know all too well, it’s also just as easy to feel completely overwhelmed and get a bit of analysis paralysis with those same ideas when you get back to the office. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, sit down and figure out what’s going to be the easiest AND most impactful to implement. Get those ideas in motion first, then go down the wishlist. Start with what will make a difference, and work your way out from there.
It’s so easy to catch shiny-object-syndrome. But prioritizing one big idea at a time is such sound advice.
When you try to do everything, you often end up doing nothing.
My favorite takeaways from CMWorld 2018 (theme: Game On) would be these two points. The first — what Robert Rose said when he took the stage before the first keynote: “There is a new player coming into the market: Trust.” He said that trust is Player 2 in today’s marketing, and he’s 100% right! More and more people are looking for that trustworthy brand or marketer in the middle of all of the noise.
My second favorite takeaway would have to be what Joe Pulizzi, my all-time favorite content marketer, shared in his keynote: “Marketing success only takes three things. Record, Repeat, Remove. Marketing fails when our recorded goals aren’t big enough; when there is not enough repetition; and when we do not clear the garbage that stops us from achieving our goals.” Joe shared that the minimum time was 9 months, average 18 months or longer, of implementing content to see success. These were some major takeaways that I’ve been sharing on Twitter, LinkedIn, and internally with my staff post-CMWorld 2018.
Julia gave us two tips for the price of one! Trust and process. Focus on building deep rapport with your audience, and remember that content marketing is a very long-term game.
Next, I chatted with Alex Schofield, an Account Executive at Wistia, at INBOUND in Boston, MA. The Wistia team obviously eats, sleeps, and breathes all things video marketing. So it’s no surprise their team had advice on doing it well.
Coming out of INBOUND, our biggest recommendation for video marketing in 2019 and beyond is to start (or continue) creating personalized videos! 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions, and given how easy it is to record a video on your phone or with a tool like Soapbox, there’s no reason not to add personalized videos to your tool kit. Using video to answer FAQs, offer a promotion, or just simply say thanks, will help you nurture leads through the funnel.
This advice around using video in the sales process is not only a fantastic idea, but it’s also a great way to breakdown the classic sales-marketing silo.
Finally, Byron White, CEO of Writers Access, deepened the theme of building trust by knowing your audience inside and out. Byron said:
Good content marketing is all about building a relationship with your audience, so get to know the whole of their parts! What kinds of media do they inhale in their free time? Are they Mac or PC people? Caregivers with crazy schedules or data nerds with a penchant for baseball? A holistic approach can often help you layer in unique details and interesting angles to your content strategy that makes your approach feel that much more personal to your target audience.
Who is your audience? What do they care about? How can you uniquely help them?
These are fantastic questions to answer about your personas. And when you do, you’ll find your strategy can nearly write itself!
All right, there you have it.
Nine tips from top marketers around their biggest takeaways from the two of the biggest marketing conferences in the world!
What stuck out to you? What will you and your team put into practice?
Drop us a line in the comments to let us know. And if you were at either conference, what was your biggest takeaway?
Now, finally, what’s my best takeaway after talking with hundreds of marketers…?
Get yourself completely organized!
And there’s no better way to do this than CoSchedule.
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To email-thread project management…
To endless meetings to “get on the same page”…
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