Another Learn Inbound event, another host of fantastic speakers. But this time it was the first full day programme in the Academy. When we say full day, we really mean it - 10 speakers throughout the day followed by an after party.
Arriving at 10 am for registration, and after a quick bite and a cup of coffee, we were ready to have our marketing minds blown by first three speakers of the day:
- Stacey McNaught - Director of Search at Tecmark who discussed idea generation and how her team can consistently produce good ideas by following a specific ‘ideation cycle’. Stacey shared some actionable tips and tactics, as well as examples of Tecmark’s own work the to illustrate how sometimes you can be wrong about an idea.
- Barry Adams - SEO Consultant at Polemic Digital who pulled no punches in detailing the many mistakes made by Web Developers that can drastically hurt SEO. Barry gave us some real-world examples of technical errors, describing why they were terrible in as blunt a fashion as possible. Barry was both funny and (more importantly) informative - urging us to make sure we weren’t guilty of any of the same mistakes!
- Talia Wolf - Co-founder and CMO at Banana Splash took us in a different direction - mobile. Talia stressed its importance, citing that 65% of traffic is now mobile, but that mobile responsive design is usually seen as an add-on extra when developing a website. This ‘mobile-second’ approach is hurting user experience and mobile conversions, with a 270% conversion-gap compared to desktop.
After a great start, there was a break to digest what we had just heard (as well as a few treats from KC Peaches). We returned to another three speakers:
- Laura Crimmons - Communications Director at Branded3, looked at the value of digital PR and content marketing. She dismissed the idea that building 100’s of backlinks should be a focus of companies - they are not as valuable to Google as you may think, and you can achieve a better result by focusing on 20 strong links. Other areas that you should be focusing to strengthen digital PR are - creating credible citations, building brand awareness, and working to take up SERP real estate such as optimising for Google’s featured snippet (AKA ‘position zero’).
- Simon Penson - Founder and MD at Zazzle Media took us right to the core of content marketing and gave his case for what needs to change. Simon convinced us to become the Jerry Maguires of marketing and make the changes necessary to improve the direction content marketing is headed. He advocated for the ‘brand as publisher’ approach - avoiding the flashy ideas and instead focusing on creating varied content of value that can build brand awareness, engagement, links, repeat visits, and eventually sales over time.
- Mackenzie Fogelson - Founder and CEO at Genuinely. The early afternoon group ended strongly with Mack talking about how to create a durable brand in the digital age. Through the narrative of ‘#ChipotleOrDie’, Mack conveyed some inspiring points on the benefits of building authenticity and defining the purpose of your brand from the start. 73% of customers care more about the brand than the product - this means the forming of honesty, integrity, and promise delivery is vital for any company that wants to create and maintain a successful brand identity.
Lunch came a just the right time as Mack’s fast food reference’s certainly put the idea in our heads. BBQ ribs, chicken pie and more were served up as we took an hour lunch to try to discuss the day’s events so far and mingle with other attendees. At 3 pm we were back at it again with the final block of the day’s speakers:
- Joanna Wiebe - Founder and CEO at Copy Hackers started us off with a fascinating take on writing copy. Joanna brought together some great research that could be summarised in the statement - You are writing copy that is much too short, and it is hurting your conversions. 60% of sales are lost to ‘no action’ i.e. you are not convincing the viewer enough to take action. By taking steps like using your own words to spell out what you’re saying to the reader, allowing them to visualise what you’re talking about, and making everything about them - not the brand - you can drastically improve your copy, leading to better conversions.
- Hannah Smith - Head of Creative at Verve Search was up next with the promise of teaching us how to build a time machine. Although we didn’t come away with a working DeLorean, we did get some fascinating information on how to create successful creative content. By using plenty of great real-world examples including her own work, Hannah showed us some of the ways to succeed:
- Make content that resonates with people - be honest, or create instant connections through shared experiences like nostalgic posts
- Don’t be afraid to polarise opinions - it can create discussion and engagement
- Make content that lets people understand or discover something about the world or even about themselves
- Be timely and relevant - especially if you want mainstream media coverage
- Give hope or inspire people
- Ed Fry - Head of Growth at Hull.io, last speaker before the final break of the day, kept our attention with some great insights on how to get content to stand out and get people to engage with your posts. In a talk jam-packed with useful tips and tools, notable points included; the ‘4 Best Types of Content for Engagement’ - Process Sharing, Opinions, Lists, & Stories, and ‘The Golden Rules of Community Content.’
We had a quick break to stretch the legs and grab one last caffeine fix, and we were back ready to go for the final speaker of the day:
- Phil Nottingham - Marketing Strategist at Wistia, was in some manner the headline speaker of the day, and he lived up to it! Opening with the great anecdote about ‘Street Bump’ which intended to map all the potholes in Boston, but instead resulted in a disproportionate amount of resources spent in wealthy areas where there were more users - with this Nottingham backed up the idea that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Throughout the talk he stressed that focussing on one particular relevant and useful KPI is better than trying to keep track of 20 metrics. He dismissed the ‘All the things’ approach, instead, focusing on only one metric allows you to accomplish what you set out to do.
After Phil had finished it was on to the afterparty, where like-minded marketers mingled with each other and the speakers over some drinks! We’re already looking forward to the next evening event in January!