I attended Hubspot’s Inbound 2016 Conference in Boston this year and was blown away by how jazzed over 19,000 people were about everything digital marketing. It was a blast and I got a chance to hear about best practices from leaders in the field, get some on-on-one time with our consultants (Red Javelin is a Hubspot Agency partner) and hear about the company’s vision on the future of inbound marketing. Inbound is definitely a movement and felt the excitement all around me from marketing professionals of all specialties - content, web design, graphics design, PR, sales, and SEO.
During my two days there, here are some of the top content marketing takeaways for me as an integrated marketing professional who is constantly learning to provide the best PR, content, social and inbound marketing services to B2B technology companies:
10 Key Takeaways from Inbound 2016 Keynotes and Speakers:
- Content fuels everything digital marketing.
You need to invest resources to create it, upscale it, relaunch it, promote it, socialize it, and humanize it. If you don’t, you will become obsolete quickly.
- Work smarter with content.
It’s not all about cranking out more and more. Upcycle your content for maximum mileage by creating a core piece and then think about the many ways you can convey it. For example, a recipe for spaghetti on a cooking site can become a Youtube “how to cook it” video clip, and a shorter 5 second Facebook. A book can become a podcast with multiple episodes. And if the other formats drive you back to consume the original core content, it’s successful.
In another session, Hubspot advised us to find content that needs updating and redo, republish, and SEO optimize the content to turn it into fresh content.
- Video + Social is a great combination moving into 2017.
Videos - live, short and long formats – is becoming the preferred way to communicate in our fast-faced ADD-like lifestyles and we as marketers need to transition more towards this medium. So start looking for videographers, not bloggers.
- Customers are your most powerful channel.
Figure out ways to add value to your customers to be disruptive and nurture your champions. Stay close and get to know them well.
- The cold call is dead.
No one answers their phones anymore. But contextual e-mail still works to start a sale.
- Chatbot will be the biggest wave of technology in the next two decades.
Hubspot said the chatbots will connect marketers and sales teams to its new GrowthBot, which will marry artificial intelligence and machine learning with existing HubSpot's systems like customer relationship management (CRM). So I guess we can expect natural language to take over and give marketers the same Siri-like capabilities in our automation software sooner rather than later.
- The Language You Use Really Does Matter.
Choosing choice words makes a huge difference on whether your content will be read or is converted into driving a customer to a sale. Words like COST, BEST and comparisons “VERSUS” drive revenue so consider writing blogs with these in mind. Using keywords should be a priority and don’t think this research does not matter. It’s crucial.
When telling your story, write clearly and without hyperbole. Don’t use I, WE, OUR as it’s not about you. It’s about the customer. Even words like ALLOWS and ENABLES are an extension of yourself.
- Find A Niche To Grow Your Business.
Identifying competency in a specific niche and leveraging inbound marketing for a specific target market is becoming big business. So jump in now!
- Don’t Blog Without Real Goals.
Many companies blog to establish thought leadership and create topics without benchmarking very specific goals. Do you want to rank for 3 keywords in the next 6 months? Garner 5,000 views in 2016? Or generate 100 lead per month during Q4? Nail this ASAP if you want to make a difference. Make sure your goals are aligned with your corporate goals if you want this huge effort to pay off.
- Consider Co-Marketing to Increase Lead Generation.
Working on a co-branded project cuts in half the work it will take to create a piece of content and doubles the leads because it is promoted using both networks.
Not only was Inbound 2016 jam packed with lots of learning, I got to catch up with some of my favorite people in the business and had a blast.
I'd love to hear from others on what you learned at Inbound for B2B marketers so please share with us!
Dana Harris is the co-founder and Partner of Red Javelin Communications. Follow her on Twitter: @danaharris.