“If you’re going to lead, lead with grace and compassion.” – Michelle Obama
As a three-year user of HubSpot, I was thrilled to finally attend my first Inbound. And it was worth the wait! While I came back to work with a wealth of knowledge, several Word docs of notes and a notebook filled with chicken scratch revelations, I have condensed my learnings into seven key points. I hope they inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me!
1. Create the conditions for your creativity.
Piera Gelardi, Refinery 29
My very first session was Piera’s insightful keynote. She spoke about methods her team uses for brainstorming and inspiring creativity. One thing that stuck out to me was the importance of creating the conditions for your creativity. When you’re tasked with a creative project, avoid feeling pressure to come up with all your best ideas on the spot. Be aware of the conditions that allow you to let creativity flow. For example, I typically feel most creative when I’m working alone with quiet music playing in the background. On the other hand, some people might feel most creative in a group with a tight timeline. Create your optimal conditions for your best chance to be inspired.
2. Chatbots are going to overtake apps.
Purna Virji, Microsoft
This was a major theme of Inbound. Everyone was abuzz about chatbots and artificial intelligence. Consider these stats:
- 20% of brands will abandon their mobile apps by 2019. (Gartner)
- 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020. (Business Insider)
- By 2020 the average person will have more conversations with their bot than with their spouse. (Gartner)
There is a clear push, from both businesses and consumers, to make chatbots more commonplace. Consumers appreciate the convenience of asking a bot a quick question and businesses will do whatever it takes to give their customers fast responses. It will be interesting to see where this trend takes us!
3. Topic clusters are shaking up SEO.
Leslie Ye, HubSpot
There is a lot of information out there from HubSpot on topic clusters (here is a good place to start). The gist of it is that topic clusters make it easier for your website to be ranked well on Google. Pillar pages serve as an anchor point for a particular topic of your expertise. Branching out from that are blogs and subpages that dig deeper into that topic (all linking back to the pillar page). It’s clear that shifting to this model is going to require a lot of time and effort to restructure web content, but it seems that the payoff will be worth it.
4. Repurpose content on LinkedIn Publisher.
Viveka von Rosen, Vengreso
I, for one, have always struggled with navigating LinkedIn. It isn’t super user-friendly when it comes to publishing content and creating ads. A session with Viveka helped me understand where everything is located on LinkedIn and how to utilize it more effectively. My biggest takeaway was that publishing content on LinkedIn can produce high returns in the form of reach and the potential to be featured in Pulse (which I didn’t even know existed!).
Here are some tips for publishing on LinkedIn:
- Top performing post types are How Tos, Guides, Top 10 Lists and Infographics
- Top performing headlines included “We need to…”, “The role of…” and “How to avoid…”
- Aim for 500 words
- Use a Call-to-Action
- Add a mini bio and contact information at the bottom of your post
5. Remember the human sitting on the other side of the email address.
Marwa Greaves, HubSpot
It’s true. We so often forget that we are emailing actual people when we send out marketing eblasts. Now more than ever, it’s important to consider those people in our communications. The most obvious point is that we don’t want to pester and annoy our contacts. But, we also need to figure out ways to make them feel special. As marketers, we should focus on:
- Segmentation – if the email content feels relevant to the contact, they’ll be more inclined to engage.
- Personalization – this needs to go beyond a first name token. What data do you have about the contact that will make them feel connected to your brand?
- Automation – use automation to send timely emails to contacts throughout the buyer’s journey.
- Responsive Design – always design with mobile in mind. But this goes beyond formatting. What is the experience like for the user? Is the CTA button too big or small? How long do they have to scroll before reaching your message?
6. When creating content, find a topic that interests your audience and an angle that matches the value you provide.
Garrett Moon, CoSchedule
At first this sounds obvious, but it really stood out to me. Of course, we want to write about topics that are interesting to our audience. But, the way to make it effective is to demonstrate the value you provide. When brainstorming a list of topics, take it one step further. Next to each topic idea, write what your company has to offer regarding that topic. That will help you come up with specific and unique blog posts or articles.
7. Do the work. Let people judge your work, not you.
Michelle Obama, Former First Lady
Nearly everything that Michelle said was inspiring. The moderator of her keynote, Roxane Gay, asked Michelle how she combatted negative opinions from the media and the public. Her response was eye-opening. She said she didn’t let any criticism affect her. Sure, we all say that. But you could tell Michelle truly meant it. She explained that as long as you are confident and authentic in who you are and what you are doing, people will come to learn the truth. So, stay focused. Do your work. Let your work be a testament to who you are.
Thanks for a great week, Inbound! Until next time.