Going to a Hubpot marketing conference for the first time can be be pretty exciting– the disco lights, the vibe, the 14,000 creative smart people all in one place, and of course the many presentations by smart creative people. This year, I focused my agenda schedule on content marketing, strategy and storytelling. Here are my top takeaways.
Follow the golden rule.
“Market unto others as you would have them market unto you.” Dharmesh Shah (CTO, HubSpot founder)
No one wants to feel like they are being marketed too, being pushed or pulled in a direction that they aren’t ready for. What you may consider direct mail is another person's junk mail. Film editors take us on a journey using timing and perspective. The best editors will help you understand and feel the story without seeing the cuts, the transitions or the spaces in between. The same storytelling technique can be used in business. Know your audience and help them. They will know if you are trying too hard.
“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” —Rose Kennedy
To connect with people, you need to understand their daily lives. It isn’t just about finding pain points, it is about truly understanding the flow of their lives. Take advantage of website, social media, and real life analytics to truly know who your community is.
Review your content and social media and look for themes. Take a macro look at your social media posts for the last 6 months. Are they “sharing” specific types of content more often? Are you always in line with your messaging? Do you see visual themes or content themes with the more active posts that you would like to explore? While it is the nature of social media posting to be ephemeral, each post is a reflection of the whole.
Bolder stories and braver marketing
"A ship is safe in the harbor. But that is not what a ship is for." — William G.T. Shedd
One of the main questions I wanted to hear answers for going into this event is this: How do we connect with people in an overloaded world? The answer is context and substance. You need to provide substantive content that has a deeper value to people at the right time. Instead of a surface connection, be bold — go for the mind, go for the heart, go for the guts to tell your story and make a connection. Be intentional about everything your company puts out into the world and make sure it resonates within your community. And while there are "rules" about number of words or attention time limits, quality content matters no matter the length. You need to be true to yourself and your brand.
Have a plan for your content
“One hour of planning will save 10 hours of doing” Amanda Sibley, Hubspot
Have a clear reason why you are doing something. As you are planning and developing your next blog post, white paper, podcast or campaign offer, make a plan for promotion. What will you need to promote your content? And add those extras to your overall work plan.
Take notes! Sure you can download a slidedeck after the fact, but not everything is in the slidedeck. In the moment, a speaker will say something that may resonate with you. If it is important to you, write it down. For note and picture taking, I took advantage of Evernote on my phone instead of carrying around a heavy laptop. Your trusty moleskine nootbook and a good pen will do the trick too!
Lastly, don’t forget to bring a granola bar or your favorite go-to snack for those low energy moments. When you are running toward your next presentation you'll need to keep your energy up. You never know when or where you'll hear your next pro tip.