Who Missed MINBOUND 2015? Here's my one key takeaway.
Yesterday, we attended the inaugural MINBOUND conference for Minnesota's inbound marketing community. The event was put together by the team at Synecore Tech and by all accounts, it was a great success. It was a blast for us to get together with our friends across the inbound marketing space to learn from each other, share ideas and inspiration, and simply to catch up!
Beyond how fun the conference was, it was also a fantastic day of expanding our inbound marketing knowledge. From new tips & tricks to industry insights and validation of our latest suspicions on marketing trends & data, I came away with many helpful takeaways.
The most helpful takeaway, however, was this:
Maniacal dedication to the end user is everything on the increasingly crowded web.
In 2010, that number was 20.
Enter MINBOUND 2015...
That said, I think there's a difference between customer-centric content and MANIACALLY customer-centric content.
So how do you develop a content marketing strategy that will attract traffic and generate leads even if you haven't reached critical mass?
4 MINBOUND Tips on Creating Content That's "Maniacally" Focused on the Reader
1. Answer the "Big 5" Questions
- What's your pricing?
- What are the problems with this product/service?
- What is the difference between your product/service and X product/service?
- Who is the best and the worst in the industry?
- If we don't use you, who would you recommend?
Google is learning to serve up content semantically rather than via keywords. If your content truly answers questions people are typing in, you'll come out on top. Plus, people will love you for being transparent and real. Prospects who trust you will buy from you, which leads me to my next point...
2. Be more real
Inbound marketing is all about building trust with your prospects and helping them make the best buying decision possible (which, if they fit your buying criteria means the best decision is buying from you.) As Erica Hanna, one of my favorite MINBOUND speakers, put it:
Inbound marketing = Giving a crap about people"
Her talk focused on how traditional marketing (and a lot of content marketing) features self-serving product information rather than providing true value to the customer. During her talk, I learned that maniacal dedication to the end user means respecting the person, the platform, and the moment. Let me break that down:
Respect the person - When developing content, remember that it's about the reader not about you. As writers and as business people, we make the mistake of thinking that people are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear about our latest product update or press release. They're not. It's sad but true. When we focus on positioning our messages so that they resonate with our end users, more people consume our content and more people like us for it.
Respect the platform - Don't post the same thing across all social media platforms. Don't post your tweets to Facebook. Understand that each social media platform is intended for a specific purpose and respect that purpose, even if it takes extra work on your part.
Respect the moment - Believe it or not, empathy pays in marketing. When there's breaking news of a shooting or a terrible natural disaster is taking place, you look like a big jerk for posting "Check out our latest case study!" (or whatever it is). Be respectful of the moment and how your audience is likely feeling in the moment. Utilize tact.
3. Be more iterative
At MINBOUND, our friends at Media Junction did a panel with questions from Jill Konrath and a very engaged group of marketers. One of the main trends they addressed is a trend toward growth-driven or "iterative" design in website development.
When creating a website, or developing blog content for that matter, it's no longer adequate to "set it and forget it."
The 21st century has gifted us with an amazing collection of tools we can use to track how our visitors engage once they've reached out website or blog.
If we are maniacally dedicated to our visitors' experience (and want them to become leads), we should be aware of their behavior on our sites and make changes to reduce friction and make answering their questions absolutely seamless.
To do this, Media Junction uses an iterative process where they create content, publish, watch visitors behavior (they use Hotjar), collect data, and then analyze results and make changes. By working through this process several times, their websites are not only beautiful, but provide near-frictionless experiences that optimize lead generation.
We can apply the same iterative approach to blog content by developing topics and strategies, tracking reader behavior, collecting data, and the analyzing and revising our strategy.
It takes more work to continuously circle back and analyze results, but this data-driven approach goes a long way to developing content that stands out above the competion.
All in all, I think George B Thomas said it best when he said it should be our mission to "Out-help" our competitors using content. With all the challenges we marketers face in an increasingly saturated space, "out-helping" is the only way forward.