Surveys, content communities and growth marketing – 3 highlights from day 2 of Learn Inbound

The last of the presentations have come to a close and Learn Inbound 2019 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin is officially in the books.

Done Looney Tunes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We listened to some amazing presentations over the course of the two days here at Learn Inbound. Each presenter left attendees with tangible tips that they can use to boost their marketing strategies – that’s something we can always get behind.

As we’re in the game of content strategy here at 256, there were a few talks that we took a little more away from than others. Here are our top highlights from day two of Learn Inbound 2019.

Els Aerts, AGConsult, The lost art of asking questions

We all love poring through mounds of data (love is the word, right?) to figure out how we can improve, but that’s not the only way to get valuable feedback, according to Els Aerts of AGConsult.

Els stressed that qualitative data is just as important as quantitative data, but only if you’re asking the right questions. We can ask any old question and get a response, but if you’re looking to optimise your website or campaigns then you don’t want any old answer – you want the right answer.

User behaviour can be a strong indicator of what’s not performing well in your strategy and fixing it can lead to massive returns. So, how do you go about figuring out if you’re getting the right feedback? Aerts stresses the importance of asking questions that get straight to the point instead of dancing around it. Instead of asking how well your website performed, ask them what held them back from making a purchase.

Aerts gave us four tips for getting the best answers from your surveys and interviews:

1. Ask the right people: It seems obvious, but sometimes we overlook the fact that not everyone – even in our target audience – will give us answers that can help us improve. Simply put: if you want to figure out what drives daily use of your yoga app, then talk to the people who use your app daily. Consider making your first question a targeting question that can whittle down the respondents to those who fall exactly within what you’re looking for.

2. Ask the right questions – but don’t ask them to tell the future for you: Asking whether they’d use your product more if you put in new features will create disappointment on both ends. They can’t tell you the future, so you’ll want to base your questions off of concrete ideas that will actually turn into something tangible.

What’s more, don’t forget to launch your surveys when they’re most relevant to your audience. Asking someone how the onboarding process went when they finished it six months ago will only give you misleading data.

3. Don’t ask leading questions: Questions that contain the answers within them should be avoided at all costs as they introduce bias. Instead, use both negative and positive phrasing to elicit the truest response – like asking how good or bad an event was.

If you do bias a question, Aerts recommends biasing it towards the negative aspect because having it lean towards positivity can skew the answers more.

4. Don’t ask loaded questions: These are questions that don’t necessarily hold the answer in the question, but definitely hold bias – like asking how you would rate your company, the best company in the world, and its service.

Day two of Learn Inbound 2019 has come to a close but not without giving us a host of great presentations.

Ross Simmonds, Foundation Marketing, Keywords aren’t enough: How to uncover content ideas worth chasing

The second presenter of Learn Inbound 2019 named Ross wants to let you know that there’s more to uncovering content ideas than simply doing keyword research – not that there’s anything wrong with keyword research.

Ross Simmonds of Foundation Marketing believes that finding the communities our audiences live and engage in will help us get a better grasp on what content is most useful and valuable to them – which can help our businesses get more exposure.

To accomplish that, Simmonds employs a three-step framework that his team uses to consistently generate content ideas that make an impact:

1. Research: Start by taking a deep dive into your audience by closely studying the channels they spend the most time on. That’s not just LinkedIn or what you think their favourite blog is, but the places they go in their free time too: Reddit, Quora and Pinterest.

The goal of your research element is understanding channel-user fit. Or, as Simmonds puts it, what channels is your audience actually spending its time on?

2. Rethink: Once you find the right channels, take a look at what the most popular content is. For example: If you’re on a specific subreddit, sort by ‘Top’ and ‘All-time’ to see what people have been engaging with the most.

The goal of the rethinking exercise is to figure out content-user fit. Which pieces of content resonate with your readers and what are the elements that make people want to share, comment and talk about them?

3. Remix: Last but not least, brainstorm how you can create even better pieces of content using the best performing pieces as inspiration. Don’t just copy them and add a few new sentences; create something original that draws on elements of what performs well.

The goal of remixing is to add something unique to the conversation. By leveraging past performances, you can build a base of likeable content while also adding your own unique spin.

But how do you choose which ideas to chase? Simmonds recommends asking yourself four questions when deciding:

  • Will it drive ROI?
  • Does your team have the technical ability to create what you’re envisioning?
  • Is the cost to create it too high?
  • Will it be shareable and linkable?

Nadya Khoja, Venngage, Growth by content: Driving massive traffic without a big budget

Practicality is a virtue at marketing conferences, where some concepts in presentations can feel far removed from what we as content marketers achieve every day. Nadya Khoja, the Chief Growth Officer at Venngage, had a talk that we could all get behind: revising your content strategy to get more traffic and conversions.

Khoja starts by laying out the process content marketers usually follow: write the blog post, publish it, wait, rinse and repeat. But, as many of us already know, that type of strategy doesn’t always work. Yet, we still repeat it. Go figure.

But Khoja and her team said enough with the insanity and devised a four-step framework for massive organic growth. It’s a strategy that takes many of its elements from growth marketing and allowed them to scale their website traffic up 3x in one year – to roughly 600,000 monthly views.

1. Goals: Khoja believes there are ultimately three goals that all content marketers have: get more traffic, get a higher conversion rate or get higher domain authority. One piece of content can’t accomplish all three, which means that you must create an asset that’s specifically geared towards one of the goals. Understanding what you’re trying to accomplish early on is essential.

2. Research: It doesn’t make much sense to start writing without knowing what the potential results could be. Start with keyword research to gain a better understanding of how you can rank the piece of content.

Khoja also adds that there are two different types of content when it comes to organic success; boring pages and not-boring pages. The former are your landing pages and gated content, while the latter are blogs posts and ungated content. Use the latter to target longtail keywords so you can drive traffic to the former.

3. Authority: Blogs will do better when the publisher is an established authority in the space. For this, Khoja recommends relying on cornerstone content to create topic clusters, which can help show Google that your business is the premier thought leader on the subject.

The added benefit of building a topic cluster? You’ll be able to link throughout your website, which encourages users to travel through and gives you even more potential opportunities to convert.

4. Promotion: People spend 10x more time creating content than promoting it – it’s a sad, but understandable truth. But what’s the point in putting a ton of work into publishing content if you get nothing from it?

Khoja’s answer: if you spend one day writing it, then you should spend at least three days promoting it. In this framework, though, not all content is promoted equally. If the goal is higher domain authority, go to the press or news outlets with your assets. Higher conversion rates or web traffic on your radar? Seek out smaller niche sites to secure backlinks.

Because we all want those backlinks.

These were just three of the brilliant speakers that closed out the two-day event at Aviva Stadium this year. Learn Inbound has come and gone, and we for one can’t wait to see what’s in store the next time around.

256's Irish Content Marketing: In Search of Strategy report is the most comprehensive study on content marketing ever undertaken in Ireland.

About Bryan

Bryan is a content marketing manager at 256. The Boston transplant has a knack for writing about all things tech for B2B audiences. When he's not tapping away at the keyboard you can find him roaming the streets of Dublin for the best buffalo wings the city has to offer.