The TheeTeam attended another Internet Summit, sharpening our marketing skills and gaining another load of invaluable SEO knowledge. As a digital marketer here at a Raleigh web design and digital marketing agency, here are some of the things that I learned and my take on Internet Summit 2016.
SEO Lessons From the Wizard of Moz
Having seen Rand Fishkin speak at the previous Internet Summit, I was looking forward to his opening keynote at this year’s 2016 Internet Summit. Rand is a major influencer in the SEO industry, having been dubbed the, “Wizard of Moz.” Moz is a company that offers a suite of handy SEO tools, interesting digital marketing news, and more. It’s a great resource, and Rand’s talks are never boring.
The opening keynote by Rand Fishkin was, “The Worst Advice Marketing Ever Gave to Content.” There are tons of articles and pages screaming, “10 Best Content Strategies,” or “5 Things Content Marketers Can’t Afford to Miss,” but at the end of the day, much of this is simply fluff content regurgitated for the sole purpose of spewing out a new blog. Much of the “advice” in these articles is sage advice.
While you should be regularly producing content, Rand said, you need to make sure your content marketing efforts are aligned with your organization’s goals. Many marketers sometimes lose sight of the fact that content does not equate into hard sales or short-term ROI. Content should be written for the long-run, and is most effective when used to amplify the lifetime value of readers. Its purpose is for people to read it, go on with their lives, then remember your company when they need the good or service you provide. Not for them to read it and immediately rush to the checkout page.
One thing I found interesting from Rand’s talk was that prospects who consumed the content on the Moz website had a higher lifetime value, compared to prospects that signed up after seeing a PPC ad or not really getting familiar with Moz. These prospects (now customers) have a sense of trust in Moz from the content they read on the site before buying. While a good marketer knows that the average customer will be exposed to a whitepaper, blog, case study, or other collateral 5-8x before ever taking an action with the company, it was nice to be reminded that content can be effective in this way, and to always bring it back to the numbers and data.
Quality, unfortunately, isn’t enough to get your website to rank. Rand gave a great example with a search for the best steak. At the top of the results was a subpar steak recipe by a big industry player. Nowhere to be found, was an excellent walkthrough on a niche foodie blog about grilling the best steak. Even without cooking both recipes to see which is better, when you compare the two pages side-by-side, it’s easy to see that the niche blog’s content was 10x better than the “crap” result that shows up 1st on Google. This is why you need to invest in long-term SEO first and foremost, alongside any paid tactics.
Rand also reviewed his experiment with Facebook posts, where he linked to an article on the Moz website and the post did not perform well at all. He put the article on Medium.com with a link back to the original article, and posted this on Facebook, instead. Interestingly enough, the Facebook post with the off-site link way outperformed the same post with a link to the same article on Moz. Sometimes we get blinded by, “Have to get links back to our website! Must post only to our site’s blog!” When in reality, your content on another site might do much better, and still get traffic back to your page.
You can find Rand’s full slide deck from the session on SlideShare.
Cut the BS out of Millennial Marketing Ads
Another noteworthy session I attended at Internet Summit this year was Hassan Ali’s, “How to Get Real and Cut the BS in your Millennial Marketing.” As the Creative Marketing Director at The Onion, I knew I was in for a treat with this session! Hassan stressed the importance of “cutting the BS” when it comes to advertising to millennials. Yes, we should all be concerned with millennials as serious customers, but catering to this group can be difficult when they smell BS from a mile away. They’re not into traditional advertising, and many of the digital ads that work on the rest of the population have no effect on millennials.
Hassan discussed how The Onion realized that they had a great success rate on the content produced in their brand tone, and began creating ads using this tone. This strategy led to better results with millennials, who are more “touchy feely,” if you will, and don’t prefer hard sales.
I was surprised that Hassan was recommending something that a comedy show, South Park, had bashed on just last year. South Park did an episode on “Sponsored Content,” where they spoofed on ads and paid branded content being cleverly interwoven with article content. Although it’s just an animated TV show, South Park writers create the show to reflect the darker, humor-filled side of what everyone’s thinking. I’m not sure how long this tactic will remain effective, but if your company is getting good results with it, great!
Can’t Forget About Social Media & Video!
I also attended the “Search and Social Trends” roundtable, featuring three speakers from Alphametic, Duke University, and SocialCentiv. This session had a couple of good points, like how Twitter gives you a direct, “no privacy” connection to potential customers. Looking in the Moments tab of Twitter and reaching out to customers when they need your product or service is a great way to have 1-to-1 communication with leads. The example was given of a pizza chain reaching out to people who had Tweeted things like, “I’m hungry, could really go for a pizza!”
Of course, video on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat was brought up. You can’t talk about social nowadays without talking about video! Video is growing exponentially, live video posting is becoming more effective, and these are things that today’s marketers can’t try to ignore.
While I can’t say I learned anything mind-blowing or that I wasn’t already aware of on some level, experiencing Internet Summit is always a good time. It’s a great event that gets you recharged and reenergized about SEO and digital marketing, connects you with others in your industry, and the swag isn’t bad, either! TheeDesign will definitely be at Internet Summit 2017. Can’t wait to see you there!