Tuesday marked the official first full day of Pubcon 2017 (after a few hundred eager marketers took in a full-day jumpstart via Monday’s Masters Group Training workshops).
Day-1 sessions opened ten fully packed tracks across multiple marketing disciplines – organic SEO, in-house marketing, lead gen, PPC, content marketing, social influencer marketing, social media, mobile SEO, a spotlight track and focused site reviews.
Over the course of three days, marketers are soaking up deep insights from 200+ industry pros, including established presenters and up-and-coming marketing stars. Following the opening keynote by Peter Shankman, attendees began wading their way through the myriad of session choices at hand. Some day-1 highlights:
Tuesday and Wednesday both offer back-to-back site review sections, during which attendees put their baby (their website) up for review and critique by expert practitioners and Pubcon presenters. Meant to be candid and honest, feedback loops are handled with care – after all, nobody wants to hear their baby is ugly.
Aimclear Founder Marty Weintraub participated in the first site deconstruction session, focusing on the social-friendliness of company websites and social profiles. The panelists share tips for visual presence, shareable features, content/blog flow and many other attributes to give attendees actionable ideas to improve or transform their online presence.
Tell Christoph Cemper of LinkResearchTools that link building is a commoditized process in marketing and he’ll look you in the eye and say you’re woefully off base. Christoph brings a decade and a half of passion for link research, finding and fixing bad backlinks and exploring the internet’s darkest corners for toxic links. Full disclosure: LinkResearchTools has engaged Aimclear as a client in the past year.
Christoph spent more than an hour engaging on intense link challenges for businesses and organizations. He spoke of various triggers for potential Google penalties, methods of weeding out bad links and rebuilding credibility in the eyes of the all-powerful search giant. He challenged link masters to think beyond the disavow file. In fact, he told attendees too many marketers think their job is done after uploading a disavow file.
He demonstrated that Google might not recrawl pages for weeks, if not months, and cautioned, “If you are not taking care of your backlink profile, someone else might be out there buying bad links to use against you.” Christoph simplified the focus for marketers to recover lost links, protect existing ones and continually build new links.
Driving Conversion with Social
Following the midday keynote by Tom Hale of Survey Monkey, sessions resumed across all tracks. Q&A during “Social Driving Conversion” with Becky Kolar of Aurora Health Care and Erik Stafford of Stafford Marketing proved there’s great value in a lively Q&A after the slides are done.
Presenters challenged marketers, particularly those in highly regulated spaces to explore their stories and be active in social. Stafford noted, “Every business has a story. People love stories. The great story is in there.” Using the example of Progressive Insurance, which markets with the quirky fictitious employee named Flo, even though it operates in a very conservative industry. The presenters agreed such an approach makes brands approachable in social.
When asked about dealing with trolls in social, the answer was a simple and emphatic, “Delete them!” But the presenters quickly reminded attendees that a product or service complaint does not elevate to troll status. Instead, they touted standard best practices of showing empathy, moving the complaining customer to a private, direct channel. Regarding those who reach true troll status, though, Becky and Erik both noted the social channel is YOUR channel. You own it. You can and should have a say who plays in your channel.
Overcoming Thin Content in a Specialty Market
Virginia Nussey of Bruce Clay, Inc., focused on the deep interdependency of technical SEO and strong content as core to a successful SEO strategy. Virginia simplified prioritization, citing multiple experts who insist content is in the marketer’s control, while links are not. If marketers want to earn a link, make great content. Thin, useless, repetitive content is the antithesis of great content.
Virginia offered tips to capturing content magic, included:
- Realize great content will take work…a LOT of work.
- Tap data to generate strong data generated stories. Virginia demonstrated simple, cost effective means of using paid Google Surveys (part of Google Analytics) can yield statistically valid, media-friendly stories. The challenge for marketers is to think through data that would lead to an interesting story. A case study showed how a furniture store used Google surveys to prove significantly more women will allow a pet dog to sleep in bed compared to men. The results hit major media outlets nationwide and served up a plethora of high value inbound links.
- Capitalize on voice of the customer. Much like Google surveys, organizations can mine stories through customer focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc., because as all solid PR practitioners know, real customer stories can be goldmines for media.
Wednesday (today) at Pubcon will focus almost exclusively on content. Aptly named “Content Marketing Day,” presenters will dig deep into the implications of content across disciplines and channels. More to come in Aimclear’s next wrap up.