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

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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

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

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

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

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

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.

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