2017 marks Trekk’s third consecutive year attending INBOUND, one of the biggest and best business and marketing events there is. This year’s event drew over 21,000 people from 100+ countries and featured superstar speakers like star and co-creator of Insecure Issa Rae, Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The entertainment lineup was stellar. The food trucks killed it. (Guacamole grilled cheese?! What?!) But what will stick with us most from INBOUND 2017 are the conversations, both those we had with our industry peers and those sparked onstage by the session speakers. Here are the top four quotes we can’t get off our minds.
“We do not live in a 10 blue links world.”
Who said it: Angela DeFranco, Product Manager at HubSpot
Session: Getting Found Again After [Not Provided]: Navigating the New Landscape of SEO, Content Creation, and Reporting in HubSpot (Partner Day)
Angela was talking about the evolution of the SERP (search engine results page). SEO used to be simple; brands just wanted to rank in the first ten links on the SERP, and they did it by stuffing their content with keywords. Well, Google is smarter than that now; SEO is less about keywords and more about searcher intent, i.e. does your content actually answer the searcher’s question? Plus, the SERP is filled with other “stuff” now: rich snippets, image search results, knowledge graphs, local search results, and (of course) plenty of Google ads.
Angela and her colleague Jeffrey Vocell talked tools and best practices for content strategy in today’s SEO reality, and we wanted to jump up and down and cheer when we heard their advice: (1) create quality content that’s helpful and relevant and (2) organize it in topic clusters to make it ridiculously easy for search engines to index — and humans to find and understand. As Angela said, “The future of content is less content.” Less, and better.
“The people with the highest level of belonging are those with the courage to stand alone.”
Who said it: Brené Brown, researcher and New York Times bestselling author
Session: Opening Keynote
Brené Brown’s session moved us — literally. Brené is a gifted speaker whose 2010 TEDxHouston talk The Power of Vulnerability has over 31 million views. She obviously knows that physical movement helps keep an audience engaged, because she had us all out of our seats, singing and dancing. But she did it to prove another point, too.
She asked an auditorium full of strangers to stand up and do something that for most probably felt silly because she wanted us to drop our inhibitions and insecurities and focus on the things that connect us as humans. She spoke of the strangers she saw helping one another in her home city of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. She spoke of how to cultivate empathy when our culture feels more divided than ever. Her take: forget about fitting in and focus on belonging, which means realizing that you might be the only weirdo on your path and knowing that’s okay. “Belonging is not something you negotiate with a group of people,” she told us. As an agency that’s used to forging the future, we couldn’t agree more.
“90% of engagement comes from 5% of content.”
Who said it: Scott Meyer, co-founder of 9 Clouds
Session: Do Better, Not More: Creating High-Value Content in the Peak Content Age
Crazy, but true, according to a study from Beckon. Scott, like Angela and many of the other marketers and content strategists we met at INBOUND, is on a mission to make the Internet a better place by creating — and encouraging others to create — higher quality content. He and his team have increased the ROI on their content and better helped their customers and community by focusing on the good stuff, like helpful video training courses and detailed, niche industry reports. Scott’s advice for content marketers who want to make an impact: figure out what subset of your content has the most engagement (a strong indicator that it’s meeting a need) and master that area.
“Your story is never about you. It’s about how you can shed light on someone else’s story.”
Who said it: Dr. Carmen Simon, cognitive neuroscientist and founder of Memzy
Session: The Science of Storytelling: Beyond the Buzz
Carmen Simon has examined over 40,000 data points, trying to figure out what makes some stories stick in our memories… and why many just fade away. Stories, she says, do not guarantee memory. In fact, data shows that what happens and what we remember are often very different, and we even have a tendency to create false memories. According to Carmen, “We forget our lives almost as quickly as we live them.”
To make people more likely to remember our stories (and thus, our brands and our products), Carmen says to include perceptive, cognitive, and affective elements, and — perhaps most importantly — to strive for reader relevance. “Memory is motivated,” she says. “We remember stories that serve us well.”
Another fun fact from her research: out of all the 50+ stories, both personal and professional, that she asked research subjects to read, not one story was completely forgotten. Every single story was remembered by someone.
We’re back from INBOUND, buzzing with inspiration and ideas for our clients’ 2018 strategies. Thanks to all of this year’s speakers, and a huge thank you to the event staff who kept things running smoothly and with such friendly smiles. Already looking forward to INBOUND 2018!
INBOUND is orchestrated by HubSpot. As a HubSpot Partner, we’re certified experts in marketing automation and the inbound marketing methodology. Interested in what inbound marketing and a smart content strategy can do for you? Send us a message.