By Lauren Dichter, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

After attending MozCon Virtual 2020, I’m convinced virtual conferences are the future. Even when COVID-19 meets its match in a vaccine, things won’t go completely “back to normal”, but maybe that’s a blessing in disguise!

If this pandemic and its stay-home precedent is causing people to think more deeply about the quality time they spend with family, the injustices in our world, and how their lifestyle affects their overall happiness, it can’t all be bad. In every catastrophe, there’s a silver-lining.

Of course, there’s nothing like an in-person event to spur networking that builds lasting and even profitable business relationships, but there’s something to be said for the value virtual events bring us in trying times, like where society is now with the incessant progression of climate change.

Besides the obvious benefit of saving lives, MozCon going virtual also meant far fewer fossil fuels and greenhouse gases were emitted into our air than if the event had remained in-person. It also meant people who normally wouldn’t have attended the event were able to!

You live in Australia and your company doesn’t want to pay for you to travel across the world for a conference, but you really want to learn more about SEO in order to provide more value in your role with said company? No problem!

You can attend virtually and be “back” working for your company in a matter of minutes. In addition to the environmental benefits, virtual events allow for the greater good of all people and companies also reap the benefits of money saved and increased workforce productivity! Gotta love a win-win situation.

Now that we’ve covered my opinion on virtual conferences, let’s dive into the best insights I took away from MozCon 2020. Below, you’ll find notes I took on my two favorite sessions.

How to Promote your Content Like a Boss

presented by Brian Dean of Backlinko

Each new piece of content is just a drop in the ocean:

7 Recommendations for Content Promotion:

  1. Create content for the ‘Linkerati’
  2. The Expanded Social Post
  3. Avoid annoying outreach emails that ask for links
  4. The outreach Jedi mind-trick
  5. Hyperdrive-boosted Facebook posts
  6. Create content for specific subreddits
  7. Click-to-Tweet links
No. 1: Create Content for the ‘Linkerati’
  • Linkerati= bloggers and journalists in your industry
  • You must appeal to these people because they run websites in your niche, which means they’ll link to you; they have the resources to do so!
  • Too many people create content for their target audience, which is important, but it won’t get you links
  • Look at the pages and pieces of content that have the most links in the bloggers/journalist’s websites in your niche
  • Cite specific stats and use specific keywords
No. 2: Write Expanded Social Posts
  • Organic reach on social media is low because social media algorithms bury these posts. Facebook and others prefer native content!
  • If you give the algorithm native content, it won’t get buried! In fact, your social post will get lots of shares and likes.
  • LinkedIn Share Post Formula for anywhere you can post long-form content:
    • Hook
    • Outline what’s in your post
    • Link
    • CTA
No. 3: Avoid Annoying Outreach Emails Asking for Links
  • At least one personalization data point will make a difference in getting a response
  • Hunter.io is Brian’s favorite tool for finding email addresses for people
  • You can use a script but add a personal intro or sentence somewhere, showing you checked out their stuff!
No. 4: Deploy the Outreach Jedi Mind Trick
  • Instead of promoting a post after it publishes, give people a heads-up your post is coming out before it goes live
  •  “Want a heads-up when it goes live?” They’ll say “Sure”. You’re not asking for a share, so they’re more likely to share it if they truly like the post.
  • It’s of their own volition! Build a relationship and you’ll get shares/links naturally.
No. 5: Hyperdrive-Boost Facebook Posts
  • Facebook ads are crazy expensive now, but you can lower the cost by retargeting to people that have already visited your site but aren’t on your email list
No. 6: Create Content for Specific Subreddits
  • Post native content to subreddits in your niche
No. 7: Add Click-to-Tweet Links
  • Populate a tweet within a link (use the Click to Tweet site to set this up)
  • It’s more likely for someone to tweet a short, easy quote from an article than to the entire article

 

Use a Discovery Process to go from Red Flags to Green Lights

presented by Dana DiTomaso of Kick Point Inc.

Discovery is a Project All on its Own:

  • It doesn’t make sense to put a ton of time & effort into a proposal if it’s not going to win
  • It’s rare a client knows exactly what they want when they contact you
  • Discovery is part of the engagement agencies should be getting paid for, because if you skip this process or do it only partially, you’d have to jump in without the big picture, which isn’t fair to anyone
  • Discovery= the time you take to build the long view before diving into the details

Who Should be Involved in Discovery?

  • Absolutely everyone in a project, because of the inevitable “So, we talked to our CEO and your work is crap, we’re not going to pay you for it unless you do it all over again.”
  • To protect from ‘mystery voices’ that chime in after the fact, include this clause in SOW: “If any new stakeholder voices are added to the project at any time, we reevaluate the scope, provide an estimate for additional time and budget required.”

Start with a “Hopes and Dreams” Session:

  • Ask the following questions:
    • Out of all the things we’re talking about in this project, what affects your performance review? Out of all this work, what matters to you?
    • In a perfect world, what would you want to say about this project when it’s done?
    • What’s the info that if you knew, you could do a better job?

Ask about their “Best Day Ever” on the Job:

  • You’ll find out what really matters to them, and how to speak their language
  • The way they speak about it will give you good language cues to help the client get on board, both in conversations and in the reporting and deliverables you provide

Once the Contract is Signed, ask “Why didn’t this work last time?”

  • Look at Glassdoor to see reviews from their employees and focus on the following:
    • How many marketing people have cycled through the company in the past few years?
    • What does the C-level makeup look like at their org?
    • Who owns the company?
    • What does the board look like? How involved is that board?

Check the Foundational Elements of the Company’s Marketing Machine, including:

  • Analytics
    • What do they use? Do they have Google Analytics set up?
    • Are they using custom dimensions? What actions would make a visitor no longer be considered a bounce? This gives you a sense of their analytics maturity.
  • Ads
    • Are they using tagging to properly sort ads?
    • How do they look at attribution?
    • Do they know their ad budget?
    • Do they have media buyers?
    • How do they scope out their ads for the quarter/year?
  • SEO
    • Are they using the most up-to-date tactics? Figure out where they are on the SEO maturity model.
    • How is content attached to SEO?
    • What’s their answer to better SEO?
  • Social Media
    • Who’s running it? Is this person an expert?
    • How much time & money are they spending on it?
    • How do they measure success?
  • Branding
    • Is there a brand guide? Is it updated?
    • How are branded items evaluated for following brand standards?
    • Do they have a brand voice? Content, copy-writing, ad writing, etc.
  • Website
    • What platform is it hosted on?
    • Is it attached to a CRM or marketing automation? How much automation are they using?
    • How do they maintain the website? How are changes approved?
    • How often is content reviewed and audited?

Inventory the Company’s Touch Points with its Prospects and Customers by Asking:

  • Are there other things your advertising on? Any 3rd-parties?
  • What does your funnel or client journey look like?
  • What tools are involved in those touch points and how much does it cost per touch?
  • How do acquisition costs differ across different parts of the marketing/sales funnel (top vs. middle vs. bottom)?

Follow your Client’s Customer Journey as if you were a Prospect

  • Use their chat function on their website
  • See how their marketing works by pretending to be someone they’d market to

The Plan you Provide your Client with Should Include:

  • A Goal Charter that’s both focused & nimble
  • An Analytics Plan- the earlier you do it the better
  • A Website Blueprint= a site map but extra
    • Even if you’re auditing an existing site, build a blueprint anyway
  • A Marketing Strategy custom to their business, including tactics

As you Provide the Client with a Plan that they can Take and Run with, Try to Gauge…

  • How the client feels about deadlines
  • How much knowledge each stakeholder has
  • Whether each stakeholder is the type to admit when they don’t know something, or not
  • Whether you’re even talking to the right people within the company to make the goal happen

Final Thoughts on Discovery Sessions:

  • Don’t be afraid to be totally honest with the client about the results of your discovery session.
  • If the client has done an amazing job with something, sometimes, the answer might be “You don’t need this.” It’s OK to reveal that to them! They’ll trust you more in the long run.
  • Monetize the discovery session; it’s an extremely necessary and significant part of the whole project and engagement!

 

What do you think of the insights from these two virtual conference sessions? Do you agree content promotion is much more important than content creation? For those of you who work for a marketing agency, how can you improve your discovery session with new clients? Comment below!