A week ago I attended InboundCon 2014, a one-day conference on inbound marketing. It was intense. There were some breaks for networking and meals, but otherwise it was a non-stop stream of information about topics like SEO, PPC advertising, UX design, content marketing, social media, and lead conversion.
I was overloaded by the end. It’s taken me a while to sift through things since then. However, I’ve thought a lot about what I’ve learned. Here are my top 3 lessons from InboundCon 2014:
1. Content may be king, but don’t forget about the rest of the castle
The pithiest quote of the day came from Ira Haberman of Atomic Reach, who said, “If content is king, then audience is queen…and we know who runs the house.”
Given the wide variety of topics under discussion, though, the conversation needs to extend beyond these two concepts. Content is important. Good content is more important. But kings can’t get nearly enough done without a castle full of advisors, courtiers, and scullery maids, not to mention all the tax collectors in the countryside: good content is effective only when there’s proper infrastructure in place to support it.
Whether this infrastructure involves responsive design, A/B testing, or lead conversion tools, it and content are all connected. A/B testing helps determine the best way to present your information, which leads to greater engagement, which leads to more sales, and so on.
2. Sometimes the most useful information is the most concise
I took a lot of notes at InboundCon, but at day-long events like these, attention inevitably starts to flag. There was one session that stuck out to me, though, called “30 Amazing Marketing Tools in 15 Minutes.” It was by the COO of Powered by Search, the organization running the conference.
It promised a lot of useful information with no filler, and it delivered. The fact that the information was given so quickly and precisely, and that it focused on stuff you could use right away made it stand out from all the slides and panels and lingering conversations.
3. No one knows everything, but everyone knows something
The pace of change in the online marketing industry is ridiculously fast — new algorithms, new insights, and new tools always appear. It’s difficult to keep up, but all of the presenters make it their job to do so. However, no two presenters spoke about the same thing, and although their advice was similar in many ways, it’s safe to say that they learned as much from each other as the audience did.
This means that no matter how knowledgeable an expert is, there’s no point at which this knowledge is complete. Expertise is a constant state of progression. Even though I’m the tortoise, I can catch up whenever the hare pauses to take a breath.
And you know what? I find that comforting. I’ve got my running shoes on. I’m confident that with the right amount of focus, I can find my footing in this race — and contribute knowledge of my own when the time comes.