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Learn Inbound January 2015; an Awesome Start

Believe it or not, yesterday I found myself attending an ‘inbound marketing’ event. If you know me, you’ll know I despise that phrase and have an almost allergic reaction to it. Yet there I was, an audience member at an event organised by the Learn Inbound community of marketers in Ireland.

Headed up by HubSpot’s Siobhán McGinty and the Digital Marketing Institute’s Mark Scully, Learn Inbound held their inaugural event in Dublin yesterday evening, and I made the trek down to attend it.

This was not done on a whim – it takes quite a lot to overcome my innate revulsion for ‘inbound marketing’. But I’ve been following Mark Scully on Twitter for a while and find his views and content to be outstanding. And then there was the speaking roster.

For a very first event, Siobhán and Mark sure managed to get some great speakers: Matthew Barby, one of the digital industry’s brightest young talents, Stephen Kenwright, head of search at Branded3, and Aleyda Solis, who really needs no introduction.

Matthew kicked things off with a great talk about effective content marketing for SMEs, running us through his process. He showed us a range of tools as well, and it wouldn’t be the last time that evening that BuzzSumo got mentioned.

What I especially liked about Matthew’s talk was when he talked about building a content delivery team. So many organisations go through the motions of developing a content marketing plan, but then fail to deliver on it. Matthew’s talk didn’t shy away from that and he managed to show us the value of putting a delivery team in place.

Next up was Stephen Kenwright, a well-known figure in the industry, who gave us an entertaining and highly insightful talk about how your content marketing should align with your SEO efforts. Stephen almost didn’t get to the event, courtesy of endless flight delays, but after nine hours at the airport his flight managed to take off just in time for him to make it.

Some of his key points were not to chase after keywords, but after the consumer – i.e. don’t let keywords dictate your SEO, but distil the actual search intent from your keyword research and let that drive your content.

Using the Google Search Quality Guidelines as his touchstones, Stephen showed how focusing on user intent and tapping in to your expertise allows small businesses to compete with big organisations in SEO.

Last but definitely not least was Aleyda Solis, who gave a great talk about SEO for small businesses and showcased a whole range of tools and tactics that SMBs can leverage to improve their visibility in search. She too demonstrated that you don’t need huge budgets to win in search, but you do need to be smart and use all the opportunities at your disposal.

I especially liked her tip on agile marketing: being able to outmanoeuvre big companies by adopting an agile and iterative approach to your marketing efforts. Big businesses can rarely make quick changes to their website, so as a small business you can respond much quicker and test things out at a vastly greater speed. That gives you a competitive advantage over the big boys.

The event concluded with a great Q&A where the attendees got the opportunity to ask some in-depth questions to the panel. Then we were rushed out of the building by an angry security guard who was miffed the event had overrun a bit.

I really enjoyed the event and it was great to catch up with Aleyda, as well as meet Mark & Siobhán, Matthew, and Stephen. I’ve been to paid conferences that were less well organised and informative.

There are three more Learn Inbound events in the planning for 2015, with the next one scheduled for April 15th. The speakers for it are already announced, and none other than Richard Baxter is on the panel. I’m definitely not missing the opportunity to heckle him.

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