three takeaways from Pubcon Florida

3 Major Takeaways From the PubCon Digital Marketing Conference

Pubcon events remain one of the most important to attend for digital marketers, social media managers and SEO engineers. The April 12 event in Ft Lauderdale, Florida was no exception.

After attending multiple sessions over the 3-day event along with some of the Masters Training classes, I have assembled three major takeaways. I wouldn’t recommend ignoring these.

Video First in Content Marketing

In 2019, almost 80% of everything people consume from Google will be video.

People spend 88% more time on websites with video.

You’ve probably seen and heard similar stats about video, but what are you doing about it? I attended a few great sessions with helpful tactics for moving the needle on video, and one the most helpful was hosted by video expert Anthony Prichard (@NewVideoAnthony). Anthony not only talked about the importance of video in relation to being found on Google today, but he backed it up by live-searching (with broad search terms) a video on Google he shot for the Pubcon event.

His video ranked in the top 5. So everyone started listening.

What stuck with me most is a very helpful outline he shared for shooting great one-minute videos that rank well on Google. It contains five key elements:

1) Hook that grabs attention in the first two lines and makes it clear who the video is suited for
2) Brand placement  that highlights your logo/brand (makes it clear who you are to the viewer)
3) Point of pain that identifies the problem your audience is facing
4) Unique Service Offering that highlights how you’re addressing their problem in a way that differentiates you from competition
5) Call to Action the gives the viewer a specific next step (contact, visit, call, click)

Structure for a high quality video story board

If you’re not currently using an outline like this in your videos (whether they’re a minute or longer), you should start – now.

Mobile-First in SEO

“We have a responsive site” doesn’t cut it anymore. What’s the experience on that site? Do you know? Are you visiting it, testing it, reviewing it frequently? One good reason to do this very soon:

46% of people say they wouldn’t purchase from a brand again if they had a disrupted mobile experience.

Check the amount of people coming to your site on mobile devices. If you find that your mobile experience isn’t optimized, it’s possible that traffic is half the amount it could be. So, what does it look like to have a site that’s mobile-optimized and not just mobile-friendly? A few diagnostic questions worth asking (these questions come from SEO expert Bill Hunt (@BillHunt) at BackAzimuth Consulting:

1) Is sidebar content accessible?
2) Are calls to action prominent?
3) Is the content readable?
4) Does your site work on any device?
5) Do you offer mobile notifications of new content?
6) Are your goals accurately reflected on your mobile site?

On great example Bill brought up was of a acquaintance of his who paid a good amount of money to have her site made mobile-friendly. When the company was finished, Bill asked her if she had visited the mobile site herself. When she said no, he quickly went to her “newly optimized” site and one of the first things he saw was a printer icon taking up 1/4 of real estate on her pages – pushing down valuable content and highlighting a function that is completely useless on mobile.

So again, not mobile-friendly. Mobile-optimized. Know the difference and make sure your site falls into the latter.

People First in Digital Marketing Efforts

Probably one of the most simple yet powerful comments came from the opening keynote speaker, Wil Reynolds, Founder / Director of Digital at Seer Interactive: If you wouldn’t want to receive a certain kind of marketing experience, don’t put that kind of experience in front of someone else.

Wil was big on encouraging us digital marketers to quit chasing Google and algorithms and focus on people. If you know anything about the heart of what I blog about often, then you know I’m a big fan of authenticity and also of this approach to digital marketing.

Wil brought several great points to the forefront, but among the most powerful was the emphasis on seeking to evoke emotion and action through carefully thought out prose and positioning instead of cheap tricks to get cheap clicks.

Case and point: Take a look at this outdoor collateral from Nike that has been shared by everyone and their dog, sister, mom and neighbor: Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.

Nike ad that highlights powerful content marketing

Is that compelling, concrete, convincing, and evocative? Does it make you want to share it and talk about Nike? Yes, it does. Now consider this technique that digital marketers are pursuing more and more to drive up traffic numbers:

Poor digital marketing with next button trick

See that “next” button? This poor excuse for a web experience is designed in such a way that it anticipates the user’s click in that “next” space without looking because the user knows where the button is supposed to be without looking. But guess what? The user gets to see an ad instead!

The result? A great click report that the digital marketer gets to pass on to her/his boss! And a user who is on that marketer’s website associating anger, frustration and disappointment with the brand.

Sounds great, right?

Yet, many digital marketers that are mindlessly activating retargeting ads to chase algorithms instead of winsome customer experience are doing this day in and day out. And many are doing it with the knowledge that these poor experiences are happening.

Bottom line: Marketers pursuing this intentionally aren’t marketers at all – they’re conmen. And marketers pursuing retargeting without checking to see where their ads are actually retargeted are just being lazy. Both are serious crimes to our profession.

Be better. Chase the user with winsome tactics instead of chasing algorithms with garbage clickbait.

There were many other great ideas, tactics and strategies shared at Pubcon Florida this year. You can search #pubcon on Twitter to see additional thoughts from others as well. And if you haven’t attended a PubCon yet, I highly recommend attending the next one, which will be held from October 12-15 in Las Vegas.

Were you at PubCon Florida? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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