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Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 14 , 2019

From paid search to content and everything in between, these are the can’t-miss marketing conferences happening around the country

Here, you’ll find:

  • 12 innovative marketing conferences to attend in 2020
  • What to expect from each event
  • The types of sessions and speakers at each conference

For those who work in the ever-changing marketing field, it can be hard enough to find time to grab lunch, let alone carve out days away from the office.

But in fact, taking the time to attend an industry conference can be greatly beneficial, both personally and for your company.

Conferences give you the opportunity to learn more about your field, stay up to date on the latest developments, meet like-minded people, and gather inspiration (and ideally a to-do list) you can bring back to your team. 

With all the marketing conferences out there, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. Don’t worry — we’ve done the work for you. Below, we’ve highlighted 12 worthwhile marketing conferences happening around the country in 2020. 

Image via Unsplash

(Image via Unsplash)

1. Industry Preview

Find out what’s new, next, and on the horizon for 2020 in the world of marketing technology at this AdExchanger conference. Glean valuable insight from high-level leaders from companies like Google, Amazon, Wayfair, Verizon, Facebook, and more. 

Attendees can expect 50 visionary speakers and more than 30 session options in between mingling and networking with hundreds of fellow industry pros. It’s a conference that’ll ensure you start the new year off on the right foot.  

When: Jan. 28-29, 2020

Where: Grand Hyatt New York, NYC, New York

2. Search Marketing Expo

This two-day event is touted as the conference for those obsessed with SEO and SEM. With search marketing as one of the most effective digital marketing tools at our disposal these days, SMX aims to help attendees boost conversions, increase sales, grow awareness, and achieve their goals.

Sessions will cover topics from new nofollow and snippet rules to driving profitable sales with Amazon ads and how link building has evolved. Plus, for the first time, the 2020 event includes a new two-day track specifically geared toward e-commerce marketing.

When: Feb. 19-20, 2020

Where: San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California

3. Social Media Marketing World

Get the lowdown on the latest in social media marketing at this results-driven conference. Over the course of three days, expert speakers will cover social strategy, social advertising, content marketing, video marketing, analytics, customer advocacy, and more.

With plenty of sessions, workshops, and after-hours parties to choose from, this is the go-to conference for many social media marketers, digital marketing managers, agency owners, consultants, network marketers, and corporate marketers alike. 

When: March 1-3, 2020

Where: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California

4. SearchLove

Looking for insight into SEO trends, mobile search, Google algorithm updates, and PPC for inbound marketers? Distilled’s SearchLove conference has you covered.  

Past speakers have come from the likes of Moz, Microsoft, Unbounce, and HubSpot. You can even get expert feedback on your website at one of SearchLove’s site clinics.

When: March 26-27, 2020

Where: Kona Kai Resort, San Diego, California

5. MarTech

As a marketer, you want to boost ROI — and MarTech wants to help you do just that. This three-day gathering is for all levels of ambitious marketers looking to expand their industry knowledge. 

Get tools and tips on building a digital marketing operation from the ground up, creating true multi-touch attribution, innovating within a budget, and everything in between.

When: April 15-17, 2020

Where: San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, California

6. Incite Marketing Summit

This two-day conference from Reuters Events encourages attendees to look ahead at the marketing industry’s future to better prepare for what’s to come. Their three pillars of focus are:

  • marketing with purpose
  • data and personalization
  • compelling content

Learn how you can bring all of these concepts together in your own marketing strategy while hearing from accomplished speakers representing brands like Marriott International, CareerBuilder, HP, and Forbes. Psst: Incite is offering readers $100 off the ticket price with the code 5109HAWKSEM100!

When: May 14-15, 2020

Where: San Diego Hilton Spa and Resort, San Diego, California

(Image via Unsplash)

(Image via Unsplash)

7. DigiMarCon Midwest

For those looking to leave a conference with pages (whether actual or digital) of actionable insights, look no further than DigiMarCon. With a program designed to help attendees build and develop their audience, expect to learn about growing traffic, creating brand awareness, leveraging the latest tools, and plenty more.

In addition to sessions led by acclaimed speakers, DigiMarCon offers limited-edition Master Classes. Past classes have gone in-depth on topics like AI & Programmatic Advertising, Brand Storytelling, and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). 

When: June 17-18, 2020

Where: Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois

8. MozCon

Stay ahead of the curve while learning next-level tactics on everything from ranking higher to making better data-driven decisions at this three-day search marketing extravaganza.

Hear from a variety of knowledgeable session leaders while networking with those well-versed in SEO, content marketing, paid search, social media, and agencies.

When: July 6-8, 2020
Where: Seattle, Washington

9. Inbound

HubSpot’s highly anticipated marketing event is part conference, part festival. Each year, the brand brings together a mix of industry leaders from big-name brands and celebrity entrepreneurs to share their knowledge. 

With interactive booths, live entertainment, a buzzy food truck lawn, and hundreds of sessions across multiple venue spaces, expect valuable lessons and takeaways for every type of marketer at Inbound. (See our top takeaways from the 2019 event here.)

When: Aug. 18-21, 2020

Where: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Massachusetts

10. Content Marketing World

Content is a key part of any good digital marketing strategy’s foundation. This four-day conference wants to arm attendees with creative ideas, organizational tools, and effective insights to take any brand’s content marketing to the next level.

Thousands of attendees from more than 500 companies are expected to attend the 2020 event, meaning nearly endless opportunities to learn, connect, and collaborate.

When: Oct. 13-16, 2020

Where: Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio

11. Onward

Big names like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Seth Meyers, and Seth Godin have graced the stage at this Yext conference geared toward search marketing. The 2020 edition promises to be just as impressive.

This often sold-out conference highlights buzzy topics like AI, technology trends, and evolving industries, all through the lens of search marketing. Learn innovative ways to meet customers where they are, with a side of live entertainment and after-hours fun. 

When: Nov. 16-18, 2020

Where: New York Marriott Marquis, NYC, New York

12. Digital Summit

Digital Summit wants to empower attendees to go from just another fish in the sea to becoming marketing leaders. Their multi-city events offer engaging info sessions on all aspects of marketing: content, search, email, mobile, UX and design, social, and strategy.

The success of the Digital Summit series has caused the event to grow, spanning various dates and cities throughout the year. Look for this can’t-miss conference to pop up in cities including Seattle, Raleigh, Denver, Los Angeles, NYC, Atlanta, Houston, and more. 

When: Various dates

Where: Various venues

(Image via Unsplash)

(Image via Unsplash)

The takeaway

At the end of the day, marketing is about connection. When you attend marketing conferences that let you connect with ideas, strategies, and people who are passionate about the same things as you, amazing things can happen.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Nov 6 , 2019

From ideation to optimization, these steps will help you create a solid process for quality content marketing

Here, you’ll find:

  • Methods for sourcing content ideas
  • How to prioritize your content calendar
  • Tips for effective content writing
  • Ways to promote your content to your audience

A site without strong content simply can’t compete with one sporting an extensive blog, an array of case studies, and other helpful written resources. Having quality content on your website is one of the most effective ways to take your SEO from “eh” to “awesome.” 

Whether you write it yourself, leverage a team member, or outsource to an agency, these are the elements you need for content that’ll make your brand an industry thought leader.

HawkSEM blog: 11 Steps to Create Quality Content

After you have your plan written down, you can update and optimize as needed. (Image via Unsplash)

1. Start with a quality content marketing strategy

Before you put pen to paper (or marker to whiteboard, or fingers to keys), take the time to lay out your content strategy. Ask yourself things like:

  • What are your content marketing goals?
  • Which KPIs will you measure?
  • How often will you publish?
  • What tools will you use to stay organized?
  • Which forms of content will you publish?

Once you’ve worked out the nitty-gritty details, lay them out in a content strategy doc. After you have your plan written down, you can update and optimize it on a quarterly, biannual, or annual basis as needed.

2. Flesh out your personas

When you’re building your plan for creating quality content, it helps to go back to basics. After all, the ultimate aim of quality content marketing is to:

  • Raise awareness about your company
  • Educate and provide value to your audience
  • Build loyalty and credibility
  • Improve your search engine results page (SERP) rankings
  • Differentiate your company as a thought leader
  • Drive sales

The most effective content marketing speaks directly to a company’s ideal client persona (ICP), in a language they understand. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you’ve fleshed out your personas

Once you can visualize who your content is speaking to, you can then begin to target their needs and wants, buyer’s journey stage, and interests in a more concrete, specific way.

While you can get as detailed as you want, thorough personas often include:

  • Name
  • Photo or graphic representing the person
  • Company type or industry
  • Job title
  • Key responsibilities
  • Pain points
  • Helpful demographic info (like age, salary, city or region, etc.)

3. Define your voice and tone

Your brand’s voice and tone are illustrated through your website, your content marketing, your ad copy, your social media, and more. These things are reflected in how you speak to your audience. Your voice and tone should make sense for your audience as well as the overall ethos of your business.

A good place to start with identifying your voice and tone is by looking at your target personas. How do they talk? Are they more formal or casual? How much time do they have to consume your content? All of these elements can factor into your voice and tone. 

Next, revisit your company’s mission and values. Some businesses use bright colors, youthful acronyms (like LOL), and other nontraditional marketing elements in their branding.

Others have an audience that prefers a minimalist design, a serious demeanor, and no-nonsense verbiage. By blending together the right combination of elements, you can define your voice and tone.

Pro tip: You can codify your voice and tone by creating a content and style guide exclusive to your company’s content marketing. This can include goals, guidelines, and any mechanics you want to make clear, along with info on voice and tone.

4. Conduct keyword research

Grab your shovels — it’s time to do some digging. Identifying your best SEO keywords can help inform your content goals and the topics you cover. If you want to improve your SERP rankings, high-quality content informed by proper keyword targeting is one of the most effective SEO tools at your disposal.

Keyword research can tell you what keywords you’re currently ranking for, what keywords bring users to your site, the most popular keywords for your industry, and more. You want to pinpoint what the user would be searching for (what terms and phrases they’d often use) to find your product or service.

Conduct your research by listing out topics relevant to your business. Next, determine the keywords that would fall under those categories. You can then use an SEO tool (like Google Keyword Planner) to find out the monthly search volume. You can also go directly to the SERP to see how you stack up against your competition.

Ideally, you have a mix of long-tail keywords, which are phrases that usually have three or more words, as well as one-word keywords. Just keep in mind that one-word keywords usually aren’t high converters.

It’s not so much about search volume or length of the keyword — the goal is to rank as high as possible on the highest intent keywords. Targeting is how you find the keywords that have the highest buying intent behind them.

Pro tip: While it’s good to check out which keywords your competition is ranking highly on, don’t spend all of your time and effort trying to outrank them. There’s plenty of value in carving out your own niche as well.

HawkSEM blog: 11 Steps to Create Quality Content

Once you’ve determined your goals, done your research, and consulted your team, you should be able to prioritize your content ideas. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Gather and organize your ideas

Keyword research is a solid jumping-off point when you’re creating your quality content plan. But it shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of your ideation process. This is a great opportunity to leverage people on your team and in other departments to help decide which subjects your content should cover.

Consider hosting a brainstorm session or creating a Slack channel where content ideas can be shared and discussed. This is a great way to leverage colleagues (like the sales team) who are regularly interacting with prospects and clients and hearing about their pain points, needs, and interests. Put all of these ideas onto a cloud-based doc that can be regularly modified, added to, and updated. 

Once you’ve determined your goals, done your research, and consulted your team, you should be in a place where you can properly prioritize your content ideas. Figure out which topics you want to tackle sooner and later, then create a quality content marketing calendar to keep it all organized. 

While there’s no one way to create your content calendar, it’s a good idea to include elements such as:

  • content title
  • content type
  • writer
  • due date
  • publish date
  • keywords
  • funnel stage or persona

As far as formatting, you can create your own spreadsheet or opt for a pre-made template.

6. Determine your creation process

The creation process for your content will depend on things like your bandwidth, the size of your content team, and the amount of content you want to produce in a certain time, among other things. But laying out a process will make the whole endeavor seem less overwhelming and more manageable. 

A common content marketing creation process looks something like this:

  1. Determine topic
  2. Conduct research
  3. Gather information
  4. Brainstorm headlines
  5. Create outline
  6. Write draft
  7. Edit draft
  8. Finalize draft
  9. Format and upload 
  10. Publish

Again, your process doesn’t need to follow this format exactly. However, by creating a step-by-step checklist for content creation, you can break up tasks into smaller bits to easily stay on track — and on deadline.

7. Let drafts breathe

This step may not seem crucial, but trust us, it is. While it can be tempting to type up a draft, give it a quick once-over, and immediately publish, it’s often not the wisest move. 

Not letting your drafts “breathe” — aka taking a break between writing and publishing — is how errors and incomplete content get published.

Even if you just get out of your desk chair and do a lap around the office, or wait until the next morning to reread your draft, reviewing your content with fresh eyes can make a world of difference. The last thing you want is to publish or send the content to your boss and get a “???” message in response.

Pro tip: No matter how technical your industry or topic is, it’s a good rule of thumb to always write how you speak. By writing in a way that’s conversational, your content comes off more human, authentic, and trustworthy. Plus, with voice search continuing to grow in popularity, content that uses simple, concise language is that much more likely to rise through the search ranks.

8. Have someone else edit (if possible)

Speaking of having a fresh set of eyes (which sounds kind of gross, now that I think about it), those eyes are ideal for another key part of creating quality content: proofreading and editing. Editing is an important step to take to turn a piece of content from good into great.

This editor could be your boss or a colleague, and it doesn’t have to be the same person each time. If you’re on a small team or are a team of one, you can be your own editor. Just make sure you don’t edit your piece directly after finishing the draft.

It’s also a good idea to print out the piece and read it that way — the change of format often helps you spot errors you may not have seen on the screen. 

No matter who edits, make sure they know what to look for. A good editor can see both the forest and the trees. This means that they’re looking for an overall solid piece of content that’s thorough, educational, and covers the topic properly. They also should be on the lookout for grammar and spelling errors, missing words, and an inconsistent tone.

9. Think beyond blog posts

Blog articles can be a huge asset to your website for all the reasons above. But don’t think that blog content is all you need to create. Quality content also comes in the form of social media, guides, case studies, checklists, e-books, white papers, webinars, podcasts — the list goes on.

Once you’ve built a quality content marketing foundation, you can experiment with new formats and see how your audience responds. You can also create complementary content that covers one topic in a variety of ways, with each piece linking to one another.

Pro tip: Don’t rush the headline-writing process. A good headline can be the difference between someone clicking on your link or continuing to scroll. After you’ve written a piece, try to spend at least 10 minutes brainstorming as many headline options as you can before making a final decision.

10. Don’t forget to promote

Like a tree falling in the forest, if a blog article is published and no one knows about it, does it make a sound?

To ensure your content gets the widest reach possible, you’ve got to do what you can to promote it. While you don’t want your social media to be a one-way conversation where you’re constantly shouting about your own company, you should be sharing your content regularly with your audience and followers. 

If you send out a client or prospect newsletter, this is also a great opportunity to include your own content. If you’ve published a new e-book or research findings, you can go so far as to add a banner to your website homepage directing people to the post.

HawkSEM blog: 11 Steps to Create Quality Content

Content marketing is an SEO tool that takes time to cultivate. (Image via Unsplash)

11. Monitor performance

A content strategy is never set in stone. After a few months of publishing, it’s a good time to do a performance check-in. Look into your content traffic and performance metrics, see which pieces are doing well, and see if your rankings have improved.

If you’re not seeing much change, don’t panic. Quality content marketing is an SEO tool that takes time to cultivate. As long as you’re producing work that’s informative, interesting, digestible, and accurate, you’re on the right track. 

Your content plan should include reminders for optimizing older content as well — ensuring all links are still active, the information is up-to-date, and any new developments are included. When you start to see patterns emerge that show what’s working and what’s not, you can optimize accordingly. 

The takeaway

Quality content marketing is a great avenue for showing your audience that your business knows how to leverage experts and wants to help them learn more. 

By following these 11 steps, you can build up a top-notch resource library that positions your company as a leader among your competition.

We’ve helped tons of companies big and small take their content marketing to the next level. Want to know more? Let’s chat.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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