Lessons Learned At Hubspot’s Inbound 2017: Creating Compelling Content To Breakthrough The Noise

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By: Devika Narayan, Account Supervisor

Last week, more than 21,000 marketing, sales and communications professionals from around the world gathered at Hubspot’s INBOUND 2017 conference in Boston to learn, network and be inspired. And inspired we were.

With notable speakers, including former First Lady Michelle Obama and Pixar Animation Studio’s Ed Catmull, and a flurry of educational breakout sessions led by top minds in the industry, the event combined inspirational conversations with actionable insights for practitioners.

Given the nature of Hubspot’s customers, a major focus of the conference was on how to reach audiences with meaningful, compelling content in an oversaturated market. With consumers being forced to navigate the many messages that brands direct at them every day, companies need to take a thoughtful approach to the content they are putting out.

This year’s conference left me with a few big takeaways:

  • Be authentic: A recurring theme throughout the entire conference was the importance of authenticity. From Michelle Obama to Billie Jean King, a number of mainstage speakers focused on the importance of finding your voice and owning it, both personally and professionally. For content creators, authenticity can be achieved by telling unique stories and providing distinct perspective into broader conversations going on within your industry. This does not mean leading with promotions or a sales pitch – the second you start shoehorning your brand into your content, your message will stop coming across as authentic.
  • It’s not about you: As the CEO of Big Leap Creative, Lisa Gerber advised in her session: “For every piece of content, you need to get the protagonist right.” The hero of your content should not be your company, but the consumer you are trying to reach. If the content you create provides your target audience with key insights or solutions to fit their specific needs, it automatically becomes more salient and meaningful.
  • Understand your audience: Make an effort to understand the channels your consumers want to interact through and the types of content they want to see. From long-form communication like bylines and whitepapers to more dynamic content like videos, quizzes and infographics, companies should keep a pulse on how different stakeholders want to receive information. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach to engagement, hyper-customize outreach to resonate with your priority audiences.
  • Be consistent: While you should tailor the format and channel to your priority audiences, each piece of content you distribute should also be published consistently with a central brand voice pulling through all your messaging. All of the information should feel as though it’s coming from the same place, with the same objectives in mind. If your company publishes inconsistent content, you run the risk of confusing and ultimately losing your audience.

INBOUND 2017 reinforced that the goal of compelling content marketing is, and will remain, to provide audiences with unique insights and value. By better understanding consumers’ wants and needs, companies can focus on using content to build meaningful connections and to truly make their brand perspective stand out from an ever-growing sea of information.