Day 2 ended at 12:30 this morning.
And started five hours later.
Considering we started on a shortened week and I'm two hours ahead of the Mountain Time Zone, my circadian rhythms look like an EKG readout of a cocaine addict. Good times! Let's go!
You know it's an early start when you're outside with the collegiate rowers. HubSpot packed the lineup today. It felt more like a "TBS Just for Laughs Comedy Festival."
#Inbound15 - Day 3 Recap
1. Aziz Ansari Dives Into Dating
Going through my photos, I never nabbed one with Aziz on the big screen. Nevertheless, Aziz spoke about online dating that will comprise his latest book "Modern Romance".
The real highlight was his fascination with the hilariously small water cup they gave him for a speech that was supposed to last for 45 minutes. He couldn't get past the small water cup and kept mentioning it until a stagehand delivered three water cups to sate his thirst.
If you want to hear about Aziz's book and thoughts on technology and the Internet, you can check out this great interview he did with the Freakanomics podcast.
2. Session: The Marketers Guide to Growth Spurts by Kieran Flanagan
This was, and still is, the best session I went to while at HubSpot. Real world examples of how he runs his team, and a presentation that you can view here.
The big takeaway: Pick one super specific target and go after it. He mentioned a story when working at Facebook where Mark Zuckerberg went to the white board and wrote "user growth" and said that everything they do should be in an effort to grow users. It should be geared toward this one thing. As we know, that user growth has paid off. Recently, Facebook reached 1 billion users in a SINGLE DAY.
I also found his methadology on validating ideas (starting on slide 49) extremely useful and have tried a similar way before. Essentially, if you need blog content ideas, start by looking at your competitors. See what pulls well and endeavor to create something better. You can get this and a whole bunch of actionable insights from his deck.
3. Marc Maron Talks About the Growth of His Podcast
Comedian and podcaster Marc Maron held a spotlight and discussed the growth of his podcast.
The main takeaway here: Just start and commit. He started his podcast with nary any listeners. His goal from the beginning was to commit to two podcasts a week. Even without any listeners and no idea where it was going to go, that was the initial goal. Achievable and simple. The rest is history.
In his talk, he retells the story behind his podcast with President Barack Obama. If you haven't heard it, check it out. I think you'll find a quite revealing interview, no matter your political views.
4. Speaking to Happy BlogMutt Customers
One of the great perks of coming to this is having an opportunity to speak to happy BlogMutt customers. I had the privilege to speak with one at lunch. She comes from the agency side and uses BlogMutt and a couple accounts. One of the things that she didn't know, and I want to reiterate here, is that you can select "preferred writers" within BlogMutt.
Once you designate a writer as "Preferred" you are essentially telling them that you like them and want them to continue writing for you. This is the highest form of compliment that you can give a writer.
Marking a writer as preferred is easy. Simply go into their profile and under their picture is a dropdown menu.
You can select "Preferred" or block a writer if you don't want him or her to write for you.
It's that easy.
5. Session: Use Your Words - Beth Dunn
I loved Beth's talk. Mainly because she reinforced a lot of what we champion in our style guide. No jargon. Write simply. And most importantly:
She said that exclamation points "are badly suited for emotion" and to express enthusiasm by "beefing up your words to convey emotion." It's harder, yes. But it's better.
She also weighed on our cage match concerning gendered pronoun usage.
Grace supports using "they" in her post: "Singular 'They' is A-Okay."
Scott disagrees. "'They' and 'Their' Are Not a Replacement for 'His' or 'Her.'"
Other useful nuggets from Beth's talk:
- Use spell check (seriously, use it)
- Put the spotlight on the reader. Don't say "I" or "Us." Use "you" or "your" and talk about the reader. Give them a reason to care about why what you're writing matters.
- Before publishing, role play and put yourself in the reader's shoes. Now put yourself in the reader's shoes and imagine that they're having the worst day ever. Will they find your copy useful or just annoying.
- Snark does not equal humor. There is too much snark already on the Internet, we don't need more (I need to work on this!)
- She quoted William James and what he says are the three things to being a great writer:
- Be kind
- Be kind
- Be kind
Beth also recommended "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott for any writers out there.
Well, tomorrow's the last day. It'd be great to meet up if you're at Inbound tomorrow. Say hi or tweet me!