When organising a conference as complex and ambicious as The Inbounder 2016, there are more uncertainties than certainties. One of these was that The Inbounder needed the presence of speakers with the following characeristics:
1. Be known as authorities in their discipline;
2. Be great speakers because - as I have experienced myself from attending many conferences - a good professional, whose posts are very useful in our daily learning, isn’t necessarily a speaker capable of transmitting their knowledge orally;
3. Have a practical attitude, so that their presentations were not simply 30 or 40 minutes of pleasant inspiration, but instead moments where they share real knowledge in their field that is applicable to each member of the audience.
Remember that the motto of The Inbounder is “The Actionable Inbound Marketing Conference”, because its mission is not only to discuss the importance of marketing online (we already know that, right?) but how to market online in the most effective way in order to truly obtain sales growth, conversion and brand image, which in the end is the main objective of Digital Marketing.
We have spoken with Aleyda on numerous occasions – most recently in this blog - and I cannot express enough the esteem I have held for her for many years.
Beyond her official recommendations, which are well-deserved (Aleyda is constantly included in the most influential marketers lists), what makes Aleyda a great professional is the passion that she has for her work with both her clients around the world as well as her personal work, such as in the case of her work with Remoters.
Aleyda is not your typical SEO professional. She is not limited to simply applying best practices because she has to, instead she is constantly researching how to achieve objectives that have been previously set and deliver the results that SEO promises.
Extremely practical in her profession, out of all the professionals I have had the pleasure to know she is probably the one who has put her hand to most tools. But this is not what makes her truly exceptional; what makes her exceptional is that every tool and theory that she experiments with she shares in her posts, presentations, micro-posts on social media, and whichever other digital format she can think of. For all of this, Aleyda Solis had to be one of the speakers at The Inbounder.
Clara Ávila, on the other hand, was one of the few speakers who I heard of through the recommendation of other members of The Inbounder team. One of the rules I set out when creating the agenda being that I could personally hear the speaker at a previous event or at least a video of one of their conferences. In fact, for those who don’t know, the selection of The Inbounder speakers wasn’t based on the classic “pitch” model, but instead it was based on the invitation of speakers.
To be clear: not all recommendations are bad, especially a recommendation made by someone who is very aware of the requirements of the recommendee and, above all, that having someone suggest a speaker did not guarantee that that person would participate in the event. This was the case of Clara Ávila, a content marketer with such level that I was surprised by her knowledge, ability to share it and, above all, her professional honesty.
Content Manager for Save the Children, Clara is not limited to preaching that “content is king”, instead she is capable of explaining why content is important and how to get the maximum performance with a content strategy that truly responds to the needs of both your audience and your company.
Perhaps because of her experience as a Telecommunications Technical Engineer, Clara has a mentality that is closer to a Content Strategist rather than simply a content marketer, as she doesn’t only possess the ability to see that content is a necessity but also know why it is and how it can develop a multidisciplinary strategy in a scalable manner.
Aleyda and Clara – just like all the speakers that participated in The Inbounder – are a clear example of how Digital Marketing world is not a man’s world and that it promotes an equal line up. One of The Inbounder’s fundamental principles is not to simply profess to being “politically correct”, but to hold up a mirror to what the reality is within the industry.
Aleyda Solís Interview in The Inbounder
What is your biggest success?
I have one specific case that’s interesting when a portal undertook a website migration. It’s important to mention the importance of SEO in any type of activity that is related to your website. For this migration case, they had redesigned their website and wanted to change it from http to https. They had a development team and product managers advising on this but they didn’t have an SEO, which is curious because it’s the sister company of another company that I am advising, with which I am having good results.
Well, they made the changes - they “did the migration” to put it that way - and their traffic began to drop. They didn’t know what to do. They contacted me because I was working with their sister company so I went to see what had happened. It turns out that – in the nicest way possible - “X” validations that they did and the best practices changes they implemented could have been corrected from an SEO point of view. It was great to see their traffic that had fallen rise up again by simply following correct SEO best practices and doing correct validations.
For me that was a great demonstration of what SEO truly is. Of course a strategy needs to be developed to attack on a day to day basis, which you can never forget. This strategy is important even in activities that companies nowadays wouldn’t necessarily think “ah, this is something that I need an SEO for”.
I shared this success story recently in Moz. Moz published a post three days ago in which I shared the steps that I followed. In these types of cases you don’t have all the information because it’s not something that you planned – instead you only have a before and after picture – and it’s much easier to map and to implement redirections etc. when you have all the information and not just parts of it. In this post I shared which external data we could count on that already existed and what data we could use in this type of situation to be able to fix things quickly. Because in such cases as this one, which was an emergency, we have to implement it quickly to begin growing again and recuperate the lost traffic and allow it to grow even more.
What is your biggest failure?
I think I’ve had many, and I think that they are the reason that I am now independent with my own consultancy. Before having my own consultancy, especially when I was working with other companies, I sometimes found myself in the situation where the company I was working with was not able to make the necessary SEO changes themselves, and couldn’t implement it. I think that for a partner that is one of the most frustrating things to happen to you. And when your hands are somewhat tied because you have already done the analysis, the audit, the recommendations, and you’ve spoken with all the teams… for example, I have been told “the HTML is mine, don’t touch it” and other such things.
In those moments you say to yourself “what do I do? Was it a mistake to be here? Was it a mistake to focus on this?” Especially when you have all your eggs in one basket and you’re working in house, you feel like that.
But this helped me to diversify and balance myself, it helped me to able to choose projects better and it taught me that my first question to clients shouldn’t be “Do you have the resources to pay me?” but instead “Do you have the resources to implement this on a technical, a content, and a promotional level? Are you flexible? Does your platform allow this?” And if not, before a company comes to me, maybe the best thing would be to invest in a work environment that will allow them to implement my recommendations or the strategy that I establish for them.
So, for me, the failures I have had professionally have been in situations that I have found like this one, when I have been “against a wall” and unable to do anything, and this has allowed me to evolve and find a way of working where I can verify if the clients meet all the necessary conditions.
What is the main challenge of Digital Marketing?
I think that it’s definitely that companies need to invest more in what they’re doing and to rethink their digital marketing investing strategy.
When thinking about what companies are willing to invest when it comes to SEM vs SEO campaigns, they’re willing to invest 10 times more in SEM than in SEO when in reality, 80% of their traffic comes from SEO and only the 20% comes from SEM.
I think that Digital Marketing definitely requires making decisions based on data. And if a company is based online, most of the time 80% of the profits, earnings, and conversions come from online meaning that what they invest in this channel should be based on that information. And that each channel should receive investment based on the profits they gain.
Clara Ávila Interview in The Inbounder
What is the future of Digital Marketing?
Without a doubt, Digital Marketing has advanced so much these past five years. If I look back at myself during that time, I don’t think I could have ever imagined that today we would be speaking about a topic as specific as Content Marketing. And we are here today in this event where the number one topic is content. If we keep following this rhythm, then I think that we will continue to speak a lot about content because, in the end, content is king. But now we have to know what messages our users are demanding and how to reach our audience, how to optimise these messages, and from there how can we improve our conversion rate.
Digital Marketing is something that we have been discussing for quite some time now and the digital transformation is something that we have watched happen but I think that content marketing and inbound marketing in general will be even more relevant in the next few years.
What do you think of The Inbounder?
The fact that this event exists is very important. That it’s more important than anything else because there is a lot of talk about blogs, new technologies, internet and the web but I don’t think that there has been any reference to content marketing in particular in Spain. And this event has dealt with it from every angle: from storytelling, to personal content, strategy, from an SEO point of view, from analytics, from social media, and other ways that we are able to generate traffic towards a key message that a brand has to define. Therefore, I think it is so important that this event exists, which is no small feat.
What has been your biggest success and biggest failure so far?
Perhaps my biggest success has been believing in content marketing as well as how Save The Children we has begun implementing the creation of “ultra-long” content. This is something that you don’t see much as it seems that people are very much focused on creating content very quickly that’s very short, such as a post a day with 500 words – but it doesn’t have to always be like that. I think that that has been our greatest success. There are studies from Medium, Moz, and even Google that says generating longer content is retained longer, promotes the creativity of the users, and is more likely to generate internal links. These “8 seconds” of attention they say a reader has doesn’t have to be like that if we are able to synthesise and create content that is really attractive to them, so this is probably our greatest success..
And the greatest failure: there have been many. The digital department of Save The Children believes that if we fail, then we have to fail fast and cheap. We undertake a lot of Guerrilla Marketing actions, many of which turn out well, and others not so well. But that’s okay, as long as they’re fast and cheap, and then we can move onto the next one.
Any advice for managing the Third Sector?
The most important thing is to be professional. Many NGOs lack of resources and therefore do not invest in professionals who are looking to improve the results of the sector. That’s probably the best advice I could give: to invest in content generation, how to reuse it without becoming obsessed with a piece of content. Stretch content as much as you can and look for professional people as these people are able to move people to make real changes.