My top four takeaways from the 2nd annual Agents of Change conference might make lesser souls shrink from the field of digital marketing:
- Embrace failure
- Relish the grind
- Give away your most valuable content
- Stick sharp things down your throat
Actually, I found the conference empowering, both for marketers and for their (our) clients. Whether these themes were coordinated to create an intentional thread or simply a reflection of cyber trends, for the first time in this business I felt that the conversation frankly addressed how to be the best at engaging an audience and growing a business.
Embracing failure is hardly a new concept. However, failure’s lessons have been largely ignored by marketers and communicators. Past industry norms dictated that what is presented to the client or the public must be polished—as close to perfection as we can attain. Social media, on the other hand, has shown us the value of word of mouth, credibility, and reputation, which comes not with the illusion of perfection but with honesty and a willingness to address imperfection.
Relish the Grind
Increasingly, we’ve come to understand that in the online environment, having a website or even a Facebook page isn’t enough. What our audiences are seeking is content. They’re looking for video tutorials on how to do something, where to find something, how to get somewhere, what their peers think of this new restaurant, backpack, Stephen King television adaptation, or breast pump. And that means creating content on an ongoing basis. It means that you need a communications discipline.
Give Away Your Most Valuable Content
With that grind of content creation comes the question of what to do with it. Where to publish it. How to get it out there. And in many cases, how to monetize it. Not so long ago, the pat recommendation was to create only teaser content, the thinking being: why would you give away your expertise for free!? But experience, both statistical and anecdotal, is showing that the more you give away, the more your customers are willing and likely to buy from you. Because A) you’re demonstrating your expertise and B) you’re showing that you’re not just interested in their money. Either way, you’re building credibility.
Stick Sharp Things Down Your Throat
And the lesson we can take from swallowing swords (our opening speaker was Roderick Russell, a professional sword swallower and mind reader) is that being successful with your business, whether online or on stage, isn’t so much about what you do, as how you do it.
All in all, a wonderful conference that we’re looking forward to again next year!