Adobe does it better. Samsung creates the future. Apple thinks different(ly) (-- Sorry. The Grammar Freak in me won’t let that one slide.)
No matter what the slogan, what every great tech company has in common is that they don’t settle or let their team ride on only one claim to fame. They evolve; they innovate; they grow and change with their audience, and HubSpot is no different.
At the inception of the HubSpot Marketing blog, people were still skeptical about content marketing, but despite the critics, their resources paved the way for all future marketers and agencies. They were game-changers, but today, the landscape has changed dramatically.
HubSpot is no longer a budding business of only 50 employees and they are far from the only inbound marketing blog on the block. They’ve had to adapt and change their approach as their audience has changed, and no one knows that better than Pamela Vaughan, Manager of Optimization & Growth.
Last month Vaughan sat down with our Marketing Director, John Bonini, and took us through how she has helped the HubSpot Marketing team and blog scale with the company’s insane growth goals (and not to mention, stay fresh for their monthly audience of two million visitors.)
Out of that conversation came these four valuable lessons for all marketers working to align their initiatives with ambitious business goals.
Lesson 1: Discover New Channels
When Vaughan first joined HubSpot in 2008, the Marketing team was only five people with two churning out 4-5 blog articles a day. Their content was centered around “how-to” pieces and eBooks and, like any pioneer in its industry, the toddler-aged company had the market cornered.
600 employees, 7 years, and 1 IPO later, HubSpot’s organizational goals have changed quite a bit and the Marketing team has learned that their original routine no longer makes the cut.
“You can’t just publish twice as many blog posts a day and expect to grow twice as much,” explains Vaughan, “That’s just not how it works.”
With all the competition and saturation in the market today, existing tactics and topics are bound to show increasing diminishing returns. (That’s ECON 101, people!)
If HubSpot was going to maintain their status as a pioneer and innovator in the long term, they had to continuously spice things up and explore new topics and channels to reach their target market. The same goes for your business.
Never rest on your laurels. As your goals become more aggressive, as HubSpot’s did, your marketing initiatives have to as well.
What Can You Do? If your content conversions seem to have piqued, explore a new avenue. Evaluate what’s been done in your industry and what hasn’t, zone in on new mediums, and figure out how you can do it best.
In HubSpot’s case, they ventured into Podcasts, marketing templates, editorials, and general business and office discussions in their blog articles. Think outside of the box.
Lesson 2: Increase Quality
You’ve heard the old saying before: quality over quantity. Well, your dedication to quality should not stop at new content; it should extend to existing, older content as well.
This is something even Vaughan really only realized the power of last year, when HubSpot introduced Attribution Reports.
“It was really eye-opening,” she remarked.
Over 90% of HubSpot’s blog conversions at the time were coming from content that was created prior to that month; pieces that they hadn’t even thought of in ages.
With this revelation, Vaughan began her ongoing effort to incrementally improve these and other existing blog articles.
“...Can we get more traffic to them? Can we search engine optimize them to improve their rank even more?” Overall, she wanted to get the most out of the successful work her team had already done and use their high ranks to pull in new leads.
What Can You Do? Take a page out of Vaughn’s playbook and use your analytics tool to determine what blogs and offers on your website are leading to the highest number of conversions.
Once you have those in hand, optimize them further for search engines, conversions, and even the Skyscraper Technique by adding:
New Relevant Inbound Links
New Relevant Outbound Links
Lesson 3: Analyze Everything
In their early days, Pamela Vaughan and the HubSpot team could only guess which of their blog articles were converting the best, but with so many analytics at their (and your) fingertips today, there is no excuse not to know definitively what’s working and what’s not.
The best content is content that converts, and content that converts is tried and tested. A major part of Vaughan’s current position as Manager of Optimization & Growth is testing and analyzing everything that goes out via the Marketing blog and then using those results to strategize.
What Can You Do? Whenever you put out a blog article or offer, thoroughly analyze its performance (how many views did it receive, how many clicks, leads generated, etc.)
If it converts well, figure out how you can get the most out of it or repeat that success, as Vaughan and her team have. If it doesn’t perform well, examine why, and improve upon it.
Lesson 4: Hire the Right People
Pamela Vaughan credits HubSpot’s amazing success to “hard strategic work, done by really talented...hardworking people” and their dedication to hiring people who are “ready and willing and excited” to help the company achieve its goals.
Your business goals are nothing if you don’t have people who are qualified and dedicated to achieving them.
What Can You Do? Craft your team to your needs. Find people with the same passion, drive, and hunger to succeed. If your entire team is working towards the same end goal, as HubSpot’s is, your potential will be boundless.
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