On Tuesday 28 March we hosted the first Digital Bites event of the year and we had so much fun. Over 100 marketers joined us for the half day conference and we had 80+ people on the waitlist. As always there was a lovely friendly atmosphere with relaxed networking and 7 brilliant talks from Hannah Brady (connective3), Kirstie Cartledge (Webcertain), Sam I’Anson (Northern Trains), Jack Bamfield (NeoMam Studios), Rosa Mitchell (connective3), Amy Turk (DUSK.com) & Rejoice Ojiaku (Feedia LTD) and our wonderful host Kenny Metham.
As a marketing team we are big believers of in person events. Last year we ran three Digital Bites events in both Leeds and Manchester and we’ll be back with our new marketing festival, Up North on June 22. Up North is going to be different to you average marketing event and we’ll be hearing from some of the world’s best marketers, entrepreneurs and business leaders for a jam-packed day filled with inspirational and innovative talks and we hope you see there!
The Everyman proved to be the perfect location for Digital Bites and it will definitely be Digital Bites new home. The signature red chairs meant delegates could kick back and relax while taking in the insights from our speakers who were up on the big stage. We provided pizza, popcorn and pic ‘n’ mix to fuel everyone for the afternoon and we had some networking drinks to round the day off.
We created Digital Bites to provide a space for northern marketers to get together, network and knowledge share and we’re so proud of how quickly the event has grown. None of this would be possible without the amazing Digital Bites community who join us for each and every event.
THE TALKS & SLIDES
Organic Search Strategist, Sophie Graham, attended Digital Bites and here’s her overview of the event with links to all slides:
Hannah Brady – c3
Hannah Brady – Senior Content Strategist, connective3
Why Content Should be the Cornerstone of your Cross-Channel Strategy
Hannah’s talk began by explaining how content sits right in the middle of performance and brand. Content writers undertake user research, and they dig into data and analytics. Crucially, they also have to have to brand nail tone of voice and understand where they sit within an industry.
Alongside providing some top tips for how to gain quick insights from content using crawlers, performance tools and SEO software, Hannah talked about how content can also complement PR, Paid, Social, SEO and general marketing strategies.
For example, when it comes to SEO, Hannah explained that content writers can find new opportunities by looking at content at a macro level; they take the time to understand the content and know exactly what’s onsite. And when it comes to PR campaigns, Hannah emphasised that content strategists can help with ideation, optimise press releases and create evergreen content that also drives those all-important links and passes link equity.
Collaborating with social campaigns, content strategists can crosslink content and add insights to improve EEAT, using social to fuel content and vice versa. And when it comes to Paid, content can be used to retarget audiences and prioritise organic strategy to double up on important keywords.
Hannah emphasised that content can work everywhere and at every part of the marketing funnel, which is why it’s an element of a cross-channel strategy that really works!
Check out her full slides here for all her top tips.
Sam I’anson – Northern Trains
Sam I’anson – Senior Marketing Manager, Northern Trains
Changing perspective on competitors
Sam’s talk was all about the benefits of thinking outside the box and looking at more than just your direct competitors when it comes to boosting engagement and sales. Rather than another train company, Northern Trains decided to focus its strategy on converting commuters currently travelling by car.
Sam went onto explain how effective looking at alternative competitors can be. She highlighted that, by looking elsewhere than your direct competitors, you can gain whole new insights on your target demographic, what they’re interested in and where they spend their money. And these insights can ultimately help you change those behaviours and gain new customers. What’s more, looking at new markets can help you identify new opportunities and for acquiring demographics you weren’t targeting before.
Sam’s top tips include:
• Use data and customer insights to learn about and understand your customers.
• Get creative and bring comparisons to life with tools and advertising visuals.
• Start small first and amplify content once your budget allows.
• Gain inspiration from other industries unrelated to yours.
You can find all of Sam’s slides here.
Kirstie Cartledge – Webcertain
Kirstie Cartledge – International Events & Marketing Manager, Webcertain
Getting budget buy-in: How to unlock the value of events to fuel business success and professional growth
Kirstie’s talk centred around the value of events and how they can fuel personal and business growth.
Kirsty started her talk with some interesting statistics, sharing that, in a survey of 5,000 people, 80% of leaders are encouraging virtual and hybrid events over attending in person. However, only 10% of virtual event attendees rated their experience as excellent, indicating many people still prefer attending in person.
Kirstie highlighted the many ways in which events are beneficial, from learning about industry trends to networking, team building and finding inspiration for new campaigns.
Her top tips for maximising every event include:
– Be choosy. Don’t just go to everything, especially if budget is limited
– Do your homework beforehand on who and what you want to see.
– Get involved in the event build-up on socials and get a feel for the event.
– Plan your day. Tag-team and cover all bases so you don’t miss out on talks.
– Have a networking goal in mind.
– Look for related events and networking opportunities afterwards.
Kirstie talk also included great tips for how to present a strong business case to stakeholders that an event is worth the investment and that the value outweighs the cost of the ticket.
You can find all her great tips here.
Jack Bamfield – NeoMam Studios
Jack Bamfield – Content Producer
Informing, educating and entertaining with journalist-ready content
Jack’s talk emphasised the importance of questioning what the goal of a piece of content. He stated that journalist-ready content should either inform, educate or entertain:
Inform – what new information is it providing?
Educate- does it teach readers something new?
Entertain – does it draw readers in and keep them engaged?
Jack stressed that good content finds itself at the heart of debates that matter for clients and can spark new debates.
Jack’s talk had tons of tips for what to have in mind when writing all three types of content. When it comes to informative content, Jack stated that headlines and short, punchy asset copy are some of the key elements for hooking the reader in.
However, if you want to create educational content, Jack emphasised the priority should be bringing something new to the table and offering a fresh perspective, or placing stories from data within a wider context.
To create engaging, entertaining content, Jack stated that well-written copy that’s snappy and light-hearted is key, while visual-led content is also a great option.
Jack also provided loads of great examples of each type of content, which you can find in his slides.
Rosa Mitchell – c3
Rosa Mitchell, Business Director, connective3
The importance of confidence when working in digital
Rosa’s talk highlighted just how important confidence and self-belief is an industry like digital marketing. Digital marketing is stressful – it’s both creative and analytical, it’s results-driven and you’re open to public scrutiny.
Rosa went onto share the statistic that 30% of workers don’t deal with stress well, and spoke about how developing resilience in stressful situations helps build self-esteem.
Ultimately, confidence means taking risks and not being afraid to fail!
Her top tips for building confidence include:
• Challenging self-deprecating language. Make a conscious effort not to put your own ideas down, for example, refraining from prefacing your sentence with: ‘This might be a stupid idea, but…’
• If you’re a manager, help your team recognise what they’re good at and encourage assertiveness.
• Learning from mistakes. Try and try again, and every time you’ll improve.
• Say yes to new opportunities in and out of work, and leave your comfort zone.
• Stop comparing yourself to others – comparison is the thief of joy.
• Don’t take things too seriously; remember, it’s PR, not ER!
You can find Rosa’s slides here.
Amy Turk – Dusk.com
Amy Turk – Influencer & Social Media Manager, DUSK.com
The beauty of brand building: How to drive engagement and maximise talkability through organic social & influencers
Amy’s talk began with her talking about the difference between brand building and marketing, compared to digital marketing and sales.
When it comes to brand marketing, Amy emphasised that brand awareness is her main KPI; the focus is how to get new visitors to your website who might then convert over time. Engagement is key for brand awareness, and Amy stressed that getting into the mind of the customer delivers long-term results.
When it comes to brand building and sales driving, Amy spoke about using experiential events to get your brand name out there, and how getting accreditations through PR is great for building trust. Amy stated that what works on organic will work well on paid social activity. Alongside affiliates, Amy emphasised the benefits of using promotional influencer campaigns, especially over promotional periods.
Amy’s key tips for driving engagement through organic social and influencers include:
• Knowing your audience and building customer personas to understand which platforms each demographic are using.
• Testing, trialling and analysing – the risk vs reward can sometimes be massive!
• Implementing regular strategy reviews. If it’s not working, change it!
• Create valuable content Quality over quantity.
• Join conversations.
• Be authentic, and don’t underestimate being yourself.
Amy also shared a few great examples of disruptive social media campaigns for inspiration, which you can find in her slides.
Rejoice Ojiaku – Freedia LTD
Rejoice Ojiaku SEO & Content Strategist, Feedia LTD
Why we should be thinking about Inclusive Content
Rejoice’s talk centred around the importance of inclusivity in digital marketing. She began her talk by defining inclusivity, emphasising that it is a commitment to equity.
Rejoice spoke about why inclusivity is important. She emphasised that if a business is trying to drive people to buy a product, it has to make sure it is inclusive and embraces difference.
From Black Lives Matter and the body-positive movement to LGBTQ+ rights and neurodiversity, Rejoice emphasised that it’s crucial for brands to be aware of and understand the recent shifts in society when planning content. Thoughtless campaigns can damage trust and reputation, while creating inclusive campaigns can humanise a brand and create emotional and physical connections.
Rejoice also spoke specifically about accessibility and reducing barriers to comprehension. She explained that, while usability is about the quality of a person’s experience, accessibility refers to a person’s ability to fundamentally interact with the content. She stressed that in marketing, ensuring websites and content and accessible for everyone is vital.
Rejoice gave some great tips for ensuring accessibility in SEO and social media, as well as some best practice tips to take away:
• Look for blind spots.
• Make your content accessible.
• Use inclusive language.
• Invite inputs and get feedback
• Also promote inclusivity in your visuals. When people see themselves in your brand you will appeal to them.
• Relay strong messages in a simplistic way.
Check out her slides for tons of tips for putting these into action and the questions to ask yourself when creating content.