"Christmas Episode & Reflections on 2017" (Inbound Success Ep. 18)
Welcome to a very special Christmas episode of The Inbound Success Podcast!
I had a conversation a few weeks ago with the team here at IMPACT that I work with on this podcast and they asked if I was still going to publish an episode today.
I decided to do it because if there's one thing I've learned in my 10 plus years as a content marketer and my three-plus years as a podcaster it's that consistency is key.
If you say you're going to publish a blog or a podcast every Monday morning at 10:30 am, then you've got to publish it every Monday morning at 10:30 am, even if that Monday happens to be Christmas Day.
This is a short episode due to the holiday.
I'm not sure if anyone will actually be listening, but for those who are, I'm grateful for you. To me, that's a Christmas gift in and of itself -- that you would choose to listen to this podcast on a holiday.
I don't have a guest today. Instead, I wanted to take a step back and talk about what led me to create the podcast, and also some of the things I've learned in recording the last seventeen episodes.
Listen to the episode here, or read the show notes (below), for my reflections on the podcast, my guests, and what I've learned about building successful inbound marketing campaigns.
This is actually my second podcast. I used to have another one called He Said, She Said, an Inbound Marketing and Sales Podcast, which I started with my husband, who, at the time, was my business partner in a previous agency that I owned called Quintain Marketing. At the time, we were HubSpot partners, and HubSpot had just released a CRM as part of their product. As a result, there was a lot of discussion around the alignment (or lack thereof) between marketing and sales.
John (my husband) and I used to bicker a lot in the office. I have a marketing background, he has a sales background, and we disagreed quite a bit, albeit in a very productive way. The team that worked for us at the time was like, "You guys should just disagree on a podcast. It would be entertaining."
And so we did.
It was a lot of fun, and you can still find all 25 of those old episodes out there on the internet.
I learned a lot from that experience, and the biggest lesson was probably that we weren't specific enough. There's a lot to cover when it comes to the alignment between marketing and sales. If you're going to build a podcast audience, you really need to be specific and go niche, and we simply weren't doing that to the extent we needed to. So, as with anything, we decided to pivot and start over. For me, that meant closing down that podcast and starting this one.
The Reason I Started The Inbound Success Podcast
I've been in the field of inbound marketing for over a decade. In that time, I've gone to a lot of conferences, read a lot of blogs, and participated in a lot of webinars. Throughout the years, there has been a consistent theme of what I like to call "Cinderella stories" - lots of people talking about the wild successes they've achieved, whether it's somebody who grew their agency from nothing to millions of dollars in revenue in no time, marketers who seem to magically grow their online following simply by blogging, or marketers using inbound marketing and getting incredible results.
Every time I would hear those stories, I would think, "That's great and wonderful and inspiring," but I never felt like I was given the specific information that I needed to take lessons away from the experiences that those people had and apply them to my own marketing and get better results.
In short, it was a lot of success stories without a lot of meat to the bones.
The idea behind this podcast was to really focus on the practicing marketer, either at agencies or in-house, who is responsible for strategy, but still rolling up their sleeves and doing the work. This podcast is really for them. It's my attempt to arm them with the information they need to take their inbound marketing to the next level.
The reason I'm so passionate about it is that I, in some ways, am my own audience. Even though I've been an agency owner, my agency was small, so I was still very involved in developing marketing strategies for client accounts. I was also responsible for my agency's own marketing.
Here at IMPACT, I'm moving into the role of Vice President of Marketing for our agency, so I'm walking in the same shoes you are. I have to figure out how to get these great results for my own company.
For these reasons, I look at this podcast as a wonderful gift that I can give myself, and an opportunity to be able to learn from the guests that I have on the podcast. Even if nobody ever listens, I'm going to keep doing this because I learn so much every week.
To that end, one of the things I wanted to do today was to thank the people who have been my guests so far. There have been 17 of them. We're still a young podcast, but the list is impressive (to me at least).
Thank You to My Guests
I'm humbled and honored that each and every one of these people have chosen to be interviewed by me, starting with the very first episode when I got to interview one of my role models, John McTigue, who was one of the founders of Kuno Creative. He's now retired, but he is starting a new career advising other companies in selecting marketing automation software.
My next guest was Stephanie Casstevens, who is just an incredible inbound marketing maven, for a lack of a better term. She's currently in a marketing role at Label Insight, but she's been an agency marketer in the past. She's also one of the co-leaders of the Chicago HubSpot User Group, which is the largest HUG in the world. You know, there's pretty much nothing Stephanie can't do.
Then, I got to interview IMPACT'S CEO, Bob Ruffolo. My interview with Bob took place last spring before I joined IMPACT. In fact, I would say that it was, in part, my interview with him that led to me joining the IMPACT team. You never know where these podcast interviews are going to go!
One of my favorite interviews was with my friend and inbound agency owner Rick Kranz, who happens to be one of the savviest Facebook marketers I know. His strategies for nurturing sales leads using Facebook ads is nothing short of brilliant.
Pete Caputa, the CEO of Databox, was one of the earliest employees at HubSpot and the genius behind their partner channel program. I interviewed Pete and then he introduced me to one of my later guests, Jeremy Ellens of LeadQuizzes, so thank you, Pete. You are an awesome connector.
Patrick Shea from Cybereason, who also was one of the earlier employees at HubSpot, and very instrumental in their partner program, was another guest. He is now doing great work with account-based marketing over at Cybereason, a growing cybersecurity company in Boston, and you can learn more about that in our interview.
For my 10th episode, I had the privilege of interviewing George B. Thomas, one of my favorite guys and an incredibly accomplished podcaster. He is one of the guys behind The Hubcast. So if you're a HubSpot user, you got to check that out if you haven't already. But, he's also one of these people that knows how to hack marketing automation software, make it sing, and do things that you never thought were possible.
Next, I spoke with Stephen O'Connor of ADSC. He is actually an IMPACT client, and he's doing great work with Kaitlyn Petro, who's one of our strategists. The two of them came on and did a wonderful interview with a great takeaway, which was that they started to really see success when they actually blogged less. This sort of flies in the face of all the advice you hear, but it's well worth listening to that episode to learn why that was so instrumental in them.
Then I interviewed Anna Nardone, who is a personal friend, but also a professional colleague and, at one time, a client. She did a phenomenal influencer marketing campaign four years ago that is still bearing fruit for the medical practice where she works.
Jeremy Ellens, who I just mentioned, of LeadQuizzes, has grown his business incredibly quickly and in our interview, he shared his strategies for achieving rapid growth in visitor traffic and leads. But, Jeremy also introduced me to a whole handful of people who have since become guests on my podcast and a couple that will be guests in the future, so thank you, Jeremy. You're like the gift that keeps on giving!
Anthony Sarandrea, who I met through Jeremy, is doing amazing work with a network of websites that he has created, and he's building out some SEO authority in a way that I haven't seen anybody else do, so listen to that episode for sure.
My most recent guest was Ameer Rosic, the Founder of Blockgeeks, which is a website in the blockchain space. I'm sure you're hearing about bitcoin in the news. It's taking off like wildfire. Ameer saw that trend coming and really wanted to educate himself, but he couldn't find a great resource for it, so he built it, which is what any really great entrepreneur does. They see a need, and they solve it. You can listen to my interview with Ameer here.
What an amazing lineup of guests I've had! Again, thank you so much to all of you who've participated in the podcast. I hope you've gotten something out of it. I know I have learned so much.
What I've Learned From My First 17 Episodes
When I first conceived of The Inbound Success Podcast, I thought I might learn that there were some magic tricks that these people have up their sleeves. Instead, I learned that there are no magic bullets.
What there is, is attention to detail. There's hard work. There is a commitment to continuous, life-long learning. Every single one of the people that I've had on as my guest is a passionate learner. They are staying up at night, and researching, and reading, and pushing themselves, and always expanding their minds.
One of the questions I ask on almost every single episode is: Where do you go to stay on the cutting edge of marketing and to learn new things? So far, almost everyone has had a different answer, and that has helped me discover new resources and knowledge that I'm already using to become a better marketer.
The other thing I've learned is that you have to always be testing. You can't ever take a "set-it-and-forget-it" approach. Marketing is a field that is changing so fast. The technology's changing fast, the way the internet works is changing fast, and the way the buyers interact with sellers, and with content, and with the internet is changing so, so fast.
I saw a statistic yesterday that by 2020, 50% of all searches that we do will be via voice search (think about Alexa, Siri, Google Home). We're moving from the internet as we know it and on to these smart devices. Who knows what that means for the future of content marketing? I certainly don't, but it's something I'm passionate about learning about, so you can bet that some of my guests in the new year are going to be people who are doing really interesting things in that area.
I've learned so many great marketing lessons this year, and there is so much more I want to learn and explore next year.
My little Christmas gift to you is that I just confirmed that one of my first interviews of 2018 is going to be with Eric Siu of Single Grain. If you haven't heard of him, you should go out and Google him. He is the founder of Single Grain, which is an agency that helps companies get results and improve the ROI of their marketing. He is also the Founder of Growth Everywhere, a blog and podcast with interviews of people who are growing businesses and doing incredible things, and he is the co-host of the Marketing School podcast with Neil Patel. If you are a marketer, you should be listening to that podcast and following Eric Siu.
Eric will be featured in the episode that we release on Monday, January 8th and he'll be sharing what he sees as the top tactics and strategies that inbound marketers are using to get success, and that they should be using to get success, in 2018. Do not miss that episode, it's going to be awesome.
Thank YOU for Listening
Today, I just really wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas or, if you celebrate, a Happy Hanukkah, a happy Kwanzaa. Whatever the holiday is that you're enjoying this season, I hope it is a wonderful one for you and I wish you and those you love a happy, healthy, and a prosperous New Year.
Thank you so much for listening.
If you enjoy the podcast, I would really love it if you'd leave a review on iTunes, or Stitcher, or wherever you listen. We're still a small podcast, and every review means so much.
I would also love it if you'd tell a friend and/or if you know somebody doing great inbound marketing work, please do reach out to me. You can always tweet me @workmommywork. I'm looking for amazing marketers to interview in 2018. It could you, or it could be a friend. Let me know. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. See you in 2018.
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About Kathleen Booth
Kathleen joined IMPACT after successfully exiting her own digital marketing agency, which she grew from startup to HubSpot Platinum level partner. As part of the sales and business development team at IMPACT, Kathleen leverages her 11+ years as an entrepreneur and inbound marketing agency owner to advise businesses on digital marketing and sales solutions that will deliver measurable results in the form of customer acquisition and revenue growth. When she’s not working, you’ll find Kathleen spending time with her children, taking long walks with her two rescued Labrador retrievers, volunteering on community boards, or devoting her time to mentoring other entrepreneurs and business owners.