Alloy logo

January 26, 2017

Team Member Renee Spurling

Renee Spurlin


Executive Vice President

As part of Alloy’s professional development, the senior account managers (or SAMS, as we call ourselves) are given the opportunity to attend a trade show of our choice. After researching several different content marketing conferences, I landed on Digital Summit Dallas. Held last month, this event promised attendees real-world, practical solutions happening at the crossroads of marketing, analytics, user experience, and emerging technologies. I was sold!

Though I wasn’t able to attend all 50+ speaking sessions over the two days, what I did see and hear was truly educational and inspiring. The summit’s overarching theme, from my perspective, was all about human connection and going above and beyond expectations. While I certainly learned tactical insights on content marketing best practices and strategy, (such as the importance of mobile-friendly sites as a result of Google’s new mobile-first index), I want to focus on the summit’s main attractions: the great Seth Godin and Ann Handley.

Be the Hostess with the Mostest

Seth Godin, bestselling author, entrepreneur and marketer, kicked off Digital Summit Dallas with an opening keynote. During his keynote, Godin shared his expertise and experiences on making connections and exceeding expectations. As marketers, Godin explained, what we do for a living is “find small connections, amplify them and work to change the culture.” How can you accomplish this? Simple: Be Weird.

You see, to Godin, only weird people do something at the very beginning. Therefore, if you create something that speaks to the weird people, they will carry the weight by sharing your story/experience/product/service with other weird people. They’re the ones that are listening! In other words, if you’re trying to sell to everyone, you’ll sell to no one. Find your group of ‘weirdos’ and focus on connecting with them. Further, Godin highlighted the need to provide that little something extra.

“Human beings want something more than the thing that’s in the RFP,” said Godin. It’s all about the free prize. Did you know that the biggest determination of a good or bad Yelp review is the hostess? Every restaurant has food - food that, more or less, can be made in the comfort of your home with much less overhead. However, it’s the experience and how a restaurant makes them feel that keeps patrons coming back for more. If you can create something people can’t get elsewhere – whether exceptional customer service or a uniquely marketed product – you will surely be successful.

Bigger. Bolder. Braver.

On day 2, my new #girlcrush took the stage: Ann Handley, bestselling author and chief content officer of Marketing Profs. In her keynote session, Handley focused on three ways to elevate your content marketing strategy beyond traditional techniques and tactics: bigger context, bolder marketing, and braver perspective.

Similar to Godin, Handley emphasizes the power of the unique. Specifically, she calls marketers to question what story we can tell with a depth and breadth that doesn’t already exist. Not only that, she encourages us to think beyond the white papers and landing pages – everything your client sees is a content opportunity. Think BIGGER!

“The biggest missed opportunity in content is playing it too safe,” said Handley. To avoid falling into this trap, be BOLD and provide richer insights and better experiences on your audience’s terms. When producing content, ask yourself if your content tells a different story with a specific point of view. In addition: FIWTSBS (Find Interesting Ways To Say Boring Stuff).

It’s also imperative to define your tone of voice – or your gutsiest, bravest asset, according to Handley. She defines tone of voice as culture + story + empathy. As in, your tone of voice reflects your culture, amplifies your story, and communicates empathy for your brand. Defining your tone of voice will elevate your brand and make you more memorable – which is the goal. Because, if you cover up your logo – would people still recognize your brand?

While I could go on for days on the lessons learned from these two speakers, and the dozen others I was able to witness over the two-day summit, these takeaways served as my inspiration for running head first into 2017 – and if you were following @alloy_crew on Snapchat, then you got a glimpse of it all.

I’m grateful to receive professional development allowances to attend luncheons, networking events and conferences that I’m interested in to enhance my skills as a PR practitioner. Interested in joining the team? We’re hiring in Atlanta, New Orleans and San Francisco!