Anum Hussain CMC Speaker

Winner of BetaBoston’s 25 Most Innovative People Under 25, Anum Hussain is an impressive growth marketer who spends every day strategizing, executing, and experimenting with the two channels she’s most obsessed with – content marketing and social media. She is a content marketing all-star, Co-author or Twitter for Dummies, inspiring speaker, and the Senior Growth Marketer at both Hubspot and Hubspot’s fast-growing project Sidekick.

Anum releases just a few new presentations each year, each better than the last. Her presentations have received over 1.2 million views to date and out of over 150 speakers at INBOUND Anum ranked in the top 10. Basically we’re saying we can’t wait for Anum’s session How to Accelerate the Growth of Your Business Blog at Content Marketing Conference 2016 this May. (Follow Anum on Twitter)

Anum on What Makes Content Marketing Success

I asked Anum to share her most earth-shattering discovery about content marketing in 2015.

To my surprise (and the surprise of Anum’s content team), she found that social shares were irrelevant to the success of their content. An increase social shares, it turns out, did not correlate with an increase in conversions or an increase in visits. Even when they were able to 10x social shares it had zero impact on traffic and conversions.

Social Shares vs. Site Visits, Sidekick Study

Social Shares vs. Content Views (via

So what does Anum recommend? “Optimize for search, not social.” Their research showed that while social traffic was not converting, search was.

To optimize your search engine marketing (SEM) you need to show Google that you have a lot of expertise and domain knowledge in your topic area – which sounds complicated but, according to Anum, is really not all that complicated. She recommends applying these four tactics:

  1. Focus on improving your topical authority
  2. Prioritize high-quality topics over keywords
  3. Create web page copy about those topics
  4. Gather guest posts about those topics

Attend Anum’s session at CMC16 to go into more depth on how to optimize your search traffic and grow your business blog.

Does Everyone Need to Create a Business Blog?

When we talk about optimizing for search and developing topical authority on your website the default answer is often to start a blog (or, improve your blog). But surprisingly, you may not need a blog at all.

Anum advised “[Not] everyone needs a blog to succeed at their marketing. Many do, but not everyone needs one. What you really need is a content strategy; you need to think through ‘where is content most important for our product?’”

The internet is a noisy place, and there are literally hundreds of millions of blogs competing for a share of our attention. For your product or service, it may actually be more valuable to create web pages with authoritative copy or focus on the copy within the product experience than to launch a blog.

Tumblr Quarterly Blog Growth

Total Tumblr Blogs, Quarterly Growth from 2011 – 2016 (via Statista)

When Sidekick first started they didn’t have a blog. So they ran a series of experiments to determine the content presence they really needed to build.

Visualize Your Content

Another important aspect of accelerating the growth of your business blog is to stop creating good, unique content.

“Everyone can write good, unique content. There is a plethora of it on the internet” says Anum. “But if you really want to create high-quality content (which is what everyone strives for but very few actually achieve), you need to think about your user experience. A lot of that user experience comes back to design. You want to think about what is the best format to present information that [your] audience is going to care about.”

At Content Marketing Conference 2016, Anum will go through key ways to improve that user experience and “visualize” your content. Because many marketers hear get more visual and think we need an infographic, Anum will present case studies based off personal research about what visual meant for Sidekick’s audience.

Their content team started by asking questions about less obvious visual elements like:

  • How is my content structured?
  • Where am I bolding things?
  • Where am I emphasizing certain words?
  • Where am I including a diagram?
  • Where am I highlighting a statistic?

The goal is to optimize the full visual experience your reader goes through. This includes graphic creation, but also thinking through how readers consume the post and where their eyes go.

Learn More From Anum at CMC16

In the end, the most helpful content will lead to subscriber growth. At her CMC16 session Anum will reveal why subscribers are even more important than leads at the beginning of a content strategy. Be sure to catch Anum’s session at Content Marketing Conference this May.

Content Marketing Conference is the premier event to learn tactical and actionable content marketing. At CMC16, 300 attendees will gather to master the content marketing workflow in 30 laser-focused sessions, expert keynotes, and Q&A panels, plus networking galore as in the vibrant Vegas atmosphere. Join top content marketing experts, practitioners, authors, and thought leaders and learn actionable tactics, tools, and hacks to boost your content marketing.

Learn more about why you should attend CMC.

Byron White is one of the original content marketing revolutionaries, Chair of Content Marketing Conference, author of “The Content Marketing Roadmap” and “103 Content Marketing Tools”, and Founder of 5 successful startups including WriterAccess.