express writers at digital summit

Our Editor Went to the Digital Summit Detroit 2019 Conference: Top 3 Insights

This is a guest blog from our staff editor, Jillian.

Ah, marketing conferences! If you’re anything like me—you cherish these days away from the office to soak up as much knowledge as possible (while also frantically writing notes and wishing the speaker stayed on the slide for one second longer). It’s an adrenaline rush like no other.

Why are marketing conferences so great? It’s the one time where hundreds of professionals line up to collaborate, share insights, and seek advice from each other to help grow and push the limits of what more can be done to improve digital strategy.

The Digital Summit in Detroit, MI was a fantastic event that hosted marketers across Michigan and surrounding states. It offered a conglomeration of thought-leadership and application-based seminars on various topics like content marketing, UX + design, social media, mobile strategy, and more.

Alongside working as a part-time staff editor at Express Writers, my day job is in the B2B finance industry, so I loved the fact that I could choose bits and pieces of different marketing strategy sessions to take back with me as I returned to work. With Digital Summit conferences launching across the country, here’s a breakdown of my favorite insights and moments from the week to help breakdown what I learned.

marketing event digital summit

Rand Fishkin, Seth Godin, and Dennis Rodman: Main Takeaways I Couldn’t Escape

Our staff editor, Jillian, went to Digital Summit in Detroit this year. Learn her top three insights while at the event 💭Plus, catch highlights from speakers like @randfish, @ThisIsSethsBlog, @dennisrodman and more! Click To Tweet

The summit had an eclectic mix of digital marketers known throughout the industry and local Michigan-based pioneers. I enjoyed this combination because not only do I want to learn from top trailblazers that have a larger scope on where trends are moving, but I also want to hear from those who are invested in my city.

The keynote speakers, Rand Fishkin and Seth Godin, were exceptional and delivered insights that were both action-packed and focused on the future. Seth Godin called his keynote a ‘multi-part rant’ and it was refreshing.

Dennis Rodman… was Dennis Rodman. However, I thought his perspective of building your personal brand to be your most authentic self was on-theme with the rest of the conference. His advice to the crowd: “I don’t need to like you to win. Hate me or love me as long as I’m doing my job that’s the most important thing.”

Dennis Rodman, Keynote Speaker

Unquestionably, my favorite speaker was Rand Fishkin. His seminar and keynote ‘The Four Horsemen of the Web Marketing Apocalypse’ was incredibly forward-thinking by looking at how social media and search engines are interfering with web traffic and what marketers can do to combat it.

Every speaker’s session seemed to be speaking towards the same common theme to create an experience that I could piece together and build a strategy on. A few top trends include:

  • Working with digital platforms that kill organic reach
  • Creating empathy and authenticity in a digital landscape
  • Developing employees who are brand advocates

Brian Fanzo, Fyre Festival: 10 Marketing Lessons Your Business Can Leverage

Let’s dive into these top themes a little more.

Our editor, Jillian, went to Digital Summit Detroit 2019 and watched the top keynote speakers in the industry from @randfish, @ThisIsSethsBlog, to... @dennisrodman?! 😱 Know the three best insights from the conference. ✨ Click To Tweet

Top 3 Memorable Insights from Digital Summit Detroit 2019

1. Working with Digital Platforms That Kill Organic Reach

Have you noticed your recent social posts are underperforming? What about overall less organic traffic to your website? According to speakers, this is an epidemic many marketers are now facing.

On social media powerhouses Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, they want users to stay on the platform and strongly frown upon outlinking. For example, the only location users can even add an URL on Instagram is in the bio.

Social platforms reward profiles who have high engagement streaks. Consider using a formula to earn brand exposure and new followers:

  1. Engaging non-promotional post
  2. Engaging non-promotional post
  3. Promotion post with a link
  4. Engaging non-promotional post and so on

In terms of pesky organic website traffic, we have Google to blame for that. Google provides a searcher quick snippets of information so a website is no longer needed (think Google Maps, Google My Business profile, etc.) In fact, 48.96% of all searches on Google never result in a click.


To get ahead of Google and rank, the speakers suggested going after long-tail keywords and focusing on click volume rather than search volume. Let competitors pay the high ad price without benefiting from any ROI.

2. Creating Empathy and Authenticity in a Digital Landscape

Things move fast in the digital landscape and we have about 8 seconds to capture our consumer’s attention before we get scrolled or swiped on. The presenters were focused on helping attendees not only create content that’s authentic but also build a credible brand DNA that consumers remember.

Carlos Gil, What Marketers Can Learn About Social Media From DJ Khaled and Drake

Here are a few memorable points:

  • The conversation is more important than the like. Build relationships and create a community that is relatable because earning fans is far more important than customers.
  • Invest in brand awareness at the top of the funnel and focus on organic traffic before paid advertising. It’s important to be liked and trusted first.
  • Double down on a video and audio marketing strategy. Consider different formats like live videos, voice search, and podcasts.

3. Developing Employees Who Are Brand Advocates

I thought this topic was interesting and paralleled with the ‘influencers who don’t influence’ phrase that I repeatedly heard throughout the conference. While I don’t think influencer marketing is going away anytime soon (it’s predicted to become a $6.5 billion industry), the average consumer is smart and tired of seeing ‘celebrities’ rep products to fake accounts.

Kellee Montgomery, The Power of Employees: Your Secret Weapon to Amplify Brand Messaging

What’s the solution?

Turn to employees to advocate for our brands. In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends or family compared to a celebrity influencer. Employees are also trustworthy and credible sources to sing praise about products, culture, and more. To put this into action, consider the following:

  • Create a company social policy to keep employees informed
  • Encourage leadership to get involved
  • Give employees post copy, branded hashtag, or sharing CTA
  • Inspire engagement
Best insights from Digital Summit Detroit 2019 include 🗝 working with social media platforms -- and even Google! -- that kill organic reach, 💞 creating empathy and authenticity, and 🧲 developing employees who advocate your brand. Click To Tweet

Where to Next?

Overall, the Digital Summit was a great experience. I sat in on some great presentations with powerful thought-leadership that will transcend into my own marketing strategy. For a marketing conference to be successful, I think you have to walk about with one actionable item and do it—put it on paper, propose it to the team, and implement it.

After these few days, I plan on doing just that. Until next time!

Have you attended a Digital Summit in your local area? What were your favorite moments and insights?

CTA jillian express writers

influential online bloggers

15 of the Most Influential Bloggers and What You Can Learn From Them

Work until you will no longer have to introduce yourself!

This is arguably one of the best pieces of advice that you will ever receive while working hard to grow your business.

Next thought: could a blog simplify your efforts and support your boldest ambitions?

The success stories of today’s best-loved influencers in the content industry show that a blog is an invaluable asset that can bring you money and fame in the long run.

Let’s look at how they did just that!

famous bloggers online

15 Bloggers Who Prove That Content Success Is Just Around the Corner

Some of the most influential bloggers of the moment demonstrate that inspiring strings of words can consolidate businesses, change mindsets and turn losses into profits. Here are 15 prominent, brilliant people who master the art of business blogging.

1. Noah Kagan. Noah Kagan of is the founder of two multi-million businesses, successful blogger and Tacodeli lover. His blog is an excellent source of inspiration for those who are looking forward to revamping their content strategy and putting their talent and excellent writing skills to good use to supplement their income.

Posts like What I’ve Learned about Email Marketing after Losing $135,000 a Day are educational, information-rich and tailored to the needs of readers who wish to reduce their losses and boost their productivity in the content industry. Whether you want to learn how to grow your email list or improve your writing, Kagan’s expert advice will guide you in the right direction.

2. Darren Rowse. As a former minister with a plethora of interests, including food, reading, movies, wine and photography, Darren Rowse has what it takes to fit the profile of a successful blogger. Rowse is the founder of multiple blog networks and blogs, including and b5media.

3. Pat Flynn. Pat Flynn from can teach you everything you need to know about foolproof ways of making passive income. If you also want to hear the ka-ching sound effect while resting on your couch with your laptop on your lap, follow Flynn and find out how he managed to make 3 million dollars over the course of six years by creating websites that target different niches. An interview published by Forbes reveals some of his well-kept secrets: he surprises his audience with well-written informative materials that answer their daily questions. By providing digital books and other freebies, Flynn keeps his readers coming back for more time after time.

4. Neil Patel. Neil Patel is a Seattle-based angel investor, entrepreneur and analytics specialist. As the founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, Patel gives SEO/blogging tips meant to help small business owners succeed where others have failed. Patel takes his relationship with his readers/potential clients to a whole new level by introducing a new option: Reserve Neil Online. At a touch of a button, you can schedule a confidential discussion with Neil Patel and discover the secrets of the entrepreneur who has turned multiple blogs into a successful online business.

5. Seth Godin. Godin is an overall genius: author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker.The sky is the limit when it comes to inventorying the number of things that you could learn from this extraordinary multitasker. Land on his website, check out his blog, fall in love with his newest bestseller entitled What to Do When It’s Your Turn, and don’t forget to take a glance at the section entitled “Free Stuff.” In this corner, you’ll be able to download and analyze manifestos, PDFs and ebooks for free. For instance, The Bootstrapper’s Bible is available for free for a limited period of time and teaches you for to start a business when you have no money in your pockets. Download, read and apply.

6. Matt Marshall. Matt Marshall is the Founder and CEO of VentureBeat. For almost a decade now, VentureBeat has made a name for itself as a leading source of information delivering fresh news that can help tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and executives make smarter decisions. Basically, this premium resource that attracts around 7.5 million unique visitors each month gives you the chance to discover and understand all the novelty factors associated with various technology trends, ranging from games and health tech to mobile and social media. Marshall signs a series of interesting must-read articles that will automatically catch your eye, especially if you’re interested in the tech innovation and entrepreneurial field.

7. Rand Fishkin. Fishkin is the Founder of Moz and Co-Founder of His blog gets thousands of views and shares, besides all the traction his amazing company Moz has had. He’s also a celebrated speaker at events like PubCon, and a well-read author.

His Whiteboard Fridays are some of the best visually done weekly vlog-casts on the web.

8. Matt Cutts. Everybody knows Cutts as the voice of Google. He isn’t the most awesome blogger (sporadic posts, all over the board on topics) but he is definitely highly followed and read. Maybe because he works at Google—just a guess.

9. Gina Trapani. Gina Marie Trapani is the CEO and Founder of Lifehacker. She is also a reputable web developer, writer and tech blogger and the author of several bestselling books that deserve a spot on your nightstand, including Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day and Upgrade Your Life. She is constantly active on social media platforms and spends most of her day podcasting and coding. Trapani is also the proud co-founder of ThinkUp, a brilliant app allowing you to picture your online self by offering you daily insights that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. In case you’re interested, note that this handy tool comes with a 14-day free trial.

10. Pauline Cabrera. Pauline Cabrera is the founder of, a popular blog on all things Internet Marketing. TwelveSkip is a top-rated resource whose purpose is to address the problems and concerns experienced by small business owners striving to boost their online visibility. Delivering a mix of quality information on content marketing, blogging, affiliate marketing and visual marketing, this blog also provides countless practical tips, educational information and step-by-step tutorials.

11. Timothy Sykes. Sykes is a wildly successful blogger who knows more than a thing or two about stock investment. He writes one of the highest earning Internet blogs in the entire world! He makes about $180,000 a month just from his blog, proving that turning a website into a profitable business is far from being a mission impossible. Born in 1981, Sykes is a highly esteemed educator, financial activist, entrepreneur and stock trader. He is currently sharing his wisdom with no less than 2,000 students from 60 countries. His blog comprises a collection of interesting posts that will help you rethink your moneymaking strategies. Most importantly, remember that you could always signup to start or improve your trading education by getting Sykes’ free 7 video lessons.

12. Amit Agarwal. This influent Indian blogger is the founder of Digital Inspiration. As a bold promoter of freedom of speech in his country, Amit made the first steps towards becoming the first Professional Blogger in India. Digital Inspirations, one of his most ambitious projects, is the go-to resource that users land on when they need expert advice on the efficient utilization of web-based technologies, services and tools.

13. Ileane Smith. Ileane Smith is not your average Social Media Diva. As an active blogger, YouTuber and podcaster, she provides free expert guidance allowing her followers to improve their relationships with their audiences and maximize their earnings the easy way. Her website lets you uncover the secrets of the digital media, craft better content, find your own voice and keep your audiences engaged and entertained.

14. Enstine Muki. Why do most companies blog? Because they want to sell faster and better, reach their audiences and stay one step ahead of their competitor. EnstineMuki, the founder of understands this basic need and shows people how to make money online the easy way. Informative posts such as How I Turned Rejection into $230+ in Affiliate Commissions do raise your curiosity as a reader and convince you to click on his links. At the end of the day, the tips and success stories that he shares with you let you solve problems that may be impacting the visibility and effectiveness of your blog/website. All in all, this resource proves once again that quality content can make you richer and wiser at the same time.

15. Jon Morrow. Morrow’s Twitter account counts 28 photos/videos, 7960 tweets and 33.4K followers. You may be wondering: what lies behind his smashing success? Morrow is the former editor of Copyblogger, one of the most reputable resources offering fresh tips on how to master SEO copywriting and explore your full potential as an online marketer.

As the CEO of Smart Blogger, Morrow signs a series of bold, attention-grabbing posts with shockingly on-point headlines, such as:

How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers, How to Be Unforgettable or Make Money Blogging: 20 Lessons Going from 0 to $100,000 per Month

Does he have your attention now? We bet he does! However, if you need one more reason to follow his blog religiously and stalk him on Twitter, you should know that all his tips are absolutely free and help you unlock a whole world of new opportunities.

16. BONUS: Daniel Scocco. As a reputable programmer and entrepreneur born in Brazil, Scocco manages to answer different types of questions that you may also have on your mind at this point, as a newbie trying to conquer an overly competitive digital market. Posts such as Should You Really Move Your Startup to San Francisco, Why Startups Fail and There Are 3 Ways to Deal with Rejection. Only 1 Works are an invaluable source of knowledge and let you step up your game in today’s blogosphere. As the founder of Kubic Technology, a company specializing in mobile apps, and the provider of premium consulting services, Scocco is the influential blogger who can satisfy your appetitive for quality information on various web content-related topics of interest.

5 Strategies to Consider When Turning a Blog into a Business

Let’s face it: it’s hard to make a name for yourself in a sea of more or less remarkable blogs, especially when you’re sailing without a compass. As a new blogger, you need more than a few standard tips to enhance your level of influence and increase your number of followers. Here are five key aspects that you should factor in to facilitate your transition from rookie to worshipped blogging superstar.

1. Team up with Fellow Bloggers

Are you intimidated by your main competitors? If your answer is affirmative, then you should know that this is the main difference between people like you and successful bloggers. Influencers know how to turn foes into friends and competitors into collaborators. Guests posting is only one relevant example backing this theory. Therefore, if you truly want to boost your popularity and target a broader audience, choose to abandon your comfort zone and establish beneficial relationships with industry experts who could become a part of your content strategy.

2. Invest in the Tools That Contribute to Your Success

In 2015, all categories of content creators get the chance to test and use a great variety of free and almost free tools available online, designed to help them stay relevant and competitive on their niche. From indispensable tools and apps such asPocket, BlogJet or ScribeFire to an awesome-looking, user-friendly blog and website, all these assets supports your growth and maximize your productivity.

3. Stay Active on Social Media Platforms

These days, influential bloggers know how to explore the tremendous power of social networking websites to their best advantage. They tweet, share stuff on Facebook and Google+,post edited pictures and original captures on Instagram and add pins on Pinterest to save the best creative ideas that could inspire their future masterpieces. Blogging is a full-time job and these people work around the clock to promote their content on social media platforms. If you want to witness similar positive results, you should start by employing the same tactics.

4. Find the Perfect Combination of Tactics, Mindset and Vision

Novices can get free blogging tips online, with just a few clicks. But in order to become successful, you need more than a few patterns. According to, the ones who get excellent results in this field count on a mix of personalized strategies, a unique vision and a productive mindset.

5. Become the Best Version of Yourself to Achieve Recognition

Above anything else, stay real and use your originality as the most powerful weapon of seduction that is a part of your current arsenal. Perfect your writing style and make it recognizable. Neil Patel’s approach is completely different than the one embraced by Jon Morrow, despite the fact that they both operate in the blogging/SEO sector. Both are exceptionally gifted experts offering you a constant flow of words of wisdom that you can rely on to optimize and promote your blog in an effective manner; and still their styles are unique and easy to recognize by readers who are familiar with their work. Bottom line: raise your own voice and be yourself, simply because everybody else is already taken.

So, Why Blog?

Now let’s go back to the first question that we’ve launched: Why Blog?

As Hubspot points out, the list of benefits associated with blogging for business is virtually endless and includes a simpler method to generate traffic, a great opportunity to establish authority and the chance to witness long-term positive results, in terms of site traffic and new leads. The success stories revolving around strategies that you are now familiar with prove that you can turn a blog into a thriving business. So what now?

Create, innovate and contribute to a flawless user experience through your best content. It’s the only way!

[clickToTweet tweet=”If your ship doesn’t come in, you should swim out to meet it. – @ExpWriters on blogging” quote=”If your ship doesn’t come in, you should swim out to meet it. – @ExpWriters on blogging”]

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