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5 Fascinating AMAs for the Marketing and Startup Communities

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‘AMAs generate some of the most compelling stories on the web, or in any medium.’

That’s Alexis Madrigal writing about the beauty and power of AMAs on The Atlantic. Short for “ask me anything”, AMAs have evolved from a fun distraction on message boards to serious promotional opportunities for celebrities and politicians. In the marketing world, AMAs serve an especially meaningful purpose. They give entrepreneurs, founders and the entire startup community a platform to share ideas and, perhaps more importantly, lessons learned from mistakes early in their careers. AMAs consistently contain info, tips, suggestions and lessons that are pure gold. You’ll never get this information in a blog post or webinar … it’s a benefit unique to the AMA format.

In case you aren’t familiar with AMAs, here’s a primer on how they work. A forum – often Reddit but more communities are doing this now – hosts a live Q&A with an interesting person. The idea is that nothing is off limits and no judgment is passed.

Madrigal summed AMAs up perfectly:

In the AMA, there is no journalist, no writer, no personal brand. No one makes a living asking questions of AMA participants. There’s nothing to lose.

Without further ado, here are five AMAs that are absolutely loaded with interesting information on marketing, startup life, business, growth hacking, CRO and so much more. Enjoy!

Rand Fishkin on /r/BigSEO

kac4509: Thanks for doing this Rand! I am still in my first year of SEO & Content Marketing and think I have the general basics down. I want to take my knowledge to the next level but am having a hard time figuring out how to do that since I have been self-educating. My question is – What resources/tools/whatever did you use to learn about this industry and how do you still stay on top of it now?

randfish: Back when I was learning, we didn’t have nearly the resources available that we do today. A few things I really like for diving into SEO/inbound/content marketing:

A) Distilled U B) Market Motive C) Conferences, in particular I like Searchlove D) Moz stuff – https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo and https://moz.com/learn/seo

How I stay on top of it now – I read (and skim) a lot! Social media helps – I can scroll through my Twitter and G+ feeds and by following a good set of folks, make sure I know what’s going on. It also helps that I have to teach and give a lot of forward-looking presentations. That forces me to know a lot about the field even if it doesn’t pertain specifically to Moz.

Check out Rand’s video AMA on Wistia as well.

Brian Clark on Inbound.org

@dohertyjf: Brian – Thanks for doing this! I’m curious what your rule of thumb is for marketing emails? Short and sweet with call to action? Epic long emails with tons of information? Depends?

@brianclark: The purpose of an email, in our practice, is to 1) get it opened, then 2) sell the click. We send people to pages for the bulk of the copy/content, so you’re really just trying to get as many people to that page as possible. That’s the purpose of the email.

Ross Hudgens on /r/BigSEO


  1. What’s the hardest part of content marketing?
  2. How do you come up with the right content ideas?
  3. What’s the most important trait for starting and running a successful business?


  1. The starting blocks. I think so much about the site design, CMS and etc are sometimes completely out of our control but we have to deal with it as content marketers. It’s really frustrating and something we have to work around – while also leveraging other soft skills like persuasion to get the changes that are vital to a site done.
  2. I lean on the experts. There are certain sites that have similarities to our clients – commercial, investing in content, somewhat similar verticals – that can be referred to as inspiration for our own ideas. The good thing about content marketing overkill is there’s a TON of content to learn from, and most of the ideas can be ported to other areas with no loss in success.
  3. I’m not sure I know for sure, but to me, the answer is belief. I believe that what we are doing and capable of doing is right, we just have to execute on it. If we execute and work hard, I don’t think we can fail. No matter how much stress you have, if you truly believe that (and are right – hopefully you’re right too) – I think you’re going to do well, and that belief will get you through the tough times of running a company.

Ryan Holiday on /r/Startups

PLURFellow: I am glad to have you here, Ryan. Very interesting career and wish you the best.

My question is: If you were launching a startup/new product, what is the list of things you would do? How might you go outside the box?

ryan_holiday: I’d ask myself:

  • Who are your ideal early adopters?
  • How can you make your platform particularly enticing to them right now?
  • Why is this service indispensable? Or do you make it indispensable to them?
  • Once they come on board, does the service provide/encourage/facilitate them inviting or bringing more users with them?
  • How willing and prepared are you to improve based on the feedback and behavior of these users?
  • What kind of crazy/cool thing can you do to get attention–something that, ideally, no one has ever done before?

Oli Gardner on Inbound.org

@hnshah: What’s the most surprising CRO win that you’ve seen? Highest improvement or something that you didn’t expect to have such a big impact.

@oligardner: Definitely the test we ran on our templates page: https://unbounce.com/landing-page-templates/. I asked a few questions with Qualaroo and found 3 overwhelmingly consistent questions.

  1. How much are the templates?
  2. Where can I download them?
  3. Can I use them with WordPress?

None of these are the case (they’re for use inside Unbounce).

Hypothesis: “By introducing a demonstration of ‘Context of Use’, visitors will be more informed about how the templates can be used >> leading to more and better qualified signups.”

You can see the diagram that’s at the top of the page now.

The result was a 43% lift in new trial starts! Incredible.

I also noticed that people who touch that page convert better than those who don’t.

Are there any AMAs you’ve found to be helpful? Let us know in the comments.

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