In the past I’ve written about the benefits of attending Search Engine Strategies conferences with tips on gaining knowledge, finding new clients and employees, networking with others and even as a resource for generating content.
However, there are even more benefits you can gain from going to conferences like Search Engine Strategies, Pucon and SMX that you may want to consider, albeit with your humor hat on:
- Competitive intelligence – As you play the meet and greet game, you’ll undoubtedly run into employees from competing firms. Be sure to ask lots of questions. Smile, be friendly and engaging. Remember how important it is to be a great listener and remember: Loose lips sink ships! Also be sure to get PPTs from direct competitors, especially from their “new” speakers, who tend to want to impress and often include more information than they should. Also, some speakers don’t provide the conference organizer with copies of their PPTs. Don’t let that stop you! What do you think that pocket camera is for?
- Sales Training – Not really, but sorta. If you’re breaking into an aspect of search marketing that is somewhat new to you, pay attention to how your better versed competition explains themselves, their company and services, I mean advice, during presentations. The fact is, metaphors, analogies and a good story can go a long way towards explaining complex or unique SEM topics when you’re selling. Why bother making up your own when you can steal (argh, I mean borrow) them from the competition? (Reworked with your own information of course.)
- It’s a Vacation! – Convincing your boss that the next Search Marketing conference will infuse your brain with super secret SEO ninja knowledge might just get you closer to that partially all expenses paid mini-vacation to New York, Seattle, San Jose, Stockholm (don’t you have clients with Swedish sounding names?), Bejing or even London. Pull that off and you’re famous. At least until you get fired because you went to too many parties and didn’t pay attention during sessions.
- Cool Schwag – Fun stuff from popular search engines and the exhibit hall floor makes you the popular one back at the office or at least with your kids.
- The Secret Society – Psst. I’ve heard there’s a secret society of SEOs called the “Mad Hatters”. You can tell who’s a member by their really red eyes in the morning. Well, you won’t actually see them in the morning, but when you do, watch the eyes. The secret password is, “Need some aspirin?”
- Google Dance – When else will you be able to visit the Google campus and bother their Engineers with questions about duplicate content and if there’s any problem with hosting 3000 versions of your site under different domain names as long as each site scrapes 48.5% of the content from different blogs?
- Client Warm Fuzzy - Get your clients to come see you speak so they think you’re still worth paying for even though you haven’t personally worked on their account in months. Shame on you if anyone really does this.
- Fuel for Linbait – Follow famous SEO bloggers until they do something embarrassing and take a photo for use as linkbait on your sorry ass blog
- Free Beer – Suggestion compliments of Thomas. Actually, there’s less and less “free beer” as the engines pull back on festivities budgets. It’s good thing WebmasterRadio.FM is there to save the day.
- And the Number One Secret Benefit of Attending SEM Conferences Is? – You can stalk Matt Cutts.
Obviously these are tongue in cheek, but I think you get the idea. BTW, if you see me or the other TopRank team members at SES San Jose later this month, be sure to say hello.