I’m a bit of a travel bug and my third trip to London didn’t disappoint. SES moved its venue to the center of London, literally across the street from Westminster Abbey and a short walk to Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the London Eye and many other well known landmarks.
Whether a conference happens in amazing places like London or New York, there are a few things I try to do in order to maximize the value from attending including speaking of course, but also networking, connecting with media opportunities and creating content. Here’s a rundown of some of that before and during SES London.
The conference itself was well attended and TopRank made its presence known before and during the event. A few weeks before the event we ran a poll on the top UK Online Marketing Blogs which attracted thousands of votes and well over 10,000 visits to Online Marketing Blog.
I also made sure to spend time connecting with UK SEMs on Twitter (4am-6am local MN time) for several weeks before the event, sharing resources and engaging in dialog. We submitted 1 press release and a few event listings before the conference as well.
During SES London, I attended several sessions including the keynote by Jeffrey Hayzlett and liveblogged sessions on Video Marketing and Social Media and the Marketing Mix that also included video interviews. Paul Carff of Google was gracious to do his first video interview with me and talk about video sitemaps. I also interviewed Mel Carson of Microsoft to talk about social media marketing.
The exhibit hall never seems to be open long enough for me to spend enough time there, but I did get a chance to chat with several exhibitors (the hall was full of sponsors BTW). In particular, I was very happy to see the PRWeb UK booth. We work with PRWeb in the U.S. of course, so it was like seeing family abroad.
Of course the core reason for me being at SES London was to present. I gave a solo presentation on Content Marketing Optimisation to a packed room on Wednesday (photo at the top of this post), which I am happy to say was attended by a number of bloggers. Here’s coverage of that session:
- Screaming Frog: Content Marketing Optimisation by Matt Hopson
- SEO Chicks: SES London Content Marketing Optimisation by Nichola Stott
- Claire Carlisle: Content Marketing Strategies with Lee Odden – SES London 2011
- Marketing Facts: SES London Trends to Watch in 2011 – 2. Content Marketing Optimisation (in Dutch)
Besides the Content Marketing session, I also moderated the SEO Through Blogs & Feeds session on Thursday and gave another solo presentation on Friday for OMS on Integrated Online Marketing: Intersection of Search, Social and PR. However, I don’t think anyone liveblogged that one.
One of the great things about conferences is that many other attendees come to create content and so I ended up participating on several video interviews:
- State of Search: Bas van den Beld asked me about Content Marketing and general questions about TopRank and our intentions in Europe.
- Jobs in Search: Mike Taylor asked about the skills I look for when hiring talent at TopRank Online Marketing, what’s changed and also that TopRank is celebrating 10 years in business in 2011.
- SES: Tracy Falke and I did a long interview on Content Marketing, Search and Social after my session on the same topic. It’s not up yet, but when it does post, I’ll add a link.
On top of this, I did an interview with AdAge in the states by phone on Facebook Marketing (who found me via search) and another with a local publication via email on Content Marketing (who Dave connected with). Neither article has published yet, but I will link them from here when they do. (Link to Ad:Age article here)
Of course there were a number of networking events and dinners where many new connections were made, friendships maintained and a number of new business opportunities discussed.
All in all, it was a successful conference. Even though I’ve only included highlights, my point of sharing some of this information is to show that there’s a lot more value one can gain from attending industry conferences besides learning new tactics and parties. There are numerous levels of networking going on and plenty of content creation opportunities. The key is to plan ahead and plant seeds before the event, vs. trying to do everything while you’re there. The good news, is that SES New York is just around the corner!
What tips can you share about getting more value from attending industry conferences? Did you attend SES London? What did you think?