I am attending Pubcon for the first time. Every conference is different and often advice from those that have attended can be invaluable. I asked some SEO’s for their number one tip for those attending Pubcon for the first time.
My advice would be to create a game plan for Pubcon before you get there.
- Create a list of your company’s top marketing concerns and the questions you need resolved while at the show
- Stalk the conference agenda to find the sessions and speakers who will address these concerns/questions.
- Create a list of speakers, vendors, and colleagues that you want to grab face time with. When possible, set up dinners, lunch meetings or drink plans ahead of time before everyone is scattered all over the place and/or hungover/trapped in a casino.
- Prioritize your list. Sleep with it under your pillow. Memorize it.
- This is your game plan for while you’re at the show. It will help ensure you leave Pubcon having accomplished everything you set out to … and increase your odds you’ll be allowed out of your office and back again next year.
And don’t forget to read the official Pubcon coverage! It’ll help you not miss a thing while you’re busy at all those lunch meetings! ;)
Get out of your comfort zone and attend sessions you would not normally think to attend. One of the coolest features of PubCon is the breadth of topics across search, social, display, affiliate, monetizing, and even hardcore site clinics that dissect your websites with constructive feedback.
These days, it’s essential for social marketers to know PPC, SEOs to know social, and pretty much every other mashup possible. PubCon is a great conference to gain access to that wide cross section of disciplines. Grow yourself as a marketer by becoming more familiar with what everybody else does. PubCon is a strong conference to that.
Don’t hesitate to approach speakers and network with them. Bringing them a beverage or inviting them to a dinner can go a long way. As with most conferences, Pubcon is a great opportunity to connect, especially since it seems everyone loves Vegas and more than usual travel to the conference.
Note-taking isn’t just for sessions.
Like most conferences, a lot of the value of Pubcon is in the in-person networking. But in the flurry of business card exchanges, cocktail encounters and late-night parties, it can be tough to remember everyone you meet.
My best advice is to take some time each day to make some quick notes on anyone you talked to that you’d like to get to know better—where you met, what you talked about, who you knew in common. You’ll be grateful on your flight back home with a list full of smart new industry contacts!
Don’t worry about hitting a session in every time slot of the day. Take some time to get a little sleep. Networking in the evenings is going to be very valuable and you don’t want to check out early because you’re tired.
Pubcon packs in more sessions and more networking opportunities than any other conference I’ve ever been to. My first time there, it was literally overwhelming, and I couldn’t decide what sessions to sit in on or marketing after-events to attend—it was that intense.
My best suggestion is to read through all the sessions in advance and pick those you think you’d really want to go to. Then, when you get to a session, if it turns out in the first several minutes to not be what you expected, you can leave that session and go check out another, if you want. Don’t be afraid to do that. Also, be sure to get to at least some after-parties or networking events—they’re all great experiences.
And if you don’t know anyone at the conference, have the courage to just introduce yourself to people. EVERYONE was new like you are, at one time. We’ve all been there. You’ll be amazed how friendly, helpful and great everyone is and how accepting they are of you being there!
My top tip would be to hydrate.
Also, keep track of where people are via Twitter and to not be shy. Networking is one of the biggest benefits of any conference but you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself.
Dana created a post offering Pubcon advice and told me to steal a tip.
Go to the networking parties. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about free alcohol! Quite a bit of business takes place during the networking events, so bring your business cards and a device to capture insider tips and ideas.
Take advantage of fact that speakers are more than willing to stay after session and answer questions. Don’t be shy, they won’t bite.
When doing the Vegas nightlife, make sure to stay hydrated and pop a couple aspirin before bed. Nothing worse than being in sessions and hung-over.
It helps. Mostly need to stay hydrated. Drink glass of water for every drink. Hangovers are the brain shrinking due to dehydration.
If you decide to ride the Las Vegas roller coasters, skip the New York New York coaster—it’s horrible! :-)
Don’t get in a pissing match, in the end you will just be the smelly new kindergartner. There are a ton of ways to go about SEO. If someone disagrees with your philosophy or if you disagree with someone else’s, don’t be a piss ant. Screaming and shouting that you have a better way of doing something while pounding your hairy chest makes you look like a lunatic.
If your theory works, then keep it hush hush. You never know when there might just be an exterminator in the room. The best place to more casually converse and share ideas is at an after party. Make Friends. Not enemies.
Do make friends. Say hello to the attendees sitting next to you. Share a stick of gum. As for speakers, do give sincere compliments those you respect. Tweet at them. Make time to hang out with them. Get to know people. Build relationships.