You can attend a conference or local event, blog about it, and people will link to it. Having blogged recaps to many different events with mixed backlink results, I’d like to address more effective ways of blogging about events, if SEO and link building is one of your primary goals.
A few questions I ask when preparing for an event, from an SEO perspective:
- Who is writing online about the event? If someone is excited enough to put up a preview post about the event, then they’re likely to be doing a follow-up post. A quick search of the URL for event info or the Eventbrite or Meetup URL or “speaker + city name” or just “event name” should show you who is promoting it. Create a list of these people/sites for later.
- Are any of the event promoter sites being scraped? If a promoter’s post is getting picked up by other sites, it becomes that much more important for you to get a link from that site. Make the scrapers work for you.
The big question you should be trying to answer when preparing to write about an event is “What makes my recap special?” If you’re the only one writing about it, the answer is easy, however then there’s nobody else to reference your work.
There are three main reasons your event recap will get linked to:
- A higher level recap is linking to all of the recaps. (Pretty rare)
- Your recap contains unique linkable assets.
- Your recap includes a unique slant.
A recap of recaps is pretty rare in most cases, but occasionally someone like Barry Schwartz exists to bring all of the web’s event posts together. It’s your task to make sure that people like Barry see what you wrote and know that it belongs among the others.
More often, you’ll get a link because of something unique you’ve captured from the event. A site isn’t going to link to 5 other blogs with the same summary. You need to think in terms of linkable event-specific assets: what you have that others don’t or what you’ve compiled that will save others’ time. The “linkable asset” model is great in helping you prepare unique content. From an event standpoint, your linkable assets could include:
Attending the event with the goal to get unique linkable assets often means preparing in advance by bringing a camera, snagging time with a presenter or documenting the resources that get mentioned in presentations.
Finding a unique way to present the same thing someone else read doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, if you attend an event with the plan of writing multiple posts for multiple audiences, you have the potential to make your content go further. For example, at one event, I wrote a post detailing what the speakers said that impacted SEO and a different post about what made the speakers effective presenters. Same content, two approaches.
The key to effective post-event link building is speed. Your content needs to be gathered, packaged, and posted shortly after the event because the window of opportunity is small (I’d say roughly 36 hours). People are more likely to link to pre-existing content than to go back and edit a post for link insertion later. Make sure to follow and use event hashtags when promoting your content on Twitter, so more people can see it.
Another key is to get the initial “link gatekeepers” you listed involved in the creation of your content. You might ask a speaker which picture he/she prefers you use. You may want to get a quote or two from other bloggers who attended. Above all, make sure your published post gets seen by those who attended – especially the individuals and companies mentioned in your write-up.
- Remember that the power of suggestion goes a long way. If you know a blogger or journalist who attended the event, encourage them to blog about it (and offer your content as a link-worthy addition to whatever they write).
- The answer to every unasked question is no, so don’t hesitate to monitor for write-ups and recaps and ask for links in the days following the event.
- Remember that just because someone isn’t interested in linking to your post doesn’t mean they won’t link to your event assets hosted on other sites like Flickr, YouTube or Slideshare. These secondary links can yield unforeseen benefits.
- Appeal to negativity when appropriate. Some bloggers are critics by nature. It’s not uncommon to write about what could have been improved at the event (promotion, planning, food, content, etc.) and attract links this way. However, be cautious with this approach as positivity will always breed goodwill. And link building is a goodwill game.
- Consider actually live-blogging an event (some WordPress plugins make this very do-able). It’s hard work, but you can often contact an event organizer or head sponsor ahead of time so that they’ll link to the URL you plan on using from within their event promotion material and on their website. Companies love this, especially if the event won’t be streamed.
You can end up with a variety of links with effective event blogging – everything from business and organization websites to personal blogs to news sites and even .gov and .edu links. And you’ll be doing a great community service by capturing the moment.
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