Friday 2 September 2016 saw the return of Brighton’s infamous marketing conference BrightonSEO.
Marketers, social media experts and SEO lovers from around the globe joined forces for a day of talks, networking and freebies. As well as its much larger new venue The Brighton Centre, the conference also boasted a number of guest speakers, all experts in their fields.
After being greeted by a coffee and a programme for the day, we headed off to our first talk of the event – link building. First to take to the stage was Stacey, who talked about how the quality of your links matters. Just some of the pearls of wisdom from Stacey included a focus on how to build better relationships with journalists and bloggers, including realising the importance of freelance writers and regional press in your outreach and ensuring you personalise emails.
Stacey also talked about how your SEO strategy should be made up of different approaches – putting all your eggs in one basket is a risky business, as you’ll have nothing to fall back on if things don’t go to plan. This is where using pictures in your SEO strategy becomes useful – if you can get attributions for your imagery, you can successfully build quality links.
In addition to this, Stacey noted it’s important to remember the basics – asking for features calendars and offering feature contributions with ready-made copy instead of pitching your own content can all be valuable ways of gaining links.
Next up, Paul Madden took to the stage to talk about how clearing up links can potentially mean your rankings go up. He spoke of layering multiple approaches for link building, echoing some of the points raised by Stacey. It was noted that outreach should be a continuous process rather than something that is done just when you have something to share and, when killing off links, don’t just base a decision on metrics (e.g. because a website is smaller, you get rid of the link).
Interestingly, Paul also noted that the volume of content on nationals sometimes means link values and equity can dissolve faster, so it’s worth thinking about other approaches too.
After a top up of coffee, Hanna offered her advice on links, including asking three questions when creating content – is this relevant? Is it resonant? Is it different and does it provide value? She noted the obvious doesn’t resonate, it’s the messages underneath that do.
Other notable talks included that of Aisha, who discussed digital PR and getting people to fall in love with your brand, mentioning it is wise to remember there is no one general public and marketers need to understand every one of their ‘publics,. Sophie Turton spoke about the interesting topic of user generated content and the importance of social listening in getting your audience to create content for you. She noted, as marketers, it’s our job to navigate our customers to create content in an ever evolving digital landscape.
After a morning of serious note taking and tweeting, it was time for a well-deserved lunch (hi, Salt Rooms!) After filling up on some seriously tasty food, hashtag notepad in hand, it was time for some more learning.
Next up, it was time for social media to take centre stage. The talks began with a discussion about video as a medium and how creators should plan their content around their chosen video platform. The session went on to explain how to optimise videos and ensure content is visible on platforms, such as Youtube.
It was then time for one of Greg Gifford’s famously popular talks – this time we were treated to how to be a Facebook ads superhero. As ever, Greg shared his wealth of knowledge with the audience, covering everything from being extremely specific with targeting (everyone who went will no doubt remember the friend targeting story!) to lookalike audiences and using Facebook ads as outreach.
Our last session of the day saw us take in a whole lot of content! We were advised to think about strategy and revenue when creating content, not just the links, and were reminded of the importance of finding templates and infographics that can be tweaked, giving more time for outreach and building relationships to gain coverage.
Once the last tweet had been sent and the last full stop added to our notepads, it was time for the keynote speech and farewell drinks. As we made off with our goodies from the stands and our selfies in the extra-large BrightonSEO deckchair, everyone concluded the new venue for BrightonSEO had been a success, allowing more people than ever to attend the amazing free conference. Until next year, BrightonSEO, you’ve been a blast.