I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert on the intricacies of SEO. Don't get me wrong: I know that content and SEO go hand in hand. I can correctly use the term "domain authority" in a sentence. But I could always use more information, which makes attending MozCon — the conference for all things SEO — the perfect opportunity for me to brush up on my knowledge.
For three days, I’ll be taking a deep dive into the ocean of optimization and hopefully resurfacing with enough insight to strike up and maintain an in-depth conversation with our SEO expert on his most recent technical audit.
Although SEO will obviously be a major focus of the event, MozCon isn’t just highly technical jargon for SEO gurus. The conference touches on everything from brand development to the customer experience to social media to (my favorite) content marketing — covering pretty much everything attendees could want.
Bonus: I heard there's a friendly robot named Roger that may or may not give hugs. My curiosity is piqued.
My Conference Networking Strategy
With roughly 2,000 attendees, MozCon is big enough that you’re not bumping elbows with the same person every five minutes but still small enough that you can work the room and locate your colleagues in a reasonable amount of time. It's the perfect size for networking, consuming content, and socializing.
To take advantage of all the networking, content, and socializing opportunity, I've created a game plan to outline my networking strategy and which sessions I'll be paying special attention to. (Feel free to steal this and use it for yourself if you'll be in attendance.)
- Identify popular topics and speakers. Focus on the topics and speakers that attendees indicate they're most excited about. The more excited people are about a session, leader, or idea, the easier it will be to start a conversation with them and build an authentic connection.
- Pump the brakes on the sales pitch. You don't want to walk around and throw your most promotional sales pitch left and right or start conversations with the sole purpose of making a sale on the spot. That's not realistic, and it will most likely backfire.
- Listen and engage. Drop the promotion and engage in actual personable conversations with other leaders. Get to know them and their businesses. Listen to their pain points. Ask how you can be helpful. This will allow you to spot possible opportunities in the future without any added pressure.
When in doubt, I’ll post up near the aforementioned snacks or grab a cup of coffee. (My Seattle coffee expectations are very high.)
Sessions to Keep on Your Radar
Another important aspect of any conference is learning from speakers. Here are five sessions I'm sure will be packed with insights, so feel free to add them to your conference schedule, too:
"What We Learned From Reddit and How It Can Help Your Brand Take Content Marketing to the Next Level" — Daniel Russell from Go Fish Digital
I’m a fan of Reddit and a big advocate for content marketing. Learning ways to spin ideas from Reddit into valuable marketing content is such a great way to keep your content engaging, interesting, and applicable to your audience. I can't wait to come back from the conference with some ideas for our content marketing team.
"I'd Rather Be Thanked Than Ranked" — Wil Reynolds from Seer Interactive
There's an art and science to determining which keywords to rank for and how to incorporate them into content without stuffing. After spending years targeting the wrong keywords, Wil Reynolds will share secrets that helped him start building valuable content and boost long-term growth. This is a big one if you're hoping to improve your rankings and optimize your SEO.
"Up and to the Right: Growing Traffic, Conversions, and Revenue" — Matthew Barby from HubSpot
HubSpot is a lifesaver for the sales and marketing teams at Influence & Co. I’m hoping to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Matthew creates customized solutions to solve clients’ problems throughout their entire funnel.
"5 Secrets: How to Execute Lean SEO to Increase Qualified Leads" — Britney Muller from Moz
Like I said, I’m no SEO expert, so hearing Britney’s successes, failures, and lessons learned from spearheading SEO efforts for Moz will be sure to offer insights that I can take home and share with our own internal experts.
"SEO Experimentation for Big-Time Results" — Stephanie Chang from Etsy
Influence & Co. is always experimenting to find new ways to optimize SEO for our clients. I’m excited to hear Stephanie's advice on the best practices to test out new SEO strategies and how to determine whether they're effective.
With any convention, there are great events outside the typical conference agenda for even more opportunities to network and learn. MozCon has a Monday night #MozCrawl, which I hear is a can’t-miss opportunity for checking out Seattle hot spots, grabbing a few drinks, and meeting some great people in the process.
And what would a trip to Seattle be without checking out a few touristy spots? I’m already aiming to hit Pike Place Market and the Space Needle when I have a few free minutes, but I’m open to more suggestions. Tweet me your must-see Seattle sights at @KurtKrieger so I can get in on the action!
Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned MozCon attendee or a first-timer like myself, don’t let the thought of an event overwhelm you. Prepare yourself with a clear game plan, hunger for knowledge, and a positive outlook, and you’ll make MozCon 2017 the highlight of your summer.