So, I’ve been fortunate to attend a lot of conferences the past 18 months.
In no particular order, they include:
The first few were great to attend. I even got to speak at the SMX East show in NYC last year. (Thanks again!)
Pubcon last year was fantastic. This year? (2013) Not so much.
SMX Advanced had the vaunted “Search Engine Showdown” between Matt Cutts and Duane Forrester. C3 (2013) had presentations from Rand Fishkin (Cant Buy Me Love) Wil Reynolds and Bill Hunt. Of which Wil Reynolds and Bill Hunt both provided the best pieces of information that I’ve seen for quite some time. In other words real, actionable takeaway bits of information that I could apply immediately (and have).
For me, that is the sign of a great conference. Give me something I can take back and start using right away. I don’t care about the vendor part of these conferences. I know it’s a required evil, but c’mon! All the pretend conversations about talking about themselves is of no interest to me.
One thing. I’m not bashing the people work tirelessly and without enough praise who put these events together. I can only imagine the amount of planning and juggling one has to do in order to pull these events off.
I think someone needs to step it up. I fully recognize that the SEO industry is still growing and just about every conference I go to, there are always a new influx of faces. That’s a great thing. But the downside is that for someone like me who’s been in the industry for over a decade, there is hardly anything new being presented at the conferences.
Some presentations were basically updated from the year before, but I’m not going to point out anyone in particular.
I need a conference that will challenge my thinking. Give me some new ideas to try. Slap me in the face with some mind-blowing technique that I am missing.
How can we accomplish this?
I put together a list of rules that I think would raise the level for all conferences:
1.) NO FREE PASSES TO ATTEND. YES, THAT INCLUDES YOU MR. (& MRS.) SPEAKER
This sets the tone to make sure anyone who arrives is going to be vested in making the event worth while.
2.) NO PRESENTATIONS ABOUT YOUR OWN PRODUCT OR SERVICE
3.) ONLY ONE PRESENTATION TOTAL PER SPEAKER
4.) NO “THEORIES” or “TESTS”. ONLY PRESENTATIONS WITH ACTIONABLE TAKEAWAY ITEMS WILL BE SEEN
5.) TWO DAYS TOTAL
6.) REAL TIME SESSIONS. This means the black hat techniques will be performed at the conference. Live.
7.) SPEED NETWORKING EVENTS. Like speed dating, only here you will actually get to talk to someone you really want to spend time with.
8.) LIMIT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ATTENDEES.
9.) SWAG BAGS. All vendors who want to give something away will place their promotional item in one collective bag that all attendees will receive.
10.) NO TOPIC IS OFF LIMITS. ADULT SEO TECHNIQUES. SPAMMING METHODS THAT WORK. SOFTWARE THAT FOOLS GOOGLE. ALL ON THE TABLE FOR POSSIBLE SESSIONS.
I realize that some of the ideas presented here might seem radical or would prevent an event from taking place, but we need a shake up in the industry that will provide value for those like me who don’t need to see another slide show on why content marketing is important, but instead, let’s look at real, actionable methods to be used by all who attend.
I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Who else thinks we need to “step it up” for these conferences?