In the world of digital marketing, things can move extremely fast. In some industries, such as SEO, which is what I specialise in, our world is changing rapidly. There have been many Google updates in the last 12 months and some of them have in no doubt shaken up our industry.
With so many updates there is a constant stream of news articles available each day across the various websites I follow.
When periods of work or my personal life get overly busy, it can be hard to keep up with everything, especially when it is sometimes difficult to filter which articles are worth reading.
With so much ego in our industry, so many people churn out their own versions of the same articles. It can be hard to tell how much credibility some of these authors have. This is part of why I find the continuous study a bit more tedious than it should be.
This is why I love going to marketing conferences whenever I can. Living in Australia, we don’t have access to as many quality events that people in the United States and Europe, but when I come across one in Melbourne, I can usually convince my work (currently Digital Next) to let me attend.
In early February 2020, I went to Inspire by Salesgasm in Melbourne, Australia. I was lucky to be offered a free ticket to this B2B marketing conference. Whilst I knew the SEO content here would be minimal, I like going to more general marketing conferences when I can.
Why marketing conferences can be a great way to stay at the top of your industry
I am the kind of person who learns and retains information better when I’m in an instructional setting. Being talked to like in a classroom or seminar really works well for my style of learning. I miss the days when I got to fly to Pubcon in Las Vegas every year, learning purely SEO content. I plan to go there again in the next year or two, it’s been far too long. But sometimes going to more general conferences can be good because you get to find out more about other trends in the wider marketing industry. Constant learning is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
Many of my clients see me as their expert in all things marketing, despite only paying for SEO and sometimes PPC services with our agency. By having a wider understanding of what else is working for people in other mediums. Working at an agency, B2B marketing topics are interesting in terms of marketing our own business.
The networking part of conferences is also a great bonus. I generally add anyone I meet at conferences to LinkedIn, including some of the speakers. This can lead to access to any slide decks I want to see again and lets me follow their LinkedIn posts for any other interesting news they might produce or share.
The negatives of conferences
Conferences are about sharing knowledge and expertise. It is not a time to purely pitch your product the entire time.
Many conferences are cracking down on speakers who are only speaking to try and sell something. If you attend a conference and you find a particular speaker is not speaking for the right reasons, give feedback to the organisers after the event.
More often than not these events never run to schedule. Every conference seems to go overtime. Usually due to technical issues or other unexpected delays. This can certainly complicate things if the event is running multiple streams in different rooms or if you have a flight to catch after the event. Stay on top of any delays and how it might affect your schedule.
Some conferences do not have sufficient access to power points for your phone or laptop. I always bring a power bank for my phone and if I have a laptop with me, I’ll bring an extension cable, power board and double adapter. This way I can easily share power with everyone at my table.
If you are fortunate enough to be given a budget for attending conferences, be sure to ensure the ones you are paying for are worthwhile. If possible, reach out to other people in your network first to see if it’s worth attending.
There are also a lot of free conferences and meetups available. Google itself hosts a lot of Google Ads events around the world and most major cities have regular meetups for each industry, such as the Melbourne SEO Meetup which I sometimes attend. Good luck and happy learning!
About the author, Keith Nallawalla
Head of SEO at Digital Next Australia. Having worked on both sides of the fence in both in-house SEO roles and agency roles, Keith has a unique perspective on what clients want and need from their SEO account manager. He has worked across hundreds of websites both large and small since 2010.