This week I had the chance to attend BlueGlassX, a conference put on by (you guessed it) the BlueGlass team in Tampa, FL. As much as it was fun, it was also extremely helpful in terms of what I took away from the presentations.
So, I thought I’d do a recap. Even though the speakers for paid search, technical SEO, local SEO, and others were all awesome, I’m only going to be recapping my 3 favorite sessions because I think my readers can get the most out of these.
NOTE: I’ve read conference recaps before, and I think a lot of them are average at best. With that said, I’m only going to try and recap the most valuable information.
Speakers: Hugo Guzman, Kevin Gibbons
Hugo emphasized that you have to convince your higher ups that you have to create content that doesn’t have commercial intent. You just want to create something that’s helpful. Bloggers & publications won’t link/share if it’s over promotional (or even if they smell a hint of promotion!).
He also explained how he was able to set up analytics so he could measure AND SHOW that content that doesn’t sell can actually drive increases in sales via SEO.
Next was Kevin Gibbons. He broke search intent (and content purpose) down into 3 categories: Do, Know, Go. They either want to do something (i.e. “buy Legos”), know something (i.e. “places to visit in Tampa”), or go somewhere (i.e. “Cracked blog”).
For content of the Do type, this is the content you want to rank that converts. Know is obviously informational. Go is branded, and this is where ORM might come into play. He broke down a simple, actionable strategy to implement with informational content:
Great content, great links, and clicks back to your site. What’s not to love?
He also stated that people share content for one of these reasons:
If you don’t hit at least one of those (hopefully multiple), your content doesn’t have a chance at getting any traction.
Lastly, he broke down 6 people that share content:
Speakers: Rob Woods, Derek Halpern
Rob works for a domainer that’s just starting to build out some of its valuable domains, so he got a chance to build out BlackFriday.com (he also did another, but this was the most interesting).
Before you figure out how to get an audience, you have to define your audience and find out what really resonates with them. If you don’t, you could create the best content in the world, but you’d be getting wrong people to read & share it.
Start out with a few assumptions, but challenge them as soon as possible. Use tools like Google Ad Planner, Quantcast, and SEMRush to do the demographic research. Surveys also work great, and offer incentives (i.e. a Wal-Mart gift card) in exchange for getting someone on the phone for 10-15 minutes to talk.
Next, you need to start creating personas. The more details you can create around each, the more you can get into their shoes and try and see things from their perspective.
He quickly found out that his audience was full of women aged 25-45 with middle income & education. After some tests on Facebook, he quickly realized this was the best platform.
The best way he built his audience on Facebook was from giveaways (i.e.), ecard image posts mom could identify with (i.e.), and countdown posts (i.e.). As you can see, he managed to build his audience to over 1.2m fans by just doing this!
A couple good takeaways:
Finally, email is the best way to keep in touch with your audience, especially for a website like his. He found that his audience didn’t like getting emailed detailed, helpful content; they just wanted deals. So make sure you test this with your own audience!
Now, onto Derek’s presentation. What he emphasized is that you should spend as much (if not MORE) time promoting your content than creating it. He gave us 3 strategies to do this.
The first is controversy, but only the right type. There are three types – high, medium, and low. Low is what you want. High is like religion and politics, and low is like Coke or Pepsi.
So for example, Derek talked about a post he wrote on his blog titled The “Content is King” Myth Debunked. He argued that design was king. Once he hit publish (at this point he didn’t have much of an audience), he started contacting designers saying “hey look! I just said design is king. Do you agree? If so can you leave a comment?”.
After designers started leaving their comments saying how right they had been all along, he then contacted all the people who have written about how content is king in the past. He emailed them saying “hey look, these designers are bashing you in the comments. Go let them know that content still is king!”
He built up some playful controversy, and 215 comments later, he had some of his first engagement on the blog.
The second strategy is targeting specific communities. If you tailor content to specific people, they’ll like it a lot more and be more willing to share/link/opt-in.
So for example, Derek knew that massage therapists was a good portion of his existing audience, but he knew he could tap into that at a much bigger scale. So by creating a post about how spa owners could use email marketing more effectively, he managed to create something tailored to them, but didn’t piss off the rest of his audience (still had some great general takeaways).
One link to the post via a massage therapist Facebook page drove him 700 email signups!
The third strategy is the drafting technique. In a nut shell, find where the writers that have talked about your competition, give them a reason to write about you, then reach out to them. They’ve already proven they’ll write about your vertical!
For example, a woman he knew noticed that there was a ton of press about Kickstarter successes, but none about Kickstarter failures. She managed to put together an infographic (a mediocre one at best!) on the numbers of failures, then reached out to those who wrote about the successes. She got tons of PR and got links from sites like Mashable & VentureBeat!
Note: the funny thing Derek pointed out was that the numbers were actually wrong. She managed to work with the person who called her out on it so she could put together an infographic with correct data, then reached out to all those who shared the first one to see if they’d share the new one. Guess what? It worked! Double the links!
Speakers: Julie Joyce, Ross Hudgens
I wish I had Julie’s slide deck because there was a lot I’m potentially skipping over, but overall she talked about building a defensible link profile. I’ll list her tips in bullet format just because there was so much.
I probably left out a few other goodies, but these ones stuck out to most me.
Next up was Ross, and he fired off a ton of awesome tools, tips, and tactics. Here’s the best of it:
And that’s it! There were also a couple do not blog/tweet tips that were ridiculously awesome, but I can’t share them here
Well, it was an awesome 2 days and a great first conference. If you’re thinking about going to a BlueGlassX event in the future, I highly recommend you do.