Pubcon 2014: Days two & three overview

Las Vegas Pubcon

Going into day two I was excited that the day’s topics would be surrounding content marketing and developing content strategies.  I was also looking forward to the keynote from Chris Brogan.   I have been live blogging various sessions via twitter so be sure to check out my twitter handle at:  @marketing_jive.  Here is a rundown of some of the sessions that I attended on days two and three of Pubcon 2014.

Kickoff keynote with Ted Murphy

I’ve seen Chris speak at various conferences over the years and he has really grown into a really strong and powerful presenter.  I really enjoyed his keynote where he talked about Mission Driven Execution.  Chris told a number of war-related speeches and tied them back to how they can apply to business.  One of the memorable quotes from one of the stories was that “… action produces the appetite for more action.”  Some of the key points touched on by Chris:

  • Brand is the cultured expression of Mission: Mission is what drives your deepest purpose.  Mission drives execution and Mission drives value.
  • Mission + Delivering Great Service is ideal; your content should drive your mission.  Business is about belonging.  Give people something bigger than the sales pitch and they will sell it for you.
  • Chris mentioned four ways how he delivers content:
    • Start with a need
    • Design a solution
    • Create the product
    • Make a webinar series
  • Chris said that above else deliver value above anything.  Make it bigger than just you.
  • Plan around your mission
  • Give your people a role (own your life)
  • Keep your mission alive with content and participation

Overall another great keynote.  Pubcon does a phenomenal job with their keynotes.

The rest of the sessions I attended on day two revolved around content and developing content strategies.  Here is some of the commentary from the day’s sessions.

Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures spoke about content and how people consume content:

  • 93% of consumers use search prior to making a purchase
  • 86% of searchers conduct non-branded queries
  • 90% of buyers click on organic results
  • Buyers are looking for information to help them make a purchase decision

Noting earth shattering here, but a necessary reminder about just how key your content is as part of your digital strategy.

Phillip Thune from Americas Textbrokers International spoke about how they deliver content strategies for their clients and had a number of good examples of brands that are doing it well.  Some of the items that Phillip touched on:

  • Content that “works” is changing
    • Google:  “forget that Google exists. Focus on creating quality content”
  • Content needs to be of high quality and unique
  • The goal should be to develop content assets that really have value
  • Google trends comparing content marketing and SEO content
  • The market for content marketing is changing; companies are willing to pay high prices for content

Another session featured Selena Narayanasamy from Orthris.  Her presentation was on:  The Content Challenge:  Expanding Beyond the Written Word.  As part of her presentation, she described why content fails:

  • Why Content Fails
    • Cookie cutter
    • Weak promotions
    • Wrong medium – not something that your audience actually wants to consume
    • Low brand correlation

Overall there were a few themes that emerged during the day with regards to developing content:

  • Know your audience and understand the type of content that they consume
  • Be prepared for mobile… NOW.
  • Ensure that you have a content or editorial calendar
  • Test and monitor your content efforts.

Day three

Day Three began with what was probably my favorite keynote of the week with Jay Baer.  Jay discussed the topic of Youtility (which just happens to be the name of his latest book).  An extremely entertaining speaker, Jay used a number of examples of how businesses are getting it right with their content, their SEO and their marketing efforts.  A highly engaging keynote that earned Jay a partial standing ovation.

From there the sessions on the final day were somewhat sparsely attended. The first session I attended was on Negative SEO.  It was obvious that the panel knew about a lot of grey and blackhat tactics which I suspect they have employed at one time or another.  You would not believe some of the crazy things that some blackhat marketers and site owners are doing to devalue their competitor’s sites.  Here are but a few methods that were mentioned by the panelists:

  • Ways to do negative SEO
    • Review activity – using robots.txt to do negative SEO by visiting blocked content
    • Set up “mock domains”
    • Social engineering
    • Create personas for their competitors and “imitating” them online.
    • Set up profiles for them again in an attempt to “imitate” their competition (in a negative manner)
    • Engage with their competition’s audience
    • Free + low cost content: setting up free domains (again to imitate their competitors)
    • Promote via social – fiverr, yelp, craigslist, reddit, etc
    • Create noise and confusion online

Other blackhat techniques mentioned included:

    • Hacking – open wifi – firesheep, unpatched software
    • Stealing domains, cloaking (discrete link building)
    • Blatant link spam
    • Planting Viruses

Negative is truly a large issue.  It is larger than I expected, having not yet been exposed to a lot of these black hat practices.

I then attended a couple of sessions on local search.  There were a lot of stats thrown out such as:

  • Nearly 60% have searched online for a local business more than 6 times in the past year
  • 39% have searched online for local businesses at least 1 time per month
  • 15% have searched online for local businesses daily

There was an interesting comment that “Reliability is the #1 most important reputation trait for local business.”  When you think about it that is very true.  There were various local SEO tips including the importance of reviews and on methods for compiling truthful and useful reviews:   Some of these tips included:

  • Ask your raving fans
  • Leverage your social media followers
  • Run a “How are we doing” contest
  • Integrate ask into email and direct marketing
  • Hang a sign in your place of business
  • Ask friends and family to write reviews

In the second local search session that I attended, Mike Ramsey from Nifty Marketing had a number of key insights.  Mike mentioned the fact that there have been numerous attempts by Google to roll out a local product and that they are actually testing four different local designs currently.  Mike was also good enough to refer to Mediative’s recent research on how changes to the SERPs have impacted click activity on search results pages.  Mike actually used 3-4 of our slides in his presentation.  If you haven’t yet seen our research from last month, please feel free to check it out.

One thing that Mike left us with re: local search is that we should focus on building a localized brand and to go after organic local search.

Mary Bowling from Ignitor Digital also shared a number of great tactics and tips for optimizing for local in her presentation:  Mind Map of Local Search Strategies.  Some of the tips shared by Mary:

  • Start with local keyword research: long-tail
    • See regional differences in terms
    • Discover which categories and sub categories that will help in Google+
  • Consider your site structure
    • Ensure that there is good authority flow
    • Use pages/local content to support your categories and sub-cats
      • People
      • Products
      • Services
      • Projects and Cases studies
  • Give Google & Visitors good location pages
    • Embed Google Maps
    • Use schema (including NAP in schema)
    • Social proof
    • Symbols of trust

This was a well-attended session that featured a lot of questions from the audience, so people are obviously interested in local search (and they should be) but they also have a lot of questions as to what they need to do to promote their brands in the local arenas.

Some common themes were being conveyed throughout the day and the entire conference.  Things such as:

  • Links still matter.
  • Posting timely content in a timely manner is important – Events are of the moment @murraynewlands
  • UGC is trusted 50% more than advertisements.  @katykatztc

The last session before the closing keynote with Bing’s Duane Forrester was an SEO Mosh Pit with some of the industry’s leading veteran marketers.  This was a pretty interesting session where the 8 panelists talked about what we can expect to see in the future, is SEO dead (the short answer is no), Mobile is coming and will take over in 2015, Google will continue to be aggressive with spam, machine learning is something we need to prepare for.  I’ll have a follow up post on this session in upcoming weeks and add some of what the SEO experts at Mediative think will be happening in 2015 and beyond.

Finally the closing keynote from Duane Forrester concluded with Duane discussing what we are going to see in the future.  Again machine learning was a key topic.  Some of points touched on by Duane:

  • Nobody wants linear growth, everyone wants exponential growth.
  • Mobile queries outpace desktop queries; it will never go back
  • is dead – do not build an site
  • Data signals are everywhere
  • “in the next 20 years, machine learning will have more impact that mobile has” – Vinod Kinosla (VC).

Pubcon again was a great experience. I want to thank Mediative for allowing me to attend.  I’m pretty sure that Mediative will have a greater presence at Pubcon in the future.  For more of my coverage from Pubcon check out my live tweets from @marketing_jive hashtag #pubcon.

My Day One Recap from Pubcon can be found here.

Mediative Marketing Team
Mediative helps businesses cut through the digital clutter so they can better perform in an otherwise complex digital landscape and, ultimately, reach, engage, and convert more potential customers.