Events

Online Influence (Oi) Conference 2016 (#OiConf)

Oi Conference 2016
Yesterday (21st April 2016) I spent the day at Online Influence (Oi) Conference 2016 (@OiConf / #OiConf) in Cardiff, with Oi and Freshwater UK sorting me out with a blogger pass (thanks guys)! While most people call it a social media conference (and social media marketing is a big part of it), it covers a range of digital marketing elements, including video, content and user behaviour. Even SEO got a mention or two. 🙂

I have a confession to make though: I went last year, but had a bad experience. I think it was rotten luck… While the kick-off keynote was fantastic, I went to a few bad talks (speakers arguing, tech problems, sales pitches, etc.), lunch was a disaster (I couldn’t eat what was on offer due to food allergies), and there was of course the infamous #panelgate, when the awesome Miranda Bishop (@Miranda_Bishop) challenged – and subsequently joined(!) – the all-male panel at the end of the day.

This year though? Much, much better. The calibre of talks was high, and I took a lot away from them – I’d say that each talk gave me at least one or two holy-crap-I-didn’t-think-of-that takeaways that are useful to me.

Here are the talks that I went to, along with the main takeaways I took from them:

Leaping out of the feed (or don’t let your content be an octopus)

Simon Low, BuzzFeedSimon Low, BuzzFeed

The opening keynote was from Simon Low of BuzzFeed. Now I’m not a big fan of BuzzFeed, but 6 billion monthly visits?! You can’t argue with that.

Fair play, it was a cracking talk – a great way to start the day. Some standout make-you-think takeaways for me:

  • Traditionally, most content creators pour their heart and soul into creating great content but make little effort to promote it – Simon argued that it’s a 90/10 split. BuzzFeed however spend 50% of their time creating their content and 50% promoting it. They realise that great content doesn’t just get ‘found’, and that you have to put the effort in.
  • They also take the time to translate stories into multiple languages, which helps to spread their reach further.
  • During the Q&A, someone asked about the times when things don’t go well when BuzzFeed work with brands. Simon replied by saying that the more that the brand is courageous (and that they don’t ‘sanetise’ what BuzzFeed are doing), the higher the chance of success.

SxSW ’17: why you need to go and how to validate the cost

Gabby Shaw, ADLIBGabby Shaw, ADLIB Recruitment

I was interested in the Meltwater talk (“Digital influence: 4 steps towards getting it, guiding it and growing it”), which was taking place at the same time, but a little bird told me that all the Track A (main hall) talks were being filmed and uploaded online at a later date, so I decided to be strategic and visit other talks in other rooms. That said, I’ve always had an interest in going to SxSW, as I know a few people who have gone over the years.

Gabby talked about the benefits of going, but also made it clear that it can be a costly affair – not just the ‘hard’ costs (plane ticket, accommodation, etc.) but also the ‘soft’ costs, which people often forget about (time out of the office, less chance to liaise with colleagues and clients, etc.).

Click to read more!

Introducing… Cardiff SEO Meet

Cardiff SEO MeetCardiff has a lot of awesome stuff going for it. Meetups and communities for entrepreneurs. Meetups and communities for designers. Meetups and communities for web and software developers. Meetups and communities for digital folk. But there’s nothing specific to SEO. Wait for it… Wait foor ittt… Until now!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Cardiff SEO Meet. A few months ago I asked about a dozen or so SEOs native to South Wales for their thoughts on running an event of this type (a huge, HUGE thank you to everyone who responded – I owe y’all a drink!) and teased on State of Digital that I would put something together in the beginning of the year. Unfortunately I got pretty busy and couldn’t get anything sorted until now, but better late than never eh?

Got questions? Good, ‘cos I’ve got answers!

Topic? Err… SEO. Well, SEO and stuff related to SEO, so I’m happy to introduce elements that aren’t strictly SEO but are closely related to SEO, so other digital marketing topics. BrightonSEO started doing this a few years ago and it went down really well.

Who’s it for? Everyone is welcome. Whether you’re a part-time or full-time SEO working agency-side, in-house or freelance, or a digital marketer with another specialism (e.g. social media, email marketing, etc.) with an interest in SEO, or a small business owner or blogger who wants to learn a bit about how to do it yourself, I’m hoping that there’ll be something for everyone. I’m going to try my best to balance the talks and topics so that nothing’s too beginner and nothing’s too advanced, so that everyone can get the most out of it.

When? Once a quarter, with the first one starting in May. I’m hoping to finalise and confirm the date in the next few days, so keep an eye on the Meetup page for the details. I’m aiming for either a Wednesday or Thursday evening towards the end of the month. Then the same again in August, then November, then February, and so on…

Once a quarter? Why not monthly? Honestly? I don’t know if there’d be the demand for monthly. Plus I don’t want to be a position where I struggle to find speakers for the events (which is what happened to Unified Diff). If I’m wrong though then I’m happy to bring it up to bi-monthly, and then monthly. But let’s see how the first few go first, yeah?

Where? The upstairs of the mighty Urban Tap House in Cardiff city centre, which is fairly close to Cardiff Central Station and various car parks (including St David’s 2). I adore their burgers (they even have tasty gluten-free options!) so it’s a delight to be able to host it there.

How much? It’s free entry.

What’s the format? In addition to talks, I have the idea to run public site reviews, where people volunteer their sites to be audited and we (as the audience) offer advice on what to do. I don’t think anyone’s ever done it before – and I completely realise and admit that that might be because it’s an absolutely horrendous idea…! But we’ll give it a go in May and see how it goes. The survey suggested that a lot of people are interested in the idea, and I think that it’d be a good way to learn a few handy SEO tips as a group.

Who are the sponsors? Well, seeing as I’ve set it up and have been paying for all the costs myself… me (or Morgan Online Marketing to be exact). And Computer Recruiter.

How do I keep updated? A dedicated website* is on its way (when I have time to throw them together), but in the meantime, please join the Meetup page and/or follow @CardiffSEOMeet on Twitter.

* For the time being, cardiffseo.events redirects to www.meetup.com/Cardiff-SEO-Meet/ – yes, with a 301 redirect (I double-checked)…

I have more questions! Tweet me, leave a comment below or start a discussion on the Meetup page, my friend. 🙂

Lastly, I just want to say a big thank you to the event organisers and communities in South Wales for inspiring me to run something myself, especially Cardiff Start, Unified Diff and Cardiff Blogs – you guys rock. I used to put on events at uni and wanted to get into event management when I left uni but accidentally stumbled into SEO as a career path instead, so it’s good to be able to do this again. Feels weirdly full-circle, y’know? Anyway, I should probably end this blog post because I get philosophical or something…

See you in May!

Have We Reached Awards Event Overkill?

Disclaimer: This post isn’t intended as a dig at any awards event organiser, whether mentioned in this post or not. On the contrary, I’m a fan of awards events and have submitted (and will continue to submit) campaigns to them, now and in the future, on behalf of myself and my clients. This post is simply an observation on the current status of the awards industry as a whole.

Trophies imageRecently I’ve been submitting one of the campaigns that I created for a client to various SEO/marketing awards events – the first time I have ever done so. While we sadly didn’t get through to the finals of Canmol 2015 (the Wales Marketing Awards), we were shortlisted in two categories in the UK Search Awards 2015, which took place in London last week. I also have my sights set on a few awards events taking place in 2016 – we’ve submitted the campaign to one of them (shortlist TBC) and there are at least two or maybe three others that I’m considering in the New Year.

One thing I’ve noticed though? I thought that there would be only one or two awards applicable to me. With this campaign alone, I have found at least half a dozen. And it seems that – in South Wales at least – a few more have sprung up really recently, only in the last year or so.

It has me a little concerned… Are we reaching a point of ‘peak’ awards do? Are there too many of them out there, which are in turn devaluing the status that a person obtains when he/she wins an award and becomes “award-winning?” Honestly, I don’t know – I don’t have the answer, but I thought that I’d air my views and potentially start a discussion on the topic…

The “new car” phenomenon in play?

I’ll happily admit that the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon could be in play here. You know when you buy a new car, and then you notice other people driving the same make/model more often than you did previously – maybe even in the same colour? As mentioned above, this was my first time submitting something to awards shows, so it makes sense that I’m simply more aware of them now. Let’s also not ignore the fact that many of my fellow Welsh ICE members have been up for awards recently, with multiple members shortlisted in the Caerphilly Business Awards 2015. Many of them were tweeting about it, so it could be the case that I’m seeing more tweets about awards, leading me to believe that there are more awards out there than there actually are…

Then again… New awards in just the last few months include the Entrepreneur Wales Awards, the Cardiff Business Awards, The Regional Awards (which includes Cardiff), the Cardiff Music Awards, and various offerings from The Drum, including The Drum Content Marketing Awards (in fact you can see the full list of The Drum’s different awards events here). And while I deliberated about writing this post over the weekend, I was casually browsing Twitter and noticed that the Business Growth Awards South Wales had just been announced. That’s a lot of new awards events all of a sudden – especially those originatining from and/or having a focus on the Cardiff/South Wales region.

Click to read more!

MOM Shortlisted for 2 Awards in the UK Search Awards 2015

UK Search Awards 2015 shortlist bannerI’m delighted to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for two awards in the UK Search Awards 2015. The two categories are Best Low Budget Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing, both of which were for my work with Computer Recruiter on their CR 25 campaign, which I’ve spoken about at BrightonSEO and for SEMrush.

CR 25 was a lot of hard work, so it’s great to get a bit of recognition for it. I’m chuffed simply to be shortlisted, but to win as well would be absolutely amazing. I guess we’ll have to see how it goes in 6 weeks’ time…!

EDIT: Thanks also to Welsh ICE for writing about it on their blog, too!

Have Your Cake & Optimise It Too – My Design Stuff Cardiff Talk

Design Stuff Cardiff logoOn Thursday 23rd July, I spoke at the 14th Design Stuff Cardiff event. My talk gave SEO advice aimed at the design community, covering SEO basics while advising on the SEO tactics that are most suited to designers: e.g. image SEO and link building tactics such as ‘web design by’ links, showcase websites and by finding non-credited images via reverse image search.

Here are the slides…

…And here is the video, which can also be watched on the DSC website:


At the end of the talk, Dan (DSC’s main organiser) asked the crowd if they’d learnt something new from my talk and virtually the whole room put their hand up, which was great to see. (Just don’t ask me how the book giveaway went…!)

I shared the stage that night with friend and fellow ICEr Warren Fauvel (@WarrenOF), who did an incredible talk about why design is doomed as it becomes more automated, and the ways that designers can adapt accordingly. I recommend watching it, whether you’re a designer, an SEO or if you work in another related creative/tech sector – it’s one of the best talks I’ve ever seen.

This has been my fourth speaking gig in as many months (actually, I’ve done five talks in four months, as I haven’t counted one smaller, more informal talk), with nothing else lined up now in the near future. To be completely honest though, I’m quite thankful to be taking a bit of a break from it, which will give me chance to concentrate on my SEO consultancy business as well as a few other side-projects that I’d like to work on. Stay tuned for some exciting news coming soon…