After teasing the idea of running regular Cardiff SEO events this time last year, in March I introduced Cardiff SEO Meet. We had our first event in May, and we’ve run two more since then: one in August and one in November.
A while back in a post on State of Digital, I argued that running events is a good way to get inbound links, which can help on the SEO front. Running the event has been a good way to practice what I preach – and not only has it helped in gaining links, it’s helped in numerous other ways, too.
The benefits of running a local meetup
In this post I wanted to talk about what Cardiff SEO Meet has achieved so far (links or otherwise), and tease potential future plans…
It’s helped me to get links
When I launched the meetup, a couple of local publications covered it:
- New Digital Marketing Event Launches in Cardiff – Business News Wales
- New digital marketing event launches in Cardiff – Tech Dragons
In addition to linking to Cardiff SEO Meet’s Meetup group page, they linked to MOM (my freelance site) as well – a nice added bonus, which I wasn’t expecting. Even if they’d only linked to the former, it links to the latter, so I would’ve got some ‘link juice’ anyhow. But a direct link was even better.
At least I wasn’t talking rubbish in my StOD post eh? Hehe.
It’s helped me to meet potential clients
Another pleasant off-shoot of announcing the meetup: someone I knew at my office location (not a part of Welsh ICE, but based in the same building) got in touch saying that they saw me announce it, that they didn’t realise I was an SEO, and that they’d like to have a chat. So simply announcing the event got interest from a potential client. Nothing came of it immediately unfortunately, but we’ve kept in touch, so something could come of it in the future – “never say never,” as they say. They’re a pretty sizeable, £1M+ turnover business, so a nice client if it does come on-board.
It’s resulted in a potential shadowing/secondment opportunity
For a while now I’ve considered hiring staff and growing MOM into a full-on SEO agency. I’d been considering a few options – such as Jobs Growth Wales, GO Wales, etc. – when a low risk, dip-your-toe-in-the-water opportunity came up. One of the attendees of the first few meetups is a junior SEO working in-house for a local company, and he suggested shadowing me. It’s win-win: he learns more SEO tricks of the trade from a more experienced SEO (and takes that back to his employer), while I get a taste of being an employer. It’s still in-the-works but we’re hoping to work something out early next year.
Funnily enough, I set up Cardiff SEO Meet as an opportunity to meet potential employees – and this shadowing opportunity shows that I was on the right track with that thinking. While I wouldn’t be hiring this individual (I wouldn’t want to ‘poach’ him from his current employer – that wouldn’t be ethical), it suggests that it’s a good avenue for meeting other folks who could be potential hires in the future.
It’s helped me to raise money for charity
One of my proudest moments this year was raising over £300 for the charity Climb. I did so by doing a ‘lightning talk’ at Cardiff SEO Meet #3 (the Nov event), where I set challenges as milestones: the more money raised, the harder/sillier/funnier it’d get. I ended up doing a talk about the History of SEO in only 3 minutes while inserting random SEO buzzwords throughout and wearing a Christmas hat. As you do.
What I’m getting at is that this likely wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t had been for Cardiff SEO Meet. Yet another unexpected added bonus that’s come out of the whole thing.
Future plans for Cardiff SEO Meet
- We have a date: Thursday 16th February 2017.
- We have a new venue! The wonderful TramshedTech in Cardiff city centre (pictured). I love Tiny Rebel (formerly known as Urban Tap House), so while it pains me to move elsewhere, I think TramshedTech will be a fantastic fit for us going forward.
- We have two wonderful, inspirational speakers – @Grace_Quantock and @Aimee_Bateman – who will be telling us their stories of how they’ve used SEO and other inbound marketing channels to drive traffic to their websites and blogs (Aimee in particular has done insanely well on YouTube, so if video marketing’s your thing, don’t miss it).
We’re looking for a site review participant for the next event (after having two great sessions at the last two events – read reviews here & here), where we (the audience) analyse a website and offer suggestions of improvements, both SEO and otherwise. Let me know if you’d like to volunteer your website. (Please note: we have quite strict, specific criteria – mainly to cover-my-arse legally – so please don’t take it personally if we politely decline your suggestion. Thanks in advance! It’ll make sense when we chat about it.)
We’re also looking for a food & drink sponsor, to help pay towards – you’ve guessed it – food & drink in our lovely new venue. We’re still working on the specifics of what to get in catering-wise (suggestions welcome!), but if you’d like to start the conversation then please let me know. In return you’ll get a logo showing on TramshedTech’s whoppingly massive TV at the start of the event, a shout-out at the event, tweets, and… hey Google, what’s that over there?! …a link on our Meetup group. Ahem. And our love. And probably a whole lot of other benefits that I haven’t thought of yet.
Beyond that? We’ll see. I’d love to do a full-day conference sometime, and maybe even change the current quarterly setup to bi-monthly, but MOM is busy and I’m about to become even busier with a 2nd child on the way (due any day now!) so let’s take it one step at a time, shall we? 🙂
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all our speakers so far (Prabhat, Jess, Jonathan, Andrew, Sara, Tom and Miranda) and our two site review volunteers (Robert and Peter). You made our 2016 events awesome. ?
See you in 2017, Cardiff SEOs!