Investing in our people and their development, is something we continually support. Kim & Amy headed to brightonSEO for two days, their first in-person conference since they joined Cognique last year. Here’s what they got up to in the fun packed city of Brighton…
brightonSEO here we come
We’d booked our tickets, found an Airbnb with a seaside view, figured out the tube to get across London so we didn’t miss our connecting train. We were ready…
As we headed down to Brighton, cracked open a Gin in a Tin for the train journey and of course an excess of snacks, we downloaded the app and decided on our chosen talks. There were so many, from technical SEO to strategy and content, superb speakers which we’d been following on Twitter & LinkedIn – it was a really tough choice.
Day one at brightonSEO…
After a night at the pre-conference drinks and making the most of the 2-4-1 cocktails, we set off early. On the agenda for Thursday; On-page SEO, Content Marketing, Reporting & Keyword Research with a keynote talk from Andi Jarvis around Strategy v Tactics.
A large coffee in hand, we settled in Auditorium 1 and were welcomed by Mr Motivator, yes that’s right you read it correctly, Mr Motivator!
Key takeaways from day one, were strong themes of storytelling, repurposing content, reporting the right information to your clients and using low volume keywords as part of your SEO strategy. Storytelling brings your brand and vision to life, whether that’s within your copy, analytical reporting or demonstrating your business through stories to support its USP, culture and brand. Some of our favourite talks were;
- Alex Hickson’s “How to grow viral on a budget” – this storytelling focused session was an eye opening account of how Alex and his husband launched their candle business (the brilliantly named) Flaming Crap during lockdown with a minimal budget, but a clear story and strong skills in digital PR. Storytelling was paramount; it brought emotion to the reader, allowing them to easily ‘buy in’ to products and / or services. This can be translated in so many ways, across sectors, and it’s an approach we use for all our clients. We always ask the question “so what?” – does your story / content appeal to your ideal customer / client.
- Rejoice Ojiaku “The Content & Buyer Show: Let’s Map” which highlighted the power of repurposing content. This talk was really interesting and it’s a marketing strategy we often suggest to clients if they have a lot of existing content on their site. For example, if a client has a lot of blog content on a similar theme or subject, we might suggest combining all the pieces into what we like to call a ‘power piece’. The article then answers multiple questions that the reader may have and creates more opportunities to rank for specific keywords. This strategy also minimises duplicate content across their website.
- Greg Gifford’s talk “Freddy Krueger’s Guide to Scary Good Reporting” was a particular highlight – the importance of metrics that clients really care about, combined with a compelling narrative to bring out the story behind the data. We’ve recently developed our own online marketing dashboard giving our clients secure access to their marketing results. Updated monthly, the dashboard allows us to bring their data to life, including ongoing narrative and reporting on the metrics that really matter to them and is aligned with their KPI’s.
- The Keyword Research sessions with Paola Didone, Mark Williams-Cook & Liraz Postan discussed the importance of long tail keywords and confirmed to us that what we’re doing with our clients is SEO best practice. Using long tail keywords, which have a lower search volume but a high intent volume, gives clients a higher chance of ranking for them because they’re uber specific and generally have a lower keyword difficulty rank.
- And finally, keynote speaker Andi Jarvis “Strategy v tactics – which is more importanterer” – aligning the two, when it comes to your marketing. If one is awesome but not the other, then that marketing sweet spot is really hard to find. And, most importantly make sure your messaging is aligned with your brand values!
Day two at brightonSEO…
So much information from day one, such a brilliant day! We were already working out ways we could improve our processes and implement ideas once we returned to Cognique HQ. Armed with a double shot coffee, we were ready: Content Management, Creativity and Paid Media were on the agenda.
Our key takeaways from day two, were putting processes in place to scale up our content, keep the content simple and targeted at our end user. The average person sees 6,000 to 10,000 adverts every day, so making sure your content is “seen, heard and understood” is fundamental to any marketing strategy.
Our favourite talks were;
- Emilia Korczynska “How we scaled our content ops from 4 to 40 posts a month in under 2 months” this talk was a really valuable lesson in supporting clients with additional content. Taking that onboard and combined with an increase in client demand, we’re now actively recruiting for a content writer to join our team.
- Emily Hill “Content readability for SEO” this reinforced how important keeping it simple works for both Google and those reading your content. A great example is from Friends, when Joey Tribiani, in episode “The One Where Rachel’s Sister Babysits”, writes an adoption letter for Monica and Chandler and uses a thesaurus to translate each word.
- Max Hoppy “How they teach you to be creative at Google” this was such a refreshing talk. It emphasised the importance of stepping away from your desk, doing what you love and recognising that within that down time is where creativity flourishes. According to Max’s research the top 3 are during exercise, in the shower and when feeling asleep – we’d have to agree!
- Corrie Jones “How to create genuinely compelling content for your customers” and that’s all about listening and finding out what your customers want to read, engage with and ultimately find valuable. Corrie broke it down into three areas. 1. Psychology: what exactly does your audience want? Do you know your client personas? Are you social listening? 2. Data: vanity metrics vs actionable metrics – really analysing whether those that are engaging with your content are your target audience and 3. Creative: does your content look good – why would someone stop at your post in a long feed of content and information?
So there you have it, a fun packed two days at brightonSEO: so much to take in, brilliant speakers and we loved every second. Here’s to next time…