If you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a mission of late to cover as many SEO conferences as possible. Not only is it a great way to visit different countries, it is a good way to meet UK and international SEO’s and online marketers, and of course a fantastic way to network in the industry.
In the last 8 weeks alone, I’ve been lucky enough to visit London and New York for SES, Iceland for the RIMC, Think Visibility in Leeds, SMX Munich, the International Search Summit, Brighton SEO and IonSearch. I’ve met some amazing people, and I’ve written more blog posts than I care to mention!
With all the travelling and blogging, I’ve learned a lot about how to get the best out of conferences, blogging in different time zones, the pitfalls of live blogging, and the challenges of covering events, so I thought that for this post, I would share with you a few hints and tips for bloggers, speakers and conference organisers with a view to helping us to help you get the best coverage possible.
There have been a few events that I’ve been to, where the Wi-Fi drops in and out, or that the reach is just not enough for coverage in every room. There have also been some conferences with no Wi-Fi at all.
I know that there is never going to be 100% uptime, but not being able to use Wi-Fi effectively prevents us from being able to live blog effectively, and for people like me that are also running a business from the conference, not being able to work whilst listening to the speakers, makes for a much more difficult day.
Not all bloggers and attendees can make the start of a conference, so making the connection password visible from the moment we step into the building and at the start and end of every slide means we don’t have to tweet the inevitable ‘does anyone know the #wifi #password’
We Need More Power Captain
Two words – plug sockets!
Most large conferences I have been to have a large venue, often with plug sockets at every turn. Some conferences also provide a selection of sockets in the front few rows so that attendees can re-charge when they need to.
Larger conferences also have different pathways, so it is easy to nip out and charge up in the corridor as you head to the next talk. However, I have also been to conferences that run with a single programme from start to finish, with 10 minute breaks for coffee and lunch – really excellent programme and a great way to take in the information, but when you are running low on power, it is impossible to charge enough in 10 minutes to last for the entire day
I have learned that I need to bring a spare battery for the laptop and the phone, and cover myself with an old fashioned notepad and pen for when I can no longer type, but it makes life easier if I can plug in.
In order to cover your event, or your speaker session, it’s great to post a selection of photos to show non delegates what they are missing! Help us to help you look good, by giving us something different to photograph. Much as it is great to listen to speakers stood behind a lectern, pictures look loads better if you are pointing at something interesting, showing us an area on your slide, making hand gestures, (not rude ones!!), or have something on your slides other than lines and lines of text.
However, don’t move about too much as otherwise rubbish photographers like me can’t get the shot
In my experience, the best photo ops have come from the little events like ThinkVis, and Brighton SEO, where entertainment is put on in some of the breaks but I realise that this is not always possible at the larger events.
I also understand that constant clicking and flash photography can put speakers off, so invest in a camera that takes decent shots without the use of a flash – I know that my camera could do with having a silent shutter, but I’m working on that.
More and more, I see speakers putting the links to their Slideshare versions at the start of their session. This is fantastic, BUT if you don’t give us enough of a chance to catch that address, or you are using a long URL, or shortener we haven’t heard of yet – we can’t always write it down!
Many conferences suggest that slides will be available after the event, but if you are blogger that needs to get a post out that day or the next day, it helps to have instant access to slides.
If you are submitting slides to the organiser, put it on Slideshare or better still, your own website, and we can drop you a valuable link
I have taken to bringing a non-flash camera to take pictures of all of the slides so that I have a record, just in case, we never get sent the link…
I understand that some speakers, prefer a more visual approach so this is not always feasible, but every little helps.
Not picking on you guys, as you after all, are what we come to see at conferences and events, however, of late it seems that many speakers, turn up 20 minutes before they are due on, and some then leave straight afterwards.
I know your gig slot is your gig slot, but it really helps us to network and get to know you better, if you hang around! I only say this as not everyone can get to networking drinks, and some people save all year, to be able to come to some of these events, so being visible for more than the 10 minutes after your slot for questions, could just make someone’s day!
Help the Live Bloggers
Some of the more recent events have been so fast paced, it is impossible to take pictures of slides, let alone live blog it, so if you have a rapid fire list of handy hints or tools, give us the slides, so we can at least try to share your knowledge on the day!
I would be interested in any feedback on how we can make our blogs posts better for conference organisers or speakers, as I’m sure there are ways we can all improve to get the most out of all events.