On the web you are what you publish: opening keynote SES New York

On the web you are what you publish: opening keynote SES New York

23rd March 2010

The opening keynote of SES New York this year was done by David Meerman Scott. He opened with an example of Cindy Gordon who started a theme park. She told just seven people she was opening. The seven people were influential bloggers. Off course they started to write about it. Within seven hours 350 million people had heard of the Harry Potter theme park.

These days its about getting the attention. When David travels he asks people questions. He asks the audience the questions on what they have done in the last six months:

  • Have you answered a direct mail advertisement ? (0,5% says yes)
  • Have you gone to main stream media (22%)
  • Have you gone to the yellow pages (4%)
  • Have you’ve used Google? (100%)

He then shows a video of his earlier speaking engagements where he asked the same question.

He now talks about a dentist in Boston who advertised in the yellow pages and was looking for a better way. She started a blog “healthy mouth, healthy sex”. She then made an e-book and became an instant success. She no longer does yellow page advertising because she does so well in Google. Ben Affleck apparently found her on the web.

You must unlearn what you have learned.

He talks about bio personas: to reach out for those you are trying to reach you have to think like them. Hotels are a good example. All sites are the same. Hotels should make specific parts for every different personas.

Earning attention

There are four ways of earning attentions prior to the web: buy attention, beg for attention, bug people (sales), earn attention. The web is about earning attention.

He shows us a couple of examples of publishing content which earns attention. A good way is to get people to create content for you.

There are 6 things to thing about when you want people to spread your word:

  1. Nobody cares about your products but you. He looked at press releases and which words were used. The most overused word in press releases is “innovate”, second “please to”, third: “Unique”. He shows website pictures of people in offices and asks the questions: “who are they?” and “does she REALLY work for you?”. Some stock photos can even be found on more sites.
  2. No coercion required. He shows examples of girls’ fighting back-pictures going viral.
  3. Lose control of your content. Grateful dead lets people record at concerts and spread the word. In the old world everybody was putting up brakes. Don’t do that.
  4. Put down roots: the understanding of where your people are. He gives an example of somebody helping people at forums and on blogs.
  5. Create triggers that encourages people to share. He arranged a tweetup at Nasdaq.
  6. Point the world to your virtual doorstep. He gives the example of the ‘best job in the world’. It has hundreds of stories on the web and they got thousands more bookings.

Many companies still don’t do it right because of fear. There are many excuses given. 25% of companies blocks social media.

His final example: toilet marketing. A German b2b company which makes toilets. They lost control of their marketing. If they can do it, you can do it. This is the video of the b2b company:


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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