BrightonSEO is undeniably big. The Brighton Centre is a hefty beast, of course, but I’m chiefly referring to an abstract breadth steadily accrued over the years. At this stage, BSEO looms over the calendar with all the narrative importance of Eminem’s one shot (only it’s one shot per six months, which is certainly a much better deal). Here it comes, you may think. Time to ace it.
But what does it mean to ace BrightonSEO? Well, there are different ways of looking at it, and many things you can take from your next excursion to this monster of an event. If you don’t intend to leave Brighton with regrets, you need to figure out everything you want.
In this post, we’re going to lay out some tip-top tips for emerging as the big winner of the next BSEO, making it a value-driving powerhouse befitting its remarkable potential. Let’s get to them!
Plan the logistics early
BrightonSEO attracts a varied international crowd, with many attendees travelling vast distances to make it. And while taking a long trip can be fun (and even novel for those who rarely attend events), it’s inevitably complicated — particularly given the awkward nature of the UK’s public transport systems. Anyone who’s ever used the London underground can attest to this.
Sure, a combination of smartphone assistance and sheer commitment can get you past most transportation roadblocks, but that isn’t the concern. Consider that a nightmarish journey to Brighton can leave you tired and frustrated, setting you up for an underwhelming experience. You want to get there feeling as fresh as a daisy and ready to take on the world.
When you arrive, you should have a clear idea of what you’re doing: where you’re going, when you need to move, and all the steps you need to take along the way. Leaving gaps in your itinerary can be worthwhile, but only if there’s value in that flexibility (if you’re spending some time networking, for instance, making some ad-hoc calls can work to your advantage).
So when should you plan your BrightonSEO journey from beginning to end? The day before? The week before? No, no, no. You’ll want at least a month to accommodate the decision-making process and the need to get tickets, make bookings, and prepare branded resources. Yes, it’s tough. Yes, procrastination is a sweet companion. But you just need to get on with things.
Here are some key steps to focus on:
Rest well before you make the trip
Going to an event is rather nerve-wracking for many people — and the more you have riding on your next BrightonSEO excursion, the more aggressively those butterflies will pester your innards. Couple that feeling with the determination to prepare optimally and you can end up with no sleep in the days leading up to your Brighton trip.
If you don’t feel rested when you leave, you certainly won’t feel rested when you get there, and that malaise will hang over you while you try to execute your long-gestating plan. Provided you’ve planned well, you should be able to kick back and recharge your batteries (metaphorically, that is: we’ll address literal batteries next). When you leave, you can feel confident in your ability to put your best foot forward.
Choose the right things to take with you
Unless you plan on tottering around the Brighton Centre with enough supplies to sink a modestly-priced yacht, you’ll need to think carefully about what you’re going to take with you. Handheld game consoles are tremendous fun, but do you really need them there? You should even consider whether you really need a full-sized laptop with you. Your focus should be on taking notes (more on this later), and a tablet or even a phone should be more than adequate for the task.
Gadgets aside, here are the things we suggest having in your bag (you can take other things, of course, but leave them in your hotel room), AKA the 3 Bs of BSEO:
- Bottled water. There are beverages available throughout the Brighton Centre, but they’re not so ubiquitous that you can’t find yourself parched after some time spent in a dry room. Having water with you grants you the freedom to move around without having to think about nearby refreshments — and if you keep track of the water-refill stations, you can stay topped up.
- Battery packs. Whether you’re taking notes, serving up insightful Tweets, or researching tools that have caught your eye, much of your time in Brighton will inevitably feature smartphone use — and even the bulkiest device can fade in such conditions. Taking at least one fully-charged high-capacity power bank will let you use all the power you need, untethering you from sockets.
- Business cards. Plenty of companies focus on placing pamphlets and brochures in the swag bags handed freely to attendees, but it’s easy for these things to blur together. If you’re going to print branded materials, they should be useful, and business cards genuinely can be useful if they’re used properly. The right time to dole out a business card is when you’re wrapping up a good chat with a fellow attendee. That way, when you reach out to them on social media, they’ll have something to remind them of the exchange.
There are plenty of talks on the docket, and unless you happen to have control over the laws of time, you won’t be able to attend them all. And while you could opt to wing it, it’s far better to plan ahead, picking out the talks that best suit your niche and what you’re hoping to learn.
Once you’ve done this, you should think about what you hope to get from each chosen talk. As noted earlier, you can — and should — take notes during each talk (we even have a form you can use). This will help you keep track of the key takeaways, giving you the freedom to get active on social media (and making it easier for you to analyse the talks later) without taking up so much of your energy that you lose track of overall points or simply become exhausted in the dry indoor conditions.
Consider that simply recapping the talks isn’t that useful these days, as talks are now recorded to be made available online. What matters is your identification and interpretation of the key elements. You’re standing in for all the people who can’t attend, and it’s your task to let them know what they’re missing. Be sure to jot down the following for each talk you check out:
- People involved/mentioned. As well as noting the speaker and their business, you should listen out for mentions of relevant industry professionals. If the speaker refers to a study done by an SEO expert, for instance, you should get that down so you can look into that expert’s work and social activity.
- Key quotes. Just one well-selected quote from a talk can encapsulate the point of the whole thing, making it perfect for sharing on social media. What’s more, if you’re smart with the quotes you note, they’ll help you recall the details of the talk without needing a hand-cramping long-form recap.
- Core tips. What actions does the speaker recommend taking? How can the information stored within the talk impact your business processes? Yes, you want to relay the information of the talk to others, but you also want to use it to benefit what you do — so listen carefully for the value-driving lessons.
- Follow-up queries. At the end of each session, there’s an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the talks. If you can find some interesting queries to pose, you can learn even more from the speakers, and potentially even lay the groundwork to network with them.
Give yourself enough transportation leeway
If your planned journey has several legs, the addition of any lag can have a knock-on effect that causes you to arrive much later than planned. Additionally, racing around trying to accommodate slender layovers isn’t much fun. So why put yourself under unnecessary strain?
When you’re plotting your route, leave healthy gaps between the stages, and leave early enough that you have a chance of actually enjoying your travel time. If something goes horrendously wrong, you’ll at least have a decent shot of pivoting.
Believe in your expertise
Now that we’re all sharing carefully-polished versions of our lives online, imposter syndrome is more common than ever before. How can you fail to doubt your abilities when you see so many people ostensibly outperforming you? Meeting targets that seem beyond your reach? Bringing in the client deals you’ve coveted for years? It’s enough to give anyone a complex.
But if you let your feelings get out of hand, you can end up pulling back out of insecurity and fear, opting to simply watch and listen while other professionals bask in the limelight. Here’s the thing, though: you have something unique to say. Whether you’re an industry stalwart or a relative newcomer to the SEO world, there is inevitably something fresh in your approach. Maybe you’ve spotted a flaw in a common method, or noticed a gap in the market.
It’s entirely possible that you’ve been nursing a gripe concerning an SEO trend but refraining from talking about it because you assume everyone else already knows. You certainly don’t want to speak up only to be told you’re stating the obvious, and who can blame you for that? Yet it’s shockingly common for an important thing to go unsaid because no one wants to stick their head above the parapet and bear the brunt of the response.
So if you have something bold to state (maybe you’re the one maverick who thinks Bing is the next big thing), believe in your expertise and let people know. The more confident you are in what you bring to the table, the more people will gravitate toward you. If you want to earn a talk of your own, this will help — and if you already have a talk, this will make it more memorable.
Set some clear goals
Wanting to get the best out of BrightonSEO is great, but how will you know if the event’s been a success for you and your business? If you have no clear way of gauging success, you’ll be left to go solely by your gut impression, and that isn’t a smart way to proceed. The fun side of BSEO can lead you to rate it very highly indeed, only to realise down the line that you didn’t get much return on your investment. Fun is desirable. ROI is essential.
But since the identification and attribution of ROI can be tricky at the best of times, you need to start out with some clear goals. It’ll keep you sharp during the event, guiding your actions and reassuring you that the actions you’re taking are worthy of your time and effort.
Now, we obviously can’t tell you exactly what your goals should be, but we can give you some inspiration to help you decide. Consider the following key targets:
Building key connections
So much of business comes down to knowing the right people. In the end, we all want to work with people we know, like, and trust. It’s much more pleasant, and it’s safer. Unknown quantities are significant risks. And with BSEO being packed with SEO-adjacent professionals from many countries and industries, you won’t find many better opportunities to start getting to know the movers and shakers.
Ahead of your trip, you could make a list of people openly planning to attend, then think about who might best fit your business. Do you have any dream clients? Some of them may have representatives at BSEO, or there may be attendees who’ve worked with them before and can easily reach out to them.
Keep in mind that establishing a rapport with just one highly-relevant person can have a massive payoff down the line. They can introduce to you other people in similar fields, give you free advice, and even promote your business. So while aiming to meet 3-4 such people may seem modest, remember that quality is preferable to quantity.
Gathering significant leads
Whatever you have to offer, here’s your shot at extolling its virtues. Plenty of people will walk into the Brighton Centre with budgets to use and projects to fund, and your pitch could win them over. You need to be really delicate with your tone and timing, admittedly, as talking up your services to someone who just wants to have a good time won’t get you very far. But the opportunities will be there.
Why not set a goal of leaving with three solid leads? Lay out your best case, add something to sweeten the deal (a trial, for instance, or a one-time consultation), make it as easy as possible for people to express their interest, and see if you can hit that number. If you can, that’s great: it could more than make up for the trip expenses.
And if you can’t win three solid leads, don’t get negative about the situation. Instead, learn from it. How close did you get? What did people say when you pitched them on your company? When the next instalment of BrightonSEO rolls around, you can be ready with a revamped pitch capable of yielding much better results.
Earning social engagement
Whether you’re a big Twitter enthusiast or a reluctant dabbler, there’s no denying that social media discussion can produce significant results. There’s an obvious sense to that within the SEO world in particular: the more visible you can be on social media, the more convincingly you can claim that you can get other people and companies noticed online.
Now, which goals you aim for should depend on your normal social media metrics, as you’re looking for a massive uplift. It shouldn’t be unreasonable to expect ten times your usual rate of engagement. Think about how you can get people involved. Could you create polls? Share hyper-relevant tips? Even try some memes?
Focus on your brand’s public face (usually the CEO), the brand identity overall, and your key service(s). The point is that you don’t need people to work with you at this stage. You mostly want to ensure that they’ll recognise you down the line, so when you run an ad campaign or launch a networking attempt, you’ll have a good shot at succeeding.
Spread your social wings
On the topic of talking, the huge crowds that assemble for BrightonSEO can be slightly intimidating for some. The SEO world doesn’t inherently draw people who love broad social activity. If anything, the opposite is true: SEO has generally been the domain of those who enjoy sitting in front of computers and testing esoteric technical tweaks. Optimising websites and improving rankings doesn’t usually require social finesse, after all.
Even if you’re excited about the next event, then, you might also be worried about how you’re going to cope with the onrush of interactions. It’s so easy to fade into the background; to be a mere observer, opting for comfort instead of risking the unpleasantness of running out of something to say. Do you want to look back and cringe at moments of great awkwardness?
Well, if you want to get the best out of BSEO, that’s a chance you’ll have to take. There’s a wealth of knowledge and passion walking the halls of the Brighton Centre, and if you don’t tap into it, you’ll miss out on so much value. Try to remember that you’re among people who share your experiences and responsibilities. They’re not your enemies, nor are they enigmatic beings from other dimensions. They’re your peers. You have so much in common.
Now, part of spreading your social wings means having the willingness to get swept up in the ad-hoc events surrounding BrightonSEO. The dinners, the soirees, the murder-mystery evenings (if those aren’t being done, they should be). So if you get into a good conversation with people from relevant companies and they invite you to something, think about the potential upside. Isn’t it worth your time?
And when you return to Brighton for the next event, you can have a host of new friends to catch up with. Those friends can introduce you to more friends, and so on — and it all starts with a willingness to walk up to someone and introduce yourself. Remember that you need to decide what counts as a victory. If you’re really shy, then simply greeting a few people could constitute big progress and set you up for better things down the line.
Follow-up on everything
You can absolutely nail every part of your event appearance — dazzling everyone with your knowledge, making your services sound spectacular, and making a host of high-value connections — but ultimately get nowhere. How? By failing to follow up on your work once the event has wrapped up and you’ve gone back to your normal schedule.
It’s vital to remember this: on a long-term scale, everything you do at BrightonSEO is simply preamble. Any connections you build there will provide some immediate satisfaction, sure, but that buzz won’t drive revenue. And while it’s great to get people talking about your services at the event, that isn’t when they’ll be making decisions about how to use their budgets. Those considerations arrive when the action-packed nights are over and the harsh light of day has returned, by which point prospects can look very different.
Put yourself in the shoes of a high-level company representative attending BSEO. Imagine all the attention from ambitious SEOs eager to tell you all about how they can make you money. It’s flattering to attract so much focus, and exciting to hear about so many possible routes — but it’s tough to get attached to one strong idea when another one comes along shortly after. Oh, you want to revamp your keyword research process? Listen through pitches for thirty different tools, then see if you have a conclusive opinion on which one you should use.
Your objective, then, must be to feature prominently when everything has wrapped up and those high-level representatives start taking stock of the event — and there are two keys to this:
Leaving something to remember you by
Memories fade quickly and tend to get jumbled up, making them poor foundations for taking action. If you’ve given someone a business card, though, they’ll have a clear reminder of what you’re offering. If you’ve tagged them in a widely-shared social media post, they’ll find it easier to remember your face, and can use the tagged people to investigate your operation. If you can find some kind of memento to leave behind, it’ll massively help your cause.
Being snappy with your follow-ups
Though you certainly want to leave people with ways to find and contact you, the onus is more on you to find and contact them. After all, you’re the one with the pitch. If you simply wait for new prospects to chase you, you’ll be waiting for a long time. You need to follow-up on your leads, and you need to be snappy — but not too snappy. There’s such a thing as jumping the gun.
Here’s a good process to follow: after the first point of contact, send a simple follow-up to serve as confirmation. Cover contact details here but otherwise stop at a greeting. For the rest of the event, keep that contact in mind when managing social media activity: if you think they’ll find something relevant, tag them. You’re not trying to be promotional here. You’re just trying to make yourself familiar and show your interests.
When the event finishes, thank everyone for their time and say you look forward to seeing them again soon. Give it a couple of days for the dust to settle, then send your main follow-up messages. Reach out to each contact, reaffirm that it was good to meet them, restate your core proposition, provide some more details, add a sweetener, and invite them to consider it. That’s all for now. You mustn’t be pushy.
Remember that you can’t force someone to see value in what you do, and trying too hard will prove counterproductive.
You don’t want to make it to the next BrightonSEO only to discover that you’ve attracted a reputation as someone who can’t accept rejection. It’s all about clearly and confidently stating your case, letting people decide, and accepting the results.
If you do everything we’ve covered here but don’t get much business, you need to think about why that is. Are your prices too high? Is there nothing unique (or at least unusual) about your value proposition? Having a great product is always the first step, of course. Even the most innovative and compelling marketing in the world can’t make up for a bad product.
So if you know there’s something special and valuable about what you do, but people aren’t seeing it, then it’s time to rethink your overall brand strategy. Put in the work to revamp your approach before the next BSEO, and you’ll find that things go much more smoothly.
Lastly, remember that more events will come
BrightonSEO is certainly important, and the urge to get it right can be stress-inducing, but don’t forget: it isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime event. If you attend each one, you’ll get two shots per year at nailing it. Fingers crossed the next instalment will be a goldmine for you, but if it isn’t, oh well. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and come up with a better plan for the one after that.
So what do you think? Are you ready to make good use of the tips we’ve set out here, or are you still absolutely petrified? We’d love to hear from you! If you want to talk about plans for BSEO, get in touch: Twitter’s always convenient, but there are other contact options in the page footer, so scroll down if you’re interested. All that aside — good luck!