Last year at SXSW, I heard almost everyone complain that the content sucked. That pretty much happens every year.
Schneider Mike was one of the few that got the opposite experience. How did he sort through the mess of such a large conference to have such a positive experience when everyone else didn’t? Simple, he had a plan.He thoughtfully reviewed the schedule, researched the sessions, and gave himself smart options for the whole event.
In an effort to make your 2010 Blogworld less of a guessing game, I am giving you 10 sessions that you should not miss. Now if you are a blogger or podcaster or tech geek, this list is not for you. This is meant for marketers attending on behalf of agencies and brands.
A few quick tips for Blogworld as a whole before I get into specific session reccomendations:
- Find an oasis, a place to relax, regroup, and meetup with your team, peers, or roommates. Sponsors can be good about creating some of these sanctuaries, but I would say steer clear of making the blackjack table your meeting spot. We all know you are not as good at 21 as those kids from MIT. Let’s make sure you have the cash to get home ok?
- Party away, but do not miss out on the mornings. There will be tons of parties, yes. But 8am networking is usually better than 3am networking. Let’s be honest, after about 3 drinks in, you really are not getting a great ROI for your personal brand.
- Travel light. If you must bring a laptop with you to sessions, pre-plan a drop off for it. And for your swag bag. Your room if you are in the hotel, a friend’s room, or the hotel check. And consider just not picking up a swag bag. Nobody likes to lug 30 pounds of fliers with them all day.
- Get a grip on your phone charging. Wifi, cell signal, and battery life are usually always in short supply. Turn off 3g, GPS, clean up background apps, and bring your own wifi hotspot to minimize smartphone addiction withdraws.
- Do not plan meals or parties. Just let them happen with the people you want to spend time with most. But by all means, RSVP to everything.
- Travel Tips: Fly Jetblue there from the east coast, Southwest from the west. Use Foursquare and Twitter to find someone to share a cab with from the airport. And buy a monorail pass if you are planning on heading down the strip at all. Keep in mind that the conference hotel, Mandalay Bay is not on the Monorail though, so this might not be for you.
- Use the Fast Social app to keep up with groups of friends, what sessions are hot, and what parties are happening.
Now let’s jump in to the schedule suggestions. These 8 sessions should fill up your notebook. None of my suggestions are past 3pm. So if you need to get in some quality pool time, happy hour, networking or all three, this should work for you just fine.
And fair warning, I am highly recommending and highlighting the two panels I am moderating at Blogworld. I mean, it is my list after all.
THURSDAY, October 14th
9:30am | Opening Keynote: Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Together
Room: Islander G
Scott Stratten – Unmarketing
Scott is a blogger, speaker, and funny. He brings marketing messages to the masses with passion and humor. This session covers the ideas that blogging with passion and emotion, not frequency is what makes a blog great and the ability to take a stand on topics is what separates you from the rest. If you can take these lessons to your brand or clients, you are well ahead of 90 percent of the companies out there blogging today.
11:00am | Social Media and the C-Suite: Selling the Board
Room: Islander H/1
Even the most savvy digital marketing companies are still learning how to get the most from social media. Before companies in any industry can get too far, they need executive sponsorship. C-level executives need to be convinced to make the investment. This panel brings together hands on experience in consumer services, financial services and the retail industry to talk about their experience on what wins in the board room. What’s the best way to get buy-in? What are some pitfalls to avoid? Our panel of industry experts will share their experiences and best advice.
1:30pm – 2:30pm | Building Community On Your Blog
Room: Islander E/5
Darren Rowse – Problogger.net
Darren is one of the top independent bloggers in the world. He pulls in 7 figures from blogging each year on multiple sites and makes a living off of teaching others how to do the same. Darren has his own track at Blogworld this year, and while all of his sessions will be quality I am sure, his building community session is the one most relevant to marketers. Stop by and see what you can glean for your clients or brand.
FRIDAY, October 15th
11:00am | Exhibition Floor Opens
Room: Trade Show Floor
Stop by the Exhibition floor first thing in the morning to browse what companies are there that you might be interested in. Do not worry about meeting everyone or getting collateral from all the tables. Get acquainted with the layout and mentally log the 3 companies you definitely want to connect with before leaving the conference.
11:00am – 12:00pm | Social Media & SEO: Boost Engagement & Revenue through Blog Content
Room: Islander I/3
Lee Odden – Top Rank Blog
Most marketers do not know nearly enough about SEO and how it should support branding, advertising, or community efforts. Take some time to stop by and listen to Lee, one of the top voices in the industry, and improve your SEO knowledge. You don’t have to be an SEO expert. Knowing some of the basics will go a long way.
1:30pm – 2:30pm | Mom Bloggers: Blog for Money, Not Swag!
Room: Mariners A/12
If you are investing in influencers and blogger outreach, this session will be good insight into the blogger perspective. Should your brand or agency be compensating bloggers better? Or should you look at them only as press? Some of the top female bloggers out there give advice to other bloggers about how to work with brands more successfully.
SATURDAY, October 16th
11:00am – 12:00pm | How To Hire A Social Media Company
Room: Islander I/3
Social media as an industry is growing more complex each day. There are few experts in the field and very little tested experience to go around. And yet, every company is investing more time and money in this space. We pulled together 3 industry leaders who have worked with many mid-sized and top level brands and worked for some of the top agencies and vendors in the space. We will discuss what companies should be looking for, planning for, and helping create when it comes to partners in their social media.
11:00am – 12:00pm | Ethics and Social Media Marketing
Room: Islander H/1
One of the biggest things to consider with any new form of marketing is how it reflects back onto your company. The lack of clear rules, regulations, best practices, and clear experiences leaders leaves a huge gap for unethical vendors to play in. Is your company laying the right ground work for ethical behavior in social media? Are you partnering with companies that do the same? A very important topic with some stand out panelists.
So those are my tips. If you have tips of your own, I dare you to leave them in the comments. Seriously, add your sessions or sessions you think would be valuable for marketers in the comments.