The unofficial guide to BrightonSEO: 10 top tips for newbies
Get amped up
It’s not always obvious, but it’s essential – bring a battery pack for your phone. My phone dies twice a year, and if you are doing your maths right, that’s only at BrightonSEO. You don’t want to limit your time looking at the hashtag or writing notes, and battling off eight other attendees for the only free plug. The wifi can also be a little temperamental with so many delegates so if you have one, take a data dongle or make sure you have enough data to get you through the day. If your battery is poor, be sure to bring a notebook for the reams of notes you’ll want to take in the highly actionable sessions. Finger stretches prior isn’t a bad idea either.
Chart a course
Some of the rooms are small, or a topic will be oversubscribed. The new venue is also huge so there can be a long walk between rooms. Note down which talks you want to go to, where they’re held and have at least 1 backup plan in case you have to change last minute due to capacity. Beware, you can’t change rooms part way through a session so commit to the topics you most resonate with and save the switches for the breaks.
If you’re torn between 2 sessions, check out the speakers on Twitter to get a feel for which ones you’ll resonate with most.
Sniff out the deals
If you’re exploring potential new SEO tools that are exhibiting they’ll likely be giving free trials, so make the most of the companies exhibiting. Be sure to collect any available vouchers, but use them wisely for a meaty project.
Hashtag like your life depends on it
Conference hashtags are normally popular, but at a marketing conference this is especially true. Follow #BrightonSEO on Twitter to find the highlights from the other talks for when you can’t be in two rooms at once, follow speakers who really caught your attention and even fit in a little networking. @DanBarker tends to produce interesting graphs about users participating in the hashtag which is well worth a look. Be sure to chat out the hashtag on Instagram as well for inspiration of things to see and eat.
Cook up a plan for networking lunches
Going solo or want to meet new people? With such a huge crowd there are many networking breakfasts, lunches and drinks during the conference. Brighton Digital Women are particularly wonderful and are hosting a breakfast this time.
If you find nothing that’s your bag or spaces have run out, be sure to look up a few lunch options ahead of the conference to prevent hanger as you try to find somewhere tasty without a queue of SEOs out the door. Be sure to take your badge off during the break too, or find yourself very confused as to how you know someone when they call your name in the street (true story).
Download the fancy new app
There’s a shiny BrightonSEO app (you want the one developed by Rough Agenda) full of great features. It has chat functionality so you can make new SEO buddies, a handy schedule for the day, venue and city maps and recommendations on where to eat. There’s plenty of value in it before the event, so download it now.
If you must drive in, beware that parking in central Brighton is crazy expensive. There are a few NCPs that offer cheaper all day rates if you get in before 8 or 9am so arrive early. Get in any later and the price increases 500%! A good excuse for a nice breakfast we say.
If you can’t get there last minute (be sure to let the team know so they can pass it on to their waiting list) or didn’t manage to nab a ticket, keep up with the action with the live stream of the main stage talks. The other talks are also recorded as podcasts so spread out the learning experience and subscribe to hear the episodes here.
Make the most of it
If you’re travelling from out of town or want to develop a specific skill, what a great excuse to book a training session? If I had to choose one it would have to be Google Tag Manager for Digital Marketers with Al Wightman. I’ve had the pleasure of GTM training from Al myself and it blew my mind. Go and be inspired.
Stay a little longer
If you’re from out of town, stay a while, and not just for the pre or after parties (although partly for the pre and after parties). Brighton has so much to offer that you can’t fit in a 90 minute lunch break. Stop for coffee at Small Batch, explore the imaginative ice cream flavours at Gelato Gusto, taste test both Burger Brothers and Trolls Pantry – or if you want something less food orientated *ahem* check out the exhibit at the Royal Pavilion, explore vintage treasures at Snooper’s Paradise or go on a street art hunt (hint – there’s a great collection, including a wall of dogs next to Wagamama, not that we’re completely food obsessed!).
Have your own great tip to add to the list? Let us know.