This week I attended the New Media Expo conference in Las Vegas. Talking with folks online is wonderful, but nothing will ever replace the energy and serendipity of meeting people face to face. That is why I attended the New Media Expo this year.
It’s been a little over a year since I took that familiar leap and struck out on my own again. Part of my plans to move my business forward this year includes going to a couple conferences. I figured a conference for bloggers, podcasters video producers would attract the crowd I was looking for and I was right.
The great thing about a conference like NMX for me, is being around so many people who work in the same field. For three days I meet, talked and laughed with digital marketing consultants, social media community managers, web entrepreneurs and online content creators of all kinds. I had the opportunity to speak with so many of the people I admire. The thing all of these really smart and accomplished people had in common is their generosity. Each spent time talking with everyone that approached them. Each showed a genuine interest in our conversation.
Some of the my favorite sessions included a refreshingly candid Keynote interview where Guy Kawasaki shared his views of the current Apple, book publishing- especially self publishing, and his personal social media strategy. You can watch that here.
Scott Monty, the head of social media for Ford, gave a Keynote that talked about how when Ford coordinated their traditional PR, advertising, and online efforts, it provided their biggest wins. The talk spoke to how the best strategies integrate all of a company’s communications. You can watch that here. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Scott and he is one of the nicest people you’ll meet.
The online world is getting more and more visual. Using good pictures in your content is more important that ever and C.C. Chapman presented some helpful ways to make your pictures better. You can see more about his presentation on his blog.
I saw a great interview with Mitch Joel and Robert Scoble, by Dorie Clark, about where things are heading online. In the echo chamber of social media, you rarely get to see two people who really know what they’re talking about present sometimes opposing views. Different approaches that can both be right? I’d like to hear a lot more of that online. Their conversation included the future of social marketing when our devises will know where we are, who we’re with and what our preferences are. This is exciting to me. You can listen to the conversation here.
Tom Webster is Vice President of Strategy for Edison Research, who provided all of the exit polling data for all the major news networks for U.S. Presidential Election. He gave a fascinating talk about the lessons marketers can learn from the last election and current state of social media. My favorite quote from his talk- “If you’re a marketer and you’re not good at math, get good at math!” With all of the data available to us today, if you are still letting opinion or per-conceived assumptions drive your marketing, you are missing a huge opportunity to win more.
Rand Fishkin, the CEO of SEOMoz shared some insights I will definitely be incorporating into my conversion rate optimization strategies. His presentation was called The Mighty Nudge: The Future of SEO, Social Media, & Content Marketing, and you can see the slides here.
The Best Part
The best part of my trip by far was meeting and talking with so many great people. A highlight for me was meeting Steve and Diane Brogan. I had seen Diane from time to time in my twitter feed, talking with people I know or follow like my friend Susan, always with some pleasant greeting or other happy back and forth. I tend to notice and follow the happy people I see online. So when I saw Diane, I introduced myself. Boy, I’m glad I did.
Diane and Steve are two of the happiest, nicest most adventurous people you’ll ever meet. Diane is a dynamo (if I had half her energy I would be able to give up coffee) and Steve is a great story teller. If you were there, you could not have missed them. Every time you saw them they were hugging and taking pictures with friends. They’re great connectors too. I met so many more people because Diane would just ask if I knew so and so, and if I didn’t, she’d grab me by the arm and take me over to them.
I learned a lot by the way Diane would introduce people to each other. More than just using names, she would recall some detail garnered from an earlier conversation that would put the introduction into context or at the least provide a starting point for a conversation. I’m going to try to remember to do that myself. It makes such a difference.
Among the many, many great people Diane introduced me to, was Mark Horvath, who does such amazing work advocating for the homeless. I’ve admired Mark’s work for a long time and if you don’t know about Invisible People, please check it out. Mark is amazing.
I won’t list all the people I got to know because it would come off as name dropping, but am I glad I went to NMX13? You bet I am. I learned some things, made some friends, met some people I may work with in the near future, and did I mention I was in Vegas for 4 days? Were you there? If not, did you see any of the Livestream sessions? What were your highlights?