Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Yahoo’s Ad Forum, an exclusive conference for Yahoo’s top advertisers. It was actually my third Ad Forum and by far the best one yet. I really enjoyed learning more about the Yahoo Microsoft Partnership, new upcoming releases to Yahoo Search Marketing, information about Yahoo Smart Ads, and so much more. More than anything, it was a great opportunity to network with top executives at Yahoo in addition to search marketing leaders at other large companies. I’m a huge proponent of actively participating in conferences and industry events. Today, I’m looking forward to highlighting my strategies for getting the most out of search engine marketing events.
Get Out of The Office Today
This first point is very important. In the world of search engine marketing, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details. We’re so focused that we rarely get out of the office. This is exactly why it’s important to take every opportunity possible to attend industry conferences. It’s simply not sustainable to stay in the details without any breaks and networking. Special note to team leads and people managers: Make sure to get your team out of the office. It will give them a much needed break and make your team even more productive over the long run. Moreover, this is a great way to retain your team members and lower stress levels.
Speak Up at Search Marketing Events
I absolutely love this second tip because it’s all about challenging yourself. If you’re like most people, you may feel a bit intimidated about public speaking. With a hundred or so people in the audience, you might feel a bit nervous about asking questions and speaking up. My advice to you: Never leave a search engine marketing event without actively speaking and participating. Life is a challenge! You want to be a leader in the industry, right? You want to continue to grow your career, right? You simply want to feel good at the end of the day that you did your best, right? For all of these reasons, it’s very important to participate.
So how do you participate? It’s easy! Why not start small and ask some questions during the smaller breakout sessions. When you have a little more experience, why not ask questions in front of hundreds of people at the larger sessions? Once you’re comfortable in that setting, why not volunteer to speak on a panel? Next, you’re ready to lead an event!
I recently spoke on a panel to a few hundred Google employees and it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I was certainly a bit nervous before the event, but that nervousness quickly went away once I started speaking. I ended up totally owning the panel! The event was an incredible success and a big move for my career and personal brand image in the search engine marketing world.
Take Diligent Notes
As mentioned in the introduction, I just attended Yahoo’s Ad Forum. I was careful to take diligent notes during the event and came back to the office with several solid action items and a variety of other notes. I quickly typed up my notes, sent them out, and prioritized several new projects. My advice to you: Take diligent notes because solid revenue-generating action items will come out of these conferences if you listen carefully.
Network With Other Search Marketers
As you know from my post all about Growing Your SEM Career With LinkedIn, I’m a huge fan of networking. It’s a really small industry and your network means everything. Now, can you think of a better opportunity to network than search marketing conferences? I can’t! Make sure to bring business card and introduce yourself to as many people as possible. This can be a great recruiting ground as well. Another tip: Make sure to stay until the very end. At the end of these events, they often have cocktail hour. This is the best time to really network.
I hope this article helps you get the most out of your next SEM conference and wanted to leave you with a final tip: Make sure to Dress For SEM Success when you attend your next SEM conference.
Image of Hello My Name Is © iStockPhoto – klikk
And an added perk — all the free swag you get to bring home!