Conference: Focus On Content Creation

Last week, I attended SES in NYC for my seventh time since 2004. I was in there this year to speak on the "Search: Where To Next" panel moderated by Anne Kennedy, along with Eli Goodman of comScore, Duane Forrester of Bing, and Josh McCoy of Vizion interactive; and to also moderate the "Developing Great Content" panel, with Greg Jarboe (SEO-PR) and Byron White of ideaLaunch. In many ways, these two panels said a lot about the tone of the conference, in that most people were focused primarily on content. The Google Panda-Farmer update had instilled the fear and inquisitiveness of many in attendance, and it seemed that the topic would come up in any conversation that even slightly opened up to the opportunity.

In my own recommendations on the "Where to Next" panel, I talked about how brands are moving toward content creation in an engaging, non-spammy manner. If you've read my previous columns for MediaPost, then you know a lot about where I'm coming from. Social's impact on SEO is huge, and is now concrete in its ties to SEO, with the adoption of social signals in Bing and Google. We discussed all the fun scenarios for future search, but the bottom line is that in the near future, search will still be much of what we're currently used to: constantly reapplying the basics of SEO. Content, content, content. Earning links, instead of begging for them.



To a large crowd in the Great Content session, Jarboe and White gave attendees more than enough to do for their hour's worth. Jarboe took a deep dive in showing how Demand Media has leveraged search tactics to skillfully redefine new aspects of content production and journalism, and also covered ways that they can begin to leverage their strategy using demand and supply sides tactics for effective digital content production.

Byron White took a really deep dive that got into the details of creating a brand content strategy. He also stressed one particularly helpful idea: to listen to your audience through research, and not make any assumptions. If this audience managed to let that sink in, then the whole conference might just be worth their while.

Before the panel, Jarboe also took an informal poll of how many new and veteran attendees were in the audience. Only Greg, Byron White and I raised our hands when Jarboe asked who had been attending the NYC SES show since 2004. For most of the audience -- at least 90%-95% - this was their first time attending SES NY. As we have seen in the past few years at this particular show, the percentage of new attendees has grown considerably, but it does not seem to be at the expense of the size of the show. Overall, this is strong evidence that marketers should continue to provide ongoing education in many different aspects of search, and also that many new people are entering the business.

3 comments about "Conference: Focus On Content Creation".
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  1. Keith Robbins from Musical Stairs, March 30, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.

    Is there a more successful search campaign out there than what TED has accomplished on YouTube? TED is certainly a brand even though it is non-profit but I have never seen an article or blog post mentioning how search is responsible for driving al those views and brand exposure. Search is also indirectly responsible for most of the social media views since the person or blog posting a TED video most likely came across it though search.

    Kudos to Byron White for his comments about researching your audience. You can learn a great deal from the views data in YouTube; for both your content and from other accounts. Here's just one interesting example. It turns out that music fans are not that interested in watching interviews of most artists. You will never find an interview appear in the first 2 or 3 pages of search results for any band with 200 or more videos. Sponsors of that type of content from festivals, etc. apparently just assumed it was popular because it is done so often.

    Thanks. Keep up the great work.

  2. Kurt Foeller from Foeller Communications, March 31, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.

    So the New Directions are 1) 'create engaging content' and 2) 'listen to your audience through research...don't assume'?

    If true, this is hardly different from the directives of Ogilvy of the 1960s and, for that matter, Bernays of the 1920s.

    The only thing that has really changed is the medium.

  3. Keith Robbins from Musical Stairs, March 31, 2011 at 4:55 p.m.

    Kurt, those statements are still true but both in an entirely new way. The quality content can't be an ad where you talk about yourself or no one will choose to watch it and the data we should pay attention to is what consumers actually do instead of what they tell us in surveys. This is not happening yet.

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