The best bits from BrightonSEO

Brighton SEO is a bi-annual conference on SEO. I attended the conference for the first time last year and was pleasantly surprised to find a diverse group of attendees and talks encompassing everything from content marketing, PR & advertising as well as traditional SEO “tech” talks. This year was no different, here are my key takeaways from the top 5 talks I attended

Hannah Smith ‘Go big or go home’

Small content = small risk = small wins. Hannah provided a personal take on how taking a shift towards a “big content” strategy can really pay, yes it can be scary, yes the agency normally has to take a risk and absorb some of the initial costs upfront but in her experience big content reaps big rewards. Companies tend to be wary of going “big” because it’s expensive, it takes research and normally requires additional resource in terms of design and development which small content doesn’t. However big content e.g. infographics, video content consistently perform better than small content. Hannah provides some advice for producing big content:

  1. Use evergreen content (e.g. not time specific)
  2. Use your best ideas first
  3. Set benchmarks for success before launch


Geoff White
‘How to pitch journalists’

Geoff basically dashed any remaining hope of PR / journalists getting their story on C4 news; the benchmark is set extremely high! However he did provide some useful key insights for what constitues a good pitch:

  1. Think in pictures – technology is a difficult topic for TV as it doesn’t normally have pictures, think how this story is going to be played out on screen. Would you understand the story if the TV was on mute?
  2. Think about where your story hit the real world? Does it tie into a bigger issue, i.e. technology is a micro topic that normally sits within a bigger issue, if it does, make use of that to tell the story e.g. health or science.
  3. Where possible use case studies of people using the technology – focus on the user and how the technology improves their life rather than focusing entirely on the product, people are interested in people!


Lexi Mills
‘7 Secret Weapons of successful content and outreach’

Lexi provided some top tips in finding good relevant content this included:

Followed by some top tips on ensuring that your content is then picked up on by PR:

  • Use a tweetable headline
  • Include sources to linkable offsite material e.g. interviews, bios, images, data sources
  • Make links look natural as possible and include no more than 3 in any press release
  • Make it personal e.g. finding the correct persons name before sending the press release, be aware of their deadlines
  • Target the top 20%. Apply the Pareto principle, you can achieve 80% of the results you seek in terms of influence by focusing your time and resources on 20% of influencers that are the most important. Do your research and then channel your efforts

Dave Coplin ‘Future forward’

Dave started his presentation with two pictures of a work station, one of a typewriter and one with modern windows 8 desktop, he boldly claims we’re largely using the same tools in the same ways. However, this isn’t because technology hasn’t progressed, it has massively, we’ve got more power in our pocket but we’re just not utilising it. Our phone knows who are friends are (contacts) where we are (maps), where we going (calender) and yet it doesn’t intelligently use any of this data.

We’ve all experienced frustrations with search not using the data we provide it to return meaningful results, he explained a recent experience of searching for some milk on ASDA and then being presented with magnesium and Jack Daniels in the “You may also like” sidebar! A great example of a big companies not making sense out of the data we put in, companies need to start thinking human, personalisation being the ultimate key to success.

Search needs to develop around the user and their wider social context. Ranking search results in terms of mentions on Twitter or ‘Likes’ on Facebook would mark a positive step in a movement towards search being a tool for “discovery” as well as “finding” information.

Marcus Taylor ‘Using CRO, viral mechanics & unconventional business practice to increase online conversions’

Marcus shared some effective conversion rate and viral mechanic tips which have improved online conversions on his latest project Venture Harbour:

  • Use urgency and social proof e.g. include social mentions and put a time limit on uptake of offers
  • Add post sale sharing e.g. tell your friends you’re going to this event
  • Ask why on sale pages, always answer the why question before you try and sell. Why does your target audience need this product? What are they looking for?
  • Make it beautiful use concept feedback.com to get constructive UX feedback on visual design
  • Watch: Simon Sinkey: How great leaders inspire action

Last but not least, I can strongly commend to you Neil Walker’s Brighton SEO Rap which ended yet another very good BrightonSEO!

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