Conference Burnout

I think conferences are great for coming up with business ideas and making meaningful friendships and business relationships, and I would not have as many opportunities as I have now unless I went to many conferences back in the day. But I think I have been going to about 8 or 10 conferences a year for the past couple years and have got burned out on them. I am going to be at Elite Retreat this year, but am hoping that I can take a break otherwise.

Appreciating Conference Saturation

This past week Elite Retreat was announced and I turned down speaking requests for 4 other conferences! It seems I could do nothing but speak at conferences, but I just have too much fun playing online and see too much opportunity to have to travel once or twice a month. And conference overload leads to burnout, a line I am near more often than I should be.

Appreciation of Online Assets

In the last few years I have seen

  • the lowering of the value of typical reciprocal links
  • the lowering of the value of most directories
  • drastic reduction in cost of market research
  • sharply increased domain prices (some people have offered enough to make me a seller, and I get offers about once a week from a rather small portfolio)
  • increased cost per click prices
  • buying PPC ads getting harder due to relevancy scores that try to prohibit non-brands from advertising
  • sales cycles getting more efficient
  • the creation of shaddow brands to allow businesses to be bolted on to free offerings that build good will and reduce their marketing cost to zero
  • increasingly complex information formats (both free and paid)
  • the saturation of markets that were largely created AFTER I got into SEO
  • quality links becoming tougher to get (you can see this with how the media is linking internally where they used to link appreciate the trend even more when a few friends send you some private internal documents from said companies)
  • increased time commitment to create valuable brands due to increased market competiton (in some rare cases even pure spammers are creating good content)
  • people becoming more cynical about content quality due to linkbait attention whoring
  • hand edits wiping out once highly profitable websites that were cleaner than competing ones own by large corporations
  • the move from one-time sales to subscription based pricing

I still have a few tricks and ideas that offer an amazing ROI, but as more people use them the ideas will see their ROI approach zero, unless I look for ways to layer real value on top of them. And it is hard to layer real value without committing both time and capital to the project.

Comparing Online ROI vs Offline ROI

A few weeks ago my wife held a meetup for bloggers where she and I gave away tons of tips to people with no sales pitch. I also paid for dinner for about 30 people. Out of that mini-conference type event I think only 1 blogger even mentioned it online. Most expensive paid link ever. ;)

When I went to the Blogworld Expo I think there were about 30 or 40 people in the audience. And going to the conference cost me a couple days of work. In about the same amount of time I was able to create the Blogger's Guide to SEO and market it. It got a couple thousand inbound links, over 1,000 bookmarks, over 50,000 reads, and videos I embedded in it got about 300 hundred to 600 clickthroughs to YouTube from my article.

Your Thoughts?

I have way too many ideas and way too little time to implement them. In some cases I have partnerships and my wife is doing lots of development stuff now too, so both of those help, but do you still get the same ROI out of conferences as you did when you first started going to them? If not, what do you do in place of them where you find better ROI?

Conferences & Affiliate Marketing

Lorna Li wrote a wonderful overview of my wife's blog meetup speech. Jeremy Schoemaker announced the next Elite Retreat, which is on April 3rd and 4th. With Brian Clark speaking, I feel more like I am going to be an attendee than a speaker. Check out Brian's post on creating leading edge strategic content.

Kris Jones launched the PepperJam affiliate marketing network today.

My Powerpoint Presentations from Pubcon

A number of readers emailed me asking to send them my WebmasterWorld Pubcon Powerpoint slides. Downloads:

Here they are online as well:

I am a big fan of the low fi powerpoint look. :)

View the Presentation From My Speech at Blogworld Expo

This is was a document about how optimizing a blog is largely a game of competing for attention, with tips on how to win attention and marketshare.

BTW, I am going to WebmasterWorld Las Vegas Pubcon next month. I think I am speaking on two or three different panels.

Beijing SEO Meetup

George Kepnick (a.k.a. Werty) and Todd Malicoat (a.k.a. Stuntduble / Tuxedo Todd) will be in Beijing from October 12th through the 18th, and are hoping to hang out with some local SEOs. Just in case you have not yet met them, you can see a video of Todd talking here and a video of Werty dancing here. Please contact them via the contact form on Todd's site.

Keynoting a Search Engine Marketing Conference for My Honeymoon

I mentioned offhandedly in a blog post earlier, but I recently got married and am going to have a big wedding on October 5th in Manila. A few days later there is an SEM conference right next door. Marc Hil Macalua, the founder of SEO Philippines, recently announced the 2007 SEM Conference on his blog, which he is giving away free passes to attend here.

The conference is in Makati City on October 9th and 10th, and I promised Marc that I would keynote. While I love Q and A sessions, this will be my first time as a keynote speaker. Luckily Brett Tabke recently posted these great presentation tips and I got to see Frank Schilling's Domain Roundtable keynote. Both of which should both help me do better. My wife will be giving a 40 minute speech on keyword research too, so on top of sharing the nervousness of a big wedding we also get to enjoy public speaking together. We'll start our real honeymoon after the conference. ;)

Speaking at the Domain Roundtable

Jay Westerdal recently invited me to speak at the Domain Roundtable, a domaining conference held in Seattle from August 13th through 15th.

If you would like to attend here is a code for $100 off attending: domainseo. That is not an affiliate code, just a coupon code.

And the Winner Is...

I picked Pat / feedthebot as the winner of the free pass to Search Marketing Expo. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.

Free Pass to Attend Danny Sullivan's Seattle Search Marketing Expo

You must pay for travel costs, but I have a free pass to attend SMX Advanced in Seattle on June 4th and 5th. I bought a pass but found out that I was invited to speak. If you want the free pass leave a comment about why I should give it to you and I will select the winner Monday.

Free Elite Retreat Conference Pass

We are giving away a free pass to the the fast approaching San Fransisco Elite Retreat conference that myself, Lee Dodd, Jeremy (Shoemoney) Schoemaker, Kris Jones, Darren Rowse, and Neil Patel are putting on. We have all decided to hold a fun contest where we are giving away 1 free ticket (value of $4,950) to the conference.

To enter for a chance to win free registration to the Elite Retreat, you need to send in an email to ( contest(at)eliteretreat(dot)info ) with your contact information (name, email address, phone number, and mailing address) AND your answer to the following question:

"Why should a legitimate business need to worry about branding?"

If you choose to participate and send in your email, you MUST be ready and willing to book your airfare and hotel reservations right away as the conference is less than 1 week away!

Again, send the email in to: contest(at)eliteretreat(dot)info

Contest Deadline: Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 @ 12:00pm CST

I look forward to reading your replies and you may be our lucky winner!