Peter Cobley

Six Must See Sessions at SAScon

SAScon is now a firm favourite among the digital marketing community as a place to listen to some of the industry’s biggest thought leaders and as a place to network and socialise too.

Each year the programme bulges at the seams, packed full of actionable insights, strong points of view and ground breaking announcements.  This year is no different.

In anticipation of the event, I’ve gone through the conference programme and drawn up my short list of six must see speakers and panels.


1.    Discover Twitter’s commercial plans

This year’s conference is aiming to be the place where digital news is broken, and Twitter have come up trumps.

We’ve had the heads up from Twitter that they plan to make a big announcement at SAScon.  We can’t say what the announcement is because it is under embargo but rest assured it’s great that SAScon is the place which will find out about it first.

Bruce Daisley from Twitter is a keynote, so in between breaking news, there will be lots of insights into the microblogging platform, along with a chance to get under the skin of its commercial model.


2.    Find out the future of media

Regardless of your specialism, whether you are client or agency side, digital media will have an impact on everything from brand to search.

Martin Bryant, the managing editor of the Next Web, which is one of the world’s biggest social technology blogs, will be chairing a panel that includes James Carson, digital marketing manager of Bauer London Lifestyle and Sarah Hartley of the Guardian’s n0tice project.

The Next Web has been at the forefront of digital technology and media since 2008 and has an influential audience consisting of more than 5.1 million monthly visits and over 7 million monthly page views.  Bryant has been involved with the blog for several years and, along with founding Manchester’s influential Social Media Café, is well placed to chair this panel.

By the end of this session we probably won’t have all the answers but should have clarity on what we will be reading via our RSS readers (yes I still use an RSS reader) or your news curation tool of choice.


3.    Explore if PR really is the new SEO

Seeing this is a search blog I am guessing you might tired of hearing from Rand Fishkin et al that PR is the new SEO, and that “white hat” link building techniques are the future.

Well, I am a realist and while I know that there is a long way to go until SEO and PR converges you can’t argue that in the modern world of search engine optimisation it can be difficult to distinguish between the impact of a PR and SEO’s link equity.

I’m not one for saying that “PR is dead” or “SEO is dead”, the world is too nuanced for that, but there are some canny operators on this panel who are blurring the lines.

They’ve got some great actionable insights for delegates on how to integrate SEO or PR into your business or campaigns.  What is more they have some tactical advice for those at the coal face delivering campaigns.


4.    Pick up the latest link building tips

Regardless of where the industry is going with regards its future, the majority of SEO practitioners today are in the grip of a results-driven commercial reality and need to deliver search engine visibility to their clients.  To this day that still means spending the majority of their time building links or via creating great content.

I am sure our sponsors Manual Link Building would be more than happy to pass a few trade secrets to you and their team will be at the conference for a chat if you want to speak to the experts.


5.    Stare into the NegativeSEO abyss (or at least find our more)

Why not take a glimpse at the dark side and see what some deem as black hat practices (or are they grey?).  Rest assured Matt Cutts won’t be on the room and Rand Fiskin probably won’t want to be there either – although both are welcome!.

Regardless of your view point, every year at SAScon, the Negative SEO panel attracts a huge audience.

This year I can’t wait to catch up with Paul Madden, who is the king of automation.  I had better put his offering into writing but let’s just say, among other things, he builds armies of Twitter users which he can then use to great effect for his clients.

Ralph Tegtmeier, aka Fantomaster, is on the panel too.  He is one of the most opinionated men at SAScon and it is great that he will be on hand to discuss some of the darker arts.


6.    Be prepared for a very special Google+ hangout

We have a very special Google+ Hangout planned.  Let’s just say that this might be with someone, or a team of people from San Francisco. Details are being firmed up at this stage but rest assured its going to be a headline grabber.


Peter Cobley is Commercial Director of hômejames and a founder of SAScon, the search analytics and social media conference held in Manchester between 17-18 May.  His blog is All things Peter Cobley.

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  1. I’m looking forward to being on the panel of the PR and SEO session.

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