Liveblogging the 2013 Agents of Change Conference

I will be attending and live-blogging the 2013 Agents of Change Conference. I'll be the guy wearing a lanyard, staring intensely at his phone, and handing out business cards. The tall one.

I will be updating every few minutes, so be sure to refresh away.

Okay, it's "Networking Hour" (drink time). Thanks for reading, all.

Launching a Company with Content with Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner:

  • [4:10p] Are you a giver or a taker? Does your site suggest you are a taker? Folks don't want that. Be a giver.
  • [4:03p] You can outsource some, if not all of your production. Also, you can re-purpose your podcast into rich blog posts. Don't post as a transcript, but as a reiteration of ideas. This way you can get a larger reach.
  • [3:55p] Ha! Via a Tweet by Dave Pride: Blogging is replacing print, podcasts are replacing radio, and sword swallowing is replacing the juice box.
  • [3:55p] Mike is evangelizing for podcasts intensely.
  • [3:53p] "Most people quit."
  • [3:51p] There is a lot of work that needs to be done. There is no magic pill. People who say that are lying.
  • [3:47p] All sort of different kinds of content. How to, success stories, reviews, interviews, podcast. These are all special kinds of content. You are developing a relationship with people by sharing stories. Planting seeds.
  • [3:46p] Content is easy to do, but hard to do well. You need to aim for excellence. Social Media Examiner focuses on weighty content. The return gift in social is that people will re-Tweet you. Some people say it is so good they will share it. Social sharing has long been their source of traffic. If you can empower people to act with a click of a button, you can create a perpetual system of sharing.
  • [3:42p] People care about their personal interests, not your business. So you create content about their interests, not about your business in particular. Drip-feed: Put out a little bit of content every day. Goes out through email, which is content that is helpful for them. They make money by selling events to that large audience.
  • [3:39p] Content marketing is about building a group of people onto which you can build business.
  • [3:33p] 30 minutes until networking (drinking) hour. AGAIN: Free beer and pizza in one half of an hour.

Digital Marketing and Social News with Chris Bernazzani of WCSH 6.

  • [3:23p] I Googled "Bow Tie WCSH" to find out that "Bow-tie" is actually Brett Whitmarsh, Social Media Coordinator at WCSH 6 Portland.
  • [3:20p] Bow-tie: The newer version of FB analytics helps to break down where traffic is strongest and when. Use this to develop a content schedule.
  • [3:19p] Bow-tie: For us, 8p on a Friday night is the most important time to post on Facebook. They know this as it helps them understand when to post to boost likes and contents. (Really? I am sure this is true, but why aren't people not doing this on a Friday? Sorry for the double negative, but it is my live-blog and I can do what I want to.)
  • [3:17p] Bernazzani: Mobile gets a good deal more click through contacts than do desktop ones. You have to be there, you have to be in those spaces. You want to be in the SEM and SEO space.
  • [3:11p] I am late to the game, but the gentleman with the bow-tie who Tweets for WCSH6 (not Chris) is big on using folks FOMA (fear of missing out, duh) to get them to come back to your streams. Keep making nifty content over and over so they feel like they have to keep coming back.

UH OH!

  • [3:00] I AM LATE TO BLOGGING THE BREAKOUT AND A LITTLE DISORIENTED BECAUSE IT IS GETTING CLOSE TO DRINK O'CLOCK AND NOW THE INTERNET APPEARS TO BE BROKEN.

How Content Marketing Can Help Drive Sales by Butch Stearns of The Pulse Network:

  • [2:33p] SO MANY ACRONYMS.
  • [2:33p] Educate, Inform, Entertain, Inspire, Often
  • [2:33p] FOB Features over Benefits.
  • [2:28p] Know your Audience, strive to Be genuine, make them Care [ABE] People buy your brand because of HOW you do the WHY in WHAT you do.
  • [2:28p] 4 Cs of content marketing: Content, Conversations, Community and Commerce. Great Content creates engaging conversations, which build like-minded community and then the Commerce comes in.
  • [2:25p] Goals as digital marketers: Solve the top of the funnel challenge. Strategy and audit, to digital presence, to content creation, to community growth and events. A webinar can be an event. A party can be an event. You can capture content there and turn it all into
  • [2:18p] Stearns joined Pulse in 2009. Then, revenue streams came from event management. Then they met Brogan and started social media lab. We're going to build a content creation factory. One-stop, scalable shop. Butch would be the face of it. He was asked to participate, but didn't really know what it was. He became a partner. They were doing 7 hours of live programming per week. He went from broadcasting to narr0wcasting, and he liked it. They help companies tell their stories. They humanize the brand and help to tell stories.
  • [2:14p] "Don't get me started on Clemens. For those of us who grew up with him, well… Whatever."
  • [2:06p] It's good to have Butch Stearns' accent in the room.
  • [2:05p] Build trust and loyalty with your content. 90% of consumers find custom content useful. The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($134) is about half the average of outbound ($373). 70% of a consumer's buying experience is made before a salesperson get's involved. 53% of American Consumers use smartphone search engines at least once a day. Social media sites and blogs reach8 out of 10 of all US Internet users and account for 23% of all time spent online.
  • [2:01p] Make your content more about your audience than it is about you, but don't shy away from talking about yourself.
  • [1:59p] While content marketing isn't about SALES, it shouldn't be dirty to talk about sales. We are doing this not because we want to be great story-tellers, but because we want sales.
  • [1:59p] Content marketing is about creation and sharing. You once had to choose the kind of media you were interested in. Now everybody in the audience has an audience, so the medium isn't as vital (while still important). The message is important. If we think about the fact that we are all publishers, then content marketing gets easy.
  • [1:57p] Don't be afraid to dumb it down. It is important, and shouldn't be insulting to do so. You can assume that people know something, but it doesn't hurt to remind for those who don't.

YouTube Marketing with James Wedmore:

  • [1:42p] Suggestions: Screenflow is a $100 editing software for Mac. Camtasia is the PC equivalent. Good for folks just getting started. Lighting is really important for looking good on camera. Get a lighting kit if you are doing this long term. How long should your video be? There isn't a standard answer. Just be concise. Don't be boring. Don't be redundant. Edit.
  • [1:30p] Put bloopers at the end, because it gives people incentive to stay until the end, shows personality, and makes it so that folks can't make fun of you more than you can make fun of yourself. Wedmore suggests this to everyone, except for one guy he met at a conference who works at a mortuary.
  • [1:30p] Ultimate to action on a YouTube video: Explain what to do, why to do it, how to do it, create a button, point at it on the screen. Folks can now click inside of your video and go to your website.
  • [1:27p] Get your nails done (manage custom thumbnails)
  • [1:25p] Jolts per second are important to incorporate. Wedmore employs at least one per 15 seconds.
  • [1:21p] Upload and sync your transcript (for closed captions). Wedmore talks more about this and other related YouTube tips here.
  • [1:18p] Put the keyword in the title, description, and tags.
  • [1:17p] Create an intro what they are getting out of the video, why it is important. Do this in 5 seconds.
  • [1:14p] Do keyword research by searching through search terms and understanding what comes up. Use this to get a sense of what to produce for the purpose of generating views.
  • [1:09p] In building this resonant and important content, you build a connection where people will go to bat for you in the comments.
  • [1:08p] If YouTube equals traffic for you, turns you into an authority, then you make the time to do it. It is not a matter of finding time, but of making time.
  • [1:06p] 30-40% views is traffic. 50% of traffic is leads.
  • [1:00p] James is going to tell us how to use YouTube, which is of special interest to us, of course.

Lunch:

  • [12:23p] Included in these wonderfully tasty bagged lunches should be a stick of chewing gum, a dirty martini and a condom. I talked with Rich, and it sounds like he is working to implement these improvements for the 2014 event.

List-Building with Corissa St. Laurent of Constant Contact:

  • [12:00p]Question: Insurance agent thinks the industry is boring. How often should we email? We don't always have a lot to say. Answer: Think about the audience. They are not boring. What would they like? Who are they? Find our preferences based on demographics and provide content of interest based on this. Send out policy updates, etc. but then an email of top ten things to do in town that weekend (for example), based on demographics and interest. For one company that does this in Boston, that email gets a huge response. It doesn't always have to be about you. 
  • [11:58a] Size is important (ha), but also important is how things are managed and segmented.
  • [11:55a] Apps to consider for list management: Digioh, Perkville (which offers points for sign-up), Anchortab (a tab that gently scrolls up upon the initial visit to the site), Rapleaf (allows for easier list segmentation by analysis of contacts)
  • [11:52a] Now that lists are targeted, emails can be fashioned for each population. That might mean all the same content, but styled for each population, or changing up the content depending on where it is going.
  • [11:47a] Can't talk about list building without talking about segmentation. By not segmenting, you are telling your list, "You are all the same." People have different preferences, and so they are going to be different and want to hear different things. They will have different purchase history. Some people want to hear daily, other people don't want that. They just want quarterly. People are different so these preferences need to be accommodated to by segmentation. 56% of people will unsubscribe if the content is not relevant to them. Segment at sign-up. It's not just one list, it is multiple lists. Segment through regular email campaigns. Sent out email that is specifically designed to segment / clean up. Specify that you are sending this out to give the option to self-select the list they want, not the one they don't want. Giving more choice is important and empowering. Giving people the choice cuts the guessing game. Also, segment at click-through, which identifies potential list-members based on how they came to the sign-up.
  • [11:47a] St. Laurent uses the example of Dingo, a company that used its Facebook group to up their Facebook likes from 330 to 5,000. With the help of the community for spreading the word, they would give everyone a $20 coupon. But to get the coupon, they would need to give their email address. So in this increase of fans, they also built their email list. The reward for this effort required an email address. 5,000 new likes and 5,000 new emails in 3 days.
  • [11:43a] Three Cs: Contest, Coupon, Content. For any of these things, you need to give us an email address. It is like barter, sort of. St. Laurent says to "make this information seem valuable," though what I think she means is to make it actually valuable, as folks will quickly catch on if this isn't worth their time or trouble. There she goes. She just reiterated that it ACTUALLY has to be of value.
  • [11:38a] Tease out emails in various social avenues. Break the email into 10 Tweets so that they can come back to the email accordingly. Create a video of you talking about what will be talked about in the email. Could be a welcome message, or a teaser of the content without saying much.
  • [11:38a] Ideally, we send the email, make it sharable with share buttons / enabling, and folks come back to that email even if it wasn't originally sent to them. For this reason, every email needs to possess a signup button, so folks who aren't already on the list can sign up accordingly. 
  • [11:36a] Make it stupid simple for people to share so they don't have to think it through. The more thinking, the more barriers between sharing. And we all in social media are looking for things to spread, right? So making it easier helps these folks have something to share, which is mutually beneficial to everyone.
  • [11:34a] Actually provide good information in the email. St. Laurent recalls talking with a salesperson who was great and spent many minutes on her as a customer, but that salesperson didn't use the opportunity to stay-in-touch. This ask is part of being a social business. You need to stay in touch, and to ask, because people won't do that on their own. An email list is one of the easiest things to tell them about.
  • [11:30a] Even though they are annoying, a pop-up that asks for signup can be effective.
  • [11:27a] We can't just ask for an email address. This is analogous to just asking someone for an email address on the street. Why give it away to a stranger. Put together signage that explains what folks will get for the sign-up. Don't, though, give something so big away that it brings a crappy group of people to your list and waters it down. Because people are on their phones all the time, give the ability to text to join. To scan to join. Put the ability to sign up front and center on your website, and on as many pages as possible.
  • [11:23a] Email is very highly visible, as it is one-to-many, and it is right in front of them. In this way, it is extremely powerful. We need to reach past our own list. We need to take this, utilize it, and figure out how to reach past the list and grow email contacts so it is important to us. We don't want to just buy a list because it is quick and fast. Those people on that list don't know who you are. There will be an extremely high unsubscribe rate, high spam reportage, and very low ROI. Need to be authentic and organic.
  • [11:23a] Folks, says St. Laurent, don't typically answer to social media calls to action, but they are used to doing so via email.
  • [11:20a] In what appears to be a very popular breakout session on list-building with Corissa St. Laurent of Constant Contact.

Creating Digital Nectar with Rich Brooks of Flyte New Media:

  • [11:09a] It's break o'clock, so please excuse me while I grab a bottle of juice that I probably won't drink.
  • [11:06a] "SnapChat is supposed to be private, but if you Google Girls of SnapChat, you'll know that's not always the case. Classic creepy Rich Brooks quote.
  • [11:02a] Question: Do you send out full blog content or teasers via email? Answer: Just teasers so that folks will go to the blog and leave comments accordingly.
  • [10:59a] If you do want to generate leads, you need the great content, get it out via channels, and increase conversions. Rich Brooks out. MIC DROP.
  • [10:56a] People who talk about their followings don't talk about their Twitter followings or FB, but they talk about their lists because email is where it is at still, unbelievably. 
  • [10:51a] You need a mobile-friendly website because this is where all of the traffic is coming from these days. More than 50% this year, and folks who overlook this will lose customers / clients.
  • [10:48a] Conversions: Make sure your website looks like your Facebook page, etc. so that when folks leave one for the other, they know where they are supposed to be. First impressions matter. Michael Levine put forward the Tiffany Box theory. Anything that comes in a Tiffany box is perceived as important. Crap in a nice box comes off as better. While not optimal, it is still better than nothing. Same goes for websites, etc. It is important to look great to convince people you care. Good looking sites can increase traffic, but the bounce rate might still be high if the home page looks great and the rest is ugly.
  • [10:42a] Get folks to share content for you. Ask folks to do so, but not too often because that's annoying. Also, take a side on controversial topics and try to get people to engage. This works and gets a lot of traffic, but it can be stressful. Brooks is also addressing frequency of blogging. Blog as often as you can write amazing content. Better to do one amazing post per month as opposed to lots of crap throughout the month. 
  • [10:40a]Tips from Brooks re: being findable: Use headers and pictures to break up the page, and make it less intimidating. USE BIG PICTURES like newspapers do, if you can remember what newspapers are, you wee whippersnapper.
  • [10:36a]Tips from Brooks re: being findable: Make a title that explains what the Hell you are doing in the page title. Then in the header. When thinking of social media, he is framing the header on the basis of social media shares. Share buttons usually pull from the header Use numbers, because it makes things less abstract. Rather than the whole lesson, use numbers of tips so it reads as digestible. Use Yoast, which we totally love.
  • [10:34a]Brooks has a lot of points to make. I can't keep up. He is going buck wild. But he says that keywords are important, so know more about keywords. It's okay, he just assured. We can ask the SEO experts about it later. He's just trying to give us a "taste," like a school yard drug dealer.
  • [10:32a] 67% of Brooks' clients websites get traffic from search, so it's probably not dead, social media "experts." 
  • [10:31a] How to Win Friends and Influence People was the single best sales book, says Brooks. Did You Know: Charles Manson was also a fan. (That is my own fun-fact, by the way.)
  • [10:24a] Rich Brooks is on stage talking about "Creating the Digital Nectar." Starts story off with a crazy potential client who didn't like his site because it featured pictures of his crew as babies. She saw this as unprofessional, he saw this as dodging a bullet.

Building a Digital Presence with Chris Brogan:

  • [9:59a] Chris suggests "Untangling," which he describes in this post.
  • [9:57a] Recent books Brogan has read that have made their mark on him: Power of Resilience, Choose Yourself,The Bone Season (which has a lot of kissing, wizards and shit.)
  • [9:51a] A good blogger, says Brogan, lives in the comments and points out all of the other cool people doing cool things. Interesting bloggers don't show off cool things they have done, but what other people are doing.
  • [9:50a] Brogan makes a great point about folks who complain about not being able to do their ideal thing, or whatever, but have a lot of time to binge-watch a television series or play Farmville (is Farmville still a thing? If so, thanks for hiding it from me, Facebook.
  • [9:46a] Having an army of folks is a good thing. Build your army. Connect with the people you want to connect with. Let you know you care about them.
  • [9:36a] Brogan is something like of a nerd-lord zen-master.
  • [9:30a] Brogan's tips: 1) Fall in love with not knowing. 2) Don't be afraid of being dumb. People who pretend they know everything never learn. 3) Praise the muddy gears. You will get dirty. If you don't get dirty, you're doing it wrong. 4) Worship obstacles and challenges. Gone is the corporate latter, here is the business puzzle. 5) Build your own media empire. 6) Connect with the people you care about. Monchun is the word for this in Okinawan, apparently. It's not just the people to whom you sell, or colleagues, or whatever. This is how we connect in a deeper way, because it is not a formula. Richard Branson asked Brogan, "Are you okay? What is most interesting in your life?" Coming from BRANSON. 7) Own everything. Own your choices. Own everything.
  • [9:29a] Brogan tells a meandering story about working at Ms. Fields in the mall. I wonder if he worked there when I worked at Souper Salad. Were we fellow mallrats? If so, amazing. Also, he says it is important to stand out, even if it means being a weirdo.
  • [9:24a] I admire Chris Brogan for a few things, but I especially respect him for the grace with which he says dirty things in presentations. "I always refer to Rich Brooks as handsome Rich Brooks. Sometimes when I have sex, I wish I was Rich Brooks."
  • [9:20a] Chris Brogan admires President Clinton, not for his choices in professional / personal office, but because he can remember everyone, their names, and their personal details. Tells a story where he spoke with the editor of Cosmo, and she told of Clinton remembering details about her life years later. He goes on to quote Maya Angelou about how people will remember you for how they make you feel.
  • [9:16a] Rich Brooks' dad is introducing Chris Brogan. In related news, Rich Brooks' dad is adorable. "Chris Brogan is truly a charismatic adult in the life of people. He certainly has been for Rich, and now for me."

How to be Remarkable with Roderick Russell:

  • [9:10a] It's sort of super unfair to any of the post 9 a.m. speakers to make them follow a super hot sword-swallower, amiright, Chris Brogan?
  • [9:04a] All success is based on failure. This man is a sword-swallower, by the way. He failed 1,642 times when training for his craft. Here is a video of Russell swallowing said sword.
  • [9:01a] "If you want to create rabid fans and lifelong customers, you need to connect emotionally." Russell once thought flashy, dangerous stunts would make him memorable. It did, he says, but he realized that success was actually contingent on making these connections. These stunts could wow, but they were meaningless. He dug in, he changed his material, and made the stunts about the audience (like "reading minds," as it were). Russell connects deeply so those moments create the lens through which everything is interpreted. Connect with the audience, and be meaningful.
  • [8:59a] Oh. Russel is also blessed with a touch of Peter Venkman. Rattray, Monty Hall and Peter Venkman. I think I'm in love.
  • [8:58a] PHOTOGRAPHER EXTRAORDINAIRE MATTHEW ROBBINS IS HERE.
  • [8:53a] Russell goes through some card tricks to illustrate the power of observing physical behavior to get a sense of where folks are coming from / what they are trying to pull. I am sure he has a fancier way to phrase this.
  • [8:51a] This sword-swallowing fellow is a real charmer.
  • [8:46a] "If you want to be successful in business, you must stand out from the crowd." What I do, says Russell, is not how the nature of his work stands out, but how he goes about interacting with the audience / crowd. He grows his business with virtually no marketing at all. He does this by way of authentic connection. He literally can't do his job without first establishing this. This occurs by way of Interaction, which reveals the "real" him. Know your audience, connect with them authentically, be real.
  • [8:43a] Roderick Russell is illustrating some fundamentals of behavioral psychology by playing a Let's Make a Deal type of "what's in the envelope?" game.
  • [8:40a] Roderick Russell is like a mix of Monty Hall and Ben Rattray of Change.org.
  • [8:39a] Roderick Russell is on stage. He was introduced as a sword-swallower and mind-reader, which I thought was a jokey gimmick, but apparently it is not.
  • [8:34a] Free beer from Shipyard and free pizza from Leonardo's. Legit.
  • [8:32a] Slightly loose-fitting jeans and an un-tucked button up is the unofficial uniform of the digital outreach professional. 
  • [8:25a] I was psyched to see a representative from the Portland Public Library, which is trying to up its digital outreach game.
  • [6:18a] 12 minutes before I have to head into Portland for the conference and 23% battery life on my laptop. Super good thing I remembered to plug my computer in last night for all of this live-blogging I promised. I'LL GET YOU, MICHAEL-DOUGLAS-AS-LIBERACE / COUPLE THREE GLASSES OF WINE.
  • [8:34p, night before the conference] Okay, back to Rob Lowe's Frankenface. See you kids tomorrow.
  • [8:23p, night before the conference] WHERE THE EFF-WORD ARE MY BUSINESS CARDS?
  • [8:15p, night before the conference] Sweater-and-boat-shoes casual or jacket-and-tie formal? Sweater-and-boat-shoes casual or jacket-and-tie formal?Sweater-and-boat-shoes casual or jacket-and-tie formal?
  • [8:00p, night before the conference] I just decided, about 12 hours before the conference starts, that I will be live-blogging the event. I decided this a glass of wine into the evening / halfway through Behind the Candelabra, so I attribute this decision to Michael-Douglas-as-Liberace and a moderately okay red.