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Over the past two years, I’ve been day tripping down to the coast for Brighton SEO conferences, and this September rounded up to my fifth visit. In that time, I’ve seen the event adapt and evolve throughout its biannual affair (although, if you’re a veteran Brighton SEO-er you’ve seen it change a whole lot more since it began as a gathering in the upstairs room of a pub). September 2016 saw another revamp – a venue upgrade to the Brighton Centre on the beach front.

It’s a packed out event (free tickets sell out in less than 13 minutes) with lots of talks, training sessions, roundtables, networking drinks and socials all fit into one day. So here’s a quick guide to making sure you get the best out of the conference.

Before the Conference

Be on the Eventbrite website the minute the tickets are released…

Otherwise you won’t get a ticket. Make sure you sign up to the newsletter emails so you know when each ticket release date is, which is normally around three months beforehand. It’s just like getting tickets to Glastonbury, although tickets to Brighton SEO sold out quicker than the festival itself in April.

If you don’t get a ticket…. you have a backup option

In the case that you miss out on a ticket, fear not, you can still go to Brighton SEO. If you book a place on one of the training courses on offer, you’ll automatically get a ticket to the main conference the next day.

Book somewhere for lunch

Although Brighton is a big seaside city, everyone goes for lunch at the same time, and in the same places. Expect to queue for a table for a long time if you haven’t reserved anywhere in advance. It’s easy to be caught up in a queue and miss the first sessions back in the conference centre after lunch at 2:30pm.

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On the Day

Turn up to a talk around 20 minutes beforehand

That’s if you want to get a seat and not stand at the back, or sit on the floor. This year, around 3,000 people attended September’s event, and with each session being a “first come first served” seating structure, capacity fills up quickly, and you might not be able to go to that all important talk at all. Unless you have a previously subscribed wristband access, it’s important to hang around each conference room early, it also gives you more opportunities to network.

Go to the networking drinks afterwards

You get a free drink token upon entering the conference on the day, so it’s worth going to the main foyer at the event to take advantage of it. There’s a huge variety of people from different industries (not just SEO!), and many often attend the conference for new business and even career opportunities.  

Go to at least one talk you don’t specialise in 

Brighton SEO is good for helping you work out what you know, as well as what you don’t know within an industry that’s ever changing. Talks are based on various skill set levels and are grouped into a range of different categories, which means it’s worth going to a few talks that aren’t relevant to your every day job role. This will come in handy further down the line if your agency adapts or acquires a new client in a new industry area, or with a different content and media focus. 

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Digital, General

Around a year ago I attended the launch of the first edition of #FuturePRoof, and was impressed both by how many senior level practitioners were involved, as well as the wisdom of their advice and strategy on running, managing, and developing public relations and marketing. The book contained essential advice for anyone working in PR, and was widely read and shared.

Today we see the launch and release of the follow up, #FutureProof: Edition Two. It’s available on kindle or you can buy a hard copy.

I do have a personal interest in promoting it, as this time round I’ve contributed a chapter on best practice (aka top tips) in crowdfunding, but I think for anyone interested in public relations it’s a great read, informative and useful.

Thanks very much to the founder and editor, Sarah Hall, who crowdsourced 39 essays from luminaries all over the world for this outstanding edition.

In her words: “The success of #FuturePRoof shows that public relations practitioners are aware of the direction of travel and are no longer prepared for other disciplines to eat their lunch. Demand shows professionals want to close their competency gaps in order to provide strategic advice at management level.”

You can follow further conversations about the book with #FuturePRoof

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton

Well, we all survived. Which may seem like an odd way to begin a blog post about our recent #DynamoEscape, but the introduction to the trip begged the question whether all of us would return back to work the following Monday. How comforting.

This year it was a DIY survival adventure, but the majority of the weekend’s details were thin on the ground. All we were told was to pack our bags for camping, much to the incredulity of some staff (not all of us are happy campers, as it turns out), and that we would be split into four teams. Each team was asked to “bring something for the weekend”, where the pressure was on to deliver a physical skill activity, a mental agility task, cook Saturday’s lunch and throw a club night. Of course, there were some added surprise activities from the CEOs thrown into the mix.

Friday morning, we set off early to catch a train to Etchingham, Sussex. Arriving at the tiny station, we bundled into taxis onto our surprise activity, the treetop adventure assault course, Go Ape. Climbing, swinging and zipping from platform-to-platform definitely worked up a sweat. With some friendly cajoling, most of us (no names mentioned) faced our fears and completed the course. Special shout out to the stirrups section, which seriously caused me to have an existential crisis, with the genuine consideration of plunging to the forest floor as a markedly better option than the nightmare I was enduring in the canopy.

After monkeying around, it was time to discover our accommodation for the next two nights. We were lodging at Soul Camp in Burwash, in a couple of teepees in the grounds of a delightfully dilapidated country manor called Glebe House. It was quite the scenic location; surrounded by acres of fields, resident horses, a cat for company and an entertaining dog called Vinnie. Home sweet home!

Saturday was the day of the team’s challenges. The lunch was superb. Each staff got a personalized foodie starter and a special commendation for the true British spirit of firing up a BBQ in the pouring rain to create a build-your-own-burger station that went down a treat. Good job too, as getting physical was next on the agenda.

We all love a good tech trend here at Dynamo, and the physical activity embraced the latest mania perfectly. In the wake of PokemonGo, we played our very own version – DynaGo! Armed with a compass and map of the area, we grabbed our imaginary Pokéballs and set off through the fields on the hunt of Dynamons.

Here’s a few of creatures we found hidden in the hedgerows:

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The mental agility task was a real standout of the weekend. The team set up various stages with challenges to test our cognitive prowess, all legitimately scientific of course. We had Rachael Riley grilling us on our arithmetic, focus and determination were tested on the buzz-wire game, classic problem solving through assembling IKEA furniture and how astute our senses are through blind folded taste-tests – vomit flavored jelly beans anyone? All topped off with a quiz that just may have got a little intense and rowdy, just like all good quizzes should.

Closing out the weekend was Club Dynamo. To celebrate the recent launch of our US office, it seemed apt to throw an American party. Complete with those classy party classics beer pong and flip cup. The latter of which went down so well, we’re thinking of making it the official company sport. There may or may not of been a beer funnel involved at some point in the night, but I cannot confirm.

All in all, a very successful DIY #DynamoEscape. The creativity, ingenuity and fun that went into every team’s challenges were only matched by the participants’ willingness to get stuck in and enjoy. Now just to wait and see what next year will entail.

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Culture, General

After over a year’s worth of planning, structuring, form-filling, preparation, site visits, meetings, and everything in between, Dynamo is ready to welcome its new little sister – and she has a sunny Californian accent.

With US native Heather and myself making the move from London, Dynamo will be opening its brand new offices at GSVlabs in the gorgeous Redwood City, California. This puts Dynamo in the heart of Silicon Valley; which seems fitting, given our clients, experience, and expertise with tech start-ups.

GSVlabs, our new home, is about 25 minutes south of San Francisco, and prides itself on being a campus of global innovation, hosting tech entrepreneurs, acceleration programs, and key industry events. We couldn’t really have asked for something more ideal!

The US expansion has been a long time coming for Dynamo. We’ve always adopted a Silicon Valley mentality here, with the company operating in a style more akin to Google than what you would see in a typical UK office, albeit with our own quirks. We pride ourselves on creativity, innovation, drive, charisma, and getting the best results, and we see the ‘Dynamo way’ of doing things as key to the success of this extension.

This move is of huge benefit to our clients too. We work with so many companies in the US, so to have a team on the ground here is a no-brainer. Also, we pride ourselves on the fact that Dynamo has become a centre of excellence for crowdfunding, which is an area dominated by innovative West-Coast start-ups. Now we get the added bonus of more face time!

Everyone in the office is excited about this. Heather is from the Bay Area, she’s been back and forth between Cali and London for months now getting this all set up. The fact that she gets to be settled, amongst journalists and companies she has befriended over the years must be a joyous feeling. I’m excited to be taking up a new challenge, and putting my PR skills to the test in a different environment – as well as getting to meet all the people I’ve been mostly on email and phone with for so long. The team is excited – they’ll have somewhere to visit, and it means extra support for clients in different time zones. It really is win-win all round.

The next few months promise to be exciting for Dynamo, so we’ll be sure to check in with y’all with a progress report.

(Although I did promise my mum I wouldn’t start saying “y’all”).

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By Dynamo Team

It’s always a pleasure to be back in Texas, particularly when there’s a tech event to attend, so we were thrilled to attend SXSW with our client Makeblock this year.

Austin has, for the last few years, been emerging as a solid favorite for start ups in the tech industry, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Low taxes and cost of living, a Silicon Valley culture, and a very open and friendly community make it a haven for tech lovers. (I’m personally a huge fan of Austin hospitality, and I’m already looking forward to my next fish taco fix!).

Having the huge draw of SXSW brings Austin to the forefront of the music, film, and tech industries during the month of March, with SXSW Interactive offering attendees the chance to see some of the most exciting innovations in robotics, design, IoT and more.

The first day of SXSW Interactive played host to the ‘Create’ exhibition, and of course featured a keynote by none other than Barack Obama, who called on leaders in tech to join him to “start coming up with new platforms, new ideas across disciplines, and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems we’re facing today.”

Interactive Experiences

One big takeaway from Interactive was the importance of, well… takeaways. Companies such as Sparkfun had a station where people could create and personalize their own scrolling LED lanyards, which were hugely popular. Our very own Makeblock offered people the chance to have their doodles and sketches burnt with a lasered onto wood blocks, and another stand had an entire booth with furniture that you could color in and draw all over. Needless to say, I spent a little too much time on that one during my breaks, and came back with a neckerchief covered in my garish scribbles.

PR relevance, not trendiness

This got me thinking – what experiences or takeaways should we be providing to people that delivers more than a simple USB or business card? Much like a lot of current VR campaigns, companies can often miss the mark by shoehorning a trend into what they deliver, as opposed to it being intrinsic to their brand. Basic stationery from an advanced technology company, a keychain from a robotics manufacturer, a tote bag from a mobile game – what is the relevance? These things are a nice to have, but the opportunity to excel is in giving people something they want, could find useful, and will remember your brand for.

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Client, Events, Global, US

By 2018, video will take up 79% of web traffic and over half of the content you view now on your mobile is video, so it’s safe to say that we’ll likely be watching this blog post in the future, instead of reading it. Now video is taking our attention more and more, we need to be cooking up content in the way our audiences want to consume it.

I spent the day with Sam Orams from Bespoke Banter, to learn about the importance of video marketing strategies for clients. Here’s what I found out.

Create mild peril, make it sticky

You need to put your audience into context. When communicating with your audience, one thing to remember is that you’re not necessarily talking to the masses but one person at a time, which helps to focus your content more. Consulting an audience engagement cycle in the initial stages of your campaign will help identify the necessary creative processes leading up to the production of your campaign.

Distribution: know your platform

When creating a video campaign, it needs to be clear from the offset which platform the video will be distributed on, as this will affect pre and post-production. Currently, 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound, so including a voiceover in your video for the purpose of Facebook consumption could impact your campaign hugely. Consider the narration to be added as subtitles or bold text across the visuals for the video to ensure viewers pause on their newsfeed to watch the video.

Video will improve your optimisation

Google now registers the video on your website for rankings, so it’s important to think about including some kind of video content to exist online for your brand. Websites that have videos that are 2 minutes or longer in length will have reduced bounce rates to those which have shorter videos, or no video at all.

A rule of thumb

A person’s decision to watch a video online is heavily influenced by the thumbnail used on the video. Studies have shown that including people and text will increase the chances of people clicking on your video. It’s important to consider how quickly people scan through videos and thumbnails, so it’s imperative to catch a viewer’s eye. Some people even say that the thumbnail of the video is more important than the content itself…

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Pitching video

Once you’ve finished the campaign, it’s time to think about effectively communicating the idea to prospective video desks and websites. Using the word ‘video’ in an email subject boosts open rates by 19%, so consider your execution carefully.

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Knowledge

Last week I chaired the Brighton SEO Digital PR roundtable, kindly sponsored by PR Newswire. I discussed and debated the latest issues and practices in the digital marketing world with around 30 in-house and freelance PR specialists.

I have been attending the PR roundtable for the past few years, which has meant I’ve been able to observe some of the significant changes in attitudes and ways of working. I feel we have progressed from PR SEO to digital PR and an integrated marketing approach.

Here are three of the key points from the session that I think speak volumes about the industry and how it is changing:

The emergence of influencers versus traditional media

Whilst it was agreed that a top tier press list is not without national publications, it was also clear that the power of influencers like Bloggers and Vloggers were equally important in gaining coverage that drives real brand engagement.

There are specific skills and processes that are required to pitch ideas and content to both types of media, and it is important to know how to engage with them, and how they engage with their audience.

Clients want more

No matter what area of communications you work in, you will notice that clients want (and in most cases) expect more from PR activity. The main reason is the variety of online touch points for brands to reach their consumers. So reporting on readership alone, is weak in comparison to how valuable your coverage is, think about referral traffic, sales conversions and keyword movements.

The next big skill for digital PR is video

There is big shift from PR’s who want to be more digital or SEO’s who want to be better at PR to truly integrated digital specialists. We have evolved in to a true hybrid species!

With video becoming a larger part of the way we consume information and news online, it was no surprise that the topic of video was a key discussion point in the session. Video creation and marketing is a particular area of interest and something that digital PR’s are beginning to introduce into their companies and agencies to develop it within teams as a skill, rather than an additional service.

(Photo credit: PR Newswire)

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By Dynamo Team
Categories: Events, Knowledge

We’re delighted to learn today that Dynamo UK has been picked as one of Europe’s top creative PR consultancies by the venerable Holmes Report. The judges state:

“Dynamo emerged last year to take third spot in the Holmes Report’s Global Creative Index ranking, thanks to an impressive awards haul for such clients as M3D and 3Doodler. Much of that is down to the agency’s sophisticated understanding of crowdfunding.”

We’re delighted to be recognised again for our creativity, something that’s been showing through yet again for our campaigns with clients such as Nvidia and Attraction Tix.

We’re looking forward to the awards ceremony on May 25th where we’ll find out whether we’ve picked up gold!

Paul Cockerton
By Paul Cockerton