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6 Key Takeaways from SEJ Summit Chicago 2015

On April 15, 2015, MWI joined some of the Chicago area’s top internet marketers for the inaugural SEJ Summit. SEJ Summit is an SEO conference hosted by Search Engine Journal, one of the industry-leading publications, and Searchmetrics – one of the top SEO software platforms. The summit was held at Chicago’s Hard Rock Hotel, and included several well-known presenters such as Marty Weintraub, Kelsey Jones, Ryan Jones, Andrew Caravella, and much more. Here are some of the many key takeaways from the summit.

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Ryan Jones of SapientNitro giving a presentation on data visualization

1) Convert written content into different formats to extend the life of content

Kelsey Jones, Executive Editor-in-Chief at Search Engine Journal and founder of MoxieDot, started off the summit with her presentation on increasing the life of your content. The key takeaway from her presentation was to take all of your written content and reuse it in different formats. Let’s say you write an awesome white paper that gets a lot of traction. The shelf life of it will be short unless it’s reused. You can take the white paper and turn it into social media images, a slideshare deck, blog posts, podcasts, video and several other formats. These additional content marketing assets can then be syndicated through all other social channels to extend its life.

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Kelsey Jones (Left) and MWI’s Harrison Jones (Right) – no relation

2) Create a seamless customer journey regardless of path

John Curtis, SEO Manager at Walgreens, delivered an excellent presentation on omni-channel marketing. What is omni-channel marketing? At a very high level, think of all the different channels you’re marketing on including mobile apps and other technologies. Take all those channels and think of them holistically and across multiple devices, and market to each of them to create a personalized, 1:1 customer journey. The key takeaway from John’s presentation is to create a seamless customer journey across your marketing efforts. The customer designs the customer experience, so leverage that to optimize each channel.

3) Don’t solve SEO problems, solve CEO problems

Allison Fabella, Director of Global SEO at CareerBuilder.com, gave a great talk about linking SEO strategy to business goals. One of the biggest gaps in the SEO industry is failure to show ROI. It’s not so much that SEO isn’t providing ROI, it’s that many SEOs struggle to show it properly. Allison’s presentation demonstrated how to communicate ROI of SEO to CEOs and other c-level execs that could care less about how many canonical issues were fixed, and only care about the bottom line. She also did a great job explaining that CEO problems are related to ROI, so SEOs should focus on solving that, and less on SEO problems.

4) Think about what’s around your customers, and how you are relevant to them

Dana Todd, an independent CMO consultant, shared her thoughts on the future of technology, and how it plays into marketing today. Online marketing is much more than how people reach your brand through computers, tablets and smartphones. Wearable technology and other recent innovations are starting to play a key role in getting your brand in front of your customers. With the increase in use of wearable and other innovative technologies, you have to think about what surrounds your customers at every given moment, and how your brand is relevant to them. Then take what’s relevant to them, and market your brand across all devices and technologies to get your brand in front of customers at their moment of need.

5) Visualize data to identify opportunities and issues

Spreadsheets and everyday marketing tools can only go so far with providing actionable insight with your data. Ryan Jones of SapientNitro gave an awesome talk about visualizing your data to more effectively identify opportunities and issues. There’s a world of data surrounding your marketing channels, so you should maximize that data by visualizing it in ways that will give more actionable insights.

6) Humanize your brand across social platforms

Social media has become one of the most powerful online marketing tools out there, but very few brands leverage them the right way. One of the biggest social media mistakes brands make is not humanizing their content. Users engage much more effectively when they feel like they are interacting with a human instead of a robot. Andrew Caravella, VP of Marketing at SproutSocial, gave an awesome presentation on ways to humanize your social media content.

If you’d like to check out the presentations from the SEJ Summit, they’re available on Slideshare here.

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Written by

Harrison Jones is the VP of Digital Marketing at MWI. With over 10 years of digital marketing experience, he specializes in SEO, PPC, content marketing, analytics, conversion optimization, usability analysis, and information architecture. He writes for several industry-leading publications including Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.


  • Kelsey Jones

    Hey, for some reason I just found this! Thank you so much for covering it! Hope you enjoyed the event!