If you work in the public relations industry, you should beat a path to the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo this year. You have nothing to lose but your jobs.
According to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, more than 14,000 journalists working for newspapers in 2001 have lost their jobs. That means roughly 25% of the newspaper industry's "ink stained wretches" are now gone.
Unless 25% of the flacks want to follow the 25% of the hacks who are part of the unemployment rate, they will need to reinvent their problem-solving, critical-thinking, trouble shooting and communication skills. Consider this advice some "tough love," an oxymoron that means I may treat you harshly or sternly, but my intent is to help you in the long run.
So, where do you go to learn what David Meerman Scott calls "the new rules of marketing and PR"?
If you are in the U.K., then you should go to SES London 2010, which will be held Feb. 15-19. You will find a number of conference sessions that will help you learn the 21st Century skills you need to continue your public relations career. Here are some of the ones that I'd recommend you attend:
"Is Social Media the Future of Search?" The morning keynote is moderated by Aaron Kahlow, Chairman & Founder, Online Marketing Summit.
"Social Media Best Practices for Marketers Inside the Brand." This session is moderated by Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz.org.
"Twitter Me This!" The speaker is Heather Lutze, CEO & Co-founder, Findability Group.
"Real Time SEO: No More Yesterday's News." I'm moderating and the speakers are Brent Payne, SEO Director, Tribune; Paul Roach, Technical Lead for SEO, guardian.co.uk; and Drew Broomhall, Search Editor, Times Online.
"Social Media & the Marketing Mix." Mel Carson, Microsoft Advertising Community Manager, is the moderator, and the speakers are Crispin Sheridan, Sr Director of Search Marketing Strategy, SAP Marketing; Bas van den Beld, Search Strategist, NetTraject/ Searchcowboys; Marco Corsaro, Managing Director, 77Agency Ltd; and Anders Hjorth, CEO, Outrider.
"Social Media Metrics." The morning keynote speaker is Jim Sterne, Chairman, Web Analytics Assn & Founder, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit.
"Automating Twitter." The moderator is Cindy Krum, Chief Executive Officer, Rank-Mobile, LLC, and the speakers are: Ralph Tegtmeier, aka, Fantomaster; Paul Madden, Owner, Crea8 New Media; Pierre Far, PhD, SEO and Web Analytics Specialist, pierrefar.com; and Tracy Falke, Social Media Specialist, Freestyle Interactive.
"YouTube and Video Marketing Workshop." I'm the instructor for this half-day training workshop on the Friday after the event.
If you are in the U.S., then you should go to SES New York 2010, which will be held March 22-26. Here are the sessions that you won't want to miss:
"The New Rules of Marketing and PR." The opening keynote speaker is David Meerman Scott, author of World Wide Rave as well as the best-selling book that is the title of his keynote.
"Social Media Checklist."
"News Search Optimization." The moderator is Lisa Buyer, President & CEO of The Buyer Group, and the speakers are: John Shehata, Director of SEO & Social Media, Advance Internet, Inc.; and Matthew J. Brown, Director of Search Strategy, New York Times Company.
"Real Time SEO: No More Yesterday's News." The speakers are Simon Heseltine, Senior Marketing Manager, AOL, LLC; and Brent Payne, SEO Director, Tribune.
"Social Media 101." This solo presentation is by Liana Evans, Director of Social Media, Serengeti Communications.
"The Business Value of Social Media."
"Social & the Marketing Mix." The speakers are Adam Sherk, Search and PR Strategist, Define Search Strategies / The New York Times Co.; Veronica Fielding, CEO, Digital Brand Expressions; and Beth Harte, Community Manager , MarketingProfs.
"Search, PR and the Social Butterfly."
"Building a Content Strategy to Maximize Your Search & Social Efforts." The instructors for this training workshop are Stoney deGeyter, Pole Position Marketing and Jennifer Evans Laycock, Search Engine Guide.
In addition to the conference sessions, top PR people will want to visit the exhibitors in the expo hall. They will see some familiar faces, including Marketwire and PRWeb.
At SES Chicago 2009, Byron Gordon of SEO-PR interviewed Andy Beal of Trackur and Marketing Pilgrim, about the future of online PR. So, this topic isn't a new one for SES events. As a matter of fact, it's been discussed since SES New York 2004. Check out Beal's latest advice.
I should disclose that Search Engine Strategies is a client of my agency. But trust me on the tough love.