dallas-digital-summitAre you attending the Dallas Digital Summit the first week of December? If so,
The Dallas Digital Summit, presented by TechMedia, promotes thought leadership on web-oriented entrepreneurial activity and innovation. More than 700 digital directors, bloggers, senior marketers and web strategists will gather at Union Station in Dallas on December 4-5. It’s an incredible opportunity for you to learn about the latest digital developments and to network with other experts in the field. But how do you make the most of the event? How do you know what sessions to attend?

Here is what you need to know before packing your bags for Texas:

Before the Event

Dozens of industry thought leaders and innovators will be speaking at the two-day event. Decide which sessions you are most interested in and create a game plan. Make sure you hit all the panels and keynotes that will be most valuable to you.

Josh McCoy, SEO lead strategist at Vizion Interactive, suggests that attendees diversify the events they attend. “If you're an SEO professional, don't just go attend the SEO sessions,” he said. “Make sure that you attend the web analytics, SEO and social media presentations so that you get a well-rounded experience."

Steven Phelps, President of Adplicity shares with us that we should try to have a few questions prepared ahead of time and to bring lots of business cards. "Generally, I got there to take it all in. I go in with an open mind and take interest to see what else and how else I can bring success to my business."

Find out who else will be attending the conference by checking out who is following the event on Twitter. Identify who you want to network with ahead of time and research them online. Find common ground that could help start conversations, then reach out to them on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn before the event.

Look at the event agenda and determine which speakers could be potential partners for your business. "It's much more efficient if attendees email speakers with an overview of why they want to meet in-person at the event,” said Rebecca Watson, Vice President of Business Development at RadiumOne. “They shouldn’t wait until the day of and assume they can corner the speakers to get their full attention." Watson has successfully used this networking approach for more than five years.

During the Event

Live tweet during the conference and use appropriate event hashtags. Tweet at the speakers or at fellow attendees. There is a whole side to the conference that is happening online. Participate in the conversation and add value.

“The Dallas Digital Summit LinkedIn group is a good resource for folks who can’t attend to be a part of the extended community,” said Eric Gregg, co-founder and executive director of TechMedia, the producer of the Dallas Digital Summit. “You can just search LinkedIn for ‘Dallas Digital Summit’ and submit to be a part of the community.” To get some snippets of event happenings in real time, follow along on Twitter using #DDSUM12.

Bernadette Coleman, CEO and executive director at Advice Interactive Group, will be attending this year’s conference and encourages attendees to “ask questions if allowed. If they have a question about something someone is presenting, chances are others will too.”

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, said, “Look for ways to be helpful. Building ‘karma’ is always a good choice.” He also advises to “put your phone away and listen to whomever you just met.”

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. Have interesting conversation-starters prepared and know how to talk about yourself and what you do. However, don’t be overly promotional. This is not a sales pitch; it is a chance to build relationships. Make yourself memorable and invite people to follow-up with you after the conference.

“Take this opportunity to bounce ideas off other like-minded marketers. Come prepared with one business challenge and ask others if they have experienced something similar. You’ll be surprised to see how this method opens doors,” said Courtney Wiley, director of digital marketing strategy and innovation at Oracle. “Above all… Be engaging. Be personable. Be your best billboard. And don’t forget to bring lots of business cards.”

What to Attend

If you are interested in:

  • Social Media: Don’t miss “Social Media Strategies,” “Next Level Strategies for Facebook and Twitter” or “Optimizing Social Media: ROI & Measurement.”
  • Mobile: “It's tough to pick just one session to attend for mobile while at Dallas Digital Summit,” Brandon Milford of TechMedia said. “David Perry, from Google, will be presenting ‘The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive's Guide to winning with Mobile.’ In addition, Adam Landrum from Merge will be presenting ‘Mobile Marketing Winning Game Plans.’”
  • Analytics: Be sure to see the “Web Analytics & Insights” presentation and attend the panel discussion for “Data Driven ROI.”
  • SEO: In McCoy’s panel presentation on December 5, he will discuss utilizing competitive analytics to drive search results. He will analyze types of content (not just text, but images and video as well), the engagement generated by this content, and how the content works with SEO, social media and other platforms. He will also highlight tools for SEO and explore the valuation of the traffic driven by these tools.
  • Content Marketing: Watson will present ways that publishers and brands can drive increased sharing of their content. Approaches include: optimizing sharing buttons on a website, building a content strategy for each social network and building relationships with digital influencers. She'll present recent case studies that demonstrate how simple it is to generate an instant lift in traffic and customers.

Don’t Miss...

  • The Startup Showcase: Some of the most prominent Internet-centric companies will have the opportunity to share their stories. “The Startup Showcase is an opportunity for several regional, digital-oriented startups to tell their stories," Gregg said. "We’ll have several startups highlighting who they are and what they do in a rapid-fire presentation format. These companies have high growth potential and could be great potential future partners, clients or employers for attendees."
  • Opening Keynote with Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, Reddit: “I’m excited to speak about why ‘giving a damn’ is a winning digital strategy for everything from product creation to marketing,” Ohanian said.
  • Networking Events: Gregg emphasizes that the main reception on the first night is the most extensive networking opportunity. “Those that can stay longer during that period will benefit the most in terms of creating new relationships,” he said.

Find out more about the Dallas Digital Summit.

Originally published Nov 27, 2012 11:59:44 PM, updated December 02 2014