Now, that’s not to say what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas…
In any case, I’m excited to recap my adventures at New Media Expo 2014 this year (I can’t help it: #NMX – there, I did it!)
Not only was this my first NMX experience, it was also my first official conference as an EOFire partner! You might recall that I tagged along at World Domination Summit (WDS) in 2013, but I didn’t actually have a pass to the conference, so that was a little different.
This time, I was up at 6am prepping for a full day of sessions, and in bed by… well, I’ll leave that part out.
What I won’t leave out is what happened at NMX. I went to several great sessions, and took home loads of great information that I’m going to share with you right here, right now.
Saturday, Day 1
The first day started out with two great Keynote presentations.
I very much appreciated the amazing storytelling from Lynette Young from LynetteRadio.com, (you can watch her entire keynote presentation on her site).
Lynette discussed The Myth of The “Overnight Success”. She compared your business to an iceberg, saying that 90% of the iceberg is under the waterline, and that’s where you work – that’s everything you put into creating your business. Then, the other 10% is what everyone else sees – that’s the part above the waterline.
So when people come along and they see this amazing 10% above the waterline, they tend to dismiss or ignore the fact that there is still 90% beneath that – 90% that makes up all the hard work, the failures and the roadblocks we encounter while building our businesses.
Inspiring and insightful to say the least.
I also took away some amazing lessons from the one and only Lee Odden of TopRankBlog.com, who discussed what he’s learned from 10 years, 2,600 posts and over one million words written.
This included 10 key lessons you can use in order to leverage smart, creative and results focused blogging.
Here they are:
1. Stand for something
This means being specific about what you’re providing your reader or listener.
Lee also pointed out the importance of specificity in search and social so that when people are searching for specific content, and that content happens to be yours, you’ll have your match!
2. Know your customer
Discover, Consume, Act.
If you listen, you’ll realize that your customers (or audience members) are talking. Target those topics that are driven directly by your audience, and then segment them so that you’re giving your readers and listeners exactly what they want.
3. No plan is a plan to fail
We’d all love to think that things just happen – they’ll just fall into place, right? It’s simply not the case.
Try and start a plan for yourself: Align your topics with your goals, plan ahead and adapt for real time.
4. Social drives discovery
You can’t start a blog and expect people to just start coming to it. Get out there and start telling people about it!
Even more so, you have to be an active and engaged member on social for people to really care. Don’t JUST share your content. Share other content you think is great that your audience might benefit from, engage on other posts in your newsfeed, and ask your audience questions.
5. Great content isn’t great until it’s discovered, consumed and acted on
You have to promote your content in order for it to be found. Next, it has to be relevant or interesting in order to be consumed. Then, make sure that it is the best answer! That’s what will make people act on it.
6. Co-created content is cool
Use content to create bonds. You’d be amazed how many great relationships have come out of guest posts. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers and request to guest post on their site. Good for you, good for them, good for both of your audiences!
7. A person has finite topic ideas
No one expects you to be able to continue to come up with blog topics all on your own. Connect with your community for more ideas; really leverage your community for content. Try asking in your next email or in your next Facebook post, “What’s the #1 thing you’re struggling with right now?” Every answer is a potential new post topic.
8. Whatever can be found in search can be optimized
Always be closing? … Lee says, “Always be optimizing.”
9. You’re only as interesting as the interest shown to your audience
You’re not in this game alone: it takes you, and it takes every single one of your audience members to make it happen. If you’re going to ask your audience for something, then recognize that by giving some shout outs – give your audience the credit they deserve!
10. Optimize for customers
Attract, Engage, Convert.
Be accountable – if you’re not, no one else will be either. What messages can you create that will engage your audience and promote conversion?
Following Lee’s presentation I hopped into Pat Flynn’s session (from SmartPassiveIncome.com) on How to Convert Your Casual Readers into a Thriving Community of Raving Fans.
Pat went through the lifecycle of a fan: how they find you, why they start following you, why they continue to come back to you for more content, and finally, how you can convert them into raving fans.
The biggest lesson here was the importance of engagement and participation: make your followers feel like they’re a active part of your business, like they have a say in the direction. Make them feel special.
There was some great engagement and participation from the audience throughout Pat’s presentation, proving his point that people like to feel as though they’re a part of something. This was an all-around great presentation from Pat, as expected.
That afternoon I dropped everything to attend Ian Cleary’s session on 15 Social Media Tools to Become a More Productive and Effective Blogger. I love Ian and RazorSocial, but I’ll admit that I walked into this session expecting to hear about many of the tools we already use here at EOFire. This was NOT the case.
Ian covered some really great tools that he uses all the time, and here are the top ones I walked away excited to check out:
- Piktochart – design easy infographics
- Dlvr.it – Content sharing automation
- Socialoomph – Repetitive sharing over time
- Zapier – Automation tools for sharing
- Doshare – Chrome App: Scheduler for G+ posts
- Brand24.net – Track mentions for easy interaction, analytics
Which of these tools are you already using in your social media strategy, and which ones do you like best? Let us know in the comments section at the end of this post!
Day 1 was jam packed with so much great info and a lot of great run-ins throughout the day.
Sunday, Day 2
Day 2 brought the heat, with some more incredible sessions: my two big highlights? A session from Chris Ducker and the Speed Networking held later that afternoon.
Chris, from VirtualStaffFinder.com, talked about the power of “P to P Relationships”: person to person. He had slides packed with amazing examples of how companies – both big and small – find ways to connect with their customers and their audience members on a person to person basis.
It really comes down to providing a service to your audience that is above and beyond every time to really show that you care about each and every one of them.
The Speed Networking was really meant to connect attendees with corporations who were sponsoring networking tables at the event. However, after seeing a long list of companies who appeared to be interested in selling ad space on peoples’ sites, or paying for content to put on other clients’ sites, I decided my time would be much better spent with others who were attending the conference.
I met up with a couple of really great people, including an amazing entrepreneur who has started and built eight businesses named Chuck Blakeman, and an up and coming blogger who owns more amazing bow ties than I can count, Christopher Kretzer.
Monday, Day 3
By this time, I was pretty spent. The sessions were becoming less and less appealing as I met more and more amazing people. I decided to take time during day 3 to really reconnect with people I had met over the last few days (and some who I’ve been communicating with online for several months now).
This included an amazing one-on-one with Jessica Rhodes, some QT with Antonio Centeno, a lunch with a fellow Elite Mastermind member, Dean Patino, and some great time spent with many other Fire Nation Elite, Podcasters’ Paradise and Fire Nation Faithful.
But of course, I couldn’t miss John Lee Dumas’ session!
John, true to form, rocked the mic with a killer presentation about the importance of niching down and identifying your avatar. He welcomed a few audience members up to the mic to talk about their own struggles in these departments, and even gave away a Yeti mic to one lucky audience member who could recite the infamous $500 Question.
John’s presentation was a lot of fun. It was so cool to be in the audience and see how many people from Fire Nation were there to support him.
I want to thank everyone who attended, and I hope you enjoyed the presentation as much as John did…
Alright, now on to some of the fun stuff!
We all know conferences aren’t REALLY about the sessions. They’re more about the meet ups and connections you’re able to make – the relationships started, the relationships built upon and the relationships that are really solidified through spending quality time with others in your industry.
The EOFire “social calendar” at NMX
Friday brought us an evening packed with a lot of Fire Nation Elite love. At 6pm we hosted our very own private meet up for our Mastermind Tribe in the EOFire Suite.
We had over 25 of our 100 Elite Mastermind members meet up with us in Vegas, and we knew there was no better time to introduce everyone in person than before the conference started.
This proved to be perfect timing, as we’ve all spent plenty of time chatting online, but chatting in person brought the inspiration shared and motivation fostered to a whole new level.
We continued the night by joining our friends upstairs at the Fizzle.co meet up, rooftop style. This allowed us to connect with some amazing entrepreneurs who we’d only met online previously, in addition to some bigger names in the industry, including Michael Stelzner.
On Saturday night we continued the party, this time as hosts of the Fire Nation meet up. We were back at it in the EOFire Suite for drinks and lots of great conversation. We were also lucky enough to have Bill Glaser from OverNear, Inc. and Lewis Howes from The School of Greatness help us host, which included them bringing along over 200 shiny new copies of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook – amazing!
We saw a little bit more than 25 people in our room that night… more like 100+. It was amazing to meet some new and old Fire Nation members, along with several of our newest community members from Podcasters’ Paradise.
Sunday night we took a seat front and center at the Podcast Awards and were really excited to help cheer on Abel James as he took home the award in the Health and Fitness category for his podcast The Fat-Burning Man.
NPR: Planet Money took the cake in the Business category this year, but I think we all agree it would have been pretty cool to see one of our guys win. There’s always next year, right?
After the Podcast Awards we ventured outside of The Rio for the first time since we had arrived (yikes!) to meet up with Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker and Cliff Ravenscraft for their meet up at the Hard Rock Hotel. We had an awesome time chatting it up with several greats, including fellow Podcasters’ Paradise members “JC” Chandanais and Jessica Kupferman, along with some other online favorites like Antonio Centeno, Pete Sveen, Tim Paige, Ben Krueger and Chris Murphy.
We wrapped with a great run at the craps table back at The Rio before we called it a night.
Monday night included great fun in Old Downtown with Chase Reeves, Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, Jaime Tardy, Michael O’Neal, Greg Hickman and so many other amazing friends.
I started the night out with the best moscow mule ever at a ultra cool lounge called Vanguard, followed by a walk to an unknown pizza joint not far from there.
We then decided to take the party to the “new” downtown and found ourselves in the midst of a dance off between our very own John Lee and Pat Flynn! No really, they had a dance off and you’ve gotta check it out. :)
New Media Expo was an amazing experience – one that I will never forget. The high that comes from attending a conference with hundreds of other like-minded entrepreneurs is something you can’t really explain.
The importance of building a community around you, creating close relationships with others in your industry, and establishing yourself as a credible business owner is beyond priceless. After attending this conference, I truly believe that this type of experience is what every entrepreneur needs – especially when they’re first starting out.
What happens at NMX, doesn’t stay at NMX (and it shouldn’t!) There is simply too much great information to share.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at New Media Expo in 2014 and that you’ll take some time to check out other great conferences you might be interested in attending. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to create a similar experience of your own.
Image credit noted: Wyatt Song