brightonSEO has quickly become one the leading search conferences globally. We sat down with the conference Founder, Kelvin Newman, to ask him a few questions about the past, present and future of the event.
Q: brightonSEO seems like it's constantly evolving – from a gathering in a pub, to an SEO conference to fringe events including digital PR – what's next on the horizon?
A: We’ve stretched the main brightonSEO conference out to two days which has certainly kept us busy. We’re always trying to tweak the format, the social events and the silly things that go on between the talks — the free ice cream van was certainly a popular addition at October’s event! We’re well into planning for April’s event and have some surprises up our sleeves…
Q: How many people apply for speaker spots on average every year? What would be the standout decision maker between two people who pitched very similar topics?
A: We get a lot of interest as it’s such a fast-moving industry to work in so there is always something new to try or share. The best speaker pitches are those that combine really practical tips for people to implement and a focused topic. Our talks are only 20 minutes long, so something specific that people can learn from is much better than something vague or that tries to cram too much in. We get so many great pitches, it feels like we could probably programme twice as many talks if we could find the rooms in our venue!
Q: When so many conferences charge speakers, why do you think its important to keep brightonSEO a free conference for speakers and will this always be the case?
A: Every event, unless it's a truly charitable event, has to make money in some way. That might be indirectly, like an agency event that’s intended to build brand awareness that down the line turns into leads and business. Those business model choices end up influencing how an event works, i.e. a completely free to attend trade show will end up making different decisions around programming to a conference with £2k tickets. We feel like the approach we have at brightonSEO works well at the moment.
Q: There seems to be a really good mix in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, etc. how do you ensure this? Is this intentional, or does it happen naturally given the range of talent in the industry?
A: We know there is a huge range of talent in the industry and that there are groups of people who are typically under-represented in our industry and on our conference stages. Making sure a wide range of people feel comfortable attending, pitching talks and speaking at the conference is something we’ve been intentional about as we don’t want to be a pale, male and stale conference. We do things like offer a heavily-subsidised on-site creche, work with groups like Women in Tech SEO and B Digital, and are always looking to improve our accessibility. Over time we’ve found that our speaker line-up and our audience naturally became more representative as more people feel welcome and involved, which is always good to see.
Q: Have you seen a big shift in demographics for attendees since the pandemic?
A: Not really, we still have a mix of people coming along for the first time as well as people who have been coming for years. We have people coming from all over the world from different business sectors. We also still have a mixture of SEO specialists and marketing generalists so we try to ensure that there is something for everyone.
Q: Would you ever hold events in places other than Brighton? Could brightonSEO go global?
A: Never say never.
Q: What part of hosting brightonSEO is the most rewarding?
A: I couldn’t pick just one thing but one moment I loved from our last event was offering LGBTQ attendees the chance to come together for a photo on the main stage, it was such a joyful moment.
The next brightonSEO in-person event takes place on the 20th & 21st April 2023, you can register for the event here.
For more information on brightonSEO, click here.
We hope you found that as fun to read as we did to put together. A huge thank you to Kelvin and the team at BrightonSEO for putting on such a great event once again. We'll see you in April.