Kate Morris

Otherwise know as @katemorris.com by friends.

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Marketing Festival: An Application in Being the Best

I just got done at a marketing conference in Brno, Czech Republic and it blew me away. I got the honor of speaking there because I have a wonderful friend named Jonathon Colman*. He could not attend this conference and recommended me in his stead. I am forever grateful as this was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. Now I am biased, Distilled’s Searchlove conferences are fantastic and so is MozCon. But this conference, a first time conference for the organizer and for this area of the world, is right up there with them in my opinion.

The organizer, Jindrich Faborsky, went to a number of conferences in the 12 months (or more) leading up to his conference, talked to attendees, and found out what makes marketinf conferences awesome. Here are the things I think he learned and what made this conference so great.

If you don’t want to read the rest of this, at least watch this video, it sums up the conference well.

Speakers

Speakers make or break a conference. They are part of your marketing and the reason people come back. They are the meat of the conference and should be a big part of your investment. Jindrich knew that and took the steps to secure some of the top minds in search. Jonathon would have been a wonderful addition, and again, I am lucky he recommended me, but this audience got to hear from Phil Nottingham, Michael King, Gillian Musseig, Cyrus Shepard, and so many more.

He not only worked on getting some great people, but he made sure we could come by giving us plenty of warning and investing in the speakers. Investing in your speakers is something that should be done by all conferences really serious about teaching. MozCon and SearchLove both do it as I know both want to make sure the speakers have everything they need to make the conference and their presentation the best.

Content

The next thing Jindrich did was talk to every speaker about their topic. As a part of my talk with him, I pitched a few ideas and he was very straightforward about what this market was interested in hearing about. Given his knowledge of the market, we were able to come up with a topic that the audience was really invested in. It makes for a very happy and engaged audience.

It was also a one track conference, which I am a huge fan of when it comes to marketing centered conferences. You should not be focused on one topic as a marketer. Your job might just be focused on one area now, but in learning, marketers should be interested in the whole picture. This format provides that.

Networking and After Parties

The other thing people go to conferences for is networking. PubCon is still the best conference in the US for networking, but Jindrich spent the time understanding that and provided so much opportunity for networking at this conference. Any conference that includes Mike King rapping at an after party with Phil Nottingham as his side kick is one I want to be at. Period.

* On a rather somber side note, Jonathon lost his mother the week of the conference. Jonathon, my deepest condolences. Please know that our love is with you and your family right now.

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New Breed of Show – Blue Glass LA

It is no secret that I spend a good amount of my year at conferences. In the past year, I have been working on my own and needed to be at as many as possible for networking and client development. Now that I am with Distilled, I can be a little picker about what shows I attend and how often.

When first approached about Blue Glass LA, I knew nothing about it, only that Chris Winfield, Brent Csutoras, and Tony Adam were behind it. That in and of itself was credibility enough to attend, but the more I looked into the show, the better it got.

First off, most of the panels have only 2-3 speakers, making them more focused and less rushed, for the audience and the speakers. I am a big fan of this format because the hand picked speakers get more time to really teach. And as a regionally based show, the crowd should be more intimate.

This show seems much like Search Exchange, which I spoke at this past May and loved. It was a good opportunity to really get to know and network with people. Blue Glass LA is hoping for the same vibe, adding an LA twist.

I think this is going to be an awesome show for networking and education. Taking all of the best things about some of my favorite shows (like PubCon and SearchExchange) and putting them on the West Coast with a great crew. I can’t wait to see everyone in a few weeks!

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Raven PubCon Shirt Giveaway

Pubcon is always a great time. This year was no different – staying up until the sun comes up, crazy antics, and the best SEM information in one place. This year’s PubCon was sponsored by Raven Tools – a tool that I use and talk about regularly. I am a fan of their product and their whole team.

Raven Team

Raven Team

A few weeks before PubCon, Jon Henshaw sent me the coolest shirt ever. I had the honor of getting a limited edition PubCon shirt before everyone else. I was stoked. Raven shirts are awesome. This one was much more so. They are always really comfortable and well designed.

Raven PubCon Design

Raven PubCon Design

Note the name of the designer. None other than Jon’s wife, Kathryn (awesome name spelling btw).

The issue with these shirts is that Raven didn’t make many. They ran out fast once they started giving them away, but I have a surprise. I have an extra one.

How to Win a Limited Edition Raven Tools PubCon Shirt

So it’s the guys shirt (read: Green) in XL. Sorry you don’t get to choose the size. This was a bonus shirt that was magically left over.

So to win the shirt, you need to comment on this post or write a blog post about what about Raven Tools is your favorite. Anything. My favorite comment or blog post will win. Don’t have a favorite because you aren’t using Raven? Umm, free 30 day trial much? ;)

I’ll mail you the shirt and if you send me a pic, I’ll post it here. You have until Thanksgiving, November 26, 2009.

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PubCon 2009 Presentations

I always promise that I’ll post these and don’t always get around to it, but I am going to this year. :) Here are my presentations from PubCon this year. I spoke on two panels and moderated three, so I can only give up just my two.

Kate-Morris-PubCon-2009

From @Chiropractic

I had an awesome time this year speaking with some fantastic people (Joanna Lord, Tim Ash, Brad Geddes, Chris Winfield, Warren Witlock, and Dan Zarella) and moderating even more. If you missed the SEO/SEM Tools panel, you will want to get with Jim Boykin and Jon Henshaw (preso is linked) about their presentations. Or just wait for the CDs to come out.

So without further ado, here are my presentation slides.

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Favorite Charity: March of Dimes

playing-card-200wWhen Purpose Inc asked the attendees of PubCon to choose a favorite charity, I blanked. I have raised money and walked/run for so many great ones. Most recently those focused on cancer research because that seems to touch my life more everyday. But I didn’t pick any of those. Instead I am going with the one that touched my life and so many others from the start of our lives. The March of Dimes.

I was born prematurely and very sick due to my mom’s toxemia that she passed to me. The goal of the March of Dimes is to work toward identifying the reasons for premature birth and combat them. If a baby that is born prematurely can be carried to term, there is a marked difference in their ability to survive.

The March of Dimes is most known for their funding of the research that found the vaccine for polio. They have also funded research that developed surfactant, a solution that is sprayed into premature babies lungs to help them breathe because their lungs are not fully developed. They have also pushed for better health coverage for all children in the US (CHIP program) and the early identification of many diseases that can be treated at birth but are rarely tested for.

MOD_Logo2008Another win has to do with mothers. The March of Dimes funds programs all over the nation to push for mothers to be aware of the risks of smoking and drinking during pregnancy, as well as the risk of using other drugs. They give out many grants to help teach women about the benefits of breast feeding, and most of all the need for Folic Acid. This product is now a required part of the US’s grain supply. A woman needs to have at least 400mg of it in her system at the moment of conception to aid in the development of a baby’s brain. Folic Acid has been shown to reduce the possibility of many types of brain development issues in fetuses.

Now, all of this is off the top of my head. I should go research all of this, but I think most of it is dead on. See I was the “Youth on Board” for the Killeen and Austin Board of Directors from high school through college. The March of Dimes has been a huge part of my life from the start.

See you all in Vegas!!