side note …or why we were there

we went to San Francisco primarily because Z is a software engineer.  That is to say, he writes code that make internet web sites, and more recently, apps, work.  He has quite a talent and is filled with brain waves quite different from my own.  A result of this is that he sometimes works on a big project that is a WordPress multi-site of roughly 2500 (?) web pages for Campus Crusade called GCX (are you tracking with me…knowing I could be slightly wrong and/or off?)  GCX runs on WordPress so he went to WordCamp San Francisco.  All that said, I tagged along because this blog is also run on WordPress.  I am not the genius that he is but I can tag along and hold my own blog wise and never ever have written more than one word at a time of code and that only for making margins bigger or something like that.  WordCamp has two tracks though, the smart young people upstairs (ie developers) and the rest of us downstairs (users.)  Does this start to feel like Tron?  No wonder he likes that movie.  Anyhow, I went to the conference and went to the user track (except one developer one which was both over my head and super dull) and I learned a few things along the way.  Some about blogging, some about a few big marketing ideas in general.  I really related to some of the speakers for my own day to day job.  But, we used the opportunity for being there to see the city and eat our way around.  Here are some things I really enjoyed about the conference.

1.  Pretty much every presenter at the conference referenced He Who Shall Not Be Named.  (That would be Voldemort.  I’m not scared.)  And, a photo I’ll add to this blog reminds me of the statues in the Ministry of Magic was in the general meeting area at the conference.wordcamp

2.  If they didn’t reference He Who Shall Not Be Named they had a slide show with either

  • Lego
  • Fuzzy things like bunnies and/or kittens
  • both of those

I cannot explain this at all.  During the state of the word address by the younger than I founder of WordPress who has worked to revolutionize the interweb there was a comment made which was Usage is oxygen for ideas.  I totally resonate with this.  If you don’t use something you can’t know how to make it better, or more fun, or actually useful or whatever.  Be a user.  The other things I learned were these.  They reference web sites of course, but I say, for marketing and ‘sales’ in general these are the markers of good content.

Why?  Be clear about the why of the existence of the website.
What is a successful visitor going to get, see, do from your space.
Who?  Is the audience
who are they, what do they like, do, how to help them.  Make the space work for them.
What?  Formats are you going to use to share content
As opposed to just text,  info graph, white paper, audio, video, webinars, etc.
Where? Are people going to find the website.
of course don’t have a url that MAKES NO SENSE or people can’t remember.
When?  Update a minimum of one a month
How often do you update content.  An editorial calendar when it comes to blogs but also holds true for stores, museums, etc.  Clearly you can’t update some things that are spendy as often as others but keep it on the radar.
How? Will you know if site is meeting audience needs.  Analytics.  Benchmarks, likes, reservations, etc. how to know if business is coming , coupons, stc.  Unless your space is ‘just for fun’ then you have to have a way to decide if it is working.
Have a plan.

All this makes me want to be better at every aspect of what I do.  Working, blogging, whatever.    I love strategy.

There was also food at this thing, just to be clear.  Lunch everyday where you could mingle and ‘horrors’ …network.  Some of our lunchmates were interesting and chatty, some I decided should have saved the airfare and some just sat there in introverted terror.  The best thing they served were these glazed lemon poppyseed cookies.  I pretty much want one right now.

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