“Wow! How do you stay on top of it all?”
I’ve heard this question asked in many different ways, as a response to hearing about what DragonSearch does. And the answer points to the essence of what we’re all about – staying on top of an incredibly rapidly changing industry: online marketing.
Back when I operated a digital development company, my partner and I knew whatever anyone needed to know in the company, and were able to share the knowledge. As time went on, we became more specialized, and depended on a lot of really smart people to know their bailiwick. Today, this idea is even more prescient, with each individual on our search marketing team developing an expertise to share with the others. One person REALLY knows ecommerce on Facebook, another REALLY knows about social media video sites, and on and on.
One of the ways that everyone stays on top of their game is to really get to know a resource, inside and out. Here are a few of our top resources:
SEMPO is the trade organization for search marketing professionals. As such, it provides training courses, research papers, and a little bit of promotion for its members. Individuals can join at $299 per year, while corporations pay $1K – or 5K for a super-duper status. http://www.sempo.org
MarketMotive is all about training. Our own Etela Ivkovic recently obtained SEO master certification through their courses. Eta thought the experience was thorough, and on a high-enough level to warrant more participation with this resource from our company. The Chief Education Officer and founder is Avinash Kaushik, author of some great books on web analytics, and probably one of the nicest all-around people in the industry. The guided courses cost a chunk of money, but you can get access to the course work for under $300 per month. Well worth it. http://www.marketmotive.com
Search Engine Land
SE Land is a news and information site for search engine marketing, and is headed by industry guru Danny Sullivan. The people behind SE Land are also the same who put on some of the big industry expos. There is a level of access for site subscribers which cost $149 per year, which gets you access to some additional content, and a beefed-up profile. I should also include here a link to Sphinn, which is an internet marketing news portal, along with some robust discussion forums. http://www.searchengineland.com and http://www.sphinn.com
SEOmoz is a membership-based organization which provides access to a lot of great content and tools. (And it’s REALLY about the tools). They have levels of membership from $79 per month to $2k per month (providing different levels of use of the tools). http://www.seomoz.org
With their little blue bird even before Twitter was ever imagined, this membership-based site provides seminars, white papers, videos, and more. MarketingProfs is more pure-marketing (as opposed to online marketing) than the other knowledge sites listed here. The pro membership is $279 a year, and well worth it. http://marketingprofs.com
MediaPost publishes publications, websites, provides research, and hosts events. Their events are major – right up there with the Search Engine Land events. OMMA is one of my favorites (it helps that it comes to NYC), while I skipped Social Media Insider this year. The daily emails I receive from Media Post are some of the few that I still subscribe to (no one, I mean NO ONE can possibly read everything that is available and great – you’ve got to make your choices). The MediaPost online sites are FREE! As is OMMA in NYC this year. Alas, the price tag on Search Insider is what kept me away this year. http://www.mediapost.com
Mashable is probably the leading source for social, tech and web online. Getting your blog post listed on Mashable is a feather in any online marketer’s cap. Now that I’m mostly reading blogs on my iPad in Pulse, it’s easy to keep up with what seems like an endless flow of information. FREE. http://mashable.com
The cost to an agency
When I add up all the potential costs of the above resources (and it isn’t easy – it depends on how much training you want, for instance) we could easily spend 10+ next year on these resources. But then, that would be an low cost indeed for keeping our organization current with all of the shifting sands of online marketing.
Did I leave anyone off this list? Who do you think should be included here?