Blogging live from Blog World Expo 2010 taking place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

This crowns several weeks of various conventions, seminars, symposiums, and other events for social media marketing that I’ve been attending.  And already, it can’t be mistaken; there is a very different vibe here than OMMA or SMX.  Firstly, the participants are not all marketers or search experts.  There are some, for sure, but there are also ‘Mommy Bloggers’ (I know, they HATE being called that), health care professionals, travel writers, yoga practitioners, and more.

Perhaps it’s the different audience, or perhaps the fact we’re in Vegas, but everyone seems a bit more gregarious.

Morning Keynote

The speaker just joked that someone tweeted “who scheduled an 8:30 keynote in Vegas #FAIL”. But followed up by saying, while we’ll have some fun, we’re here to work, not party.  The networking here is phenomenal. I’ve met more people in the first hour here, than I did in a whole day at other conferences.

The keynote speaker,  Scott Stratton (@unmarketing) –  is most recently the author of “UnMarketing”, and a video marketer.  Scott is an wonderful speaker. In fact, I think if the video stuff doesn’t pan out for him, he could do standup.

The gist of Scott’s talk is that we need to blog, write, tweet, etc., with passion.  “Marketing is NOT a TASK. It’s not a department. Not an action item.  Marketing is every time you have a potential engagement with a customer. “

{Scott is the first speaker I’ve heard that purposely paused so the audience could tweet a good line!}

“Your job when you post or write is to get it read (not placed in a read later folder). When you don’t blog awesome, you hurt your blog. You blog with passion, passion spreads. The reason why people spread things hasn’t changed.  Emotion. Passion. HOW they spread it has changed. You have to enable that spreading.”

It’s apparent; Scott belongs to the evangelical school of social media speaking.  And that is just what is needed at 7:30 am after a long trip from  Albany!

Every time you ask me what the ROI of Twitter is, a kitten dies.  A unicorn dies.

Scott had a series of items that he puts forth as being detrimental to marketing efforts.  I don’t agree with all of his notions, but I certainly agree with the gist of them.  He slams RSS icons on pages (does any really use them?  They use real estate!), non-mobile-enabled sites (which I’d like to point out is being fixed on this blog as I write), SEO (uhm… can’t agree on this one, but let’s move on), Adwords on blogs, Capcha (another disagreement from me), moderation of comments (maybe), and pop-ups (amen).

A Nice Hint About Twitter

Scott showed a chart showing the increase, decrease, and eventual increase again of his tweating, and showed how the majority (75%) of his tweeting is replies to others.  Engagement pure and simple.

Amplification of Stories

First, some back story.  On my flight over to Vegas last night, I was on a pretty well-packed plane from Detroit, sitting next to a lady.  Despite my childhood days in the south, I bite my lip, and avoid striking up conversations with strangers.  But I was impressed by this lady, because for two hours, she was able to sleep sitting up, with her arms crossed over her lap.

Well, as I walked into the session on Scalability, the speaker up at the podium was pointing at me, saying something!  Then I realized, she was my seat mate, and she turned out to be Maggie Fox.

But even better than the serendipity was Maggie’s talk.   Maggie is NOT the evangelical speaker-type, but the meat-and-potatoes type – the substance alone was worth the cost of this trip.  Maggie basically described various paid placement enhancements to traditional PR, showing the pay-offs and conversion rates.

The sites that were referred to were Digg, Outbrain, and StumbleUpon.  And what she talked about was not pushing marketing material, but the promotion of good news items with paid ads on these services.

She had some great statistics about how much more consumers are able to recall brands they encounter in the social space, as well as an increase in intent to buy.  And then she showed actual numbers to show some awesome conversion rate with the news/paid-placement-on-social tactic.

Numbers like: outperformed platform average by 1,300%.  Unfortunately, what we couldn’t see were actual examples from real campaigns.

Visualize This

One of the great surprises of the day was finding out (through Twitter) that David Armano -was doing his visual thing in a whiteboard session.  David’s site has long been an inspiration to me, and I’ve heard a lot about people using drawing in sessions – so I was curious.  The topic and crowd was healthcare, which, while I’ve done a lot of work in health care, isn’t my domain.  But it was a lively crowd, and the drawing did help facilitate real dialogue with the speaker, Marc Monseau from Johnson & Johnson, and the participants.

Tip of the Iceberg or Iceberg Lettuce?

I’m not going to write about EVERY thing I heard and saw.  One panel was a bit of snooze, and another on social case studies was absolute fun – as well as edifying.   I met wonderful and interesting people at lunch, including an Australian woman living in Malaysia that has a blog for expats, another woman who blogs about artists, and whose husband makes cool paintings on skateboards, and a few nice people from PR Newswire.  And now I have to decide if I should go find the after-hours party, or catch some sleep.

If you’re here at Blog World, and we haven’t met, feel free to stop me and say hello.