BlueGlass, a leading Internet marketing agency, combines social media strategy with an enlightened social experience to produce a new-age conference format. The fourth event in an ongoing series, BlueGlass LA takes over The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles the weekend of April 23 & 24.
The two-day conference features a variety of notable speakers, representing such big brands as Google, Disney, CBS Interactive, Yoast, Copyblogger Media and more. Unlike mega-conventions which are known to complicate the networking process by offering too much, BlueGlass focuses on an intimate setting that inspires organic networking through targeted panels in small numbers and energizing after parties with an open bar policy. And from what we’ve heard, that is the magic combination.
We chatted with Chris Winfield of BlueGlass to learn more about the evolution of the conference experience and the hottest new Internet marketing trends.
Q: Give us some background on the BlueGlass conference. A: This will be our fourth conference since forming BlueGlass (our second one in LA). Several of us in the company have attended and spoken at A LOT of Internet marketing conferences throughout the years. At the typical conference, there are hundreds or thousands of participants and several different tracks -- both of which hinder networking. We wanted to create a unique experience that filled in the gaps we saw at other conferences.With our conferences, we provide people with an experience where they walk away with long-term benefits. Because we keep our conference size small (only 125 tickets sold for BlueGlass LA) and everyone attends the same sessions, you form real relationships with the other attendees and even the speakers. We’ve managed to make each conference better without compromising the intimate feel we set out to achieve with our very first conference. The cool thing is that we aren’t in the conference business and we don’t want try to make any money from our conferences, this allows us to really deliver an amazing event without having to worry about the bottom-line.
Q: What notable experts are joining the conference this year? A: As I mentioned above, Chris Brogan and Brian Clark are two big names. A few of the other very well-known speakers include Joost de Valk, Peter Shankman (the founder of HARO, Help A Reporter Out), and Sonia Simone (Co-Founder of Copyblogger). Our President Greg Boser is no stranger to the industry, either :)
Q: What guest speakers are you most excited about hearing? A: We have our most impressive line-up yet, so it’s really hard to pick just a few. Since we don’t have a pitching process like most conferences, everyone was hand-picked by us to speak. Basically, it’s a roster of who WE want to see on a session!If I have to pick, I’m probably most excited for the panel featuring Chris Brogan and Brian Clark. They’re both very well-known and respected in the industry, but I don’t think they’ve ever spoken together. I’m lucky enough to be moderating their panel, too.
Q: What topics are you speaking about? A: Overall, our conference sessions are about SEO, content marketing, link building, PR, social media, and entrepreneurship. I’ll be moderating two panels. The one I mentioned above is called Cultivating Visibility: How to Amplify the Human Digital Channel. This will be all about growing and engaging an audience. As two people with huge online followings, Brian and Chris are the perfect guys to share what’s worked for them. The other panel I’m moderating is called The Anatomy of Successful Content Marketing Initiatives. This will feature real-world examples of both successful and unsuccessful content strategies.
Q: Most important new Internet marketing trends of 2012? A: Internet marketing all relates back to content marketing now. Whether you’re trying to get more links, rank higher on search engines or get more social shares, it all starts with great content. We’ll continue to see companies focus on creating high-quality content; that isn’t going to change. What will differ about content marketing is the types of content we recognize today will evolve into more innovative mediums. I expect to see infographics continue to be in fashion, but they’ll begin to evolve into HTML5 and other interactive formats. Video will continue to be huge, but I expect to see more kinetic typography.
Q: Let’s talk about the parties. What type of social scene will be going down at The Standard? I heard something about an open bar… A: We are having parties on the rooftops on both Monday and Tuesday and yes, there will definitely be an open bar! A ticket to our conference includes all meals and an open bar both nights. The value of that is pretty great in itself, especially in a city as expensive as LA where a drink will cost you $10.
Q: Do Internet marketing experts know how to party hard? Funny memories from previous events? A: There were some pretty late nights at our past conferences. The cool thing is, the first session is never empty the morning after a big night. That’s how you know people are really there to learn and get the most out of it, not just to party. Some conferences focus on the party first, but we try to balance the late-night entertainment with the learning experience. That being said, most deals have actually happened at the bar at our conferences. And I if I tell you anyone’s embarrassing stories, they won’t come to our next conference! What happens at BlueGlass, stays at BlueGlass...
BlueGlass LA is a cutting-edge Internet marking experience taking over The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles the weekend of April 23 & 24. As of this post, BlueGlass LA is sold out. For more information on BlueGlass, to catch up with Chris Winfield and for the scoop on the next big conference, visit blueglass.com
Pictured: The Standard Hotel, Los Angeles