What if Moz Was One of Us? A MozCon 2013 Recap

By Monique Pouget

The lights dim, blue strobes in the form of spaceships reflect across the walls, Macklemore jams are bumping and the audience is buzzing with anticipation. No, this isn’t an epic rock concert, it’s simply MozCon, our favorite marketing conference of the year!


And yeah yeah, Moz was great… yeah yeah, Moz was good.

We’ve never been disappointed by a Moz event, but this year’s MozCon totally outdid itself. From the wide range of speaker expertise and networking opportunities to the amazing party venue and sweet Moz swag, these three days of amazingness will be hard to top!

Georgia and I learned so much about marketing, building a brand and inspiring your team, that we had to share some recurring themes with you! And just because I’m a super geek, I picked five sets of lyrics that fit my themes to a T. Click each header for a music break…you’re welcome in advance.

Woah, oh! You’ve got me feeling emotions.

Emotions and the art of storytelling were a big theme at this year’s MozCon.

First, the fabulous Brittan Bright walked us through the soft skills that help make communication in the workplace easier. Having empathy for your team, talking face to face and recognizing variations of intelligence were important reminders for me.

Lena West also lightened the mood with an informative deck about the power of compelling images. As humans, we’re drawn to visuals, so including them in our social strategies makes sense. She encouraged us to think less about alt text and photo format and more about what people like to share. Shout-outs to my homies at Warby Parker and Lena’s way with words made her presentation memorable.


Finally, it was all about the emotions in Kelsey Libert’s short but sweet presentation about a few awesome viral campaigns. I really liked the figures behind their success, but the most interesting takeaway was that contrasting emotions increase emotional impact. For instance, coupling the anger, shame and disgust of an eating disorder with empathy and self-identification led to the success of a Barbie vs. real life infographic. While infographics may be tired, helped this rehab facility tell a story and connect with their audience, which is what real marketing is all about.

I surrender heart and soul, sacrificed to a higher goal.

Goals should be the foundation of any marketing strategy, and it was nice to hear less about tactics and more about strategic decision making at this year’s MozCon.

I’ve been following Mackenzie Fogelson on the Twitters for a while, but this was my first time seeing her speak and meeting her IRL. Mack’s presentation was not only beautiful (hats off to Natalie, Mack Web Solution’s talented designer!), but also super informative. As an industry, we are obsessed with tools. I’m guilty of it, but this was a big wakeup call to define goals that drive a strategy and worry about tools during campaign execution. I also thoroughly enjoyed her client story about failure, since we too have suffered from the pitfalls of executing another agency’s strategy (stay tuned for a post this month about that exact topic!). Mack’s presentation was a nice reminder that we should be shaking things up and not just delivering monthly reports.

I’m a big fan of the ThinkGeek brand, so it was really fun to see their social media specialist present at MozCon. When it comes to social ROI, it can be a difficult topic to tackle, but Carrie Gouldin did so gracefully with numbers and insights to support her great customer stories. You want to know how much FB, Twitter and Pinterest contributed to TG’s bottom line? BAM. What types of content performed the best, and what was the ratio between self-promotional updates and general geeky stuff? No prob. What about the timing and frequency of posts? It’s all there. While Carrie’s presentation wasn’t only about goals, she was able to tie ROI to every social media update, and it was a reminder to focus less on the growth in Fans and Followers, and more on the results that matter most to your company: sales.


Self efficiency, that’s my mission, see.

When is comes to success in search marketing, efficiency is what separates leaders from followers.

Richard Baxter kicked off MozCon with an amazing presentation about targeted outreach. While manual search operators help you find guest blogging opportunities, if that’s how you’re prospecting, you’re doing it wrong. Instead, Baxter recommended scraping data from influencer sharing habits and finding the intersect, or the content that multiple influencers shared. I’m still working my way through his semi-complicated automated steps, but can’t wait to use this tool to discover the optimal prospect list.

Next, fellow conference bud Mike Arnesen blew minds with his one person link building army presentation. In addition to some cool automated IFTTT shortcuts, he also shared some templated email tools that increase efficiency. His strategy was three parts hustle, one part serendipitous…what’s not to love?

It’s a brand new morning, ooh, it’s a brand new day.

Branding is a big component of marketing, but it’s one us online marketers tend to neglect. It’s easy to get caught up in chasing the algo or the next new trend, but much like goals, branding is an imperative part of the process.

Wil Reynolds was back for round two of “real company shit”, and he was pumped up with his usual enthusiasm. Wil encouraged us to think beyond tools and phony tactics and into what matters most: storytelling, pitching, journalism and branding. In addition to sharing success stories from SEER, his presentation also focused on client campaigns that relied on the right timing, publicity, wording and…you guessed it, the story.

Local search presentations rarely focus on differentiating your business creatively, but Dana DiTomaso’s deck did just that. Helpful tips included spending time with your client and their customers to see why people do business with them, telling a story in a limited amount of characters (did someone say PPC?), and matching marketing to your customer’s life events. As if local search expert wasn’t enough, turns out Dana is just a really smart marketer in general.

But to each his own, choose the mobile phone.

I’m sure we’re all sick of hearing about “the year of mobile”, but this year’s MozCon challenged me to think about mobile in a new way. Instead of associating “mobile” with on the go, it’s better to think of the new ways in which we are consuming information, even if it’s from the comfort of your couch at home.

I’ve been super pumped to see Karen McGrane speak, since she is a brilliant content strategist with a badass attitude. Her presentation started with a story about personal computers, one that mimicked the current state of mobile marketing. She also challenged me to think about mobile in terms of accessibility, citing that mobile devices are available where at home internet connections are not. Finally, she encouraged us to think about offering the same content on mobile that we offer on desktop, because why would cancer patients only get half of a website on their tablets or iPhones? We need a content strategy for the new ways people are consuming information, and Karen’s presentation got me super inspired to do just that.

Karen McGrane MozCon

And last but certainly not least, Mr. Dreamy himself delivered a presentation of solid proportions about the future of user behavior. Will Critchlow echoed many of Karen’s same sentiments, also adding that 77% of mobile searches are in a location likely to have a PC available to them, so we need to stop thinking about mobile as devices. In a not-so-dreamy Orwell-esque fashion, Will closed his presentation with a reminder to make the machines happy but always focus on attention, which is more important than links.

Welp, another great MozCon is in the books, and I couldn’t be more inspired! Pitching internally was TOTALLY worth it. Already counting down the days until the next MozCon, which you can already purchase tickets for, Coachella style.

We Love Roger MozBot

Just a stranger on the MozChella bus, trying to make his way home…

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