I was fortunate to attend BrightonSEO for the second time this year. As an organiser for Search London, I was keen to speak to Kelvin Newman, the brainchild behind BrightonSEO which was “sold” out in just a few minutes.
How long have you been running BrightonSEO for?
The last event was the 6th event which means just over 3 years, since March 2009.
How many people did you have at your first BrightonSEO and how many did you have at your latest?
We had 35 people at the first event and the last one at the beginning of September, there were just over 1500 people.
How did you get sponsorship for the first event and how do you continue to get sponsorship?
We did not have sponsorship for the first two. My company paid the £50 to hire a room in a pub. The second time, my company put £100 to hire the venue and then Fresh Egg put money behind the bar on the day.
The realisation that I have made over the last few Brighton SEOs is that my customers are the sponsors. My job is first to keep them happy this is how I continue to get sponsorship for BrightonSEO.
2011 was when we first started getting serious sponsorship and it was from mostly people who I knew and I was calling in favours, people who I knew had good products or services the attendees would be interested in.
Have you ever been out of pocket for running these events?
No, but mainly because I made sure I we never spent more than we had in sponsorship. It isn’t cheap to hire a venue that can hold 1500+ people and buy them tea, coffee and beer, but thanks to some generous sponsors we’ve been able to do it.
Is it a profitable event? Do you have a ROI on running BrightonSEO?
Yes it makes money. The idea is that it is a business and keeps a roof over it’s head in it’s own right that helps justify all the time and effort I and the team put into the event. SiteVisibility benefit as well, we get to programme a conference that fits our training needs, it helps us attract talent, and we do also get sales leads from being involved.
How many BrightonSEOs do you run a year and why?
We run them twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn. We have them twice a year because initially we felt a year was a really long time between events.
Where do you BrightonSEO going in the future?
I really want more people to come. As well as putting on great talks I want to make it easier for people to meet the other interesting attendees. I want it to be a place where freelancers can meet up with freelancers and share notes. I want the Heads of SEOs from agencies meet other heads of SEOs and talk about how their train their teams. Because of the scale we’ve reached we can do that, for example there were nearly 100 travel SEOs registered for the last event.
Is it important for it to be free?
I have always been lucky to go to the SEO conferences, but not everyone is this lucky. As an industry, we have a commitment to offer others valuable search information that will help them in their work, making that free helps spread the message wider.