I promised myself that I would follow through on an entry about PodCampAZ with respect to it being free, fun and exciting. This year, it was at UAT, in Tempe, AZ. Not too far from my residence. A handful of my friends and colleagues attended and we loved it.
I’ll share the five big items I learned. Now, keep in mind the material is right up my alley. That said, I believe we can always solidify and sharpen our skills and knowledge at all times from everyone. It’s very wiki of me, I guess.
- Arizona has a motivated, interwoven and supportive social media community. Several years ago, this geeky stuff that I dabbled with made be feel very empowered and isolated with tech skills and connection to people. Social media just does that to community leaders, despite the term, “community.” After attending this conference, I am shocked and amazed by the talent we in AZ have. It’s no wonder why we dominate Twitter every time for #1 trending topics. (From experience, search on #mpdm and #podcampaz to see why.)
- I really know my stuff and I’m on top of my game, mostly. Aside from a few tweaks to my game plan and overall style, I know social media. I truly connect and identify with the speakers and I feel like they speak from my own experiences in the past with community management. This doesn’t mean I become prude or isolated, in fact I means I get to sit back and listen more. A lot of us know, and it is helpful to see that we can depend on each other. Good people here.
- Video is great for sharing personality, more so than blogs. I grew somewhat skeptical about videos over the years, but I’ve been thinking a lot about personal branding, thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk. I find videos enabled a content creator to share their non-verbal messaging much more clearly and capture the audience much more effectively than text. On a validated level, go watch some of Gary’s stuff and then imagine if he wrote it — his words would not move you as much as his tongue. (Not trying to take that in the gutter, really.)
- Fix your damn products and services. There is no amount of marketing that can cover up a crappy product or service. Best case study: AOL. ‘Nuff said. But if your product and services kick major arse, they market themselves. That is, your users market your products, services and brand voluntarily. If you have a broken product, freeze your marketing budget and allocate it to fixing your product and service. Now.
- Attend PodCamps and Unconferences armed with power strips, chargers and 30-second elevator pitches. I know these aren’t sales oriented, but it’s good to have good sales techniques with you. Sales techniques such as a masterful 30-second elevator pitch is a great way to ease into casual conversation and be on top of your game with new contacts. (Tip: Have a pitch for YOU and YOUR COMPANY, and ensure they are unique.) Having power cords and chargers on your person connects you to the outside world. Especially to that never-ending, but oh-so-addictive backchannel.
I had a great time meeting and greeting with everyone. I had a blast tweeting every message I did (sorry to those indirectly affected by my Twitter ownage). I am still in disbelief that PodCampAZ was FREE to the world. (I gladly paid $25 as a donation for the cause.)
Oh, and I made up a word for Chris Pirillo when we owns his critics, rightfully. Pirillowned. Basically, it’s when his uses his wit and geekiness to put out the misery of his toughest critics.
PodCampAZ 2009 is open to pre-registration, should you want to attend.