ConvergeSouth 2012

I attended ConvergeSouth for the first time on Friday, even though I admit I’ve known about the conference since it started about six years ago. Hopefully it won’t be my last time – it was packed full of great ideas from some great minds. My only regret is there were some sessions I didn’t get to attend because I was already toggling between two other equally great sessions.

I was about to put my conference notes into a doc for my boss (to prove I really was there) when I realized I could capture them in a blog post. (Confession: I completely lifted this idea from Gretchen Edwards, who was actually live blogging during the conference.  She does a great blog and you should check it out here: ) Where possible, I’ve included links to the presentations I attended.

Keynote: You Are the Brand

Tracy Myers, @MyersAuto

  • It’s all about people…YOU are the brand. Use yourself to market your company.
  • Position yourself as the expert and trusted adviser on your website.
  • Give something free such as a white paper, free estimate, etc., as lead gen tools.
  • Post video testimonials with real customers
  • Publish a newsletter that people want to read
  • Write a book from series of blog articles, make it available for download on your website.
  • Tout is a platform that allows you to post a :15 video tweet
  • Speak @ events, host seminars
  • Send handwritten thank you cards & letters
  • Memorable quote (on why he personally does all of his company social media) “I feel like I’m letting somebody go out with my wife if I let somebody else post.”

SEO, Adwords & Analytics

Phil Buckley, @1918


  • April 24, 2012 – Penguin update dealt with spam links, same anchor text on multiple sites
  • May – Google introduces the knowledge graph on SERP, a supplemental object about certain people, etc., to the right of search results
  • June 9 – Panda 3.7 caused major SERP fluctuations
  • July 19 – Google sent “unnatural link” warnings via Webmaster Tools
  • August 10 – major blog post on June-July updates. Panda data, algorithm references
  • August 14 – Google begins showing just 7 results for many queries if they think they know what you’re looking for; impacted ~20% of results
  • September 27 – Panda update: impacts 2.5% of English search queries, which is huge, taking a toll on so-so sites.
  • Penguin was as if Google said, “stop all that spam crap.”
  • For links, there is no bonus for doing it the right way, but you will be penalized for doing it the wrong way.
  • Don’t do too much reciprocal linking. Best links are “editorial” links where a real person is rooting for your site.
  • Links should be natural; in other words, paid links give a false sense of importance to Google and they will penalize. It is a multi-month process getting back from bad link penalties.
  • 2012 Google Quality Rater Guidelines
  • Don’t make your site just for the robots. Make your site for users first. Show your navigation, contact info, let visitors see people who really work for you, not stock photos
  • HTML code isn’t going to make that much of a difference


  • Everything becoming more personalized. If logged into any google account, your search is encrypted and your search source shows as “not provided” in search traffic analytics. Becoming a bigger percentage of data. You can get the info from Webmaster Tools. Use a snippet of code on your site, show reach queries.
  • Look at what’s not working on your site.
  • Webmaster Tools – click-through rate gives a good idea what’s working.
  • Biggest change is organic search. All things that worked in the past won’t work any more. The rules have been changed. Put your most important content at the top for the Googlebots. Navigational stuff should be at the bottom

You can view Phil’s presentation here:

I hated leaving Phil’s preso early but I really wanted to hear at least some of Jeff Gauger’s session on the Press.

Getting the Press’ Attention

Jeff Gauger @JeffreyGauger

  • Reporters are busy, get to the point when you contact them.
  • Have a narrow purpose, give something interesting worth printing.
  • Tell them early. Email is the simplest way.
  • The digital marketplace has finally put us (press) in a position of listening. We are hungry for different kinds of quality content.
  • Suggest a partnership – guest blogging is a possibility
  • Most interested in things not solely about your organization, not overtly selling your service.
  • Had multiple community bloggers at his previous newspaper and will eventually develop some for his current paper

You can see Jeff’s presentation here:

Five and Dine:

  • Make an editorial calendar for your blog
  • Storify aggregates social media content into a story article that you can post
  • Read other blogs, comment on them and link back to your blog; but don’t be spammy – add something of value with your comment
  • Monetize your blog? Use ads appropriately
  • Consider a “secret blog alliance” of like-minded people. Comment on each other’s blogs to increase everyone’s exposure.
  • Facebook Company Page: change your images often to keep it fresh. Have a content calendar. Think mobile and keep it simple. Create promotions to engage, encourage interaction.
  • Pinterest: if your company provides a service, post before and after pics, introduce your team, behind the scenes shots

Responsive Web Design

Erik Fadiman

  • Two people to follow for good tips: and
  • By designing responsively, we can future-proof our websites or at least make them future friendly for future devices.
  • Site redesigns should be viewed from 10” 2’, and 10’ away
  • There are so many display sizes/dimensions/resolutions coming up as new devices hit the market. Get your site working on as many formats/platforms as you can, realizing you will probably fail on some of them just because there are so many (phone, desktop, tablet, etc.).
  • Dedicated mobile sites aren’t as relevant any more
  • Understand CSS and you can change your presentation for different formats.
  • To see if a site is Responsive – change your browser window size, see if the page drags, etc; will indicate whether it will respond to different formats. Your site should re-flow your content across several platforms.
  • As you design the site, check it on “crappy phones” – if it’s working on them, it’s probably going to work on other/newer phones.
  • Media queries will tell which style shot to load on the device
  • Start with a device-agnostic style sheet for global content (content that will appear on all devices) then do a tablet layout, desktop layout, etc.
  • Use framework that has 2-3-4 breakpoints.

Facebook for Business: A Deep Dive

Kelly O’Brien @KelleyOB

  • Facebook Ads has lot of statistics. Don’t have to buy an ad to see the numbers.
  • Plan your monthly messaging.
  • Have a yearlong plan.
  • Audit your social presence. (Like doing a communications audit.)
  • Create your own branded shortened URL with or use full links. Some shortened links are not trusted as they’re suspected of being spam.
  • Get feedback from your community, use the polling/questions feature.
  • Incorporate your FB URL into press releases.
  • Create a QR code that leads to your FB page.
  • Use FB Insights to see how people are finding your page, what content gets engagement
  • Add social media links on the contact us page of your main website.

You can view Kelley’s presentation here:

How to Build a Lively Community Around Your Brand

Rebecca Subbiah, @chowandchatter

  • Memorable quote: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
  • Like other colleagues’ FB pages and comment on theirs.
  • Create a podcast with Blog talk radio – not always free though, check into it and utilize if cost-effective

You can see Rebecca’s presentation here:

You can also find lots more cool info on Twitter at #cs2012.

Were you there too? Add your takeaways in the comments section!


4 thoughts on “ConvergeSouth 2012

  1. understand men in love

    My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.

    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on
    a number of websites for about a year and am anxious about
    switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.
    net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into
    it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Chip McCraw Post author

      U.M.I.L., I’ve heard of but don’t know anything about it. Quite the opposite, my company’s website is moving TO the WordPress platform as we speak, and I’m excited about that. Maybe other readers can add some insight on BlogEngine?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s