Something Left Field – A Totally MozCon Experience

Good marketers talk about telling stories.

When you write content, when you create video, when you design an infographic, tell a story.

So I’m gonna tell you about my MozCon experience.

Zeph, Suarev, Sarah Bird, Lexie and a few others…. there are “actionable” items in here for you! Just bear with me for the first 500 words please.

Nathalie I stole your words for the title, because I think this qualifies…

Up until writing this post, I’ve been a project manager. I have a broad knowledge of digital, but no specialism. In short, I’m awesome at getting shit done.

This conflicts with a lot of the principles that should be done to perform great marketing. Why? Because I’m so focused on getting things out the door, that sometimes I don’t take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture.

In June 2014, I was on the way to a meeting in a car with my boss. He casually mentioned that he had booked to go to #Mozcon in Seattle, but might not be able to make it, and did I want to go? I casually said, yeah I’ll go. I didn’t really think too much about it. I’d never been to Mozcon before and didn’t know what to expect. Up to now I don’t really go to many events. Events kill my schedule. I’m a project manager. My time is precious.

As the weeks went by I began to get a little excited about going. Not really because of the speakers. But because I can get out the office. Meet a few people. See Seattle. Party a bit. Feel important.

In the week before the conference, I started thinking, Ive got so much to do, this conference is really gonna get in the way of me launching these 4 sites by the end of July. So in my hast and my countdown to Friday 5.30pm… I’m manically getting shit out the door. Clearing my ‘to do’ list. Probably not doing things quite as well as I could be doing them. 99% got done. I can go to Seattle, safe in the knowledge that England will not implode without me. I can sleep at night. I haven’t, but not because of work worry. More on this later.

Saturday 12th July 2014, I arrive in Seattle. I do a little shopping. I walk the city. I speak to some randoms. I’m not even thinking about the speakers, the opportunities at Mozcon.

Skyscrapers Seattle

Arriving in Seattle for Mozcon


Four days later, my mind is blown away. I’m buzzing for Mozcon. I’m living it, breathing it, dreaming it, but nothing’s changed for me other than I’m a little smarter. I’ve also developed an inferiority complex because of the pure genius of the minds, the people behind Moz and the people delivering these presentations. I have also been impressed by the number of people at the conference who are great marketers themselves.

Even though I consider myself a pretty solid marketer I came into the conference not really knowing the speakers. Not really doing any research about them. Not viewing last year’s presentations. I’m a project manager. My time is precious.

Joe Cutroni

Some dude who knows a bit about Google Analytics… (Justin Cutroni)

As the conference continues on Day 2 (I’m writing this on Day 3 during RichardBaxter’s @RichardBaxter speech – Sorry Richard) I am learning, learning, learning. I’m getting excited again about why I do marketing. Maybe this is the first time I’ve ever been properly excited about marketing. Moz and all the speakers and their associated companies make marketing exciting. They empower marketers and clients.

On another note, I think I bumped into Richard briefly a few days back not knowing who he was. And I just realised who he is about 20 minutes ago. I didn’t know who he was because I don’t read a lot of blogs and I don’t really do social online. I’m a project manager. My time is precious.

I’m pretty good at social offline. More on this later.

Side note: Prior to the conference I had only tweeted maybe 25 times. I’m a project manager. My time is precious.

So I’m embracing Mozcon in all its glory. Today on day 3, my tweets are up to 94. I’m making notes. I’m recording audio of the sessions to regurgitate some of this stuff later. I’m tweeting quotes. I’m tagging @pauleycreative to show all my clients we’re here and learning new skills. I’m tagging friends I’ve met here. I’m eating out with friends. I’m networking. I’m taking photos. I’m connecting with all the speakers. And I’m also drinking!! A lot. More on this later.

It was Day 2, Moz Party night. I got chatting to a random guy whilst taking a pee. Rand @randfish was in there. I felt his moustache tickle the back of my neck. He was 6 feet away at the sink.

Rand speaks at Mozcon

Another Rand’m dude with a fancy moustache… (Rand Fishkin)

Anyway I didn’t know who this random guy was or who he worked for. But for some reason International SEO came up. To put this in context, I had wanted to ask a question on day 2 to @ZephSnapp but they ran out of time and I didn’t get the chance. I ran into Zeph straight after his speech on the way back from the toilet. Yes there’s a theme appearing, but I drunk my body weight in vodka the previous night and 10 times my weight in water trying to rehydrate. I asked my question to Zeph and he gave me a great answer. I came away thinking I have the knowledge I need to make my next international project a real success and to be able to make my client happy and reassure them that I know my shizzle. There is so little written about the particular query I had that I was really relieved that I’m managed to catch up with Zeph.

But when chatting to the guy in the toilet on Party night, he had a conflicting view. He said the total opposite in fact. So now I’m screwed. Now I don’t know what to tell my client again. Now I don’t know how to go away and build my next international site.
Zeph is a specialist but with a heavy emphasis on Spanish. This guy works on sites in Asia and Europe. This guy is Saurav Rimal @sauravrimal and he works for SEER. He works for Wil Reynolds!!! @wilreynolds (who I now have a man crush on).
By now you might be thinking, where the f is this going. Get to the point. Ok, I will.

The point is, there is no answer to my problem…..yet.

I say to Saurav, how do I find out what the right answer is and more importantly what is wrong. And Saurav says to me;

“why do you need other people to tell you what’s right”.

This simple quote in that moment made my lightbulb not just light up but explode. It made me step back and see the bigger picture. It made me realise that I can be a pioneer in this field. More important than me…anyone can be a pioneer in digital marketing, because the space is continually evolving.

I’m going to repeat that.

“Anyone can be a pioneer in digital marketing”.

Not all the questions have been answered. Saurav said “go find out what is right”. I said, “I will, and when I do, maybe I’ll be the man on stage at Mozcon next year delivering my results”. Maybe I’ll be the man motivating marketers to do something great, new, innovative. Maybe just maybe. I think this story along with a set of results would make a great presentation. What do you think Sarah? @sarahbird

Maybe this post won’t go viral. Maybe no one will read it other than my customers. Maybe it will just be a “nice” comment piece about a conference. The post will offer no value to my customers other than to promote that they go to Mozcon. Maybe Moz wont pay any attention to it. Maybe I wont get a load of authoritative links from it. Maybe it won’t raise the profile of @pauleycreative. Maybe in a year I’ll still be a lowly project manager.

But either way I am going to undertake this research project for international seo (if the client lets me) to fulfil my own curiosity and (as Rand emphasized in his closing speech) test, test, test. I’ll be a better marketer for it. My client will be happy that we’ve found out the answer and we are applying it. And I’ll have got excited about marketing.  I might feel a little more pioneering. And the research results will definitely be valuable to members of the Moz community.

So thank you Moz and thank you Saurav Rimal. I think this is a great case study for the conference and the embodiment of what Moz stands for. Is this TAGFEE Rand?

Mozcon, Seattle

Mozcon – A proper light-bulb-exploding Experience

Apologies if this piece of content doesn’t read well, is missing some stuff, isn’t gramatically. (See what I did there?!). But Dr Pete @dr_pete said himself, “Save the best for first”. Content shouldn’t wait. And I wanted to get it posted quickly.

Zeph and Saurav shout if you want to get involved in this research, maybe we can collaborate. If not I’ll fill you all in on the results of my project when I find out the answer. I need 6,…er 12 months I think. Under promise, over deliver.

Oh and on that social, networking, drinking part…all there is to say is thanks to all the folks that made my time at mozcon awesome….see your name below. @richmillington this is my exclusive MozCon community. My payment to you for a great time is a “fairly” authoritative link.

@wojkwasi from
@clairepells from
@Hekator from
@ysilver from
@VikNVasilev from
@analiamiguel from
@saraschromo from
@richharbeson from
@mynameistylor from
@bilbrauer from

Who wants in?

Thanks to @distilled, as without your preconference meet up and the power of ping pong and beer, I wouldn’t have met half these guys. And thanks to my boss @nick_pauley, for not being able to come to Mozcon. It was my first, but definitely not my last. Small mention to Jason Labue (he doesn’t have a Twitter account, sorry to expose that fact) from Group Publishing. He knows why. He probably wont read this until some seo says, what the hell is this campaign tag? I’d like to think Distilled and Moz will be sharper than that.

If this post is successful maybe @leximills and @suzzicks will find time to reply to my tweet questions. James Morgan I still have your adapter. Tweet me.

Now I need to go and listen to my audio from today because I spent most of the day writing this. One thing I have picked up was Nathalie Nahai’s @thewebpsych comment, who said “do something left field”…so i did. Does it qualify?

P.S. Sorry to muck your utm tags up but I wanted to get noticed. There is also probably a whole load of link errors. I’m tired. Photos to follow.

About Stuart Dinnie

Stuart has worked in the world of digital marketing for over 15 years. With his measured and planned approach, he has delivered robust digital strategies for construction companies to achieve real business growth. He now heads up the team at Pauley Creative as Managing Director and is leading his team & clients towards digital marketing excellence. He’s worked with over 100 construction clients; helping them on their digital transformation journey, providing sustainable strategies that return year on year incremental growth, delivering award-winning websites and adding value from board level to marketing assistant.

8 Responses to “Something Left Field – A Totally MozCon Experience”

  1. mike van der heijden

    Great post Stuart! I totally agree with your point that everyone can a pioneer in digital marketing! If you ever need a hand with the international SEO thing, just hit me up, always happy to help out where I can!

    • Stuart Dinnie

      Hey Mike – thanks for the comments and the offer of the support. Really appreciated. Please send me your + profile link or twitter handle.

  2. Analia Gentile

    Hey amigo, you are much more than a project manager, you are a digital marketing machine in incubation!
    What an amazing conference! It was great meeting you and many other bright emarketers. Thanks to @nick_pauley for sending you. Hopefully I’ll see you next year.

    • Stuart Dinnie

      Ah thanks Analia. Will definitely see you next year. Great to meet you to and I wont forget that invite! Its banked!! 🙂

  3. Hector

    Stuart! Great read. Thanks for the thoughts.
    It was a rad time. Glad I met you. We should all check in with each other in a few months to make we still have the marketing fire roaring.

    • Stuart Dinnie

      You’re the boss man. Hector the Director. If you say we gotta check in, we gotta check in 😉

  4. Woj Kwasi

    Stuart, this is brilliant.. thanks for putting it together. Just got home and this helped relive some of the mozcon experience. It was absolutely sensational meeting you mate and make sure you get in touch next time your in my neck of the woods 🙂

    Oh hai there Hector!

    • Stuart Dinnie

      ha..cheers Woj. Brings a tear to the eye ey. You’ll need to let me know where Adelaide is pal. Never heard of it.


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