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This week’s PPCChat session was hosted by AzeemPPC who sought PPCers views on Conferences, Speaking and Self Development/Improvement.


Q1 – In terms of your own self-development, how important is attending a conference to you, and why?


I love to attend conferences. I don’t do very many each year, but when I do I come back energized. Being with industry people in person is amazing. @NeptuneMoon

I tend to not attend too many conferences as it feels slightly repetitive, I pick around 2 ones (at most) that I know I’ll learn from/motivate me to attend per year! @areej_abuali

At the right conference I can come away with new techniques / campaigns to trial and implement which is obviously awesome, but more awesome is a good conference motivates and reinvigorates me. I can become quite isolated in my own world and techniques to be honest. @scright

The knowledge exchange and networking is invaluable for me, and hearing from some of the top experts in the industry is a huge win! @AzeemPpc

My conference attendance has dropped off recently b/c most past content was focused on tactical 101 or 201 type stuff. Has anyone attended more advanced recently? @SEM_PPC_MattV

Conferences make me feel energized! Even if a session is about a topic I’m familiar with I usually come away with a few good tips. @FindingAmanda

I find conferences to be a necessary humbling. It helps anyone who has been doing this realize 1. They aren’t the best, 2. There is a lot more to learn, 3. They aren’t the only ones doing SEM. conferences are always a great reminder of how bad I am at making powerpoint decks.@JonKagan

Conferences are important because they provided a way for this small town gal to network and build relationships IRL. It’s how I met my husband along with many industry friends around the world. @Nicole_Mintiens

In the past I went to conferences and they seem to be more about “basics” than advanced topics, so I have not gone in a very long time. @lchasse

Getting back into PPC, have not attended many conference but plan to change that. In the past conferences, they have been empowering be surrounded by other PPC nerds at all levels. @ppcErika


Q2 – Which talk have you seen at a conference that has really inspired you with great takeaways to apply in your current role?


I hope to soon have many takeaways from talks.@ppcErika

I recall from Search Love London 2018 when she broke down a massive topic such as information architecture into such practical hands-on tips, it was great! @areej_abuali

I think the talk that altered my approach to a whole aspect of my work was ‘s Google Shopping talk at 2017. I literally went back to my team and rebuilt all our campaigns the next day. @scright

There were some really good ones at in Philly. Both of ‘s sessions, and delivered real ideas on how to do stuff better on their different platforms of expertise! I don’t remember which it was, but had a great keynote about keywords and how they all work together. The concept of looking beyond just what a particular term did. Case study about turning stuff off & how it impacted everything.@NeptuneMoon

For me, I really enjoyed talk at earlier this year. His talk on Google Smart Bidding and a proper testing framework really resonated with me. Definitely someone who knows his stuff! @AzeemPpc

Any talk by = Many practical tactical takeaways served in rapid succession. Also makes me realize there’s so much more I could do with big data. Plus ’s emotional optimization = 100 @Nicole_Mintiens

on when to use scripts and on attribution on real-life examples of technical SEO & IA and the team on Facebook targeting. @ferkungamaboobo


Q3 – If you’ve spoken at a conference – what motivated you to apply? If you’ve never spoken, would you consider it, and why?


A boss told me the only way to get ahead in the industry is to be a name, and no one could promote my name better than myself, so he told me speaking would be a great start. When I became indecisive on it, he told me he would punch me in the throat if I didn’t do it. @JonKagan

Honest, shameful answer: wanted free tickets to an expensive conference. Speaking gets you in free. @amyppc

I spoke at my first big conference after being highly encouraged to do so by the wonderful . If you think you want to present and haven’t yet, start pitching! Start locally too – EVERYONE wants to know about digital marketing. @NeptuneMoon

Same here @NeptuneMoon– Matt encouraged me to speak. Even though I don’t do it much anymore I’m so glad I did. @Mel66

I’ve never spoken at a conference, I’d like to though. It would be a great way to establish myself as a thought leader. @FindingAmanda

I spoke at this year’s and it was a huge personal goal for me and my career to achieve. I really valued the support all of the speakers got and regular speakers were treated as equally as new ones. Highly recommend pitching! @AzeemPpc

I wanted to challenge myself to prove to myself it’s something I ‘CAN’ do! @areej_abuali

I’m in limbo, having spoken at events before but never conferences I will be speaking at London in October! What motivated me was actually just discovering that once I got past the nerves public speaking is really fun, with practice I came to enjoy it! @scright

Speaking gets you a free ticket and I enjoy sharing with others. @robert_brady

I have strong opinions on how to set up WordPress. But overall, my interest stemmed from the thought that it was the only way to advance in “the biz” @ferkungamaboobo

I’d love to become an industry “name” for my niche. I’d love to speak at a conference, but I feel like there isn’t anything I have to say just yet that hasn’t already been said and I want to provide significant value to those I speak to. @anna_arrow

I have only spoken at local conferences where folks asked me to speak. I know speaking helps get you much more recognized, just have not stepped out and done it. @lchasse

I was motivated by a desire to (1) share what I’ve learned (2) grow personal/business brand (3) travel (hashtag fulltransparency). @PPCKirk

This is crazy, but thinking back on it – the people who encouraged me to start speaking and to leave my last job were both GOOGLE REPS. @amyppc


Q4 – Do you make time for your own development, and how?


I am always reading things to keep up with the crazy platform changes. In a larger way, working on and sharing info I find with you all motivates me. I also have been doing this for a long time and really like to help others in their careers. @NeptuneMoon

I actually look for online classes to take and I read a lot. Marketing books, business, etc… Oh and try and participate in ppcchat when work allows. @lchasse

Kind of, we do group development, so we research, study, and learn independently but come together with the team to actually test/implement. @JonKagan

I’ve done better at this in the past. Lately the tyranny of the urgent has crowded out even specifically blocked out times in my calendar. It really does take self-discipline to learn and grow. Probably the number one quickest/most comprehensive way I have grown in my own PPC knowledge has been by speaking/writing/forum posting. Nothing like researching to teach that helps you learn a topic more deeply. @PPCKirk

In fits and spurts. I have four or so marketing books that I need to read, but my kindle isn’t cooperating. My best personal development comes from solving problems — X needs to be solved by end of week, how do we do it? @ferkungamaboobo

I’ve been using Theme Days to schedule in prof dev and growth rather than just client work. I was resistant to it but it makes a big difference! @amyppc

I’ve found that the best way for me to make time for my own development is to make sure the medium is something I enjoy. Podcasts is #1 (there are great ones out there), reading is #2. If you try and force yourself into something you don’t like, you’ll ignore it. Recent blog posts & reading books – both can be extremely helpful @DarthSamK

I try to, I fully intend to. Reality is that recently I am absorbed by my work and don’t have much time for development areas (I rely on Twitter chats. The best way I ensure I make time is by booking conferences / training in advance. @scright

Absolutely! I make a point to carve out at least 1 distraction-free hour each week to focus on developing a new skill. Lately it’s been negotiation strategy. @SEM_PPC_MattV

I read a lot of blogs and books. I also attend a lot of webinars. Full disclosure: mom guilt has kept me from attending conferences in the past but I have a few in person conferences I’m attending this year! Super excited. @anna_arrow

I feel like I view being in “work mode” as my only time for personal/professional development. I could definitely do better at developing other aspects of my life outside of work. @jordan_fry

Read books, blogs. Currently going to upload @ppcErika


Q5 – What are you currently learning about? (This might be a good way to connect with others in the space who have already been there/learnt it…)


There isn’t one thing I focus on with continued education. One day I read about keyword changes, the next I am learning about automation. @anna_arrow

I am currently trying to better understand and figure out how to work well with all the ML being pushed on us. I highly recommend book on the subject. Taking a look at the longer horizon to try to position myself well. @NeptuneMoon

Specifically YT Advertising, but a broader answer would be brand awareness/TOF advertising. Copywriting is a skill I’ve been trying to master forever too so always trying to learn more in that arena. @DarthSamK

Data visualization/ Data Studio all day long. It’s my favorite and I spend way longer on it than is probably justified for needing to make report deliverables. @amyppc

Learning more on GDN/YT automation, and the shift to more keywordless industry ad efforts. @JonKagan

I am actually currently reading ‘s book that I downloaded on my kindle recently. @lchasse

My focus lately has been on the big picture and getting into the positioning and branding aspects. I think back on all the client interactions I’ve had where that was the problem no one wanted to touch. @ferkungamaboobo

Currently learning a lot about advertising on Youtube (ad formats, buying models, audience availability, etc) @jordan_fry

Currently learning Amazon ads. @bufoting


Q6 – What one thing would you suggest that employers should do, to encourage self development?


A few things on and off, Quora Ads are being tested and I do more SEO than ever. The last 12 months have been a big learning in Facebook Ads and I learn a lot from groups and courses. The community and are building is super helpful! @scright

I do the same for myself that I used to do for my employees when I worked for other companies. Budget furthering my learning into my expenses, so if I want to take a course, buy books, etc… We have to prioritize learning by budgeting both time and $. @lchasse

Prioritize it. Schedule time for your people to learn new things. Set up ways for people to share with each other what they’re learning (and see the multiplier effect!). @NeptuneMoon

I know it is far fetched but offer employees some help to get to conferences or reimbursement for other paid learning resources. Invest in your people’s learning. @anna_arrow

I still remember taking my FIRST Google Ads exam (back when it was $50). I was so worried I’d fail and that my company would make me pay to take it again. Ha! @amyppc

Encourage learning outside of your vertical/job description. Also – schedule time to discuss new things people are learning & encourage sharing with everyone in the office! Spread the knowledge! During weekly internal calls, we try and schedule 10 minutes to discuss something new or interesting that someone learned. It helps to have a close team where everyone feels comfortable. @DarthSamK

Outside of expenses such as conferences, one thing I valued at my old agency was we did internal talks / lunch and learns. If someone did something great / new on a Friday afternoon (over beers) they’d present it to the agency. It was a relaxed way of presenting. @scright

Pay for employee memberships to learning platforms such as or offer to pay for employees to become certified in a platform of the employee’s choosing. @jordan_fry

1. Pay for your employees certs, and take time out of the day to train them. 2. Send them to conferences with a mentor who’ll network with them. 3. Engage teammates on “big” problems that are above their pay grade. @ferkungamaboobo

Plug in with the PPC community. There are so many friendly, smart people in PPC who are super willing to share their experiences and techniques. Facebook groups can be great, too. Shameless Plug: here’s a great one:  @jphebdon


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