For those who don’t know, BrightonSEO is a ridiculously popular SEO conference where more than 3,500 digital marketers migrate to Brighton to network and learn how to do their jobs a little bit better. By some measures it’s now the most popular SEO conference in the world, we certainly think so!
BrightonSEO is just one of the conferences organised and produced by Kelvin Newman who is MD of Rough Agenda Ltd, co-owned by both Kelvin and SiteVisibility.
How BrightonSEO started
The connection between SiteVisibility and BrightonSEO can be traced back to 2007 when Kelvin was an Account Executive at SiteVisibility. Together with a few other Brighton based SEO’s it was decided to get together and share SEO stories and knowledge over a few pints in a spare room above the Quadrant pub near the Clock Tower. Wired Sussex provided the projector, the attendees provided the content, SiteVisibility paid for the venue, FreshEgg bought the beer and Kelvin curated the overall event.
BrightonSEO grew as a passion project, however each subsequent event got bigger, more complex and time-consuming to organise. The growth in Kelvin’s expense claim was suitably impressive too!
Why is SiteVisibility involved?
SiteVisibility initially financed the event because we believe in the both the importance of sharing knowledge within the SEO Industry and supporting our team’s own entrepreneurial initiatives.
These entrepreneurial skills stem from our desire to treat clients businesses like our own. It’s a useful mindset to nurture in an agency and you’d be surprised at how many other agencies people don’t think like this.
This approach has spawned many ideas…We’re honest enough to say we’ve had plenty of failures but some of the successes include The Internet Marketing Podcast (more than 20,000 listeners per month in over 90 countries and constantly ranking amongst the top marketing podcasts in the world on iTunes), clockworkTalent (our digital marketing recruitment agency) and of course BrightonSEO.
In the case of BrightonSEO, it became so successful that it deserved to become a business in itself.
From caterpillar to butterfly
From the early days, Kelvin was keen to learn more about running a business. It was always his desire to take on more commercial responsibility and it was our open understanding that one day he wanted to run his own business. As many of us know, making the leap into running your own business can be a frightening.
We were able to get the best of both worlds by setting up the business within the main business, where risk and reward are shared. Kelvin enjoys the freedom of running his own business as MD and shareholder while SiteVisibility provide an established financial and management infrastructure which allows for the ambitious growth plans to be more confidently signed off and invested in.
And Kelvin has done an excellent job of it!
How BrightonSEO works
By 2011 the business had grown sufficiently to require external funding; we needed help covering the costs and so decided to invite sponsors to get involved in exchange for exposure to the growing and loyal audience.
Early sponsors included technology companies like Linkdex, Authoritas, Calltracks, DeepCrawl, Kerboo, MiShopLocal, Pi Datametrics as well as other agencies including Fresh Egg and White.net, some of whom remain sponsors to this day.
Thank you to our sponsors, we can’t offer the free tickets without your support!
For our part, we decided to keep a low profile so that the visibility of other sponsors could be monetised. Many questioned the logic, including our own staff who all attend every event. But we consoled ourselves by working hard behind the scenes to give our clients and team members preferential access to talks, roundtables and people by way of benefit.
It now costs almost £300k to put on each BrightonSEO conference for the 3500+ delegates who come from more than 30 countries around the world to our quirky seaside town twice a year. There is a large and passionate team of specialists led by Kelvin, Tom and Nicola who spend months planning BrightonSEO, listening to and acting on feedback from the community to continuously improve and develop the show every time.
Rough Agenda (which includes Measurefest, & Affiliate Huddle) now has revenue approaching £1m, is growing in excess of 30% per annum and generates a decent profit for its shareholders. Enough to allow investment in further improvements for delegates and sponsors alike.
And what of the future?
We want to continue to improve and grow the event and business. We know that there are alternatives and we welcome the competition. It helps us to work harder to make BrightonSEO uniquely special for our delegate community, which in turn pleases our sponsors.
Who knows what surprises the future holds but here’s what we’re planning;
- We’ll continue to look for new speaking talent, giving the younger and less experienced the chance to cut their teeth in conference speaking
- We’ll continue to develop new and better ways to introduce innovative technology, methodologies and thinking to the SEO community
- We’ll develop and expand our training offering beyond Brighton, first with events in London and Manchester
- We’ll explore introducing the unique BrightonSEO experience to other digital hotspots around the UK and further afield
- We’ll improve the way we nurture and help share knowledge amongst our community of 20,000+ SEO’s
- We’ll always put the interest of the SEO community first
And of course, we’ll always offer a free conference for those quick enough to hit “apply” on ticket release day!
Benefits for our clients
All SiteVisibility clients get preferential treatment at BrightonSEO events! This includes:
- Guaranteed tickets to each and every event
- 50% off the price of BrightonSEO Training Workshops
- VIP Bags, including exclusive BrightonSEO T-shirts and Beer
- An invitation to our exclusive lunch on the day of the conference
- Extra drinks tokens to enjoy at the bar after the event
If you’d like to find out more, give us a call on 01273 733433 or get in touch with using the contact form below: