Being from Minnesota we cherish the summer season. In other areas of the country, people may actually be immune to the sunshine, but up here in Nordicland, summer is a very defined thirteen weeks from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Minnesota has the highest amount of boats per capita of any state and it seems like almost everyone has a cabin “up Nort.” I do love the four seasons, but with the leaves starting to change and winter around the corner, now is a time we start to look to warmer areas to capture more of that summer feel.

For that reason, the timing of Pubcon could not be better. That October date is stamped on our calendars, and warm and sunny Las Vegas is one of the reasons we go back every year. We will be celebrating NordicClick’s 10th birthday this Spring and looking back this will be my 8th Pubcon. I am traveling with five co-workers, including two Vegas newbies. My business partner Adam Proehl is also speaking at the event. Each one of us has our own individual game plan for sessions to attend.

My friends, family and co-workers will tell you that I don’t like to change my routine often. At PubCon, the consistency of the content, nighttime events and networking make me want to return year after year.

Reasons why I continue to return to Pubcon:

Content – I go to industry shows all over the country and I do feel that Pubcon has the best value to content ratio. The full three days are jam-packed with content and each day has multiple tracks. Tuesday is Agency and Enterprise day, Wednesday is Content Marketing and Thursday is Pro Industry day. The content is overwhelming so I would recommend:

  1. Research the speakers and follow their Twitter feeds. They have more than likely spoken at other events, so you should be able to see reviews and opinions on their content and delivery.
  2. Create a game plan before you go. There is limited time between sessions, so it is nice to have your day planned out. You can always make changes on the fly.
  3. Don’t stay in one track too long. The content will start to blend. Jump off your core topic and go to a session on another track.

Keynotes Keynotes are generally hit or miss in my opinion, but the Pubcon keynotes are always entertaining and informative. I am looking forward to the State of SEO/SEM from Bill Hunt and the always-entertaining Scott Stratten (QR Codes Kill Kittens).

Networking – Pubcon brings together many professional and personal contacts I have met throughout the years, and it is a great time to catch up and network. Some of the most fun times are around the hotel bar and in between sessions.

Parties – There is so much to do in Vegas (see below), but Pubcon starts the night off strong with the Senor Frogs networking party. The Search Awards are also a time to recognize great work in our industry.

Vegas Tips – I consider myself a Vegas expert, having been there enough to be dangerous, and I love lists. Below are the lucky number 7 pieces of advice while at Pubcon:

  1. Take an extra day or two – Fly out a little early or stay a little late. There is so much to see in Vegas that doesn’t happen right on the strip. Enjoy the pool, go see the Hoover Dam, visit the Neon museum, rent a car and drive to Red Rock canyon or the Grand Canyon!
  2. Don’t check your bags – With all due respect to the hard workers at McCarran Airport the worst way to start your vacation is to wait and even worse lose your luggage. There are a ton of shopping malls in Vegas and a great one close to TI is the Miracle Mile. Instead of over packing, under pack your bag and use that as an excuse to shop for an outfit or two to wear. Your travel companions will appreciate it.
  3. Go Downtown – So many people stay on the strip when they are in Vegas. Take one night and go downtown to see a little touch of old Vegas. The Fremont street experience feels like you are at a concert combined with a laser light show. You’ll find great people watching, specials on drinks, and live bands almost every night of the week. One of my personal favorite restaurants is the steakhouse on the top floor of Binion’s Casino. Enjoy great steak with a view back towards the strip.
  1. Gamble… a little – Throw a few dollars in the slot machines, on the blackjack table or play some poker. A little gambling is fun and you will get some complimentary drinks (notice I didn’t say free because nothing is free in Vegas). Learn a new game. At the last Pubcon I always wanted to play Baccarat and found a nice Poker dealer who taught me how to play.
  2. Don’t do the crime… – I abide by a personal rule that I pass on to my employees. I have no problem with partying and staying up late as long as you don’t miss any sessions. The more you party, the harder it is to get up, but you are there to learn. Take care of your body, drink a lot of water, get fresh air, and sleep when you get home.
  3. Take advantage of that free time – See a show, ride the bull at Gilly’s, zip line off the Stratosphere, dance like no one is looking at a club, try a new cuisine, go to a Museum. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Vegas is not far behind.
  4. Don’t be that guy…. or gal – Everything is in excess in Vegas and it’s really easy to let the night get away from you. Remember that you are a professional and there are cameras with access to social media looking at you at all times. “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas” – sort of.

When we come back, we are going to compile a list of learnings, observations and stories to share. There is still time to register for Pubcon. Hopefully we will see you there.

Follow @NordicClick on Twitter to catch tweets on what we’re learning throughout the week!