Chris Brogan, although I follow on twitter, is someone I need to read more often. Awesome, awesome tips on blogging and all in one place. A great resource, I never thought of creating an editorial calendar, and why not? Magazines, newspapers all do it.
A friend of mine on Twitter @researchgoddess sent me these questions to answer as part of an interview – so I am posting the interview here, and she’ll post hers on her site. Enjoy!
1. How long have you been working in internet marketing and what attracted you to it?
I started in publishing in 1995 and launched magazine websites. In 2000 I started at MaineToday.com as Audience Development Manager, primarily focused on driving new traffic to the site. Thanks to @seosylph for inspiration, I started SEO full-time less than a year ago with HMG Search Marketing, a boutique search agency in Portland, ME. So I’m one of the few with a strong marketing background, not a tech background. I can mess my way around code, but definitely not like some of the SEO people I follow.
2. In your opinion, what’s the measure of a good SEO/PR/Blogging professional?
A good SEO professional is someone who is well-versed in Webmaster guidelines, understands client goals, and does not take themselves too seriously. There’s always more to learn.
3. Whose blog do you read the most?
There are so many it’s hard to pick just one, it really depends what mood I’m in, or what kind of information I’m looking for. I’m a fan of @ericlander and @leeodden Top Rank Marketing Blog . I also enjoy @lisabarone, she is a gorgeous writer.
4. What’s your best “SEO secret” or blogging tactic?
There’s a secret? Please tell me! Seriously, I started blogging in the past year – and it is work, but so far it’s paid off in terms of at least establishing a presence for myself. That sounds egocentric, however it’s necessary in any professional realm. Learning and not being intimidated to write is probably the best tactic I can share. If you’re well-read, you can share valuable “info snacks” (that’s an Avinash Kaushik term) presenting what kind of information is important to you.
5. Search engine algorithms are getting smarter, and a lot of people predict Organic SEO services will become obsolete. How do you plan to adapt?
I have a hard time believing it will become obsolete. Websites are still being built, and they need to be built well. Granted the technology changes and gets better, but it’s only as good as the people behind it. SEO is also about marketing, people for get that. Businesses need to connect with customers, and as long as there’s money being spent, marketing is not going to go away.
6. Please describe the biggest challenge you face in your current job.
My biggest challenge right now is keeping up. Managing multiple clients with different needs requires changing gears often. I also would like a great way to pitch social media as part of an SEO package. Just haven’t gotten around to doing that.
7. Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in SEO, but doesn’t have a background in it, on how to get started in this field?
The only way to get to know it is to start learning and practicing SEO on a regular basis, network with knowledgeable people. The best way to do this is to start a blog, learn analytics and get on Twitter. I’ve discovered and networked with some fabulous people who are generous with advice.
8. If you could rank for any keyword phrase you don’t currently rank for, what would it be?
9. Assuming you had never gone into (what you do now), what would you be doing now (professionally)?
I’d be an artist, painting probably, and wondering why I have no money.
10. Do you have any interest in politics? (Or what’s your favorite professional sports team if you don’t want to answer the politics thing).
I’ve always been a Boston Red Sox fan. Growing up right outside of Boston will do that to you. You could hate baseball and still love the Red Sox.
Thank you to @MelaniePhung for writing the questions. And thanks to the following for their participation:
@almacy Digital Strategy Expert
@melaniephung DC SEO Strategist
@martinbowling Zima lover
@utahseopro Utah SEO Consultant
@fairminder Boston Website Design and SEO
@cyandle Google Adwords Professional
@jackleblond VP of Internet Strategy
@djpaisley Digital Communications Strategist
@vinceblackham Utah SEO Expert
@melanienathan Edmonton SEO Expert
@researchgoddess Staffing Social Media Specialist
@monicawright Maine SEO Expert
I started blogging haphazardly last year in Blogger simply because I thought it was something I needed to experience hands-on. I wanted to capture my thoughts on merging content development and online marketing for a previous employer, and realized blogging was one way to do it. This was something completely new and intimidating for me (while I have no trouble speaking in front of a large audience blogging seems overwhelming – I think it’s the permanence and competition out there). I haven’t blogged as much as I hoped, but did manage to put my domain to use and gather some rudimentary WordPress skills (with help). Not a bad start.
Since then I have come across many inspiring bloggers that I try to regularly follow. After some news about SEO Smarty becoming an SEO Mom hit Twitter, I came across her blog post on advice that helped her when starting out.
1. Turn your weak points into the strong ones. Ann Smarty blogs in a foreign language, so as a result, she writes short posts, provides lists and specific action items. This has become her selling point, and as a result has been published in many newsletters. I struggle with finding a) time and b) the challenge of providing something useful in the realm of experts. Because of this I am diligent to learn, and have overcome the anxiety of asking questions in fear of losing face. Through networking and organizing myself, I can provide insight and resources that can give back. Which transitions well to the next thought …
2. Organize yourself, your work process and your resources. I use delicious to organize posts, tools and resources to refer to on a regular basis. I certainly could improve my blogging process, become more diligent, post to Sphinn and YouMoz, outline steps to syndicate my own content (in other words, take my own advice). But for me, this is a work in progress. I have a creative background, and if the process gets to rigid, it’s likely I’d lose interest. Ann has her own method of organization. Find what works for you, and stick with it. It could be a combination of methods, but it needs to fit your work-style.
3. Openly share all your knowledge. As SEO Smarty states, “It is dumb to think that once you share some piece of knowledge, someone can turn it against you or become your competitor.” There’s a good chance it won’t happen. The blogging, SEO and internet marketing communities are a generous bunch. They will share what they know, provide help when they can, and hold you accountable. I have learned more from networking and hands-on experience in the past 6 months than I could have sitting at a trade show conference. It is only fair to give back, and provide feedback when you can. I’m actually a believer in this method, and it has been successful for me.
I’ve also added a few more ideas to added to SEO Smarty’s list:
4. Be transparent. Nobody wants to read about how awesome you are, or how you never say or do the wrong thing. Share what you can, be honest, and ask for help when you need it. I’ve mentioned this before, and have admitted openly that my CSS skills are lacking. In fact, if it weren’t for Dan Freeman, another Mainer who I only know through Twitter, this blog would still look like a mess of code.
5. Participate and comment in other blog discussions. I try to find one blog post or article to comment on each day. Just one. Obviously this builds links back to your blog, but it also forces me to think constructively on a topic or theme that I may not know much about. It also provides another way to give back when I can contribute a tool or resource to add to the conversation.
I would like to hear more how people are inspired and motivated to blog. What drives you to start writing?