Note from John: this is a guest post from Anthony Pensabene of Webimax. He’s a cool guy and has written a phenomenal post that I think really gets at the core of what it takes to succeed in SEO and life in general – being a nice person, making friends, and adding to the online discussion. It is a pleasure to have him guest post on my site.
New students, (ha) made you look; you’re engaged to a page in J. Doherty’s online book. I got your attention, now what? Good question, Dr. Pete would direct my attention toward the visible-yet-valueless dynamic of getting people (just) to look. We’re in the industry; we know SERP visibility does not equal conversions (indefinitely).
Dr. Pete (along with other Mozzers and members of SEOmoz community) is a great teacher. I used to teach; I recognize the mark of an educator. An invaluable sentiment of great teaching is remaining a student, suggested in his open letter to new SEOs.
Dr. Pete gives fatherly advice; much like my own father, the doctor wants me to do things the right way, for the right reasons. I strongly advise all new members of the online marketing community to take regular doses of his prescription. However, the doctor has already achieved ‘George and Weezie’ status; I have not; but, perhaps I can strengthen the medicine’s potency by giving suggestions from your side of town, from a beginner’s perspective.
I am not brand new to online marketing. I’ve been ‘at it,’ adopting several roles for over five years; yet, I haven’t regularly participated in the community until lately; I understand where you’re coming from, newbs; you want to make the seasoned vets ‘look’… But what’s your brand of intention? In this particular case, the veterans are your ‘target market.’ How are you branding yourself? That’s right. You’re a brand (as an individual). Are you doing things right, for the right reasons? That’s why you became an SEO, to add to the community and do right by your cohorts and clients, right?
Learn to Walk
I know some of you are passionate; I’m down with that (as I write my second post on a Saturday afternoon). Check my comment on John’s last post on blogging best practices:
However, it’s necessary to temper your passion. Patience is an online virtue. You have to learn to walk first. Check John’s response:
Have you ever wanted to be really great at something, STAT? It’s not uncommon. Are you familiar with the film North Shore? It’s the story of Rick Kane, a (Arizonian?) surfer, who visits Hawaii, and gets the undeniable stoke to surf Hawaiian waves. Rick’s first endeavors don’t go over so well; he runs into some aquatic vets, who quickly direct his attention to a ‘pecking order.’
With the help of an experienced teacher, Chandler (one who makes Rick surf each and every board (well) before he gets on the one he gravitated toward first (you’re getting the metaphor, right? I’m not wiping out on this?), Rick starts making people look, and eventually gets respect from the ‘locals’ who originally ‘put him in his place.’
In short, learn to walk in the industry first; then proceed with a slow-burn philosophy. How many of you have read (all) this? “But Chandler Rand, I want to ride the “raddest” marketing waves first!” Sorry brah, it doesn’t work that way. Go ahead; paddle out without heeding my warning… You have to put in the time, no other way to ride the waves smooth and righteously.
Don’t stare too long (for risk of turning to stone); I bet by now, some of the vets (at least) recognize my mug. I flash my face on the community blogs often. Why? It’s how I learn; it shows my community I want to evolve and contribute.
Check me out this past week:
I think that was six different blogs in six days… Oh yeah, I blog each weekday (several times per day); but, I need to (constantly) learn more. Feed me, feed me, Seymour.
“He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.” – Ben Jonson
Be a ‘Week(end?)’ Warrior
When I was a younger man, ‘weekend warrior’ had a different meaning. Now, I’m a little wiser (I’ve got a grey or two in the beard these days), spending time differently. In his open letter post, Dr. Pete advises putting in an extra 20%. If you’re already working hours during the week, that means making sacrifices; but, you’re passionate; putting in the extra time shouldn’t be an issue, right? Put in extra time toward your respective roles and passions. Writing is a huge passion of mine.
Guest blogging is a good use of time. It expresses interest and your ability to add to the community. However, do you have true intentions? Be real. The veterans are savvy; it’s easy to decipher genuine and speculative intent. In some cases, you may get attention, but not the kind you wanted. You have to know how to ask for a guest post opportunity.
I’m writing this blog right now for John. I didn’t ask yet, but I’m going to send an initial email and see what he thinks. It will be awesome if he accepts; if not, I’ll listen to his suggestions… and revise.
Update: I finished the post and sent a request to John via SEOmoz. PS – send my hugs to Ari Gold; you’ll see…(gets back in phone booth with George Carlin):
RE: guest blog
Message sent by content muse on Today, 14:29
Hey John, I spent a good amount of time on a post today. It’s my version of Dr. Pete’s open letter post from the other day to new SEOs. I give newb advice from a newb perspective. I tried to be both informative and entertaining. I would like you to take a look for possible guest appearance. What email should I send the wordfile to if interested? Thanks for your time.
“I was wondering if you would like to ‘team up’ on the project, giving people ideas and suggestions regarding how to make tweets more attention/re-tweet/favorite/reply-worthy…”
Dan was busy kicking online marketing booty; he didn’t have time to team up Wordsworth/Coleridge style; but, he gave me advice on how to make my post better once I got something on paper and provided words of encouragement…
“I definitely love your post idea! It offers some cool little insights and writing tips not many people have talked about. Especially like the poetry stuff. Where are you going to post it?”
Hmm… That was a good question, Dan. Where should I post? Shurely, more people will see my work from a platform of one with more experience… I did a little bit of research on particular veterans, found a good fit, and got a post on Michael King’s blog.
Do you know what? The veterans are people too! That’s right! Making connections with ‘influencers‘ is a lot like…engaging people in real life. Who would of thought? Don’t take my novice word for it; Gianluca Fiorelli agrees.
In real life I make an honest endeavor at getting to know people. It’s natural to initially gravitate toward commonalities. This could be shared interests both in and outside of the industry. I first approached Dan Shure because I could tell that he was a creative soul (I know someone like that); I also researched him and realized he was a former musician (I’ve been known to bang on the drums in my day).
I like using Twitter a lot to ‘get to know’ some veterans. For instance, I know Chris Winfield from his insightful posts related to PR and branding. I have a passionate gravitation toward branding and reputation management too. I think Chris notices. Do you know what’s so cool about having things in common? You can learn more from peers! This week, I overtly asked Chris for help:
Chris is a great teacher and helper; he got back to me:
He’s the man; he helps even when I don’t ask directly:
@SEOAware could you direct me to some good posts, literature re: online marketing psych?
@content_muse Some Industrial Psychology books have some great info, but you have to find it. Only a couple of colleges teach it at a high..
@content_muse However, there are many advertising people that were in psych before; finding them & their writing is a pain.
As you can see, Melissa Fach, a jedi of the SEO industry, also is more than happy to help. I was really blown away by Chris’ willingness to advise – very cool.
I don’t go see local music with Roger or go shopping for fresh threads with ipullrank. I don’t know the veterans personally; but, I’m observant; and, take interest in the people in my community. While we all add to the community professionally, we’re all people with outside interests as well. As suggested, in ‘real life’ people with similar (professional and unprofessional) interests gravitate toward one another. I approached Dan Shure because he’s a poet. I made the Melissa Fach-jedi reference above because I know she loves Star Wars. I titled this post alluding to (Nas) lyrics; I know John listens to his music. I did my homework.
Accept/Expect Tough Love
Now, that I have readers hosting warm ‘fuzzies,’ let me be even more realistic. Respect is earned in this industry. I say it again; respect is earned in this industry. The road to glory is slow and steady, much like attaining white-hat, organic SEO results (the kind you employ and promote, right?).
Sure, I’ve made some (very) loose connections; yet, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I understand. I believe the veterans want to see if I have the tenacity to stay in the game. Very few veterans follow me on Twitter/Google+ (to date), respond to my questions (to date), or know who I am (to date).
Hey, I’m sensitive; it hurts my feelings when questions get ignored, my ‘klout’s’ nothing to shout about, and Danny Sullivan places a restraining order on me for tweeting at him too many times (I am a ‘Danny fanboy’; and, no one can make me feel ashamed. Okay, Graywolf too and maybe some others; but, that’s all you’re getting out of me at present. Ah, that feels so much better). However, I really do understand. The industry is getting larger and there is too many questionable people, practices, and intentions. It’s difficult to “get in” with the in-crowd; but remember – respect is earned. Don’t get discouraged or take things personally; be humble and keep taking forward steps. The veterans give tough love; but, I think it’s fair and good for the industry’s integrity.
Realize the Cream Rises
What will be my fate in the industry, oracle or obscurity? Stay tuned in; however, I believe I’m doing things the right way; that’s why I wanted to share my so-far (excellent) adventures as a beginner SEO with you. Everyone starts from somewhere. I’m sure there was a time when the veterans felt as vulnerable as we do now; but, they put in the time; its passing reflected their genuine intent and capabilities. You can chase all the shortcuts, ‘make people look’ for the all wrong reasons, and think you have all the people fooled (you can fool some people sometimes…); but, there’s an order in the SEO universe; the cream eventually rises. You get to the top by continuously exhibiting your brand’s flavor of industry best-practice execution and evolution. Do you think you can, little engine? Prove it; make them look…for all the right reasons.
John and ‘online book’ readers, thanks for having me. I write professionally for WebiMax and SEOservices. I also love getting down, writing about branding, reputation management, and related online-marketing topics from my personal blog, Content Muse, and I’m on Google+ . Take a look; I just might make you do it regularly.