I’m an online marketing professional. I’m passionate about what I do; I love it. It involves thinking, reading, and writing (“these are a few of my favorite things…” Actually, you can’t have more than one favorite; it’s grammatically incorrect; something I picked up from a great teacher; but, I digress…)
I have the benefit of a diverse, professional background. I worked in the mental health field (working with brain-injured and developmentally-challenged individuals), as an English teacher (7,8,10,11,12th grade students), a PR person, a content writer, and youth counselor (ages 7-17). While my present position allows for intensive reading and writing, I also engage people (Through a computer screen mostly, but, I see it as engagement all the same.) I’ve had the benefit of working with people in a three-dimensional perspective; so, I naturally transfer my intuitions and experiences online.
I enjoy what I do and make strides, establishing ‘connections’ (or relationships as I would like to refer to them). Some peers are inquisitive regarding my ‘approach.’ My immediate reaction is, “I’m just being myself.” But, I get it. I’ll deconstruct the question. “How do you do that thing you do?”
I recently wrote a post on being a newbie in SEO, the ‘game.’ John Doherty was kind enough to host it on his online book. An online friend of mine, Cleo Kirkland was nice enough to read and inquire about my approach:
Great post, Anthony. And your Twitter presence (i.e. which experts retweet and follow you), is certainty a testament to your ideals. Doing homework certainly is important, and it’s something I need to get better at.
What would you say is the average amount of questions you ask or answer for an “expert” before they respond to you? At times, I’ve found that even though I do my homework and write a well thought out message, I don’t get the response or retweet I’m looking for. I’ll acknowledge, though, that I’m an infrequent tweeter, sometimes spam tweeter, and use a diff picture in my Twitter photo, lol.
My reply is not presently visible from John’s post; yet, when someone asks me a question in real life, I appreciate the question and oblige with a response. I’ve never been ‘too cool for school.’ This was my response:
Thanks for the read and observations, Cleo. It’s much appreciated. I’m better at engineering words than numbers; it’s hard to figure an average…haha. I’m really glad John referred to life as well as SEO in the intro; networking with online peers is a lot like life. Keep doing your thing, Cleo, for the right reasons. People connect immediately while others are late on the uptake of good intentions sometimes in life. If you keep laying down valuable tracks, worthy listeners will eventually start bobbing their heads your way. We first connected through music; and, now know one another better…
Another cohort of mine, Chris Countey, who I like and respect, gave me a nice Twitter shout the other day:
Few in the industry know how to cultivate relationships like@content_muse. Follow him and take lots and lots of notes.
I really appreciate that; it makes me smile because I’m a fan of Chris’ work; so, him recognizing me for my work is deeply appreciated. Here was my reply:
@chriscountey thanks my friend – they’ll find many of my notes are borrowed from good people in my professional and personal life
It’s true. I’m a keen observer. Watch out for the quiet ones; just because this isn’t running (points at mouth) does not necessarily mean this isn’t (points to head).
S-troll-in like a Student
Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it ‘creative observation.’ Creative viewing. – William S. Burroughs
My sense of humor prods me to use the reference to an Internet troll. I by no means have negative intentions of eavesdropping on the openly-social maneuvers of others; I’m just being, you know, social. Actually, I’m learning from others.
What makes more sense? Would you approach someone without getting to know them first, without establishing a frame of reference for the point of contact? You could but what would happen if you just shot them a ‘how do you do’ without establishing yourself as a bit worthy of attention and their response? Check out Danny Sullivan’s latest piece of PR advice. No one likes those who are not completely transparent and truthful.
Get to know your peers first. What are their specialties? What aspects of the industry do they really feel passionate about, devoting professional and personal interests toward? For example, I know Danny Sullivan loves reading and writing. He focuses upon industry journalism and the evolving nature of search.
@Rhea i do like to write
Admittedly, I love reading and writing too. I am not shy about observing Danny and mentioning our similar interests.
@dannysullivan “I wanted to read that story so much that day that I renewed at the $260 list price.” dude, I love reading that much too haha
If I wanted to connect with Danny, I might express my similar interests. Savvy? It’s not about connecting with “Danny Sullivan,” though we all know who Danny is in the field. It’s about connecting with someone who shares a passion, connecting with someone I can learn from. Savvy?
Do your homework first. Then, the relationship has some mutual ground. This is true in building any professional relationships, in my opinion, whether you’re forming relations with peers, clients, consumers, etc. Take a look at my response to Jon Cooper‘s SEOmoz post on link building:
Jon, I like how you endorse not collecting data in a nascent fashion. I liken the patience and exactness exercised to a PR outreach. There needs to be a developed frame of reference. The more homework done the better. It would seem easier to address prospects on an indivdual and customized basis. It’s likely to require more time, but likely to be more effective. I do think it works for scalability because once you get the initial impetus going, I think it’s easier to accelerate, tweek, and enhance the process for respective purposes.
Who wants to sit just anywhere in the cafeteria of peer relations when they can sit at the table with the ‘seniors,’ the cool kids, right? In online marketing, we can call them ‘influencers,’ the ones ‘with klout, everybody talks about, check’em out…’
Building influential relations as a marketer is very similar to traditional public relations. Gfio made a comment on Chris’ post regarding how one, who wants to add to their community, can pretty much singlehandedly accomplish the task.
Rand Fishkin also mentions connecting with influencers in his content-going-viral WBF post. Oh yeah, I genuinely like Rand’s personality and the way he manages his brand, SEOmoz. It was befitting (Savvy?) to have Rand Fishkin and Chris Winfield (another classy guy) of BlueGlass on my blog, a blog with deep emphasis on gentleman branding.
After spending some time in your respective industry, you take notice of the social totem pole, with the influencers perched on top. If the industry runs like a Swiss watch, they got there based on merit, work, and righteous means. That’s why they’re at the top, deserved of respect, right?
I’m a realist; it makes for a moist pillow some nights; but, I get by. I ‘favorited’ this tweet by Lisa Barone for its mirror-of-reality sentiment:
This. Over and over and over again. RT @thebloggess: Sometimes your heroes turn out to be d****es. Then it’s time to find better heroes.
‘The Lisa’ holds nothing back; it’s one of the reasons why I like and read her; but, this is gentleman (and lady) branding; I had to censor the tweet a bit; but, readers can read between the lines. I think another person I dig online, Anthony Nelson, reads between the lines of influencer marketing too. In short, I think Anthony gets it. Read his comment on my Doherty guest post:
Nice post Anthony. I want to add in that getting recognized or acknowledged by the elite or name brand SEOs shouldn’t be the reason for noobs to engage in community participation (note: I don’t think you’re implying that), but instead the goal is to become a better marketer and learn through participation. There is no better way of getting noticed than doing standout work.
–tl;dr – kick ass on your blog or for clients and the recognition will come.
Word, Anthony. I agree. My response not presently in the comments:
Thanks for reading, Anthony. Totally agree with you, bro; let’s all ride righteously, for the betterment of ourselves and community. That’s what’s up… ” kick ass on your blog or for clients and the recognition will come”
As for peer recognition…The ‘elite’…know one of (many) reasons why I think Napoleon Dynamite is so badass? The literal and alluded parallels going on with the elite/popular and geeks/noobs… The ones getting my vote are the ones displaying ‘standout work’ (like Napoleon got moves for Pedro’s cause at the end of the movie) regardless. That’s the kind of dudes/dudettes I want as peers. Others can ‘vote for Summer’ as they wish. I like it better on our side of the tetherball court. Thanks again, Anthony. Keep doing/thinking good things.
I’m not playing reindeer games; but, I can only speak for myself. However, I’m pretty people savvy. Watch out for the quiet ones, remember? I’m doing my thing. As AJ Kohn‘s recent author rank post explores, it just may be a way to get where I’m going based on my talents (I like that concept! Savvy?). Those who are true influencers will notice and help. There are others who engage cohorts, peers, and newbies in other manners. It’s cool; those I respect will continue to inspire me and be open to cultivating relations. Others, I can respect for their work, not so much for their personalities…just like in real life… I’m gentlemanly and respectful, not blind to peoples’ personalities and intentions. Savvy?
Modern-day SEO is more like traditional marketing, about making connections. Even those who provide the best and creative link building tips can’t deny the integral nature of relations. Actually, one of the better pieces I’ve read, hosting multiple link outreach tips, highly celebrates relations. Actually, building relations is so important to some (including me), the notion of positive SEO was born.
In short, sure, there are those who are more popular; but, I’m looking to better myself, to compete and compare myself to yesterday’s Anthony alone. I want to ‘be down’ with any personality (currently large or small) that is moving similarly. I want to engage those who want to build the kind of community people want to be a part of and share.
At the core of peer relations…
Make people want to engage you. If you’re building relations for the right reasons, you’ll gravitate toward the ‘right’ relationships and vice versa. Peer relations is a lot like producing value for consumers. Remember:
Thanks for reading – Anthony Pensabene