A Clear Look at a Brand of Divine Proportions – Interview with Chris Winfield of BlueGlass

Posts by Anthony

“Learning never exhausts the mind” – Leonardo da Vinci … renaissance man…

I use a lower “r” because though yes, Leonardo lived during the Renaissance period, I view him as a ‘renaissance‘ man, one who engaged in multiple areas of art and science, doing them extremely well.

If I may pay brands the same attributes as people, BlueGlass is truly a ‘renaissance’ company…

What’s their secret?  I think the dog’s been out of the bag for some time… It’s just a matter of paying closer attention to the company in the present age…

In the beginning…there was marketing, a method of intriguing, educating, and connecting with consumers.  Old-school methods were thrown in a six-foot ditch, making way for new generations of marketing…

Just before the turn of the 21st, came the dawn of the Interwebz…

Eventually erecting SEO…

I kid. I kid. Kinda…

It was (technically) progress.  Like the Dark Ages followed the Classical Age chronologically, we as civilization moved forward in time.  But did we progress?  Hmmm…  Some didn’t.  Some got lazy, shirking ‘traditional’ marketing work in exchange for ‘engine’ optimization…

But engines aren’t buying; and people aren’t ‘buying in’ to that kind of methodology.  If you don’t believe me I have a Panda and Penguin who wanna cross words with you…

Recently, perhaps due to zookeepers and animals, we have (been?) pushed forward, progressing…back to marketing.  Though now, it has a snazzy digital jumpsuit to dawn, business still demands the sentiment and philosophy of pure marketing

The Renaissance period of marketing is here; Charlie and the BlueGlass team are at the forefront.

I’m consistently impressed by BlueGlass, inspiring admiration and this exclusive interview with Chris Winfield.  (Thank you so much for your time, Chris.)

Admittedly, I’m a big fan of Chris.  He like other members of the team, ‘walk the talk.’  Attending Mozcon, I got to experience Greg Boser‘s presentation on Redefining Business Models.  It elucidates a number of aspects about BlueGlass philosophy and pure business knowhow.  I also got to spot his Zeppelin t-shirt; BlueGlass is flying high.  I don’t see them coming down…

But, enough of my pen’s opinion; let’s get on with the show and better understand the brand…

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Anthony Pensabene

I notice BlueGlass does an exceptional job orchestrating its own internal content.  There are several authors featured, all providing unique, interesting content. Tell me a little bit about how the production is comprised.  

[-Do authors get to choose the topic?  -How long is devoted to the process (as long as it takes?) -Are particular authors devoted to specific areas? (For instance, I understand Norcross is more of a ‘techie’)]

Chris Winfield

We’re constantly refining our internal content production process, but I think we’ve finally hit our stride in the past several months and have a system that works very well. We schedule an editorial calendar in monthly cycles. And since just about everyone writes once a month, that gives them a month of lead time to write their post.

We keep a running brainstorm list of ideas for the blog, categorized by topics. All authors can choose one of those topics or come up with their own. Either way, they run the idea past the marketing team first. Pretty much everyone focuses on their area of expertise (content marketing, outreach, SEO, social media, etc.), but everyone is free to write about whatever they want as long as it relates back to our brand.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  Being willing is not enough; we must do.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Once someone writes a post, it’s edited to ensure the content matches our overall brand vision, free from errors, and formatted. After it’s published we push it out on all of our social media profiles and then reach out to specific people or companies if we featured them/linked to them/etc in the post.

Anthony Pensabene

Obviously, I notice BG’s ‘guest appearances’ of late – Mashable, Forbes, Search Engine Land, SEOmoz, Search Marketing Land, etc. Is this something BG has placed more emphasis upon more recently?  Why?  

Can you tell me a little bit about how you go about making relations with major publishers such as Forbes/Mashable?

Chris Winfield

Why thank you for noticing :)

It wasn’t until February of this year that our marketing team consisted of anyone other than me. And I devoted maybe 15% of my time to actually ‘marketing’ BlueGlass, since much of my time was spent overseeing the business side of things (pretty much doing whatever was needed of me or I felt was needed).

When we acquired Voltier Digital, Dan Tynski became our Director of Marketing. We then brought Kerry Jones over from working on the client side to join our team. With a dedicated marketing team, we were able to map out a big list of goals for expanding our brand’s reach. We have kept ourselves so busy with our big plans for BlueGlass that we just hired our newest team member, Amanda Eichmann. Now that our marketing team is 4 strong we can get a lot more done and spread our wings a bit.

Since we practice what we preach, it only makes sense for us to use the same content marketing tactics for our brand that we use for our clients. Essentially, the BlueGlass marketing team acts as a client to the BlueGlass production and promotion teams. We have our blogger outreach specialists secure placements, then work with our production team to create the content. We fortunately already have relationships with many of the publications where we’ve been guest posting. Many of these are places we’ve placed client content in the past or are long standing relationships of mine or someone else at BlueGlass.

Getting your content on a major publication requires both excellent relationship building and awesome content to offer. You really have to hustle. It’s hard work, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. I highly recommend reading the outreach posts on our blog and my SEOmoz post full of my favorite public relations tips I’ve learned over the past 12 years. Remember, the worst someone can tell you is “no”.  A lot of it comes down to just asking and being okay with rejection or waiting.

Anthony Pensabene

I heavily leverage Twitter.  I notice you and your team are not ones to tweet run-of-the-mill information.  The team shares diverse content related to science, psychology, pop culture, and so on.  

Is this a strategy?  Is it a reflection of personalities the brand attracts?  Tell me a little bit about your team’s internal social media strategy.  

I also notice your team will share the content of others, even those that could be seen as a ‘competitor.’  What are your thoughts on that?

Chris Winfield

Not a strategy. :) Seriously, most of our team just loves Twitter and they’re obsessed with finding cool stuff on the Internet! This is most definitely a reflection of the type of people we attract and hire, they have a natural interest in what goes on throughout the Internet and they want to share that with other people. When new people join our team, even if they don’t use Twitter, they usually end up joining and getting really into it since they see so many other team members using it.

If someone creates something great and our team thinks their followers would find it valuable, of course they should share it, even if it’s from a competitor. We are fortunate, again, that we have the type of people on staff who just “get” the right way to use social media to build their own professional brand.

One of the most important things we try to determine when we are interviewing people is “Do they love the Internet? Do they love digital marketing? Are they a good person?” If we feel that good about all three of those – we are usually going to wind up with the type of person that wants to be a resource for others (both internally and externally).

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo da Vinci

By the way, you can follow all of the BlueGlass team on Twitter using this list. :)  (Anthony edit: I would check out the list…)

Anthony Pensabene

Lastly, perhaps it’s more obvious to me because I champion creativity; it is definitely one of the first adjectives I align with BlueGlass.  What gives?  Why are you guys so damn unique and creative?  

Again, is it ingrained in company vision, does the brand proactively search for a particular personality of worker, is it the weekly games of corn hole providing the inspiration?

Please give me some of your thoughts and BG’s philosophies on creativity development and tenacity.  I think creativity is incredibly valuable in marketing.  Would you consider integral as well?

Chris Winfield

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions” – Leonardo da Vinci

As I mentioned earlier, I think it starts with the application process. We usually end up hiring the people who “wow” us and go above and beyond to get our attention when they apply. We’ve also gotten very good at determining whether someone is a good fit personality-wise.

It’s funny, because if you were to read our staff bios, we all have some pretty diverse backgrounds, both in life and in education. But the similarities between everyone are amazing. If you ask a BlueGlass team member what their passion is, the answer is most often “learning”.  I think two of the most common traits in our staff are ambition and curiosity. Curious people who can also get things done are constantly searching for new trends and ways of doing things, and creativity comes from exposing yourself to new ideas and knowledge all the time.

Creativity is a huge part of marketing. You have to think of unique ways to attract people to your brand in a way others aren’t already doing. I would say being creative is an essential skill for the majority of roles at BlueGlass.

(End of interview)

I for one appreciate and celebrate the insight and example provided by the BlueGlass brand.  We can learn through example.  I believe BlueGlass will continue learning and teaching, making it real clear we’re in a new age of marketing and (re)thinking business…

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci

If you’re intrigued by BlueGlass (I am.), you may want to consider checking out their  BlueGlassX 2012 Conference (Brian Clark, Julie Joyce, Chris Winfield, “Dr.” Pete Meyers, Hugo Guzman, Ross Hudgens…among others are speaking.) Learning great marketing under a December Floridian sun sounds superb…

Do you have questions for BlueGlass?  Let’s crystallize more ideas, looking at the vertical through BlueGlasses…shall we?

Thank you, Musers…

Anthony Pensabene

27 thoughts on “A Clear Look at a Brand of Divine Proportions – Interview with Chris Winfield of BlueGlass

  1. Great interview! Everything that Chris said could not be more true! I am part of the BlueGlass team, and I love being part of such an amazing brand! We have so much fun at the office, and its awesome being able to learn so much from all the people we work with everyday. I love being a part of a team that encourages creativity in such a big way, both in and out of the office. We all shoot for the stars in everything we do, and I really think it shows! :)

    1. hey Mary, much appreciate you swinging by my post :) .. I believe it shows too, Mary.. I always take notice of the eclectic array of content the team shares.. and super impressed by the content and quality of thought released BG.. the team is def comprised of kings and queens of creativity.. keep it up.. we’re watching :)

  2. I love what an intimate look at our company this is. We truly strive to differentiate ourselves in everything we do, so having someone who notices this about us, appreciates it, and dedicates an entire post to what makes us different means so much (and as you always seem to notice, we’re all about the little details that add up to something HUGE!).

    On a funnier note, I’m forwarding this to my family and friends since they don’t understand what I do for work (the life of an Internet marketer!) but this is a great description of what my team does at BG. :)

    P.S.Thanks for being such an awesome supporter of BlueGlass, Anthony! You always make my day with the kind things you say about us on Twitter & your blog.

    1. Kerry, I do notice the extraordinary job the team ALWAYS does.. admittedly at first, I took notice of Chris’ acumen and willingness to help.. then I was like, I have to see about his team.. then I was like, “Wow.” – this is an All-Star cast here.. they all seem to ‘get it’

      Haha.. I’m glad I can help “northstar” your fam’s understanding.. I always enjoy reading Alessio’s ‘Meet Your SEO’ question: “how would you explain SEO..?” I always think about explaining to family when people answer..

      Hey, Kerry, thank you and BlueGlass for being so intriguing.. I’m a big fan.. keep it up, BlueGlass!

  3. Thank you for sharing all of the kind words about BlueGlass, Anthony! It really does feel good to have someone within the Internet marketing sphere realize our efforts. I’m really glad to hear that you benefit from the information that is shared via the BlueGlass blog and always appreciate your comments and retweets of my own posts. Thanks so much, you rock!

    1. I’m glad you were inspired to stop by, Britt :) .. I will give myself a bit of a pat on the awareness cap for taking notice of BG .. the team rocks all kinds of socks!

      Britt, your posts:

      http://www.blueglass.com/blog/author/brittany/ <—-

      always get me thinking.. especially that BG authors know their ish.. keep it up, Britt!

    1. thanks for coming by, dude. I know.. in writing some of the questions I wondered how far into the marketing laboratory Chris would take us.. I appreciate the level of transparency we got peering into BlueGlass ops..

  4. Fantastic interview, Anthony. Greg’s presentation at MozCon was a highlight among many others. Loved his “everyone has a say” angle and his stance on old, hard-to-track pricing models for services. Brainstorming power from within a company needs unhinged discussion from every level of the office.

    Oh, and kudos on Salary Man pic. Solid stuff!

    1. Thanks for noticing my questions and pics, Kyle. I appreciate your eye for detail :) Yes, I was going to mention to Chris Countey, I appreciated Winfieid’s interview in complement to seeing Greg’s presentation.. It’s easy to ‘get’ how one person can perform consistently well; but it’s most impressive multiple, visible people of the same brand kick ass so well. Now I have a better idea.

      1. Yeah that team does an amazing job. Winfield’s SEO Moz post on press coverage tips was like sensory overload for me. So many great tactics. The takeaway from that post for me was always stay connected, even if you’re unable to fully help a reporter out.

    1. I had fun creating this, Chris. I believe the theme is well da served :) I tip my cap to you for the opportunity to host your thoughts and BlueGlass team sentiments. It’s a real pleasure, sir.

  5. Hi, Anthony! Thanks for sharing another inspiring post :) I love the question where you say, “I champion creativity.” You’re right, this is a huge part of BlueGlass, too! Everyday we’re tasked with creative projects, and the room lights up with energy and excitement when we come together as a team for brainstorming. I’m so fortunate to be part of a team that encourages personal growth, too.

    I love this interview with Chris Winfield, because his honest answers remind me that I’m not only part of an inspiring and intelligent team, but also a well built family. Thanks for making sure I didn’t miss this, Anthony!

    1. Hey, Kelsey! I’m happy you toured through here :) .. I’d love to be a wallflower during one of those brainstorm sessions.. maybe video one done by the team as part of a post..

      Kelsey, I definitely notice your interaction in the Twitter stream, sharing unique content and relating very well to others. I dig your personal blog too. Winfield and crew know how to pick em! Keep doing good work, Kelsey.

  6. Anthony, Thank you so much for such a wonderful post. We do work really hard to put out great stuff, and it’s always awesome to know that people are taking notice! Thanks so much for always contributing your insightful thoughts on our blog as well…its amazing to have that kind of input on such a regular basis.

    1. Hey, Dan! Big ups on your writing and marketing insight; I enjoy your posts and perspective. I’m happy to see BG getting recognition for hard work and creative channeling. Keep it coming!

  7. Hey there Anthony, thanks for the great write up. You’re right, I’m a developer (a ‘techie’) so I was honestly apprehensive about joining the BlueGlass team when I did, as I had run my own company for a few years and really liked it. However, it’s been a great fit, as they not only allow me to ‘be myself’ in just about every way, but I am surrounded by people who complement my skillset and give me the opportunity to focus on the things I really enjoy doing: building things.

    also, +1 for the early Death Star reference.

    1. Thanks for coming by, Andrew. Admittedly, I appreciate your banter from afar on Twitter. Joe Hall is also a man worth humorous tweet mention…but I digress.

      I’m happy to hear you made a good choice. I could see how going independent to agency setting could make one apprehensive. Your sentiments are aligned with Doherty’s ‘Make Your Employees Rockstars‘ post. It’s awesome you’re in a setting that celebrates what you have and want to have in an ongoing fashion. That’s incredibly important!

      “I really enjoy building things” …Im going to keep you in mind. I always get these ideas but lack the da Vinci-technical touch..

      I noticed your Karate Kid banter with Winfield the other day. You may appreciate this..

  8. I love this writeup Anthony. Thanks so much for supporting us and for the fantastic interview with Chris!

    BlueGlass is truly unique inside and out and it’s amazing to have supporters that see us for who we really are: an integrated, creative team that’s intrigued by everything, and let by curiosity.

    I absolutely believe that we look for, and attract, a certain mindset in team members. I think you need a certain blend of imagination, technical skills, perseverance and voracity, along with the ability to work hard and play hard. Creativity is another driving factor for us…

    The marketing industry as a whole is so interesting. If you look at the diverse backgrounds of everyone, you have those who are educated in journalism, business, finance, biology, marketing… this field attracts brilliant minds from all walks of life. That’s what keeps it so interesting, and also how we bring so many different tactics and perspective to the table when it comes to tying strategy in with business goals.

    Thanks again! And I absolutely love the tie ins with Leonardo Da Vinci. I actually started reading Da Vinci’s Ghost – Genius, obsession, and how Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image, so having this integration with the renaissance and Da Vinci was right up my alley. :)

    As long as you keep writing here, I’ll keep reading!

    1. Thanks for sharing more about BG, Selena. It’s really awesome to observe the synergy of a incredible team. I love the diverse backgrounds of practitioners in the space.. It’s always interesting to get perspectives that run the entire spectrum..

      I’ll have to check out the Da Vinci book you mention.. as I mentioned to Chris, I did not have to call upon the celestial spheres to inspire the da Vinci and Renaissance analogy.. it’s no-brainer BG is a ‘renaissance’ type of squad.

      Thank you very much for the writing compliment. I very much enjoy your writing on the BG blog. I also go by your personal blog and notice your SEL column and elsewhere you write.. :)

  9. Hi Anthony, absolutely loved the post- especially all the great da Vinci quotes! As one of BlueGlass’ newest members, I am still a bit new to the digital marketing scene, but I think you did a great job capturing the BlueGlass brand and how we try to differentiate ourselves and stand out. It is so much fun to be part of such a dynamic, creative and ambitious team that I get to learn from and grow with everyday. Thank you for sharing and helping others see that :)

    1. Thanks for taking a turn this way, Amanda. Welcome to the digital marketing ‘show.’ haha. very cool that you get to be on a team like BlueGlass from the start. That’s ‘pole position’ if I’ve ever heard.. :) Well, I just followed you on Twitter. Hope to ‘see you around’ and I really appreciate your read and comment.

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