Lunch with Cheryl Snapp Conner

This is a post written much later than the actual lunch took place, but it’s results have affected my work life tremendously so it bears talking about. And the timing is important as well, as you’ll see if you keep reading.

Cheryl took me to lunch at Costa Vida in American Fork. It was late afternoon on January 2nd, 2013. Earlier that day, I had just gone through the worst emotional stress I’ve ever dealt with in my professional life. Needless to say, I was a little unprepared for any socializing at that point. However, Cheryl essentially listened to my rantings, and then offered up some advice. And then she offered me a job building a top secret tool (which is still top secret and being built) that will help online PR rock. We worked out the details then and there, and the next day I started becoming a regular fixture at the Snapp Conner offices.

Yesterday however (January 22, 2013), Cheryl was so impressed at my awesomeness or something that she and I decided I should just come full time to Snapp Conner, and it was done. I am now a Senior Associate at the most progressive (no exaggeration) PR firm in Utah.

This is a career move that I know will involve making all the people involved really happy. Me, the Snapp Conner team, and their clients.

And just fyi, I am legally obligated to abstain from mentioning any more details about my ordeal.



Lunch With Scott Lazerson

I met Scott thru Chase Murdock, who I wrote about earlier. We ate at a small place in Orem UT, called the Tortilla Bar. And yes, they have the best tacos I’ve ever had. I really love mexican food.

Anyway, Scott seemed like a very genuine person. He name dropped all over the place, which doesn’t mean much to me, but it just seemed like that is who the guy is at his core. He’s looking to connect you with whoever he can that makes sense for everyone involved.

And that’s what he does for a job. I consider myself somewhat like that, although most of the connections I make are online via social networking sites. By the way (and this is a tangent) I read the book ‘Social Media is B.S.’ by B.J. Mendelson. It took about 3 hours, and was horrible. I make a living with social media, therefore I am living proof that Mr. Mendelson is a crackpot.

Back to lunch: Scott has charities and non profits that he works with and promotes, alongside of the normal clients that pay the bills and keep his kids in diapers (he’s got 5 kids by the way, none of which are literally in diapers anymore).

It’s good to see someone who puts that much importance in doing non profit work. I feel like it’s important as well, which is why I donate consulting time at Grassroots.org, and help family and friends with their online marketing as much as I can for free.

What’s An SEO person’s Job?

Hubspot-The-Rank-Nazi

I live by a few different mottos in my life, depending on which hat I’m wearing at the moment. As an efficiency expert, my motto is: Perfection Is The Enemy of The Good. As an SEO, my motto is: It’s Who You Rank For, Not What You Rank For. As a regular human being interacting with my fellow men, I live by this: When You Are in The Service of Your Fellow Men, You Are Only in The Service of God (Book of Mormon).

Let me explain my SEO motto. I’ve been quoted before about SEO dying. I still believe that the industry as we know it will be dead in about 1.5 years. So my vision of what SEO will morph into will revolve around marketers being able to target very specific groups of people with their marketing message; whether on a social network, a search engine, an app, a game or what have you. If you take that a step further (because we’re pretty much already there to a certain degree) you should be able to target individual people where ever they are online.

And the job of an SEO will turn into ‘ranking’ their content #1 for the exact person on Facebook who is looking for their product/service. Someone on Google who is searching for ‘Death of SEO‘, and comes across a Forbes article ranked #1 for that phrase and finding you. Someone in the App store looking for the top productivity app, and ranking that app really high through reviews, downloads, and other social like signals.

So hopefully now you understand a little of what I mean when I say ‘It’s Who You Rank For, Not What You Rank For’ because I’m trying to take the focus away from just targeting keyword phrases (which at least 50% of the time don’t let us know what the searchers intent even is) and focusing more on getting your (great) content in front of the right consumer where they are, whether socially, organically, mobilely (made up) and so forth.

Photo credit: Hubspot

Lunch with Chrstian Greiner of TechMediaNetwork

 

196457_1759928550689_5885728_n Chris was such a nice guy to meet! He almost constantly had a smile on his face, and was also a great listener. We talked about his past experiences, working at SEO.com, and now he’s at Tech Media Network. He also runs a side hobby called Top Gun Reviews. And no, it’s not a review site for the movie. Which ironically enough would be apropos because often times I get people asking me “has anyone ever told you, you look like Tom Cruise?” to which I often reply “Yes”. tom

Anyway, Chris told me about how he grew up in Tracy, CA. A place which I’ve actually lived in previously, while on my mission. I’m sure we know some of the same people, we played that ‘do you know’ game; it didn’t bear any fruit though. Additionally, Chris told me that he was about to meet the new CEO of TechMediaNetwork right after lunch, which I thought was cool for him. And lastly, Chris and I are going to hopefully do some cool content marketing things together using his writers, and my content placement skills. I’m excited for the opportunity!

Lunch With Lincoln Cannon

16be9ebI had the pleasure of taking Lincoln Cannon to lunch today. Lincoln has a strong background in Technology, and actually started a non profit called the Mormon Transhumanist Association (which promotes change toward radical flourishing in creativity and compassion through technology and religion.) We didn’t talk much about his non profit, but that’s an area of the internet where I have spent quite a bit of time, so I was really intrigued at how successful he’s been with it. He was able to get a Google Grant, and spends nearly $10k a month in free Adwords ads, and also has a ‘Donate’ button right on his youtube channel. I don’t claim to love Google at all, but they’re sure making a good thing happen when they support people like MTA.

Anyway, Lincoln has 3 boys, and likes to travel. That’s kind of a recurring theme with most of the people I’ve taken to lunch (the traveling part, not 3 boys). Lincoln was a great listener; I told him about the lawsuits I’ve been in, some of the things I learned (contracts are very valuable only to the extent each side interprets them the same way; never do business with family), and we also talked a little about the shooting in Connecticut today. I was pretty upset by it, since I’ve got a son in Kindergarten right now; it really made me pause and analyze how I treat him (and my other family and friends). I’ve lost a brother to diabetes already, so I know what a loss it is and how easy it is to feel guilty for not spending more time with those you love.

I guess it shows I’m a little depressed still. Lincoln was a very personable, easy to get to know guy. I sincerely enjoyed lunch with him. I had the Creamy Potato and Ham soup, he had the Smoked Turkey sandwich

Lunch with Jason Carlton, APR

335dd08My lunch date with a complete stranger, connected via Linkedin, took place today at Cafe Rio in Draper. I found Jason Carlton by searching for Linkedin people who were members of a PRSA chapter in either Salt Lake or Utah county. I then sent a friend request. Of those people I sent friend requests to, nearly 1/2 have connected back. And about 1/8 of those connections have agreed to lunch, with a complete stranger: me.

So here’s what happened. Jason was asleep in his car; I actually pulled into the parking spot right behind him, and granted, it is hard to tell what someone looks like when all you have to go off is their Linkedin profile; even so, I thought I recognized him. My first ever encounter with a sleeping Linkedin connection. Anyhow, I called him when I got to Cafe Rio, so he could gracefully wake up in semi respectableness. We ordered, and chit chatted about what it’s like to work in healthcare PR; Jason’s the Social Media Specialist, Urban Central Region at Intermountain Healthcare. He told some cool stories about using Life Flight as part of a PR campaign to increase facebook fans; using a pass along coin to increase awareness for breast cancer; things like that. Jason is also on the board of the SL chapter of PRSA, and he tried to recruit me. I turned him down. But he tried his best, so kudos Jason 🙂

There was an older woman who stopped by our table and tried to sell us some Christmas ornaments, $2 apiece. Jason politely shook his head no. I had no idea people did that at restaurants, so I was kind of speechless.

Finally, Jason left off our conversation by saying he and his wife were planning on going to the airport next month for a random journey; where ever the next 5 flights happened to be going is where they would end up. I will believe it when I see it, so I’ll be stalking Jason on Facebook to see what happens. Until next time; Linkedin strangers unite!

 

Lunch with Chase Murdock of Dress Code

I had a great time getting to know my 3rd complete stranger in as many weeks: Chase Murdock, CEO of Dress Code. I first heard about his company through a friend on Facebook, and since I’ve been trying to get in better shape and dress more stylishly, I was really intrigued by their model; from their site:

Dress Code is a custom menswear brand – but we don’t operate a single storefront. Instead, our Style Consultants meet individually with each New Member to take measurements and personalize each order one-on-one.

It sounds different, but by doing this we’re able to offer a much more personalized experience and bring it all straight to you.  We like to learn about our customers’ personal style and current wardrobe before we build a custom product for them.

To me, that sounded like the best of both worlds of high fashion for a great price. Some of the things we talked about were investments, where his company is headed in the next 4 months, Forbes, suits, Michael b, PR strategies, SEO dying, his engagement, and hiring smart people.

I think Chase and his company are going to do really well, so I was excited to meet a fellow Utah entrepreneur. I had the Tuscan chicken salad, and Chase had the Cream of Broccoli soup.

Lunch with Josh Steimle of MWI

Today I had lunch with Joshua Steimle of MWI, an SEO firm. Josh and I had lunch at NY Pizza Patrol in Draper. I got the eggplant parmigiani,

and Josh got a calzone. We swapped stories about growing up, he in CA, me in ND. Then we talked about home school, he does that for his kids, and I was home schooled for 7 years growing up.  Then we talked about his plans for his family (they’re moving to Hong Kong next year), how much he loves the adoptions he’s been able to go through, and his plans for his SEO firm and his Self Storage company. Yet again, taking a complete stranger to lunch was really fun since I didn’t have any agenda other than to try and spend lunch time with someone new as much as possible in the coming months. I also learned that Josh’s dad was a rocket scientist, and that he’s related to the most famous pool making people in the US. Random facts yes, interesting nonetheless. Anyone who wants to get to know Josh, here’s his Linkedin profile

Lunch With Erica Hone of IHC

I had the pleasure of taking Erica Hone to lunch today. I had never met her, and we connected on Linkedin first, which is how I even knew who she was. Let me back up a little bit. I’m kind of an anti social person. I don’t like going to big or small networking events. I grew up in a small town in North Dakota, was homeschooled, and kind of had to teach myself social skills in college. Being that my line of work doesn’t require me to talk face to face to many people, I kind of fell into what I’m doing naturally. However, I decided that I wanted to change my habit of eating lunch alone (which I figured was a waste of time unless I was actually talking to someone and hopefully expanding my network a little). So I started reaching out to total strangers on Linkedin (I found them by going to my local chapter of the PRSA Linkedin group, and sending friend requests to about 100 people there). I had joined the local chapter of PRSA previously, figuring that was how I was going to grow my network, but I was always too scared to talk to people 1 on 1 at those events they had. But I’m fearless online, and so I have about 10 lunch appointments set up with people I have never met before. And I’ll be blogging about each one. So on the experience with Erica. First of all, and I kind of expected this, I didn’t recognize her from her Linkedin profile picture. She was much better looking in person 🙂 Secondly, we quickly fell into some rather personal conversation. I was kind of expecting this as well, and I totally opened up to her about my father, brothers, sisters, mother, personal goals, and all over the place. And she filled me in on her family life, her husband, school, work, and all the things that make up her life. And I learned something from her that I never would have realized on my own. We were talking about goals for our future selves (I want to do non profit work) and she said: “So do you like fundraising?” to which I replied “Not at all”. She then told me: “Everyone is good at fundraising. You just have to align the goals of the potential donor with the things your non profit does; show them what their money will do for your organization. Tell them ‘With your help, and this donation, we can accomplish this project’.”

That may be old hat to some of you, but I have always viewed fundraising as this door to door exercise much like my days of knocking on doors for 2 years in Sacramento on my LDS mission. She also explained some of the nuances of the healthcare communications problems and opportunities in Utah Valley. Many of the doctors and nurses don’t naturally exude a wonderful bedside manner 100% of the time. They’re human just like the rest of us. So Erica spends time working with the hospital staff on excellent customer service skills basically. That’s something I never would have realized.

And to end this all up, I’ll be going to lunch with random people I’ve never met except through Linkedin over the next couple of months. My goal is to take 50 brand new people to lunch that live within 30 miles of me and have a similar job description. I’ll write a blog post about each lunch. Things I learned, places we went, and the outcomes.

Erica and I went to the Tower Deli at Thanksgiving Point. Marshall, the manager, is a good friend, since I’m there just about every day.

What Is, And How do you do, Content Marketing?

Firstly, what is content marketing? It’s getting your content (video, text, music, etc) syndicated across lots of sites online. Alternatively, it can involve simply driving a lot of traffic to one version of your content. Either way, it involves other sites (a network if you will) linking to, embedding, or generally mentioning your content piece. The reason for doing content marketing is important to understand so you can figure out how to do it ( b2b vs b2c content marketing tactics can vary).

Why Do Content Marketing?

Unless you’re a major brand, most people are never going to read your latest blog post, facebook post, twitter post, etc. Even my own content never gets seen unless I market it. This is just something you have to understand right now, and don’t get all up in my business about it. Next question.

How Do You Do Content Marketing?

Strategy 1: Like I said, it involves a network of people (real, relevant people I might add, not Indians or Philippinos) who are willing, and wanting, to read and possibly share your content around in their own circles/social networks. You can buy access to such networks via outbrain.com or taboola.com, and pay a cpc price for relevant clicks to your article on your own site, from each network starting at about .10 cpc. I have used both, and the jury is still out as to how effective they are in the long run if you don’t continuously spend $100s of dollars a day.

Strategy 2: The other way to get your content noticed is to get it placed in an already established site (like forbes, wsj, msnbc, cnn, etc) and rely on those power house sites to drive the views and shares for you. The upside to this is the huge brand recognition you receive by being associated with such trusted sites (this is btw what Online PR is also about). The downsides are 1) It takes time to get such placements, and you have to know someone at the site (90% of the time) to get anything published mentioning you/your company. 2)You receive a fraction of the traffic to your own site (if you even get a link out of it)

So the real question is: What is your goal? Do you want to drive lots of traffic to your own content and create a strong brand over time (of course you do). How much is that worth to you? You have to invest the time and money it takes to create that awesome article, infographic, video, etc. Then you have to drive large amounts of traffic to that particular piece and hope that people then share it to help offset some of the huge expense of driving people to it in the first place.

On the flip side, do you want to rely on another site to get brand exposure for you, and receive lots less traffic, but an instant credibility boost? (yes again). It’s a balance as to which one you do more of; but my advice is to use both tactics. And above all: Test, Test Test. I’ve seen first hand what an article on Forbes can do for the amount of new business you can get, even if you didn’t get a link to your site from it.

I’ve also seen incredible organic ranking increases on sites from excellent content that was  promoted, which then went viral.