Surprise! I have edition 29 for you today, as I stated earlier, I wasn't quite sure if I'd be able to bring an edition of the Women of Internet Marketing series to you today, but it worked out that I have been able too. Please remember though, next Wednesday we won't have an edition due to my travel schedule.
So while I'm out here in sunny Los Angeles at SES Local, I've taken the time to put together an edition that shines the light on two women who, although don't have direct day to day involvement in PPC campaigns, or changing Title Tags on websites, they both have significant contributions in industries that directory affect ours. One works for a search engine, the other is a public relations guru. Today let me introduce you to Karen Wickre and Kami Watson Huyse.
Some of us were first introduced to Karen Wickre of Google, through and interview she did with Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land entitled Karen Wickre: Mother Of The Google Blog On Google's Official Blogging. It was that article that had me firing off an email to Danny saying "I want to interview her!", thankfully Danny put me in touch with Karen and today we get to learn even more about her, from a different perspective.
Karen oversees all of the blogs on Google, from Webmaster Central's blog to Google's blog, Karen's hand helps to guide and nurture these vast informational yet rather personal communication tools that Google has leveraged to help bring its' many tools and services into the public spectrum. Karen is an industry veteran, being in the Tech industry for over 20 years, the internet over 10 and at Google for 5, she's seen a lot happen, even beyond the massive growth of Google. So lets get to know more about Karen.
Q: What brought you into this industry?
A:I've worked in technology as a journalist, flack, marketer and content strategist for 20+ years, and I've been online nearly that long. I love the fast pace, the rule-breaking, the infinitely new that technology brings us.
Q: What do you consider to be your most successful accomplishment?
A:At Google, that would be nurturing a communications platform that now encompasses some 75 blogs - the fastest and easiest way to communicate with people around the world about our many projects and new developments.
Q: Why do you love most about working this industry?
A:The fast pace and the inventiveness - in my lifetime alone the life-enhancing improvements through technology have been nothing short of astonishing.
Q: Working for a search engine, you have a different perspective than most people, do you think the search marketing industry as a whole gets a bad rep?
A:I don't think it does nearly as much as in the early days of this particular "wild west" - when metatagging was excessive and search was not a priority for most web builders. I think the Google effect has changed the rules and made things better for reputable and functional SEOs for their work across alll search engines.
Q: What's a typical day like for you at Google?
A:Writing and editing, email and IMs from dawn till well past dusk! lots of projects, announcements, and sudden developments that pop up and require a new strategy. There's also lots of connecting with Googlers literally around the globe - we all collaborate quite a bit.
Q: What's the most challenging thing you have to do deal in your day to day activities at Google?
A:Really, it's just the ability to turn on a dime with a team. We sometimes have to do that when plans change. It's not an extreme challenge, just a regular one - we're not cut out for people who plan far ahead and can't tolerate change.
Q: Is there some change in this industry that has taken you totally by surprise?
A:If you mean the search industry, not really - it's evolved pretty quickly to meet new technological challenges.
Q: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A:Devour information (and make time to process what you're learning), talk to people (build a network - and then use it!), and keep a sense of humor handy.
Q: What's your favorite Google Blog?
A:I shouldn't pick, but I have to say the first - the original - the Official Google Blog, because I was there at the start, and it's grown exponentially since then. It was designed to be a kind of patchwork quilt of all things Google, and I think it does that pretty well.
Q: Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A:I'm fond of the irreverent Uncov blog, Read/Write Web, I Want Media, Romenesko .... there are plenty of others.
Q: What kind of effect do you think blogging has had on the search marketing industry?
A:Presumably the same as it's had on other industries: the ability to publish quickly, reach a niche audience, engage with active participants, customers, clients.
Q: Which blog of Google's do you think has "grown" the most?
A:Probably the LatLong blog - which covers all of our geo products - has gone from 0 to 60 most quickly. there's a huge appetite for geo information.
Now for some fun! Because we all know Googlers are all about fun!
Q: What's the craziest thing you have ever seen a Googler do at the "plex"?
A:On our last "pajama day" (a workday where Googlers were invited to wear pajamas) some guys wore tuxes as a kind of opposite statement.
Q: You are stranded in a remote mountain cabin, snow blowing all around, you have no internet access *Gasp*!, which 4 search industry professional does Google send to search, find & rescue you?
A:If I understand this question correctly, you're asking me to name favorites in the search biz - is that right? I'm not sure that's a kosher question for me to take on - but I can tell you I would always include Danny Sullivan in that initial cry for help!
I think Danny's likely the top of anyone's list, so I'm with your on there Karen! Thanks for letting us spend some time with you!
Now let's learn a little about our second lady today, Kami Watson Huyse.
Kami Watson Huyse
I first learned about Kami almost a year ago. Checking our back links like we all do, I found a link coming into one of the Women of Internet Marketing articles from Communication Overtones. I started reading and became an instant fan. I finally got to actually meet Kami back in October when the PRSA held their conference in Philadelphia, and I said, "Kami, I'm such a fan I would like to interview you!" Thankfully she excused my "fan girl-ism" enough to agree to the interview.
Kami has been in the Public Relations business for 13 years, and owns her own firm My PR Pro. Believe it or not she had an interesting choice to make, head into music or go into Public Relations. Kami even took Opera classes while in school, so the love of music definitely it a tough choice. Lucky for us today, Kami took the PR route, and she's here to tell us a little more about her.
Q: What brought you into the public relations industry?
A:In my Junior year of college I was at the point where I needed to start thinking about the future. I was in the process of getting a degree in Speech Communication and also was taking a pretty heavy load of music classes, the Opera program. So the question became, "Would I go into music or head out into the business world?"
Over the summer I got this great paid internship with America's Charities. Since my boss didn't have a public relations background, he was willing to let me take control of the communications strategy and run with it. I had so much fun getting the word out about the good stuff we were doing that I knew I had found my career path.
Q: What do you consider to be your most successful accomplishment?
A:Becoming a mother while running my own business. I have to say that I always felt pretty confident of my abilities until I became a mother. It has been a lot harder, and more rewarding, than I would have ever imagined. That I have been able to build a successful consultancy at the same time, and work on some fantastic virtual teams, is also something of which I am pretty proud.
Q: Why do you love most about working in PR?
A:I love the challenge. In order to do it well you have to become a strategist and a logical thinker while still maintaining your creativity - a tall order. Contrary to common belief, PR is not about being a people person or being good with the media. These skills help, but they shouldn't define the job.
Q: What kind of influence has the search marketing industry had on the public relations industry?
A:I think that search is pivotal to the successful practice of public relations today. I conducted several focus groups earlier in the year that punctuated this point for me. I found that most people see the Internet through their search portal. In other words, Google, Yahoo, MSN, are generally the doorway from which they view the rest of the Web. Some say this spells the death of PR, but I disagree. It just means a shift away from message control to content democratization. Since traffic isn't as likely to come in the front door, content needs to be provided in relevant landing pages. When properly built and optimized, these pages can put an organization in the top of the search results. However, public relations needs to work with SEO experts to make sure that the information is written for people, not machines.
Q: Can you give us a brief description of what kind of services your company provides?
A:My elevator speech?
My PR Pro provides strategic public relations counsel to companies and organizations. We build mutually beneficial relationships with communities critical to our clients’ success.
In other words, I am in the relationship building business. This might include media relations, social media, search engine optimization, face-to-face events or any other number of tactics that help to build a community.
When my husband is out of town, I might not get out until 7:30 a.m. since he more than pulls his weight. I drop off the kids, come home and eat and read the paper, then proceed to my office by 8:30 a.m.
Once there I catch up on my e-mail and my feedreader to see if there are any fires to put out. If I am inspired I might start a post. Then I start client work about 10 a.m.
I break for lunch at 12:30 or so, then am back to client work by 1:30 p.m. Client work might include writing an employee newsletter, posting to a blog, calling media contacts to pitch a story, e-mailing a blogger that I know to ask for support on an issue or to invite them to an event, or having an onsite meeting to discuss strategy.
I have to leave to pick up the kids by 4:15 p.m. Then begins what I like to call the "slide to bed" which ends at 8 p.m. After the kids are sleeping, I usually put in another hour or two on the blog or any leftover work, then I hit the hay by 10 p.m., to start it all again the next day. Weekends are my sanctuary, I generally do not work or engage in social media and focus on family instead.
Q: What's the most challenging thing you deal with in your day to day business?
A:Getting everything done is a real challenge. I really can't afford to have an "off" or unproductive day. I do have them of course, it's just that they are more of a disaster for me than they used to be.
Q: Is there some change in the public relations industry that has taken you totally by surprise?
A:Not really. However, I will say that it has been a real eye opener to serve on the agency side of things. Most of my career was spent on the inside of organizations. The level of dishonesty and shortcutting out in the marketplace perplexes me. While I am not particularly surprised, it is very hard for me to see the world through that lens.
Q: What advice would you give to a woman starting out in PR?
A:Don't let anyone limit you to a support role. Think critically, add value to the team and let your voice be heard. Also, don't let people make you believe you can't have a family and a career. You can carve out your own definition of success.
Q: Who's your favorite blogger to read (can be any, doesn't have to be PR/SEM/SEO related)?
A:I know this will sound like a cop-out, but I read just shy of a hundred PR and Marketing blogs, plus hundreds more for my clients. What I really enjoy is the community that I share with many of these bloggers. Not all of their posts hit home for me, as I am sure not all of mine do for them. But I have really appreciated the strong relationships I have build with so many of these people over the years. Some that come to mind include my mentors Shel Israel and Katie Paine. Along with some of those with whom I have built business relationships and friendships: Andrea Weckerle, Scott Baradell, Geoff Livingston, Josh Hallett and Susan Getgood. There are many others with whom I have close ties, and I hate to leave anyone out, but you only have so much space.
Q: What kind of effect do you think blogging has had on the public relations industry?
A:Deer in the headlights. Most of the profession did not see it coming and now are scrambling to catch up.
Q: Do you think that PR professionals need to be paying attention to social media?
A:Most should. If their clients or the organizations for which they work are being talked about online, or the issues they care about, they better engage or become irrelevant.
Now it is time for Kami to show us her fun side
Q: What's the craziest thing you have ever had to write a press release for?
A:I was lucky I didn't work in an agency and I gave up press release writing pretty early in my career in favor of pitching. But we did have an award ceremony every year for which we wrote a personalized press release for each winner. It was a little like a nice letter from your teacher, lol. We didn't send them out though, we just gave them to the recipient to use as they wished.
Q: Lee Odden, Rob Key or Greg Jarboe?
A:Lee Odden for sure. Hi Lee :-)
Thanks Kami! It was great getting to introduce you to the search marketing industry, letting folks into the world of a PR professional has been a lot of fun!
That's a wrap on this week's 29th edition of the Women of Internet Marketing series, I hope you enjoyed it, I figured a slight change from the norm would be fun! We'll be back on December 12th with installment 30!