August 06, 2009

Mike Grehan Joins SEW, ClickZ and Search Engine Strategies (SES) - Interview

By Li Evans

Mike_grehan It's with a lot of smiling this morning that I get to be the first place that has an interview with Mike Grehan about his new position with Search Engine Watch, ClickZ and Seach Engine Strategies (SES). (official announcement)  Mike's taken on a whole new role leading some exciting changes for the next coming year as well as helping to shape the direction of the industry as one of the top minds on where not just search marketing is going, but the whole online marketing industry as a whole. 

So lets hop right to it...(this is a two part interview that continues on Take It In-House)

Tell us about your new role with Incisive Media, SES, SEW, ClickZ

Mike Grehan:  I’ll be carrying Matt McGowan’s suitcase while he’s traveling as well as acting as his bodyguard to keep him safe from his adoring fans at conferences…

And apart from that… Effectively I’m working with the content team to help shape us up for the future. These three powerhouse brands have been around for a while and have a great reputation. But as the industry changes, we must change with it. And not just react to changes but anticipate it and facilitate the online conversation.

Of course, I’ll be playing a much larger role with the conference on the speaking front, as well as regularly writing and blogging across all three brands. And then there’s the webcasts and the…

How has the search industry changed in the last three years?

Mike Grehan:I think the biggest changes revolve around less dependency on technical solutions in the way we had to provide for clients. Now it’s much more important to have a strong marketing strategy as well as some tech savvy.

How important has social media become?

Mike Grehan:  Interesting that so many people in search are drawn towards this, so called “social media” when it requires an entirely different skill set. People like yourself who have a PR and marketing background (as well as being an excellent coder :) ) are more likely to succeed. As to how important it has become, go and ask the 250 million people at Facebook, they’ll tell you :)

This interview continues on Take It In-House.

July 20, 2008

BlogHer '08: Elisa Camahort Page Interview, BlogHer CoFounder

By Li Evans

For the past view days I've been in San Francisco at BlogHer '08.  It's been a spectacular time, and it's really amazing to meet so many, intelligent, super charged up women bloggers.

Over the course of a few months I've gotten to know the founders of the BlogHer community.  These women are just spectacular.  Smart, savvy women who care about bringing knowledge and community together.  Never more apparent was that, than at the community keynote.

Elisa Camahort Page, one of the BlogHer Co-Founders, agreed to do an interview with me.  She speaks about one of the major highlights of the event being the Community Keynote, as well as the new BlogHer Reach Out Tour (this I'm really excited about!).


We'll be adding more videos throughout the week to the SMG YouTube channel, so subscribe to get the latest videos there, as well as checking back to SMG for the interviews as we post them.

Full Video Interview Transcript After the Jump....

Continue reading "BlogHer '08: Elisa Camahort Page Interview, BlogHer CoFounder" »

July 09, 2008

Video Interviews with Search Professionals at SES Toronto

By Li Evans

Li_evans_andy_renieris_yahoo_canada Rather than live blogging at SES Toronto, I decided to take a different spin on things and interview a few of the speakers about SES Toronto, as well as what is going on in the industry, what they are doing and where things are going.

In all there's 13 interviews, including the interview with Brian Eisenberg about the launch of his new book, which I posted about earlier today.  We got to interview Ken Jurina of Epiar, Amanda Watlington of Searching for Profit, Motoko Hunt who's the chair for SES Tokyo and 9 other search professionals.

I've taken the time to put each of these interviews on their own page, since they do hold a ton of great information and insights, so check out each and every one of these video interviews for some great tidbits, and tips from everything dealing with scams, tools and even accessibility issues.

Bryan Eisenberg to Launch His New Google Book at SES San Jose

By Li Evans

While at SES Toronto Beau and I did a bunch of interviews with folks, I'll be posting links to those later today.  The one interview that has me really excited about attending and speaking at SES San Jose this year was the interview I did with Future Now's Bryan Eisenberg.

Bryan's the co-author of "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark" and also "Call To Action" with his brother Jeff.  I loved Waiting for Your Cat To Bark, it was really one of those books I started to read and couldn't put down until I finished it.  If you haven't read either one of these books, put them on your list and read them, because they give invaluable insight into online marketing and what you are doing with your website.

Bryan was the 2nd day keynote at SES Toronto.  His keynote was just as lively and informative as Frederick Marckini's on the first day.  This was Bryan's first time as a keynote at an SES Conference, and from my perspective, he should do more!

Right after the keynote, I got the opportunity to interview Bryan and ask him about his keynote.  Bryan also gave me some other news.  His new book "Always Be Testing:  The Complete Guide to Google Website Optimizer", will be launching the week that SES San Jose takes place.  So that means, if you are planning, or hadn't made up your mind yet, or need one more reason to go, Bryan's book is a big reason to go to SES San Jose.  Bryan even says he'll sign some books.

Bryan discusses what his new book is all about in our interview, so see for yourself, maybe all of us should start thinking about PPC and SEO in the ways that Bryan suggests.


Full Video Transcript: Bryan Eisenberg's Interview

March 23, 2008

Jason Calacanis - Why I Didn't Throw Veggies At Him At SES New York

By Li Evans

Li Evans & Jason Calacanis at SES New York 2008I wanted to, I really, really wanted to.  Everyone knows I really did not have a "love" nor a respect for Jason Calacanis.  The man took every opportunity he could to bash our industry (and my livelihood) for the past year and a half - and people still continued to give him a stage, and the free reign to pretty much say whatever he wanted.  This is a guy who has pissed off more of us than he can likely keep track of.  I took offense to everything Jason was spouting, because I'm not one of those "snake oil salesman", I'm one of these online marketing professionals that believe a sound online marketing strategy is the best practice for a client's success.

So, with that in mind, it's why I called out SES for putting this guy on stage for a 3rd time.  It's also why, when offered the opportunity to see if this guy really knew his stuff, I jumped on it and asked for all of you to send in questions.  I got a lot of questions, and you all really submitted some great stuff.

There was some tense moments, apparently some rumors were floating around people intended to "heckle" Jason.  I think that was something that was just "miscommunicated", or taken the wrong way from some of the comments that were on Sphinn about the post I wrote.  We didn't need to bring in the NYPD, Kevin Ryan did a fine job at keeping things on an even keel, and getting the questions asked and no one heckled Jason ... nor threw veggies.

That all said, showing a bit of humility, is always a good thing.  When you can say "perhaps I was wrong", in front of an audience of more than 1,000 people, credit does have to be given.  I still don't totally agree with Jason's methods or tactics, but I do have to say that I think enough people in this industry have worked at giving him insight into what we do, that he seems to have a different opinion of us than he did back in 2006.

So now onto all of the questions that were submitted & asked from the keynote audience at SES, and those that were answered (answers in red):

Continue reading "Jason Calacanis - Why I Didn't Throw Veggies At Him At SES New York" »

December 06, 2007

Video Interview with Simon Heseltine of RedBoots at SES Chicago

By Li Evans

After the "Dealing with Difficult Clients" panel at SES search marketing event here in Chicago, I got the opportunity to sit down and speak with Simon Heseltine of RedBoots about the topic he covered on this very interesting panel.

Simon pointed out 6 different types of difficult clients, and talks with me in a little more detail about 2 of those types in this video interview.

For the coverage on all 6 types, plus the other two panelists, check out the full coverage on the Dealing with Difficult Clients session.

Video Interview With David Wallace of SearchRank at SES Chicago

By Li Evans

After the "So You Want To Be a Search Marketer" panel here at the Search Engine Strategies search marketing event here in Chicago, I got the chance to sit down and talk with panelist David Wallace.

David is also a long time friend and colleague of mine, who has a lot of valuable insight into the whole industry of search marketing.  David and his wife Irma Wallace started SearchRank, a Phoenix, AZ search marketing firm, after doing search optimization for themselves.

For the entire coverage of David's panel and more of his advice check out the full coverage of "So You Want to Be a Search Marketer"

November 30, 2007

Anne Kennedy Talks About SES Chicago

By Li Evans

While here in Los Angeles at SES Local: ILM 07, I got the chance to speak with Anne Kennedy of Beyond Ink about SES Chicago Search Strategy Event and what's new and upcoming for the conference.  Anne also has an announcement of her own, so watch the video interview and enjoy!

* Had a little technical difficulty here, video should be full length and working!!  (double checked from out in the airport here at LAX, and it seems to be working just ok)

If you'd like to contribute to what Anne announced in the video, shoot an email to smg *A*T*

May 08, 2007

Sponsored Reviews - No Strings Attached Interview

By Li Evans

Sponsoredreviewslogo A few months ago, Sponsored Reviews was launched.  In a niche market where there was a lot of commotion among the competition, Sponsored Reviews actually caught my eye and held my attention because of their approach.  When I read about who was behind Sponsored Reviews, I then realized where the approach came from and set off to see if I could interview them.

Sponsored Reviews is a product of TextLinkBrokers which are based in Arizona.  Jarrod Hunt, the company's CMO/CTO and Founder was kind enough to oblige this blogger's request for an interview.  I put some pointed questions to him, from transparency issues, to what makes sets them apart from their competition, Jarrod took the time to explain what Sponsored Reviews was all about.


Q: So Jarrod, how did the concept of Sponsored Reviews come to fruition?
A:  SponsoredReviews is the natural progression of a product we offer at called “Hosted Marketing Pages”.  The idea is essentially the same: paying webmasters to place a page of content on their site with links back to the advertiser.  The only real difference is the medium.  With the rise in popularity of paid blog posts, we knew we needed to develop a product to compete.

Q:  How big is the team that manages Sponsored Reviews?
A:  SponsoredReviews is a sister company to Textlinkbrokers (360 Enterprises, Inc.).  Our management team consists of dozens of people, some working directly on SponsoredReviews, some working as part of the 360 Administration team.

Q:  Approximately how many advertisers do you have participating at this point in time in Sponsored Reviews?
A:  We have had over 250 opportunities posted in the past 2 months, some public and some private.  Thousands of reviews have been written and 10’s of thousands of dollars have been paid out to bloggers.

Q:  Approximately how many bloggers do you have participating at this point in time?
A:  As of today we have just over 2000 bloggers in our system.  It would be closer to 10,000 if we accepted every blog that applied.  We reject blogs that are too new or have too little “real” content.

Q:  Could you explain how advertisers can benefit from Sponsored Reviews?
A:  We have seen advertisers use sponsored reviews for a wide range of purposes.  The obvious ones are link building, direct traffic, and buzz building but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  One popular usage is expert feedback.  As one example, there are a couple bloggers in our system doing very well by offering to do an SEO analysis of the advertiser’s site as part of the review.

Q:  How does Sponsored Reviews help out bloggers?
A:  Other then money, Sponsored Reviews do have other benefits.  They bring fresh content to blogs and help motivate bloggers to be more active.  As a company we also try to educate bloggers through our own blog.

Q:  Do you think that a blogger’s audience could be turned off by the blogger doing these type of reviews?
A: It really depends on what type of reviews they are doing.  Some bloggers go out of their way to make the reviews part of the normal flow of their blog.  It is also important to keep the number of reviews to a minimum. Readers will not reject a blog for the occasional paid post, but if every other post is a paid review, the blogger is going to have issues.  This is one reason why we require a 3 to 1 ratio of non-paid to paid content on our blogs.

Q:  What are some of the major points that distinguish Sponsored Reviews from the other “paid review” services out there?
A:  One primary difference is our transaction rate.  SponsoredReviews only charges 35%. SponsoredReviews was also the first to offer a hybrid system that allows the advertisers to post opportunities as well as purchase reviews directly by browsing through our blogger directory.  In addition, we give the advertisers 100% control over which blogs they purchase reviews from, even on publicly posted opportunities.   Most of our competitors have automated systems where the advertiser only has control over a few factors.


Thank you Jarrod!  I really appreciate you taking the time to explain what Sponsored Reviews is all about.  For more information about Sponsored Reviews check out their FAQ's, it answers a lot of questions for both advertisers and bloggers.


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