Is Your Search Marketing Career Optimized? – SMX East 2012

Last session of the day, folks. And what better way to wrap it up then to talk about a different type of optimization – optimizing your search marketing career. With more and more people choosing search marketing as their livelihood, I bet lost of people have questions about how to excel in their field. This is what the session aims to tackle. You can mine tidbits from this session at #24B on Twitter.

SMX East Logo

Up first is Chris Taylor of Onward Search. First, the recession is long over in digital marketing. We are in a supply-restrained market. Digital marketers have the upper hand.

Between $60 and $100,000 is the mid-level position salary: SEM managers, SEO managers, Web analytics managers – these roles have hands-on plus strategic skill sets. SEO directors in New York are making top end $120,000 to $140,000.

He is suggesting that employers move very quickly, because we are in a talent-constrained market. One to two interviews should suffice. Don’t leave an offer out on the table for more than two weeks.

Negotiation tactics for salary:

  • Consider multiple opportunities.
  • Play hard to get.
  • Know your market value and be realistic.
  • It’s not just about the money. Negotiate other things you want if the salary is not as much as you want – working from home, additional vaca time, etc.
  • It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Hamid Saify (@HamidSaify) of Deutsch LA is up next. He is talking about hitting that goal in your career and then thinking, what’s next? He is going to talk about why certain people advance and the psychology of it all.

He says one-third of people are thinking about leaving their job by the end of the year and shows this video:

  • Be likeable. Don’t rub people the wrong way. Don’t be abrasive.
  • Be confident. A lot of people have to work at this. The way you own your subject matter, the way you carry yourself. Show that you have interests in things outside search.
  • Become a better communicator. This is key in terms of progression.
  • Be political but don’t be obvious (AKA kiss up). Rub elbows with the right people. Do something for your boss. Not superficially, but get to know them.
  • Dump search for a while. He looks for smart people, not the best search marketers. Search is still a young industry; most CEOs and CMOs have a broad background outside of search. It will be a dangerous time when the CEOs and CMOs only have a search marketing background.
  • Do things unrelated to your job. Help out when and where you can. Go above and beyond.
  • Move around as appropriate. Those who are fresh out of college usually only stay for a year or so, and he encourages it. You don’t always want to be the “new college grad.”
  • Have ambassadors who will be saying great things about you internally or in your network.
  • When it comes down to reviews, about a month before, make sure you do something awesome. Recency wins.
  • Think big picture. Spread yourself out and think about how search plays into the bigger picture.
  • Disconnect. You need it to have balance and to the best you can.

Casie Gillette (@CasieG) of KoMarketing is up. Optimize yourself. Be a brand, remind your boss what you do, be a team player and know where you’re going. If you’re not, you’re last – so when someone searches your name, it should be about your brand.

She looked at all the speakers for SMX and found attributes that were similar:

  • Ninety-two percent on Twitter.
  • Eighty-seven percent on Google+.
  • Eighty-six percent are bloggers.
  • Forty-eight percent have personal blogs.
  • One hundred percent are on LinkedIn.
  • Forty-two percent are doing all of the above.

Go out there and do something! Find your niche. Write for search blogs. Leave comments. Participate in social networks. Get you and your company press. Check out and get involved in:

  • SEOmoz
  • KoMarketing
  • Search Engine Land
  • HARO

Participate offline! Meet the people. This is important. Find meetups and go. Check out your local AMA. Take advantage of the networking at the conferences. Beer makes friends!

How do you get into speaking? Just do it. It can help you as a person, as a brand, it’s attractive to companies. Go to BarCamp. It’s a one or two day event. You go and pitch sessions. The audience votes and you break out and go and speak. This is a good opportunity to get your feet wet in speaking. PubCon just started an “open mic” track. Try it if you’re there.

Does your boss know what you do? Sometimes they don’t. It’s up to you to make sure that happens. Keep them apprised. Don’t be afraid to brag. Ask for time with them so that you can talk about progress, goals and obstacles.

Informal reviews every three months helps you remember what is happening throughout the year. It’s too hard to remember what you did in a whole year. And keep your job description up to date. Know what you’re doing now that’s different than what you were hired for.

And it’s more than just you. Make sure you are helping your company and those around you. Be a joiner, take on news tasks, create new initiatives.

Last, know where you wanna go. Start thinking about it. Most of us “fell” into search marketing. Sart aligning yourself with your future goals.

Some tidbits form the Q&A:

  • A lot of employees do freelance work in search and some employers are cool with that. In fact, one of the panelists, Casie, asked if she could continue the freelance work on the side before she accepted her position. Hamid says they encourage it so that people stay passionate and diverse. Chris from Onward Search says there are sometimes conflicts with NDAs and other legalities.


Jessica Lee is the founder and chief creative for bizbuzzcontent Inc., a marketing boutique that focuses on digital content strategy and professional writing services for businesses.

See Jessica's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
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One Reply to “Is Your Search Marketing Career Optimized? – SMX East 2012”

Interesting thoughts here. How best to market your skills? Okay, so you’re on all major social networks. What does that bring necessarily? To what end? Clear goal setting becomes critical. Keep a list, start examining in depth all sites/blogs in your area of interest or expertise. What can you add? What can you learn? Note what the top players are doing–what do top affiliate marketers do that you can copy? Copy what is working as you can, develop from that. Be willing to listen, adapt, be flexible. Thanks for the interesting notes.


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