SEMpdx-searchfestIt’s noteworthy that Portland Oregon’s interactive marketing community has spawned SEMpdx, a vibrant regional search marketing trade association. Friend and fellow Sphinner, Stumbler, Facebook(er), and blogger Todd Mintz has been instrumental in championing “SearchFest,” SEMpdx’s well regarded annual conference.

I’m fortunate enough to have been invited to speak at this year’s Searchfest along with the likes of Stoney deGeyter, Matt McGee and Rand Fishkin. Recently Todd Mintz was gracious enough to answer questions I pinged him with regarding the Portland conference, his own professional history, and personal inspiration. I even had to “bleep” his copy. :)

Picture of Todd Mintz PortlandWhat was the organization’s genesis and what role did you play? SEMpdx was the brainchild of Kent Lewis and Scott Orth. Both of them attended SES Seattle 2006 and thought that there wasn’t any reason that Seattle should draw the attention of Search Marketers while Portland continued to be ignored.

Both felt that Portland could support not only a search marketing organization but a prominent search conference as well. While I wasn’t close to either Kent or Scott at the time, one of them included me on the invite list to the initial organizational meeting and I became one of the SEMpdx board members.

Tells us about your professional history, background, and search marketing specialty.
I discovered search marketing in 2000 and learned it mostly from reading forums like Webmaster World & trying stuff out. My background is pretty unique in that I learned search via spam techniques (that would be pretty primitive by today’s standards) and as spam became less effective, I migrated towards the light.

As I am now in a corporate role, I’m more of a search generalist (if there still can be such a thing) and consider myself proficient in most aspects of organic & paid search. Though I’m fascinated by the social media scene, I don’t have the aptitude in it of somebody like…Marty Weintraub :.)

What is Searchfest and who should attend?
Searchfest is a regional search marketing conference that we host each March in Portland. It’s a chance to see top caliber speakers in a much smaller venue than one of the traditional bigger conferences. We target our marketing efforts towards two types of people: Other search marketers who want to see the best & brightest in the industry, and business people who want to understand more about search marketing so they can use search to drive revenue to their company. Purchase your Searchfest tickets now.

What are the top 11 reasons to attend Searchfest.

  1. Rip City, baby!
  2. The conference speaking debut of Top Sphinner, Social Media Expert, and all-around great guy Marty Weintraub.
  3. Rand Fishkin’s first search conference keynote.
  4. Portlander Paul Colligan is both the Podcast Godfather and an amazing speaker…don’t miss him.
  5. Competitive Webmaster John Andrews gets his own session.
  6. Matt McGee knows Small Business SEM and he’ll be speaking about that very topic.
  7. Trailblazer Internet Marketing Director Dan Harbison was one of the high points of Searchfest 07…and we’ve invited him back.
  8. Is there life after Vanessa Fox at Google Webmaster Central? We have Riona Macnamara to update us on that wonderful tool.
  9. Usability & Site Architecture are important topics and we have Ian Lurie & Stoney deGeyter speaking on them.
  10. Rebecca’s back for an encore.
  11. Over time, I get to meet & talk to some real cool, smart people and I really enjoy being able to offer them Searchfest speaking slots. Such people include Lisa Williams, Dustin Woodard & Adam Audette.

What are your favorite 3 blog posts of all time, the one that changed your life?
I don’t think any blog posts have changed my life…however, here are a few favorites:

Do It F-king Now has to be my all time favorite blog post because it transcends search marketing and applies to every facet of life. I can’t think of any possible stronger call to take action than this.

Stevie and Marvin from Thomas Dolby because this is the best written example that attempted to communicate the transcendent power of music that I’ve ever read (and it’s hard to do…I tried myself).

Aaron Wall Interviews Frank Schilling because it made me realize that I was in the wrong business:.) Seriously, up until then, I viewed domains as a receptacle for placing SEO’ed content…in actuality, there might be much more value in the domain name than in the SEO of the domain and domaining offers a much greater possibility for wealth generation than SEO. I think Aaron’s interview of Frank changed the professional lives of many in search and its influence can not be understated.

You are an active participant in Facebook, Sphinn, LinkedIn, and others. What advice would you give in-house marketing folks who want to get started on behalf of their employer or themselves personally?
Click the link to the Do It F-king Now blog post and follow the advice given:.)

Seriously, like anything else, it’s a commitment of time and resources…you just have to learn the community, interact with its members, and build relationships. I will never win any awards for being a social butterfly but I intellectually knew what I needed to do to succeed in the community and I genuinely liked interacting with everyone I’ve met.

Let’s take Sphinn as an example. The launch of Sphinn offered a big stage for anyone to jump in and establish themselves very visibly in this new search community. People like you and I embraced that opportunity and committed time & resources at Sphinn’s launch to make ourselves noticed at a time where everybody was watching what everyone else was doing. We not only helped develop the community the way it is today but along the way met folks & developed relationships that we can draw upon in our professional & personal lives. That’s groovy!

Who do you want to give link love to here:
Let me acknowledge the entire SEMpdx Board of Directors:
President – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media Inc.
Events – Ben Lloyd, Amplify-Interactive
Operations – Scott Orth, GTS Services
Sponsorships – Sean McMahon – EngineWorks, Inc.
Marketing – Scott Hendison, Search Commander
Technical – Stan Davis, Straight-On Internet Consulting search engine optimization Portland
Membership – Leo Chung, Overland Agency, an interactive advertising agency
Editor – Todd Mintz, S.R. Clarke

  • Todd Mintz

    Thanks Marty for the opportunity to do this interview.

  • Marty Weintraub

    You’re welcome Todd. It’s great to have you here.

  • Lisa Williams

    Todd, thanks for the mention! Great article, looking forward to meeting you at SearchFest Marty!
    Best, Lisa

  • Marty Weintraub

    A good time will be had by all.

  • randfish

    Todd – just FYI, I keynoted a conference in Montreal last summer, but I think it will be my first time keynoting a US conference and certainly a huge honor :-)

  • Marty Weintraub

    Rand, Thanks for clarifying, see you in OR.