Matt Siltala, fine friend to aimClearians, is the Founding Launcher of Avalaunch Media. With clients from Steven Covey to The Home Depot to ESRB, Matt’s dipped his hands in some pretty interesting companies, and seen some fascinating things throughout his 10+ years in the industry.
Matt’s been a familiar face on the conference circuit, speaking regularly at Search Engine Strategies, Pubcon, SMX and even universities. Next month, he’ll storm the stage at SES San Francisco, tackling the anticipated session: Generate More Pinterest: Getting the Most from the New Kid on the Social Block. Prior to the show, aimClear had the pleasure of sharing a casual Q&A with Mr. Siltala, who’s convinced me it’s okay to spell his first name with two “t”s. Topics of discussion ranged from favorite tech blogs to the bustling online marketing scene in Arizona, to Matt’s gnarly facial hair. Yup. Read on for the full effect.
| aimClear: Matt! Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you, where do you come from, how did you end up in this industry?
Mat Siltala: Well, my name is Matt Siltala and I am one of the “Founding Launchers” of Avalaunch Media (formerly Dream Systems Media). Our company specializes in Content Marketing, Infographics, Social Promotion, SEO and PPC; and I am also a regular search industry speaker. Ok, now that I have the not-so-shameless plug for the new company out of the way, I will talk about myself .
I love to travel and spend time with my wife and three kids, but even then it is hard for me to stay “disconnected” because I really am a geek at heart. I love taking a business and doing everything I can to launch them to the next level (no pun intended on the “launch,” it’s how we came up with our new company name). I love being an entrepreneur and I love working for myself.
Many, many years ago I was actually a co-host on a morning country radio show (I know right, and I don’t even like country music!) and because I was going to college for computers they assumed that meant I could design websites. So, I took up the challenge and created three websites for the three sister stations I worked for. I even started link building and optimizing the sites and was doing SEO and driving real traffic and results before I really even knew Internet marketing had an official name. This was back in 1997.
After a short stint doing network admin stuff for a school district, I moved into consulting for a big firm, and eventually left the corporate world and its dreaded Monday morning meetings behind to go out on my own. I have never looked back and have loved every minute of it.
| aC: Kudos to you! BTW – I don’t like country music either… not the new stuff, anyway… Okay! Moving on – the AZ online marketing community seems incredibly robust from AZIMA to agencies and in-house monsters. Tell us what’s most exciting about the scene for you.
MS: Our main corporate office is in Utah, where, as you know, EVERYBODY is an SEO ! So, being here in Arizona is nice for me in that regard. My profession really kind of stands out and I see lots of opportunity within our industry here. I think that excites me the most. There is such a need in Arizona for people who are good at what we do, that it makes Arizona an amazing place to be for an Internet marketer. In fact, I particularly loved when SMX Social came to Scottsdale not so long ago. The Arizonians ate it up, and I was glad to be a part of it and give back to this awesome community. I hope that we continue to drive big conferences like that in Arizona to provide people in our industry a better opportunity to connect.
| aC: Right on. I know you’re quite the blogger… What is your absolute favorite topic to blog about?
MS: I love blogging the most about content marketing (viral, infographics, videos, linkbait etc.), although I really enjoy blogging in general. When I blog, I always have a goal of sharing practical tips to help people find stuff that work. Whether it is something I have done or something I have seen work for others, my blogging goal is to always give advice that helps businesses do a better job. I also have a huge passion for local business marketing as well. Shop local!
| aC: Nice . If you were stranded on a desert island and could only read five blogs for the rest of eternity, what would they be, and why?
MS: Do I get extra brownie points if I start this list with:
- aimClear Blog but seriously there is enough energy in Marty’s posts and videos to keep me content for a long, long time.
- ESPN (just cause I am on desert island doesn’t mean I can’t be a fan! Go Cards!)
- LifeHacker (hey, I just might learn how to escape from being trapped on a desert island MacGyver style)
- Techmeme (cause even if I can’t have them I gotta know about the latest Apple gizmos)
- Slate (gotta keep up on all the gossip, right?)
| aC: Clever, clever Please accept this coupon for 5 Brownie Points. Now, on the afternoon of Day 2 at SES San Francisco, you’re set to present on the Generate More Pinterest: Getting the Most from the New Kid on the Social Block panel. Give the readers at home a sneak peek?
MS: I am presenting a case study on what we did with PinnableBusiness.com to establish that company as a Pinterest authority with a well-executed infographic that we created for them that was featured on Mashable (How to Optimize For Pinterest)! I will present all we learned, what went right, and what could have gone better, to develop content (specifically images) for Pinterest. Of course, I will also explain how we approached Mashable and why they posted the graphic (this strategy does and should work for other big publisher sites as well).
| aC: Awesome! I’ve saved the most important question for last. On average, how many compliments do you receive daily on your facial hair? Don’t be bashful.
MS: I am going to regret sharing this story, but several years back while visiting my business partner, David Mink, at law school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama we attended a BAMA (vs. LSU) game. We sat in the student section, and if you have never been to a game in Alabama you really have no idea what fans are like in that part of the country, you may THINK you know what a football rivalry is all about, but you really dont, trust me! In the student section, there was a group of kids behind us drinking whiskey from a flask, and at one point during the game I watched a girl’s hand come from behind my head, across my face, and she started petting my beard. Or, as my business partners (who were in attendance) so awesomely put it, “She stroked the goat”… as you can imagine, it’s been a running joke ever since. So, yes I do get a lot of compliments on the beard, some are just more intrusive than others . I wonder if that will continue now that I am starting to have a lot of gray coming in?
| aC: OMG. That is one of the best culminations to any interview we’ve ever hosted. Period. Over. The end. I won’t even try a cute little wrap-up. That’s it. Goodbye. Thanks for your time, see you in San Francisco!