Seasoned Online Marketer Talks True Leadership Skills, Pralines: Will Scott Q&A

Posted in Interviews, SMX East

Will Scott (@W2Scott) is a heckuva guy. As CEO of New Orleans-based agency Search Influence, Will brings some top-notch experience and knowledge to the table, gained from nearly 20 years of professional experience on the Interwebz. He’s a crazy-smart marketer, dedicated team leader, enthusiastic conference speaker, even a gifted storyteller (as you’ll no doubt learn with his “short-ish” biography / response to question #1). Yes, that’s right – aimClear had the pleasure of sitting down for a candid Q&A with friend and fellow Facebook Marketing Workshop presenter, Mr. Will Scott, on the advent of #SMX East… and actually, our FB Marketing Workshop. 

On Monday, October 1, from dawn til dusk, Will and the aimClear team will be kicking off SMX right with a full-day intensive training. Then on Day 1 of the actual conference, Will’s speaking on the Meet Siri: Apple’s Google Killer? session. We got a sneak peek at what he’ll be discussing, and a special glimpse into the life of one of our favorite industry pals. Read on for the goods.

| aimClear: Mr. Scott! Greetings, glad to have you. Please, won’t you tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you come from, what led you to work this industry?

Will Scott: My dear Ms. Litwinka, first let me thank you for including me. I feel really honored to be part of your pre-conference vanity bait :) .
I’ll try to keep the story short-ish.
I grew up in New York City in the 70s and 80s. There may have been polyester.
For college I migrated south to my ancestral homeland and attended Tulane University. As it was 1987 and I had seen the movie Wall Street, I became an economics major. Shortly thereafter I realized that though I had a head for math I was bored right out of it by economics!
I was, however, dating a young lady in the School of Architecture. They still had to do math, but kept vampire’s hours and got to play with construction paper and glue — you see, I never really advanced beyond Kindergarten on the maturity scale. I was hooked. I shifted over to the Tulane School of Architecture where I got to do math, draw pictures, and build construction paper models.
So, nine years later including a four year stint in the Marines (no, I never got to go anywhere fun but I did get to blow a bunch of stuff up), I was approaching a degree in a field I knew was dying.
Thankfully, one of my professors, a wonderful forward-thinking guy name Javier Navarro turned us on to the Internet. I was in love. It was my life. I knew this would be where I would spend my energy for a long-ass time.
I built my first web site in 1994, I abused my first search engine in around 1999, and I saw my first Million Unique Month in 2005.
Eighteen years later I’m still as excited as ever about the transformative opportunities of the Internet.

| aC: Phew. I love it. Polyester and all. Okay, so 1994 – that’s nearly twenty years ago. The world (wide web) has changed quite a bit since you’ve been on the scene. As a marketing team leader, what are the top three things you do every day to keep up with the times, and to keep from becoming irrelevant?

WS: 1. Yell at my teammates. No, I’m kidding. I push really hard but I seldom yell. I’ll come back to this. 2. I read. I can’t find the blog anymore, but I remember the greatest tagline for a blog ever: it was, “I read the whole Internet every day so you don’t have to.” Twitter is really helpful in this regard. By making lists of my personal thought leaders, I tend to see the really important stuff. 3. I play. We do a LOT of testing. Let me just admit right now that there’s a reason my personal blog isn’t in the first 5 pages for “will scott”.

Back to #1 for a second. Online marketing has grown so big that I have become much more of a marketer and much less a technician. What I mean by that is I can’t know everything in granular detail about canonical tags, and rel=next, and video optimization, and sponsored stories.

So, when I find myself yelling coaching the most is when I feel like we’re not taking it far enough. I may not know, in every medium, all the time what that means, but I know when we’re not there yet.

| aC: Just awesome. What’s one top secret tactic you take to the table at Search Influence, one you’d never share with anyone else in the world? (You can trust me, I won’t tell.)

WS:Focus on the KPIs and everything else lines right up. Oh, and articles and directory submissions still work. Oh, and you can use a Facebook Display ad to point to an adult Facebook page as if it were an external website.

| aC: Booyah! You sneaky monkey, you. Alright, next up: You send out the best pralines every year. A) Would you like to give some lucky vendor a link on any anchor text of your choice from aimClear blog? B) Will our blog and the lucky link recipient be blown out of Google SERPs thanks to Penguin? :)

WS: A. It’s Southern Candy Makers. And they don’t rank top 3 outside of New Orleans for “Praline” and they definitely should. B. I’m confident your links are clean… on this site :) .

| aC: Hah! Touché. On the morning of Day 1 at SMX East, you’ll be speaking on the Meet Siri: Apple’s Google Killer? session. Can we get a sneak peek at the goodies you’ll dish out during your preso?

WS: Today, it’s all about Yelp. Funny, but true, story. It’s no secret I’m not a fan of Yelp’s business practices.  So it’s hugely ironic that the linked story on Street Fight was actually quoted by a Yelper in a solicitation to one of our clients.

| aC: Ooooh, quite the tease. Okay, I’ll be there for the full effect. Last but not least: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only consume one adult beverage for the rest of your life, what would be it? (Never mind the likelihood, or lack thereof, of this scenario.)

WS: Beer.

And right now, I’m leaning toward Stone IPA, to which I was introduced by David Mihm in Spokane, Washington. As Benjamin Franklin says, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

| aC: Amen, brother. As Lauren Litwinka says, “The hoppier the beer, the happier the girl.” Safe travels up to the Big Apple. See you there :) 

photo credit: ezrapoundcake.com