Hats Off To Danny Sullivan, Zenith Social Media Conference Keynoter & Beyond!

♫ Who can turn the world on with his smile? Who can take a nothing day, and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well it’s Danny! And you should know it! ♫ Seriously though. If you’re a part of the online marketing community and you don’t know Danny Sullivan, just get the heck out. Kidding! But for real, AIMCLEAR and the city of Duluth are thrilled to welcome the one and only Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor of Search Engine Land, to deliver the morning keynote at Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference 2013.

“Danny is a foundational online marketing journalist,” Marty Weintraub wrote earlier this year, when announcing Danny’s appearance. “Widely considered a leading ‘search engine guru,’ he’s been helping webmasters, marketers and everyday web users understand how search engines work for well over a decade.

“Danny is the Founding Editor of Search Engine Land, an industry news website  respected for all aspects of search marketing and search engine news. Danny also serves as Third Door Media‘s chief content officer, the company that owns Search Engine Land and the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He also maintains a personal blog called Daggle and microblogs on Twitter: @dannysullivan. For history buffs among us, Danny also founded SearchEngineWatch and SearchEngineStrategies before those assets were acquired”

Welp, truly couldn’t have written it better myself. Which is another reason why I wanted to invite Danny Sullivan to a candid Q&A, so he could tell us a bit about himself – straight from the source, and all that jazz. Zenith kicks off tomorrow, May 30th, and Danny will get the crowd revved up with his morning keynote. Read on behind-the-scenes look at this industry luminary, along with a sneak peek of what he’ll be dishing up to the audience.

| AIMCLEAR: Danny! Welcome, welcome. Thanks for sharing some of your time with us today. Tell the folks at home a bit about yourself. Where did you come from? How did you get here?

Danny Sullivan: I was born a poor…. Well, I guess it’s more like, “how did I end up writing about search?” The short story was that I was a newspaper journalist who went into developing web sites in 1995. One of the things we did was SEO, though we didn’t call it that then — and no one even really knew what worked. So, I started looking into figuring out what key factors seemed important. I published all those in a guide in 1996, called “A Webmaster’s Guide To Search Engines.” That launched me on a new career, because the guide grew to become a web site. That’s where I’m at today, founding editor of Search Engine Land.

| aC: Most excellent. Okay, so you keynote mainstream conferences with thousands of people in the audience. Still, you always support regional conferences like those hosted in Portland, Charlotte, and Bend. What role do you think regional conferences serve? Why are regional conferences important? (And by the way, thank you for coming to Duluth for Zenith 2013).

DS: I think regional conferences are great, because not everyone can afford the time or money to get out to a national show. It also helps bring new people into the space. People from all over the US come out and speak at our shows to support them, so I usually try to make it out to some regional ones in return.

| aC: Right on. And we really are so jazzed to have you here in Duluth. Actually, have you ever heard of Duluth, Minnesota before Zenith? What do you picture? :) 

DS: I picture Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat in the air. Which isn’t Duluth — it’s Minneapolis, and probably gets me in trouble if there’s a rivalry between the two cities. So as you can see, I have a lot to learn about Duluth and Minnesota on my first trip to the state. I hope to turn it on with a smile. Oops, there goes the MTM references again. What can I say. I watched it a lot growing up as a kid.

| aC: Oh, Danny. You’ll do great. I’ve seen into the future. You’re gonna make it after all! Alright, back to business… you’re a search marketer by trade. Zenith is a social media marketing conference. For marketers at all levels, tell us why social and search are PB & Nutella. 

DS: PB & jelly, please. Make PB & chocolate. Two great tastes, one candy bar. Sometimes you feel like a nut…. But I digress. Both search and social are ways that people get found and, importantly, found through earned media. Earned sounding weird, because earnings sound like something you pay for, when it’s really a reference that you earned attention without paying. “Inbound marketing,” if you like that term. “Organic,” if you prefer. But they both have strong earned components, both are tied to visibility and both reinforce each other. Social signals more and more influence whether you’ll be found in search. So you want to ignore social? I don’t think so. And search can help be that first introduction to a brand, so that after you’ve been introduced, you can continue to relate to each other socially.

| aC: Brill. Now, on that note, can we get a sneak peek at what you’ll be serving up for your morning keynote at the Zenith Social Media Conference? Pretty please?

DS: I’ll probably talk about how search isn’t a revolution but rather an evolution, a tired phrase but still true — and ways that marketers can stay focused on the big picture stuff if they feel lost in what seems a stream of unending change.

| aC: Very much looking forward to it. Time to change things up. Top 3 things you’ve learned about social media from your children:

DS: I’ve learned Instagram is big, and Facebook is so done with. Good thing Facebook bought Instagram. I guess what I’ve learned as a top tip is that social works well when you’re being real and engaged. I puked a bit in my mouth on those buzzwords, saying them. But they’re true. If you’re being social, living social, actually participating in the social world as a consumer, not just a pusher, I think you have more success.

| aC: Just terrific. Okay. Last question. Aaaand… it’s a lightning round! Favorite ethnic cuisine, travel destination, and wild animal, GO!

DS: Mexican, Australia, the capybara. I mean, it’s like a big guinea pig. How could you not like it?

| aC: Well played. Well played, indeed. On that note…


And! We’ll be seein’ ya tomorrow, good sir! Cheers!

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