While presenting a class on web site usability in New York for Internet Marketing Ninjas Marketing Training, my husband was in the audience as cheerleader and teacher.
I wasn’t connected at first and I could feel it. I wasn’t inspired. I had a feeling I wouldn’t be because the first part was the boring stuff I had to discuss, like business requirements. I said “um” 340 times. However, once I pulled up the screenshot of a web site I’m working on for an artist, Eric said I suddenly “lit up”. I connected. My passion for this web project and devotion to the artist raised my energy level.
From then on, I made eye contact with the audience. I laughed. I read their faces and could tell when I needed to bring them back if they slipped from me. When I got to my ideas about chaos theory, web design, usability and SEO, I saw several people sit up in their chairs to pay better attention. Who would have thought a usability consultant would be talking about the union of energy points with SEO’s?
It was my first ever solo talk. I learned that I was dead in the water unless I allowed my passion out to roam around the room. It was my excitement and love for my work that hooked the room and helped attendees to stay awake to hear what I had to say. If I could light their fire and get them jazzed for their own projects and careers, all the better.
Marty Weintraub wrote an interesting blog post called Need to Hire SEM Help? Where to Find Industry Thought Leaders. Doug Heil raised valid points in the comments. Indeed, it is difficult to find skilled SEO’s these days. The top level practitioners do far more than organic SEO. They’ve gone beyond to pick up training in copy writing, user experience design, off line marketing, accessibility and programming.
I doubt these sought after individuals are spending time on the road speaking or running forums. Some do of course. But, I’ve often wondered how much work a “leader” is actually doing when they’re out on the speaker circuit and traveling around the world week after week.
I know that I have to make time to be away from my Administrator duties at Cre8asiteforums to focus on my usability consulting business, keeping my skills current, raising my kids and being a wife. Somewhere in there I need to find time for me and trust me, most of the time I can’t find where I last put me.
Do we want to hire leaders? What do they offer? I like how Marty labeled it “thought leader”. I prefer to be out there, thinking and exploring. I like to open doors for people who have a “special something”. I want to inspire, but that’s because I’m quickly bored. If I won’t listen to myself, how can I expect anyone else to?
Passion Sells Because It Connects
I believe that we create best when we’re in love with our topic. Passion, devotion, adoration, persistence, whatever you want to call it – it’s what drives us to do something because we HAVE to. Even more, we WANT to.
This is why links for the sake of links was always a dead idea for me when it became the craze in 1999. All these years later and many still think that it’s the link that matters. It’s not. What has always mattered is content. People don’t get passionate over links or even anchor text. They react to content.
Miriam Ellis wrote a powerful piece called Links And Better Things Come When People Care. She wrote:
I remember first learning about the importance of link acquisition as a brand new SEO. I had a vague idea that I would be writing to related businesses and asking them nicely to link to whatever website I was working on. The trouble was, the first projects I was asked to do this on were not being run by businesses who had invested the time to create content worth linking to.
Miriam is an activist at heart, as well as web designer and search engine marketer. She’s discovered, as I have, that the projects we care about will feel and act differently to us. The marketing is different. User response is remarkable.
I’ve been able to act as both an information resource as well as a liaison between interested parties, facilitating new important relationships between people who can help one another. A secondary good is the fact that my blog has now been linked to, unasked, by every major entity involved in this project as well as by multiple media sources, wrote Miriam.
My artist friend, whose web site I took over, told me that one night before I uploaded the redesigned version, he looked at his old site after hearing my feedback on it. I had explained to him all the reasons why it was dead and not working for him. He hadn’t understood this until he looked at it again from the perspective of a usability consultant. He told me he was amazed at all that was missing from the old site that he just never noticed before. He had trusted he would be taken care of by those who had built his web sites.
Two webmasters built him web sites on two separate domains. Both were uninspiring, unattractive and lacked a reason to remain on the site or worse, bookmark it or ever return. Two chances. Two complete duds.
I saw his art. I spent the time to get to know the artist as a man, human, visionary. I know he’ll be famous. Neither of the other two webmasters believed and it showed in their work. Neither of them had a clue about SEO, accessibility, persuasive design or marketing.
In today’s Internet market, these skills are what you will need to look for. Skills, along with passion. You want people who help you to succeed and who know how to make it happen because they want this for you.
As Miriam wrote,
Now, I have begun to see that the more the web, and the job of the SEO, is viewed as real life, the more naturally really good work will take place, the more powerful and effective our efforts can be, the more impact those efforts can have on our lives outside the web.
A few have been saying this all along. Ted Ulle (Tedster) and Jill Whalen have long been saying, “Keep it natural”. It’s what separates those who deserve your money from those who don’t.
Discussion on SEO with Passion.