Webinar: Beyond SEO – Loving Link Data for Social Media Digital PR and More

This article has been cross posted from the Delightful Blog:

Some of you might know that one of my many Delightful hats is actually more of a crown.

A Majestic SEO crown.


For over a year now, I’ve been lucky enough to act as Brand Ambassador for Majestic here in the USA, and speak at conferences about their incredible “big data” toolset.

My remit is to help broaden the audience for the brand and get other digital marketers enthused about getting smart with link data and using it for more than just SEO (search engine optimization).

I’ve done a couple of presentations this year and a couple of blog posts too about how best to use what Majestic has to offer, and on Friday 6th December at 9.30am PST (5.30pm GMT) I’ll be delivering a webinar on how businesses can use their tools for influencer discovery, digital PR and competitive analysis.

If you’re interested in hearing some top tips, feel free to register for FREE below:

Beyond SEO – Loving Link Data for Social Media Digital PR and More

If you know anyone in PR or social media that you think might benefit from a talk like this, please share this post!

Virgin America Safety Dance Video on YouTube

Now smashing through the five million views barrier on YouTube in just a couple of weeks, is a spot from Richard Branson’s Virgin America that (successfully) hopes to entertain and make the whole safety video thing a little more lean forward than go on auto-snooze.


I’m always insisting that companies need to do a little marketing that’s unexpected, and although this is spot on for the kind of thing you might expect from Virgin, the fact that it’s about something as serious as aviation safety, just gives it that extra little edge.

I’ve never flown Virgin (and I’ve just got Gold MVP on Alaska Airlines so I might not get to try them in the short term), but this should keep their passengers happy and smiling for a while.

Wonder how long it will be before they gives us the next version?

Digital Marketing Conferences are a Lot Like London Buses

I remember my first post on the Microsoft adCenter Blog (now Bing Ads) was similarly titled to the above. I’d just got back from about three conferences in a week that had crept up on me after a drought of face-to-face contact with people in the industry.

Well, 7 years on and this summer has been pretty bonkers in that regard.

First there was the BrightEdge #Share13 event in August during which I spoke about loving links beyond SEO on behalf of Majestic, who I have had the pleasure of being their US Brand Ambassador for over a year now.

Mel Carson #SearchLove

On Stage at Distilled’s #SearchLove Conference

Then it was off to San Diego for #SearchLove organized by those lovely guys from Distilled. There, I was asked to speak about the book and kicked off proceedings by Celebrating the People Behind the Pixels. It was one of those conferences where your brain bleeds with the influx of new and scintillating information. Thanks to them for the invite. I’ve only just recovered!

Finally it was back to San Francisco for SES and a solo session on The Marriage of PR and Social Media, which went well enough for me to hopefully get asked back in the new year for their New York event.

Next week I’ll be in New York for SMX East and then Vegas for Pubcon, so you can imagine how the missus feels about it!

During the BrightEdge event, I was interviewed by the fabulous Murray Newlands from Search Engine Journal which you can view above. I was talking about how you can use Majestic link data to discover influencers for PR outreach, especially as it’s so easy to see competitor link information.

I’ll also be spending 3 weeks with the family in the UK during November for meetings and a couple speaking gigs, so will be getting a few pints of real ale and pork pies in to satisfy my cravings!

If you’re in London in November, let me know as I hope to meet up with some old faces while I’m there!

SearchLove San Diego – At Last I get to Speak at a Distilled Event!

I’ve only just got back from a family holiday in San Diego, but I’m jolly pleased to be going back in a couple of weeks to speak at SearchLove.

Watching Will and the team’s events with envy from afar for all these years, I pitched to talk about Pioneers of Digital at their California conference and they said yes!!

Not only am I speaking but I’m kicking the whole thing off, so no pressure!


Paradise Point

Not sure about the venue though. It describes itself as a private island paradise, so who’d want to spend a couple of days and nights there huh? I mean really!

Luckily I have friends like Kate Morris, Rand Fishkin, Ian Lurie and Joanna Lord to keep me sane while I endure Paradise Point at SearchLove San Diego! Winking smile

I’m seriously grateful to the team for having me talk on the same agenda as these guys. Seriously.

And I look forward to blogging and twittering all about it during the event so you can hear all the digital marketing goodness they will have to share.

If you’re interested in coming along and joining us, here’s the line up and register here.

Bernhoft Plays at TEDxSeattle (and gets a standing ovation!)

I wrote about the great experience we had at TEDxSeattle the other day and now the videos are up on YouTube!

This was one of the entertainment highlights of the day for me that the assembled throng marveled at and gave the first standing ovation to.


Jarle Bernhoft  is from Norway and generates the most incredible “retro-soul” sound as a one-man-band through great playing and a clever sequencing of beats, notes and crisp, clear vocals.


Jarle Bernhoft  Lost in Music

Stop whatever you are doing and spend the next 12.32 minutes watching this incredible performance.

Click Here if you can’t play the video above.

Matt McGowan – The Interview on 7 Glorious Years at Incisive Media and the Future

Exactly one year ago I wrote this.

A day later I called up Matt McGowan to get some advice (and a pep talk) and the guy was so generous with his time (and a free ticket to the SES digital marketing conference in San Francisco the following month) that that conversation has been etched in my memory ever since as a pivotal moment in me deciding to set up my own company.

I first met Matt in 2008 back in my Microsoft adCenter days at the SES conference in London and have got to know him, not just industry colleague but as friend. You know, that smart funny guy you make a beeline for across an expo hall at drinky time? That guy who’ll always make time to chat even though you can see he has a million things going on on the first day of a conference.

Today I’m kind of repaying Matt’s generosity that day we chatted after I’d been laid off from exactly 7 years at Microsoft, by publishing this interview with him about his recent amicable departure from the Incisive fold.

You see, Matt is one of the REALLY nice guys in search and social who has helped companies build their brands and individuals make names for themselves, but he’s always done it without so much of a toot of his own horn.

Always found rushing about at conferences with his phone clamped to his head fielding calls, fixing things, making connections and organizing great nights out after the expo halls went dark, he’s done it all with good humour and an endearing self-effacing nature.

When I spoke to him yesterday about his recent resignation from Incisive Media, he said he didn’t want to make a fuss. But I suggested that he’d touched so many careers in his tenure at Incisive that people would want to know what happened AND that he might have some advice for us all from lessons learned from his global business experience.

The resulting interview is below. Take a read, know he’s “all good” (as is often used to describe a positive outlook on like in the US of A), and maybe learn a few things….


So what’s the story Matt? 30th of June was your last day at Incisive? What happened?

After 7 years (to the day) Incisive Media and I came to a formal agreement that allowed me out of my day to day operational responsibilities at the company.  This development was triggered by my decision to want and try something new, and it fit well with Incisive Media’s mid and long term plans.  My decision to resign my role was not an easy one as my former team and the business I was responsible for are absolutely fantastic and extremely important to me.

The digital landscape has changed dramatically since I started with Incisive Media back in June 2006 and I plan on taking the summer and fall off to explore new opportunities.

So nothing sinister right? You’re leaving on good terms?

Only the best. Tim Weller, CEO at Incisive Media and who founded the business with James Hanbury and Nick Rapley, and his team and I are on fantastic terms – which was extremely important to me. After 7 years the team at Incisive Media feels like, is, family and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. 

And what about Search Engine Watch and ClickZ? They’re still carrying on their great work right?, and the global SES Conference and Expo Series are in the best of hands. It is sometimes forgotten by many in the industry that these brands have been under the tutelage of Mike Grehan, Publisher of Incisive Media’s Interactive Marketing Portfolio, and his team for much of that last year. Moreover, Mike has been with the company for over 5 years. It’s safe to say he knows the business intimately.

If you don’t know Mike? He wrote one of the first books on Search Engine Marketing (and currently writing his next), he is an expert on information retrieval, has been cited many times in mainstream and industry press, and speaks at many events including invite-only internal events at some the largest players in the space. I have the utmost confidence in Mike and his team’s skills and their dedication to excellence.  

What were the most valuable lessons learned from your 7 years at Incisive?

Tough question… though something I look forward to thinking more about it this summer as I take some time to decompress, understand what it is I have accomplished, what it is that motivates me, and what it is I want to do next.

Some early thoughts include and please remember its only been two weeks since I resigned my role as Managing Director of Incisive Media’s North and South America business and the global Interactive Marketing:

  1. Lead by example.
  2. Be honest with yourself, you team, and your clients/customers.
  3. Deal with problems immediately, before they snowball. 
  4. Ask lots of questions. 
  5. Leave you pride at the door (you can learn something from everyone, have the strength to listen).
  6. A clear corporate communication strategy is vital. 
  7. Believe in the work you do, your reputation is defined by it (that and how you treat others).
  8. Be good to people –> it takes a village.   
  9. Don’t forget to thank your family for their support, it is invaluable. 


Legendary night out in Macau after SES Hong Kong with Bill Hunt, Lee Odden, Aaron Kahlow and Brent Payne

What’s next?

It is an exciting world we live in.  Digital is quickly becoming ubiquitous, and with that opportunities abound.  I am looking more at those area’s that are in the state of disruption than those that are crowded and selling based on some optimization. In that vein, and in order to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground while I look for full time employment, I have accepted advisory positions with:

– The Online Marketing Institute, which is catering to the knowledge sharing and level setting needs of the online marketing and advertising industry (education and helping marketer’s do their jobs better has defined my career this last decade);

Web Congress, an event business that serves mostly a hispanic and latino audience, is dedicated to education, and is based in one of my favorite favorite cities, Barcelona;

BtoBeacon, a recently launched resource working to define and educate the BtoB marketing industry;

and of course…

Incisive Media, where I am now an advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors with no operational responsibility. 

Where can you be contacted if a reader wants to tap into your vast knowledge?!

If you have ideas for me or just want to talk marketing, advertising, and technology please do get in touch…

Twitter –> @Matt_McGowan

LinkedIn –> McGowan

Google+ –> Matt McGowan

Please join me in thanking Matt and wishing him every success in the next leg of his professional jaunt in digital!

Microsoft Research Talk and Other Things Like Jack Black!



Was asked to speak at Microsoft Research a few weeks ago and they’ve uploaded it to their site – Pioneers of Digital Microsoft Research

I’ve also been posting other stuff to the Delightful Blog, like this interview with Kristy Bolsinger who gives some really smart advice on how brands should be thinking about social media strategy versus tactics and what to measure.

Embedded the video below too:

There’s an awesome interview from Cannes Lions with Jack Black to watch, and a piece I wrote on Michael Dubin and One Wipe Charlies from Dollar Shave Club – one of my go-to places for digital thought leadership.

Lots going on with the business to. Personal Branding, speech writing, social media etc etc

Oh and the sun has been shining in Seattle for over a week!

What’s new with you?

TEDxSeattle Highlights: My Top Three TEDx Seattle Talks

One of the highlights of my career was to have been privy to the behind-the-scenes activity at a TED conference in Cannes a few years ago.

Sitting at the back of the room next to Emily MacManus (who was Tweeting for @TEDTalks) was such a treat, as was interviewing some of the speakers – Nicholas Christakis, Naveen Selvadurai and Stefana Broadbent – all who gave me some unique insight into what it was like to be there up on stage.

Fast forward a year or two and June Cohen appears in the book I’ve co-authored – Pioneers of Digital – telling her story about how she brought the talks into the online video arena and generated over one billion views of TED Talks on the web.

So when I was invited to attend TEDxSeattle I was pretty intrigued to see what an independently organized event would turn out like………and it was very good!


Aside from a hiccup at registration in the morning, the Seattle TEDx event was well executed by a merry band of enthusiastic volunteers and curators from the local area. The venue was The Children’s Theatre down by the Seattle Center and we were comfortable in our seats for the three “Acts” that were about to unfold before our inquiring minds.

Quite rightly, we were asked not to take photos (the above was taken just prior to starting) or live Tweet, so I furiously took down as many notes as I could.

My brother-in-law (Josh LaBelle from the Seattle Theatre Group) and I stayed  until the end of the second set of talks, so we didn’t see all of them.

Here were my three highlights:

Matt Chan

Creator of the reality show “Hoarders”, Matt’s talk caught my attention before he came on stage as it was called “What Great Storytellers Know” and he immediately had us hooked with his philosophy of tapping into shared experiences and trying to engage with an audience on a deeper level. The reason why “hoarders” is so successful is that we all hoard at different levels. We all have that drawer with knickknacks we can’t get rid of; objects that hold some emotional currency. What the program does is suck us in through that lens and then take us on a crazy journey through the eyes of someone who’s got the hoarding thing way worse than us.

“Start with what you and your audience knows to get them engaged and then you can take them anywhere.”

What I liked about Matt was he was self-deprecating, funny and obviously very wise. A great storyteller to learn from.

Kelly Bloom, PHD

This was thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking. Kelly came on stage to talk about “Lost and Found: Awakening the In-between”. A computer science drop out, Kelly’s second attempt at higher education found herself studying parks and leisure. Why, as she has said has happened in the past, some people find that kind of thing dull and boring I don’t know. I’m personally fascinated by what might seem an obscure study paths.

Kelly’s ethos was that parks are places where we can most be able to be ourselves. Where we’re one with nature, strolling, having fun and being able to rest our minds. In my talks about social media, I’m always banging on about authenticity in communications, so it was fascinating to hear Kelly giving us some tips on how to “make space” for being authentic and happy in our lives. She mentioned a story about playing basketball with a polar bear (yes it really happened) and how that day she’d decided to be open to more experiences.

She taught us a new word – liminality – and talked of the time while staring at a rock on the bottom of the Grand Canyon that was billions of years old, she realized she was temporary in the world and encouraged us to embrace our tiny time on this earth and attempt to be peaceful, joyous and generous.

Apparently her appearance at TEDxSeattle happened because she met one of the organizers on a plane. Hope and pray Kelly’s sitting next to you on your next flight. It’ll change your life.

Greg Gottesman

Previous to Greg’s talk on student debt, the hilarious data scientist Nick Berry had talked about all the data on the internet running to a zettabyte soon, which is (if one grain of sand is a byte) the equivalent to every grain of sand on every beach in the entire world.

So he set Greg up nicely for his rousing speech (visually enhanced by HaikuDeck) which talked about the ONE TRILLION DOLLARS students in the USA owe post-education.

Now, some TEDTalks inspire, some make you laugh, some make you cry, this just made me angry.

Angry that the rise in tuition fees is so disproportionate to the rise in anything else like wages or house prices.

Angry that student debt is the only debt that can’t be cancelled out by bankruptcy. Not that I think students should be able to take an easy way out, but that the law lets some businesses get away with taking risks, while the youth of today are lumbered for simply trying to make their way in the world and achieve the American Dream.

Greg, MD of VC firm Madrona Ventures Group, did a great job of spelling out the depth of the issue and pledging to do his bit to try and affect change. Here’s a link to his deck.

We were all fired up as we left his talk for the break and I’m already onto my financial advisor about starting to save for my 22 month old daughter’s education!

So there you have my three highlights. The other talks were good. I’d encourage the organizers to be be even more vigilant of thinly-veiled company sales pitches. Company names on some slides wasn’t cool. But the pace, balance and attention to detail of the event were all first class.

Can’t wait until next year!

How to Submit a Winning Entry for the US Search Awards



It’s less than month until all the entries for the highly coveted US Search Awards need to be in on 19th July!

I’m a judge on the panel representing sponsors Majestic SEO, and having judged a few awards before have a few opinions on how submissions should be made that maximize the chances of making the cut and eventually winning a gong!

Thankfully the organizers have beaten me to writing about it and provided some advice that I am sharing below.

Take onboard these best practices and you’ll be well on the way to Vegas baby!


When writing an award entry it’s difficult to assess how the entry will be perceived, so how to make an entry stand out and simply what the judges are looking for?

Here are five great tips for entering this year’s US Search Awards.

Don’t miss your opportunity to enter your fantastic work in Search, PPC and by entering it into the US Search Awards – entries are now open and you have until July 19th to enter.

Step 1: Simple

It may sound obvious but sometimes simple is best. Judges have many categories to peruse over and if your entry is full of ‘fluff’ and extra information that has to be waded through – you’re making their job difficult. Make sure your awards entry is clear and concise.

Step 2: SMART

It can often be difficult to assess what came next when objectives are written in a pitchy matter. An easy way to set out your objectives in your Search entry is to think of the mnemonic, SMART, this way it is clear to the judges what the objectives are:

– Simple

– Measurable

– Achievable

– Realistic

– Timely

If an awards entry is award winning the clarity is often the key – with the story being concise, coherent and ultimately convincing.

Step 3: Clear ROI

An award-winning entry is one that exceeds initial objectives. ROI is what you are being measured on – so if you want to be commended for your campaigns – you need to make sure you prove your ROI is strong. However, it is not always big figures that impress because it throws into question how much it cost to achieve those results. Some of the most impressive ROI figures are from relatively low –budget campaigns.

Step 4: Innovation

Creative, Innovation and intuition are three key elements which judges really take notice of when assessing award entries. What makes your campaign special? It is great to see campaigns that have, in some way, shape or form, pushed boundaries and are therefore different to other campaigns which have been seen before. If your campaign has a sense of pushing the Search industry forward, with brand new ideas and thoughts – this will set your entry apart from others.

Step 5: Presentation

To make a good first impression it is important that the small things count when writing your award entry.

A first point about an award entry presentation is that all entries should be well written, spelling mistakes look sloppy and lazy. A suggestion would be to write your entry in bullet points to break the content up and make it easier for the judges to read.

Finally, the award categories are now open for entries for the US Search Awards – view them here.

The deadline for award entries is: Friday 19th July 2013

Good Luck and get entering!

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