We're up to our 8th week of spotlighting the women of Internet Marketing, I bet you didn't realize there was so many of us out there, did you? I've gotten to learn a lot about all of these wonderful women, some I've met in person, and some, I can't wait to meet now. I got a few suggestions for interviews in the coming weeks, so I'll keep this weekly column going, as long as I have women to interview.
This week, one of the women I'm featuring is an industry veteran of not just search but also public relations and she is a true luminary. She's a woman I truly admire for her tenacity, spunk, drive and wealth of knowledge. The second woman I'm highlighting is pretty new to our industry, but in the short time, she's sure picked up a fan base of her blogging and the company she works for has really started to take our industry by storm! Tonight I'd like you to meet Brandy Shapiro-Babbin and Tamar Weinberg.
Brandy is one our industry's brightest stars, she is really anyone can look up to as someone who understands, promotes and strives to continually improve Internet Marketing. Whether its through her show Rainmaker on WebmasterRadio.fm (with her co-host & husband Daron Babin), or working a trade show floor, Brandy is always open to sharing her knowledge and experience.
Brandy is not only a fixture at Search Engine Strategies at the WebmasterRadio booth, she is well known throughout AdTech, PRSA and DMA circles as well. Prior to starting WMR, Brandy was in business development, then moved into PR, being a director of PR for several large advertising agencies. Her core strength was to go into industry specific companies on an executive level and evaluate how they could grow their companies and add onto their core competencies.
Along with all the fun at WMR, Brandy is also very involved with charity work. Talk about a busy gal! But she did take time out to answer my questions:
Q: Most successful professional accomplishment?
A: Launching WebmasterRadio.FM of course! It has always been our goal to create a legacy and we are doing that with WebmasterRadio.FM. I get to feel good every morning when I get up that what we do contributes to the world around us. We have amazing show hosts, who are truly leaders in their respective industries, fabulous partners and an amazing advertiser family, truly loyal listeners, and the best team on the planet. Everything we do, we work as a family (operational family).
Q: You are actively involved in a lot of areas of Internet Marketing that most women aren't, what area do you think hold the most promise for growth?
A: I think that there is a lot of buzz around social networking, we should see a lot of growth there, which of course leads back to search and the ongoing quest for convergence. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and savvy in regards to technology and with most families having two bread winners, anything which brings people together in a passionate way in a community format will prosper. That is what I see in my magic crystal 8 ball!
Q: I know you are involved with the PRSA as well as the search industry, what other industries do you consider yourself involved with?
A: I have a passion for PR. We used to be considered the "red haired step child," so I am glad to see the PR community on a positive upward trend. I am heavily involved in the support of Digital Marketing, Direct Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Advertising, since we have shows on all of these topics and more. In addition we are also the official radio network for many of the worlds most prestigious conferences, hence, by defacto, I get to roll up my sleeves and get involved in each industry.
Q: Owning WebmasterRadio.fm exposes you to a lot of industry professionals, who is the most interesting person you've met in the past year?
A: You are asking a lot of hard questions! So, since it is late, I still have Vegas and birthday brain, I am going with a stream of consciousness. I would say, Andrew Heyward (former President of CBS news) and Jessica Lange (actress).
Q: You, with your husband Daron host Rainmakers on WMR, who was the most interesting interviewee you've had on the show, and why?
A: Everyone on RainMaker has such an amazing story to tell. All of these people are industry icons in their own right and to hear their stories and to walk with them down the paths they have taken to get them to where they are today, is such a wonderful gift that they share with us and our listeners. I would have to say the Kordas, Michael and Magaret Korda. They are a husband and wife team, hence, I can totally relate to them. Michael is the Editor and Chief Emeritus for Simon and Schuster, the worlds largest publishing house. Daron and I truly hit it off with them, the stories that they have regarding how they live their lives, the contributions that they have made to the literary community, is unparalleled. Last month Michael was honored at the UN and Henry Kissinger got up with them and lit candles. His stories about his friend Cher, they just make me smile. They were my birthday gift to myself this past episode.
Q: You're an extremely talented and successful marketer, what advice would you give to other women starting out in this industry?
A: You can spend upwards of 80% of your time at work, so do only what you are passionate about Don't let anyone tell you what to do, be honest with yourself, take your time, create a support system, and then just go for it! It is easier to fall down a flight of stairs then crawl back up. The answer is always NO unless you ask!
Q: Who do you feel is a leader in the search industry and why?
A: This is easy and safe for me, Daron, because he is brilliant and I share my bed with him and want to continue to after this interview! He is truly a thought leader, he is one of the most compelling speakers I know, he can teach algo busting to toddlers.
Now for the fun part!
Q: Besides WMR (we all know you guys have the BEST parties), who do you think holds the 2nd best parties at any of the conferences.
A: Thank you for saying that, we always try and give a cool life experience and ensure you know that you have actually visited the city the conference is in.......... Yahoo!
Q: I gotta know, whose voice is that in the commercial that features Dave Naylor talking about garlic breath?
A: Johnny Brasco, one of our fabulous voice talents and a staff producer.
Q: What's your favorite radio show on WMR?
A: They are all amazing! It just depends on what your focus is or how you are trying to grow yourself. Probably Danny's show, because he sings and Katie Kempner’s show because she has on breakaway brands and brand-makers.
Q: I hear you are learning to fly planes, what do you like/love about it?
A: That is actually a touchy topic for me. We started to take classes and haven't found the time to continue, we are on a perpetual hiatus. My father and uncle both flew planes. I love flying. One year, I think I was turning 7, my parents bought me round trip tickets just so I could fly. There is something very soothing about flying. We have taken sailing classes and now sail. So, the ultimate goal is to have a boat docked at a Caribbean island, fly friends out, cruise around on the boat, island hop and be one with the sea, and keep exploring all the world has to offer. The flying gets us there quicker and the sailing is about the journey not the destination.
Q: Does Daron always have that velvet smooth radio voice – or is that just to make all the lady listeners drool?
A: Oh, my,my, my! Daron makes you drool? I like that! That is his voice, he is who he is, there is notihing fake or put on about him, which is what I love most about him. His integrity and the other thing which makes me drool which is inappropriate for me to discuss in this interview.......
LOL - Thanks Brandy! Now, let me introduce you to Tamar Weinberg.
Tamar works for 10e20, and she's one of the voices on the 10e20 blog. I got to learn a little about her through Chris Winfield (her boss) when he came the Philly meetup we had last week. It intrigued me a lot, enough that I wanted to interview her.
Prior to coming to 10e20, Tamar was a private investigator and used to investigate trademarks and a lot of other things. You can see her skill for that when she digs up the information she reports on in the 10e20 blog. Tamar's also got a few other personal blogs - Techipedia, Photocritique, and Pixelopera (which I'm a big fan of!).
Now onto the Q&A for Tamar:
Q: Most successful industry accomplishment?
A: I have most recently been involved in creating a social marketing and blogging campaign for a very large travel company which I found very rewarding. I was involved in this project from idea to implementation and execution and the results achieved were amazing (1000+ new links in 2 months, increasing traffic by over 300% and website sales by 250% from the previous months). Seeing those types of numbers from something I had a direct role in was quite rewarding indeed.
Q: Why do you like/love this industry?
A: I would say that there are two major positives of this industry that stand out above all others. The first is the community. I’m relatively new to the community and have found everyone to be very welcoming. The second element that I particularly enjoy is constantly learning more about it. There is a lot of good information out there: blogs, seminars, forums and more reading material. There’s so much of it that ever since I really “found” SEO, I end up bringing the materials home and study beyond the work environment.
Q: What’s a typical day like for you at 10e20?
A: Well, my SEO position evolved from working in a system administration role at 10e20. In fact, I hadn’t known anything about SEO when I joined 10e20 but Chris saw how involved I was in social networks and felt that my writing skills were being wasted as a sysadmin. Now, a lot of what I do still entails system administration with a mixture of SEO tasks. If you ask me this question in a few months, it likely will change again, which is something that I really love. We are constantly evolving our strategies so that nothing ever gets stale or outdated. I am also the co-author our blog (www.10e20.com) and pretty much post there daily.
Q: Do you think Social Media will take off in the main stream?
A: Yes – there are so many examples of this already (NY Times with Digg, Reddit, Newsvine “Share This” buttons on their site, etc). There’s a lot of promise for it. I have been interested in a lot of social mediums from the beginning and I know how they catch on among the younger demographic and first adopters and then spread.
Q: Do you like the term LinkBait, if not, what term would you like to see replace it?
A: I think it says what it is – and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using the term. That’s really the goal of a lot of viral content – for people to have the drive to link to it, to be compelled to link to something truly interesting. The content is the bait and the link is the fish you want to catch with that bait.
Q: Where do you see this industry going in the next 5 years?
A: As Chris says: personalization, localization and socialization. I think we’re already seeing this, but there’s going to be a big shift to social mediums as this becomes more mainstream & powerful and on-site optimization is not necessarily all that is required to get a good rank (we’re already past that) :)
Q: Right now, how many women bloggers do you read?
A: At least 10: I read Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users, Li Evans (who’d have thought?), Kim Krause Berg, Jen Chung of gothamist.com (I am a New Yorker, after all!), Rebecca Kelley, Gina Trapani of Lifehacker, Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing, DazzlinDonna of SEO-Scoop, Kalena Jordan, and Rae Hoffman. Wow, that’s more than I thought!
Now for a little humor with Tamar!
Q: Having that PI background you wrote about, have you dug up any information on any “famous” SEO’s?
A: This is a great suggestion! The challenge of finding new information about a lot of “famous” SEO’s is that they’re already all over the search engines and blogs. Where do I find the juicier tidbits of information? :)
Q: Graywolf or AussieWebmaster?
A: I can’t play favorites, but I know more about Graywolf than AussieWebmaster! (I like Aussie accents though.)
Q: Blackhat, whitehat, greyhat or fairy princess crown?
A: I think Neil should dress up as a princess more often. (Li: hehehe - Neil, they know you without even naming you these days - I think you need to blame Andy!)
Q: What’s it like working with a “hot SEO guy” like Chris?
A: He looks better than his avatar picture!
Q: You have a few blogs, pixelopera being one, what picture are you the most proud of?
A: I think my favorite pictures are in the nightlife category on my site. My favorite picture is probably the fireworks display in NYC on July 4, 2005, my September 11, 2005 picture following close behind. I also enjoyed July 4, 2006 photos at the NJ State Fair.
Thanks Tamar & Brandy for letting the Search Marketing Gurus' audience get to know you better!
I'll be back next week with Part 9, until then, as always, visit our Women of Internet Marketing category to see our past weeks' wonderful women!