Kevin Mullett Guest Speaking at DragonSearch
Kevin Mullett is super passionate about SEO and digital marketing. He has a true dragon spirit which is why #usDragons immediately connected with him. Going beyond sharing his impressive knowledge and experience, Kevin set out to inspire each one of us with his interactive presentation. And that he certainly did!
As an Online Visibility Development & Internet Marketing Professional at MarketSnare in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kevin is also an accomplished speaker and is an dynamic Twitterer at @kmullett. He has spoken at SMX, All Facebook Conference, AF Expo and Social Media Club Indy, among others and has been the featured speaker on #SEOChat and #ToolsChat. On top of all that, he hones his photography skills in his spare time. He believes in continually discovering new trends, technology and tools and integrating them into digital marketing.
Kevin opened up the conversation by emphasizing that he truly cares about engagement, conversations and meeting people. He doesn’t like the term “in real life” (IRL) because if we are talking on the phone, it is considered real life, but if we are talking through chat or social channels all of a sudden that’s not “real life.” For this reason Kevin prefers using the terms “face-to-face” or “in-person” and really loves extending relationships from social media into these types of conversations because it’s a great way to get to know people better and build a deeper connection.
Kevin talked passionately about self-efficacy and its importance. At any given moment, Kevin points out, there is a high probability that there are people in the room who know more about something than he does. This underscores how important it is to keep in mind that, chances are, we know something that some of the people whom we look up to don’t. We all have knowledge that we can share with others.
How Did Kevin Build Up His SEO-Chops?
He loved playing video games and was running the Lan Party Coalition blog about gamming. His group helped anybody who wanted to start a Lan party for free by bringing their equipment, setting them up, helping and coaching them. All they asked was that they link to the coalition on their website in exchange, so that other people could discover the services they offered. At that time, they had no concept that this “backlinking” method would help them. In addition, they were frequently updating the website with content about specific topics.
All of a sudden they noticed that their small website was ranking #2 in the search engines right behind the largest gaming site. This captured Kevin’s curiosity and he dug in to learn more about how all this worked by reading everything he could get his hands on: from website coding to search engine algorithms, he tested relentlessly.
How Do You Feel About SEO Coming Full Circle?
… where the efforts to manipulate the search engines are hopefully disappearing and things are back to what many marketers have been doing: real marketing, and not engaging in questionable SEO practices?
Kevin’s response was: “a) good marketers, good SEOs, good stewards of their clients’ money never stopped doing things the right way and always attempted to do things that will also move the needle, not just gain visibility, and b) the things that worked back then would not work today.” When people say “search is evolving” Kevin responds with a question: “What do we do in life that doesn’t evolve?” Of course search and SEO are evolving; everything is evolving in life.
Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
Kevin shared his opinion on the big hype around “inbound marketing and content marketing”: “they always existed for good marketers.”
He asked: “When did we not market our content? The good marketers always tried to put their content out there. Nonetheless SEO will not make your sucky content convert. But if you are hiding your good content or are not doing SEO as an adjunct to it, your good quality content won’t be as visible to as many audiences as it could be. ”
Create content that will answer questions, solve problems, serve the client and community you are trying to reach, optimize it in line with Google’s guidelines, market it smartly, and it will you will have a successful strategy in place that will drive traffic, links, conversations and ultimately conversions.
What about “earned” or “inbound” marketing? Kevin: “What they are calling earned or inbound is what we used to call evergreen.” Kevin shared an example that he initiated back in the year 2000 with a client, asking them to invest into building a financial calculator to attract people to the site. This was an effective way to create evergreen content that answered the audience’s questions, solved their problems and thus gave the company the opportunity and potential to convert those visitors.
Kevin’s Favorite Marketing Tools
Kevin is a tools-geek and when asked about which tools are his favorites his response was straight forward: “it depends on what you are trying to solve.” Kevin likes things that create efficiency because we are all over-tasked and these tools can really help us be more effective.
Kevin urged us to keep in mind that it is absolutely irrelevant if you like a tool or social channel, or not. Does your client’s audience love Twitter; if they do, it means you and your client love Twitter too.
Kevin recently gave the presentation below: 155 Social Media Tools To Support Your Marketing Efforts.
Twitter used to have limits on lists: 500 people in a list and 20 lists. This meant, lists would have to be split up, even if people were part of the same audience. When Twitter upped the limits, Kevin found TweetBe.at to efficiently copy and combine his Twitter lists. You can also search hashtags and create a Twitter list very quickly with the people who are using that hashtag. Followerwonk, which is now part of the Moz toolset, will do this too but TweetBe.at is free and works very well. If you want to connect with people whom you are following and who are in a specific geographic location, you can use operators and filters in TweetBe.at to create a list of them very quickly.
TweetSeeker is a free tool that allows you to set up various alerts that can go straight to your clients’ email. For example you can set up alerts for their brand or key terms so that clients looking to engage with people who mention them can do so immediately.
Tools for Social Engagement & Connections
Rapportive happens to also be a DragonSearch favorite. It gives you social media profile information about the people you are emailing, right in your inbox. For clients you can have a corporate email account, import all of them into one Gmail account and you can see who is on which social platform. This is helpful to know which social platform you should be on to engage and connect with them.
Cloze is great for social engagement. It connects to your email and social media accounts and will show your most important connections, based on who you are interacting with. It will also show you the people you are losing touch with so you can quickly review and decide if you want to retweet or engage with any of them, see content they shared that you’d like, etc.
If you are looking to find and track influencers, Klout’s Chrome extension makes it easier to get a quick look and will show you people’s influence in Twitter streams.
TweetBe.at will allow you to copy someone else’s Twitter list which you can augment and either make it private or public. When you add people to lists they get pinged and emailed based on their settings, so it can be a great way to get their attention. Typically a percentage of them will follow you back even though you didn’t follow them; you just added them to a list.
Google operators are “magical” tools; allintitle, allinlink, allinurl, allintext, etc. Make the string as long as needed so that you get more relevant results. These operators are very effective when running online reputation management to help find content that has been plagiarized or mechanically spun, or content that is not indexed well but is still out there.
Internet Archive Wayback Machine, with its huge archive of websites going back 15 years, is a brilliant tool for finding old content, old links or researching what a website used to look like.
Using Others’ Images?
Finding images to use, verifying whether you have the right to use that image, asking for permission – it’s all quite complicated and time consuming. Copyright law is very complex and you have to be careful with Creative Commons (CC) because you don’t know if the person who uploaded the image had the rights to offer it as CC. It really boils down to: if you didn’t create it, using it could be a problem.
What Creative Tools Did Kevin Come Up With to Create Images and Videos?
Sometimes we or our clients don’t have access to fancy programs and Kevin got tired of listening to people saying they can’t create images because of this or that. He dug in and researched tools that could help. Jing and Screenr are great apps that will allow you to take a screen grab. These are perfect for how-to and instructional videos too, allowing you to transcribe the content and add it to your page. You can create vector images with Inkscape and if you have a small image, Vector Magic can help improve it.
So how did Kevin’s work become steeps in so much research? Kevin learned much of what he knows by digging really deep and testing tirelessly. As he was working on projects he’d run into things that he wanted to understand better and solve. These then pulled him in and the next thing he knew he was knee-deep in figuring out how to do something… which was really not the project he was trying to finish. We collectively agreed that this seems to be a pattern in our industry, which Ric Dragon calls the shiny object syndrome. To Kevin’s point, we have to have the curiosity and critical thinking to always question and dig deep: what is there, why is it in there, what can it be used for, how?
What’s Important for the Future?
Kevin’s HELP Philosophy
- Humanize your message
- Encourage conversation
- Listen first
- Promote less
Continue to encourage your clients to create great content that will either solves their audiences’ problems, entertains people and leads them back to conversion or helps answer questions. Overall, be less promotional.
What Does Kevin Read?
Everything. Some of the content is coming in from Facebook, a lot of it from Twitter, RSS, Betali.st and TechCrunch, etc.
Shhhhh… Kevin Mullett’s Secret Conversation with usDragons
After his excellent presentation, Kevin asked Ric to leave the room because he wanted to talk to usDragons in private. What exactly he told to us, we cannot share publicly, but what I can tell you is that it was very inspirational for all of us. We can all dig in deep and become really great at what we do. It’s up to each one of us.