Interview with Guest Blogging Expert Ann Smarty

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Recently I caught up with guest blogging expert Ann Smarty. Ann is currently the Community and Brand Manager for Internet Marketing Ninjas and is the former Editor-in-Chief at Search Engine Journal. She is also the founder of MyBlogGuest.com,  a free community that connects blog Ann Smartyowners to guest authors for mutual benefit. Ann Smarty also writes for some of the top Internet Marketing sites including SEOmoz, Mashable, Social Media Examiner and many more!

This interview is rather long, but is worth the time to read through all of it! Thanks so much to Ann Smarty for spending the time to answer all of my questions! :)

Question: How did you begin your career in SEO?

Answer from Ann Smarty: Oh that was a pure coincidence. I had never been keen on marketing or Internet marketing. I was happily learning English philology in Ukraine and was going to start teaching at my native university. Then during my final year I got bored and went to find a part-time job – to challenge myself. That’s when I was hired by an Internet marketing company as a support team member to help English-speaking customers.

After a couple of months of working there I forgot about my dream to become a high school teacher! I was so excited by the whole new world of SEO and website promotion. I loved working there and I loved the people I was working with.

When I got pregnant I had to start working from my home – that’s when my own business seosmarty.com became my own business  :)

Question: You recently left your home in Kharkiv, Ukraine to come work in the US for Internet Marketing Ninjas. What prompted you to move halfway around the world when you work online, which in theory means you can work from anywhere in the world?

Answer from Ann Smarty: IMN wasn’t the first company that invited me to the US. However Jim is always the first! He was the first to invite me about 4 years ago. I was pregnant then and that was the bad timing. However working for a person who actually discovered the world of link building has always been on the back of my mind since then.

About a year ago Jim came to Ukraine and we had a chance to meet. That was fast: “So will you come to blog for us?” – “Sure!” was my reply. It was like we didn’t have to talk more on this. There was nothing to think about. That was done.

To me personally, working for a US company while actually being inside the team is a huge step forward. It’s easy to spend your whole life in front of your laptop never actually trying to move forward, especially when you are already earning a lot. But I like challenging myself and coming to the US is a new experience and a new challenge.

Question: You admit that you built your personal brand mainly through your guest blogging efforts. Why did you decide that guest blogging was the best way to go about things?

Answer from Ann Smarty: That, again, was a coincidence. I started seosmarty.com as the way to motivate myself to learn SEO. I quickly realized blogging to myself is not that exciting. So I started looking around, commenting and trying to help people. This quickly attracted some attention to my tiny blog. Then was my very first guest post at Youmoz and guest blogging invites started flowing in! I have no idea how that happened :)

Question: You’ve written for some of the biggest Internet marketing blogs around including the SEOMoz blog, Search Engine Journal and the Search Marketing Standard Magazine. What advice do you have for up-and-coming SEO professionals that strive to write for similar publications?

Answer from Ann Smarty: To me it’s easy: I never offer a guest post unless I am 100% satisfied with it and unless I am 99% sure (you can never be 100% sure) that it’s a useful one. You don’t need to re-invent a wheel each time you write something (and pretty much anything has already been blogged), but what you can do is to always focus on what you are best at. I did a quick article about how I manage to write a lot of articles. Hopefully it will get someone inspired!

Question: As former Editor-in-Chief at Search Engine Journal you’ve undoubtedly seen your fair share of guest blogging requests. What makes one request stand out and actually get someone a shot at a guest blogging opportunity?

Answer from Ann Smarty: When it starts with my name :)

I would delete any pitch that starts with “Dear webmaster”, “Dear sir” or “To whom it may concern”. Come on! That’s a guest blogging pitch – you need to know who you are writing for! I did a video a few months ago about what not to do when you want to guest post for someone.

Other than that, there are no huge tricks. Just be as detailed as you deem required. I usually give a chance to any authentic email asking about a guest posting opportunity.

Question: A lot of content that is created overseas for US companies is written by people who speak/write English as a second language, much like you. Many times this content is poorly written, has major grammatical errors or might even be spun content. How can a company that wants to outsource their content writing overseas ensure they get a great writer like you?

Answer from Ann Smarty: Unfortunately, the only way to go is to hire a native speaker. No matter how much a non-native speaker tries, there will always be clumsy phrases. It is next to impossible to sound natural unless you use the language on a regular basis. I am feeling it right now while I am typing it!

I know many people would be too kind to say that my language knowledge is good but I know English too well not to notice that many of my sentences sound “not right”.

Perfecting English knowledge was yet another reason to come to work in the US by the way!

Question: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve seen companies make when it comes to guest blogging?

Answer from Ann Smarty: Looking for a cheap easy ways to guest post.

I firmly believe that a company should NOT outsource guest blogging. The whole point of guest blogging is building relationships with bloggers – when you outsource you pay for other people to build those contacts. So just don’t do that. It’s much smarter to hire a good diligent person in house, train him/her and keep that talent (as well as all the valuable blogging relationships you can always use again) within your company. Yes, it’s a longer way to achieve results but it’s much more efficient in the long run.

Question: As a guest blogger, what kind of sites should you NOT submit your content to?

Answer from Ann Smarty: It’s really up to you. My own criteria: community. I don’t care much about PageRank or MozRank but I want to see comments and shares. I want to see a live site with a personality behind it. I prefer blogs with personal brands behind them (someone talking to the readers and listening to them).

Question: Google came out with a lot of game-changing algorithm updates in 2012. Which one do you think has had the biggest impact on SEO?

Answer from Ann Smarty: I actually don’t like speaking about Google Updates. Google is doing them to start fear uncertainty doubt rather than trying to make the results cleaner. Google is smart enough to clear search results without all that fuss around each update: quietly and smartly. With all that data they own they can be much more helpful. What they are trying to do is to scare away more people from even trying to rank. So talking about those updates is like fueling the fire. I prefer playing a fair game and trying to believe that will keep me safe :)

Question: Do you think the Google Panda update has done a good job of cleaning up content online?

Answer from Ann Smarty: I want to believe in that but I don’t see organic results behind the low-quality AdWords results which now just stuff the search result pages :)

Question: 27,000+ Twitter Followers is no small number! What’s your secret to Twitter success?

Answer from Ann Smarty: In reality I wish I had more time to better utilize Twitter. My community deserves much more than the stream of content I consume (read and produce) daily. I’d love to interact more but I am so busy that I hardly manage.

My main secret is that I am an earlier adopter :)

Question: What is the real value in building a social media community?

Answer from Ann Smarty: To me the real value is in branding. Today, no matter which new project I plan I can be sure that my followers will support me. If they know there’s “Ann Smarty” behind a site, they will start discussing it. That’s something you can’t really measure or buy. But I feel that support daily, with every new piece of content I publish or site I launch. It’s priceless!

Question: Time is tight for small business owners. What time management tips can you give to small business owners or overworked marketing managers to help make managing their social media marketing efforts easier?

Answer from Ann Smarty: Oh I have talked about that a lot. In fact I even created my own blog to publish my productivity and self-improvement tips there: http://manifestconnection.com/
But my most useful and most personal advice is here: It’s about how much I like keeping everything under control (scheduling, planning and creating a new to-do list daily).

Question: What was the inspiration behind myblogguest.com?

Answer from Ann Smarty: I was often invited to guest post and some people even started approaching me trying to hire me as a guest post contractor (I even didn’t have a “services” page at that time), so I could clearly see the demand. Thus one day I decided to build a forum. It was much later that it grew into something more than a forum with the gallery, PRO plans, etc. In the beginning it was just a forum with not many plans behind it!

Connect with Ann Smarty on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

*****

This non-paid interview is designed to give the Brick Marketing audience insights and different perspectives of SEO, link building, social media and web marketing. Past expert interviews include: Ann Handley, Eric Ward, Mike Moran, Andy Beal, and Jordan Kasteler to name a few.

If you would like to be interviewed by the Brick Marketing team please contact Brick Marketing here:
http://www.brickmarketing.com/contact

Categorized in:

Like what you've read? Please share this article

Read What Full Service SEO Clients Say About SEO Firm Brick Marketing

"I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!"

“When we came to Brick Marketing initially, we had a small subset of challenges we didn’t have the bandwidth to tackle in house. Our idea was simply to send out the work and be done with it. A one-shot deal. What we found mid way into the first project, was that Nick Stamoulis and Brick Marketing had a depth of understanding and approach to solving our Search Engine Marketing problems that we had not considered; solutions that dramatically improved our search engine ranking position on terms and improved the overall size of our index listing (by more than 25% in the first two months). In short order we expanded our horizons and enlisted his talents to take on refining and improving ROI on our rather expensive Pay Per Click campaigns, as well as having him consult on microsite projects and blogs. Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing helped us understand what works and why, and helping us maintain our dominant position in the SERPs, despite the markets constant resetting and ever-changing drama. I could not have gotten through this year without Brick Marketing’s assistance and advice. I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!”

- Connie Childrey, DataDirect Technologies

data-direct

"Brick Marketing has increased our Google traffic by 315.43%"

“Great Results, Responsive Team, Ethical Strategies: Nick Stamoulis, Shawna Wright and Michael Lupacchino have become an invaluable extension of our marketing team, and one that has delivered steady growth from the get-go. The results speak for themselves – over the last two years, Brick Marketing has helped increase our Google traffic by 315.43%. From the solid SEO foundation Brick Marketing built for GrowthForce during our initial onboarding, to our ongoing daily/weekly tasks and our monthly analytics and check in calls, our Brick team keeps us on track and up to date. They take the headache out of SEO so we don’t ever have to spend time in the weeds learning about the latest rules or SEO challenges, and they are quick to answer any of our questions.”

- Kelly Boros, Marketing & Communications Manager GrowthForce

growth-force

"Dependable, professional SEO company"

Brick Marketing has been a dependable, professional SEO company that has helped us get results. In the last 6 months of using their services, visits to our website have increased by almost 30%. Shawna Wright, our dedicated SEO Specialist was pleasant to deal with. Her suggestions for articles and press releases were industry specific. Brick Marketing always answered our phone calls and emails within an hour which made us feel valued as a client. I would recommend Brick Marketing to all businesses to handle their SEO needs.

– JoAnne Loftus, Archival Designs, Inc.

"We’ve seen unbelievable success"

“I didn’t realize how much we were missing from not having an online presence until I started working with the SEO firm Brick Marketing. The Brick Marketing team took the time to guide us through the SEO process and helped bring our company into the online world. We’ve seen unbelievable success with our new site and owe much of our online lead generation to Brick Marketing’s efforts.”

- George Athanasiadis Somerset Industries

somerset

"helped propel us forward organically"

“We implemented all the valuable suggestions and together we definitely saw amazing results over time. Other SEO companies may leave you in the dark but Brick Marketing kept us in the loop during the entire time, educating us about ALL the strategies being used that helped propel us forward organically.”

- Maura Statman, Everyone Loves Buttons Inc. ®

elb172

"raised our SEO efforts to a new level"

“When we began searching for an SEO service provider, our team had a limited understanding of what SEO entailed. After interviewing other SEO companies, it was clear from speaking with Nick that Brick Marketing does more than add keywords to your web content. By examining our tradeshow presence, blogging practices and online directory listings, Nick & Danielle have helped us work through company- and industry -specific obstacles to raise our SEO efforts to a new level. Keeping up with algorithm changes and industry trends, Brick Marketing is the perfect partner to ensure your SEO practices continue to be both white hat and impactful.”

- Catie Moyer, Copywriter Charles River Laboratories International, Inc.

charles-river

"our website's manual penalty action was successfully revoked"

“Brick Marketing impressed us from the get-go with their enthusiasm, know-how and commitment to upstanding SEO techniques. They were communicative, responsive and transparent throughout, detailing an extensive game plan and delivering on every count. Thanks to effective collaboration and their meticulous methodology, our website’s manual penalty action was successfully revoked.”

- Laura J Lowe, Marketing Manager EMDAT

EMDAT

"I would recommend Brick Marketing to anyone looking to enhance their online business"

I have been very pleased with the responsiveness, diligent work efforts and creative ideas Brick Marketing has shown me since we started our organic SEO optimization campaign. My account executive has provided great support and has written relevant and timely articles for our website blog. Her willingness to go above and beyond to achieve the best possible results is very evident. I would recommend Brick Marketing to anyone looking to enhance their online business profile.

– John V. Donovan, Director of Leasing & Marketing, Devionshire

"increased our search engine traffic"

“We engaged Brick Marketing for SEO related activities for our website B2b.com and they did a fantastic job in assessing our website and finding out what was needed to optimize content and improve search engine traffic. In a short span, they improved the quality of in-bound links and increased our search engine traffic by over 100%. Additionally, they also trained our team in SEO techniques and kept us up to date with the changes brought in by Penguin/Panda updates. I highly recommend Brick Marketing for any SEO related projects.”

- Navdeep Sidhu, Director – B2B Product Marketing B2B.com

b2b

"Brick Marketing has gotten me results"

“I have been working with Brick Marketing for over 4 years now. Brick Marketing sends me the reports every month, but I don’t need to read them. I already know what he does is extremely effective because of all the web requests I get, phone calls from customers when they see their page come up on the first page of Google! I have worked with many other companies that made promises they could not keep. Brick Marketing has gotten me results and that is why I continue to work with them. I don’t have to micro-manage anything they do. I know that they always do what they say they are going to do. If you are looking for an SEO company, I would say, look no further as you have found the one that will do the job right! In addition to doing an excellent job, Nick Stamoulis is a pleasure to work with.”

- Alan Cline, 1-800-PLUMBING

1800plumbing

"focused on getting you results"

Brick Marketing is a no nonsense SEO company focused on getting you results. I really appreciate their patience, insight and going the extra mile to help Gold Lasso better understand the intricacies of the SEO discpline and how we can be more successful with our SEO programs. I would recommend Brick Marketing to any of my clients.

– Elie Ashery, CEO Gold Lasso

"Brick’s SEO strategy has leveled the playing field"

“Brick Marketing’s well researched SEO strategy has provided Fishman Corporation with visibility and excellent leads over the past year. Fishman Corporation competes in a niche industrial segment that has been dominated by one corporate conglomerate for 50 years; we were specifically looking for a Marketing partner that understood how to leverage SEO and social media to gain us visibility. We wanted to compete on the same level as the corporate giant. Brick Marketing has done this for us. We routinely show up high in organic searches, our web traffic has doubled and the leads that come in are well targeted. Brick’s SEO strategy has leveled the playing field; now the Davids’ can be as visible as the Goliaiths.”

- Scott Beebe President, Fishman Corporation

fishman

"Our web traffic overall has risen more than 30%"

“Silvon Software teamed up with Brick Marketing to deploy an SEO strategy that would generate greater visibility for our company within a highly competitive market and drive more prospects to our website as a result. This has included website optimization based on a well thought out keyword strategy, launch of a corporate blog, and the promotion of Silvon content via industry forums and numerous social media sites. In just a few months, Brick Marketing’s efforts has Silvon showing up higher in organic searches. Our web traffic overall has risen more than 30% and continues to grow. We’re seeing consistent month-to-month growth in the amount of organic traffic coming from Google. And, our referral traffic from LinkedIn has been phenomenal — with initial increases as high as 468%! We couldn’t be more pleased with the results that Brick Marketing has achieved so far and highly recommend them as a strategic marketing partner that knows how to put SEO best-practices to work for its clients.”

- Pat Hennel Director, Global Marketing Services, Silvon Software, Inc.

Silvon

"great job with our SEO program"

“Shawna Wright, Nick Stamoulis and the SEO team at Brick Marketing have done a great job with our SEO program. Our overall website visitors are up and we’re seeing traffic for keywords that a year ago weren’t even on our radar. They’ve always been willing to provide valuable input for any project we were working on and recently helped the company launch a brand new website, ensuring that our SEO efforts and value stayed intact.”

- Trish Voskovitch, Sr. Manager, Marketing Programs Enkata

enkata

"Brick Marketing is simply the best."

“After struggling for years to find the right SEO firm, it was a breath of fresh air to discover Brick Marketing. On my initial call with Brick Marketing President, Nick Stamoulis, it was immediately obvious that he genuinely cared about helping our company, not just bringing another client on board. Since then, their SEO work with us has been fabulous. Our dedicated SEO Specialist, Shawna Wright takes the time to explain every step of their efforts (and do so in a way that doesn’t leave me buried in a sea of SEO jargon). In addition to SEO, we also chose Brick Marketing to handle our website migration to WordPress, and once again, couldn’t have been happier with our decision to do so. The Brick Marketing Website Developer, Chris Roberts and Shawna Wright made the process easy and painless, and made many helpful suggestions to improve our website that we would have never thought of on our own. Brick Marketing is simply the best.”

- Kristen M. Steele, Director of Marketing & Public Relations Bookmasters

bookmasters-logo

"the number of leads generated since partnering with Brick Marketing has increased"

“At Eliassen Group, a key goal of our website is to generate client and candidate leads, which can get a bit complex, given that we’re in multiple lines of business. Nick Stamoulis and Shawna Wright of Brick Marketing were instrumental in developing SEO strategies for each line of business, and perfectly understood the nuances and subtleties of each of them, developing a set of keywords that they seamlessly placed into our copy, which had been developed using a series of personas. The monthly reporting provided to us clearly reflects tremendous progress since inception, and the number of leads generated since partnering with Brick Marketing has increased materially! We can’t be more appreciative of Nick and Shawna, their personal commitment to us and our success, and “hands on” management of our account. We trust them implicitly, and know that they keep our best interests in mind when managing our account.”

- Tom Hart, Chief Operating Officer Eliassen Group

Eliassen_Web-300x100

"Love working with the team at Brick Marketing!"

Love working with the team at Brick Marketing! They are always available to answer my questions and assist with any concerns. I am very impressed with their thoroughness and ability to stay organized. Their passion and energy is always shown during conversations on our account.

– Corey Savage, CEO, Suncoast Identification Solutions, LLC

"professional, timely, thorough"

“After searching extensively for a firm to aid in ramping up our Social Media efforts we choose Brick Marketing and have never looked back – plus, enlisted their services for SEO and SEM. Nick Stamoulis and his Brick Marketing team are professional, timely, thorough and take the time to work through and explain each task step by step. In my experience in working with many outside agencies who over-promise and under-communicate, I can truly state that Brick Marketing is levels above all others and vested in our relationship. We feel they are not just a consultant, but an integral part of our team.”

- Jodi Murphy Director of Marketing, SportsSignup

sports-signup

"Brick Marketing uses an ethical, strategic approach to SEO"

“We have worked with a few other SEO firms and consultants in the past, but, by far,
Brick Marketing has been our best experience. They are very knowledgeable about the search engine landscape, and help us respond to what seem like constant changes to the algorithms. They have helped our company correct some of the issues created by prior SEO firms, both in terms of on-site optimization and off-site programs. I appreciate the fact that Brick Marketing uses an ethical, strategic approach to SEO that creates a solid, lasting foundation for the future. They are reliable, responsive, and the quality of their deliverables is top-notch. We are happy we chose to work with them, and I would recommend them to anyone looking to engage a new SEO firm.”

- Bob Bennett, Owner/Manager Bennett Awards

bennett-awards

"highly recommend Brick Marketing to all of my clients"

After working with many other SEO firms and not being satisfied I finally was introduced to the Brick Marketing President and Founder, Nick Stamoulis. Nick Stamoulis has educated me about SEO and has provided me with a well rounded SEO package, not only does he offer top quality services he also educates his clients and spends the time to explain everything and their SEO pricing is competitive. I will highly recommend Brick Marketing to all of my clients. Brick Marketing is an A+ for SEO services.

– Mike Cardella, Integrated Computer Services

"Brick Marketing helped us meet our goals"

“We turned to Brick Marketing to assist in driving traffic to our website and we weren’t disappointed. The flexible approach of the SEO firm Brick Marketing helped us meet our goals, drive traffic to our website, and increase the number of calls we received regarding our services. Thank you!”

- Ken Burt, Marketing Manager Affiliated Physicians

affiliated-physicians

"our goal for better presence on the internet has been achieved!"

I had worked with at least three other SEO companies before I was introduced to Brick Marketing. But when I met Nick Stamoulis at Brick Marketing, I knew that I was working with an honest and reputable company that would guide me through the world of SEO. In the six months since working with Brick Marketing, our goal for better presence on the internet has been achieved!

– Peter Feinmann, Feinmann, Inc.

"delivered a 59% increase in our organic web traffic"

“Initially, when we sought out assistance in SEO, we felt the Brick Marketing SEO offering may be too robust for the needs of our website. In hindsight, I am very glad that we decided their SEO services were worth the investment as they have proved to be an extremely valuable partner. Their tremendous expertise in b2b SEO practices and content strategy has already delivered a 59% increase in our organic web traffic. Brick Marketing has worked in close collaboration with our marketing team, tailoring their efforts to our specific needs as an FDA regulated company to ensure we are putting forward the highest quality content. I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Brick Marketing team to surpass our SEO goals!”

- Brett Prince, Vice President of Marketing Corindus Vascular Robotics

corindus-vascular-robotics
More info about brick marketing Contact Us Case Studies Industries We Serve

Request A Proposal Here!

Request A Proposal:

two + = 7