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Blogworld Speaker Interview: Lee Odden


Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I’m CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, an Internet Marketing Consulting agency specializing in web strategy, digital marketing and PR, SEO, social media and email marketing. Before TopRank, I was a VP at a web development and marketing agency for about 5 years.

I started blogging in December 2003 as a way to collect and annotate news of interest for our team at TopRank. I changed it from a news blog to one that focuses on original content such as interviews, tips, conferences, polls and reviews about 3 years ago.

Q: How often do you blog?  What platform do you use?  Why?

Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing

Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Online Marketing

Currently I blog just about every day, but not on the same blog. For the most part, I post to TopRankBlog.com which is run on WordPress. Why WordPress? Because it makes blogging easier and more effective. I also contribute to AllBusiness.com, MediaRelationsBlog.com and am working on something special for MarketingBlog.com, but that’s not live yet.

Q: Point us to one or two recent postings on your blog that you think were superb, and tell us a bit about your writing process. How long did it take for you to come up with the topic?  How long to write?

Recently I did a 3 part series on the topic of Digital PR and SEO that I personally thought were fairly well done.  Here’s the roundup of the series.

Overall, the best posts seem to come from tips or observations that happen in the course of working in an Internet Marketing agency or interviews. Tips posts like this one on repurposing content are often a compilation of reviews or bulleted lists of suggestions. However, we get the most comments and links from posts that are observations about the internet marketing industry and all the misinformation and change that comes with it. Those just flow out after a conversation with a prospect, a thread on Twitter or from a networking event and take anywhere from 10 – 45 minute to write.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs?  How do you find their entries in the first place?

I try to leave comments whenever people mention us or if I notice something of interest and can offer some value to the thread.  I find these kinds of entries from Google Alerts and especially from the alerts we get from Radian6, the social media monitoring tool we use. I have nearly 1,000 internet marketing blogs that we’ve reviewed for our BIGLIST in my RSS reader but obviously can’t get to more than a handful each week.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

I’m moderating a session on Search Marketing and New Media with an excellent group of speakers including: Stephan Spencer of Netconcepts, Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com and Michael Gray of Atlas Web Service. Each is an accomplished blogger as well as an industry leader in their respective areas of search and social marketing.

We’re foregoing formal presentations in favor of an overall discussion about trends and tactics with the last portion of the time dedicated to audience questions about blogging, SEO and any other relevant topic that comes up.

I think the audience will be in for a real treat because the depth in expertise about blogging as well as SEO, paid search, social media from this group would be hard to match.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

We recently ran a series on how to get the most out of attending conferences,  (See: Getting the Most Out of Internet Marketing Conferences) but I’ll summarize:

The important thing is to understand the conference offerings and read through the program to see what is being offered. Be sure to set goals and make the time to pre-plan conference involvement. Leverage content creation, networking, recruiting, competitive intelligence as well as prospecting opportunities.

Introduce yourself often, to speakers, sponsors and other attendees. Participate in after event social opportunities but don’t overdo it or you won’t get value out of the next day’s sessions. Be sure to follow up with new contacts and connect with people socially online through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or your social network of choice.

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC?  Ipod or Zune?  Iphone or Blackberry?

PC, Ipod and Blackberry.

Interview by Dave Taylor, who blogs about tech support, business blogging, and personal finances, among many, many other topics. He’s also an avid film afficionado and runs @FilmBuzz, a movie new service exclusively available on Twitter.

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