Every year, PPC Hero sponsors a vote to identify and honor the top 25 most influential PPC experts, and the list for 2015 was just published earlier this week. I was totally blown away to be included on the list!
Our industry has its fair share of experts, many of whom are not shy to share their theories and case studies online. So just last week, I wondered, what does it take to truly stand out in this competitive space? (Again, I did this before I had any idea I was going to be on this year's list of experts!)
To find out, I analyzed the online profiles of last year’s top five most influential experts to see what they did to make the cut. The lineup from 2014 included WordStream’s very own Larry Kim followed by Marty Weintraub from aimClear, Brad Geddes of Certified Knowledge, David Szetela from Vizion Interactive and Kevin Lee of Didit.
As I dove into my research, it became clearer and clearer that being an industry hot shot isn’t for everyone. To make a name for yourself, not only do you have to live and breathe PPC, but you have to have a unique perspective on it and OWN it.
Here are the five traits you need if you want to be a notable PPC expert (and maybe make PPC Hero's list next year!)
Each of these men have carved out their own role in the PPC world, by having the gumption to found their own businesses. So many PPC practitioners assume that the only route to go when starting their own company is to establish an AdWords management agency.
This successful crew eschewed the “typical” course and founded companies that were truly in line with their personal strengths and passions. Brad went the instructional route with CertifiedKnowledge.org, an online training, tools and community platform geared at helping people hone their digital marketing skills. Larry used his engineering chops to develop PPC Advisor, a software that empowers SMBs and agencies to optimize their PPC accounts in only 20 minutes a week. Kevin, Marty and David founded marketing agencies that offer a variety of services in the online marketing space, each with a unique spin on them. For example, Marty’s company, aimClear, offers holistic social, PR, search, display advertising and web development strategy that is guided by “uber-focused psychographic targeting, bleeding-edge creative, attributable conversion and quantifiable branded techniques.”
When it comes to in-person events, don’t underestimate the power of networking. Creating contacts in the industry is vital to your success; not only is it a great way to build a network of colleagues to bounce ideas off of, but it’s also a good opportunity to make an impression on industry influencers. By fostering these relationships, you’re more likely to score speaking gigs or blogging exposure.
Don’t be a wall flower. If you’re passion about what you’re talking about, that excitement and confidence will be conveyed to everyone around you. If you’re not cool being the guy who talks PPC over cocktails….well, this probably isn’t the path for you.
Dedication to Thought Leadership
If you have great ideas, you shouldn’t be afraid to share them. It’s impossible to find a digital marketing conference where none of the top five influencers are presenting. Events like PubCon, SMX, HeroConf, Conversion Conference, Inbound—you name it—one, if not many, of these guys is bound to be a featured speaker.
Not only are they committed to sharing their two cents at industry events, they’re also regular contributors to industry blogs like Search Engine Journal, Moz, Search Engine Land and Marketing Profs. The caveat here is, participation is only half the battle. You may have ground-breaking ideas, but no one will remember they are YOURS if you present it like another boring old data set. Instead, find what makes you memorable and unique and present with personality. Marty Weintraub does an incredible job of this. Last time I saw him speak, he strolled on stage wearing a tiara and cracking dirty jokes—tell me you’d forget that…
Commitment to Social Media Presence
Now that people have found you, keep their attention. Our five experts engage with their audience on a consistent basis through Twitter and, true to form, each goes about it their own way. For example, Brad and David curate online content and create daily rollups (The PPC Advertising Daily and The bgTheory Daily, respectively) of news they endorse and recommend reading.
On the other hand, Larry’s feed is a mashup of industry-related news stories, quirky internet jokes and pictures of his adorable son (otherwise known as #ppckid). At times, these PPC experts also join in Twitter conversations like #ppcchat to discuss industry changes with others. If PPC is your passion, you should always have something interesting to say. Speak up and engage with your fans!
Willingness to Share the Love
Once you’ve developed your own personal brand, promote others whose viewpoints dovetail with your own. Think about it this way, if you can direct your followers to other sources of wisdom that coincide with yours, they'll trust you even more. Even better, promote up and comers who you believe in. For example, Larry Kim wrote a great post for Search Engine Land highlighting four “rising stars” for marketers to keep an eye on.
When it comes down to it, the industry doesn’t need another jack of all trades. It needs passionate marketers with unique viewpoints. Want to be an influential PPC marketer? Find your viewpoint and don’t be shy about it.