SES Chicago kicks off in just a couple weeks, and boy oh boy, we are stoked. Industry luminaries and brainchow-hungry marketers alike will flock to the Windy City in droves and saddle up for three straight days of sessions, discussion panels, and networking events galore.
Like similar mainstream online marketing conferences, SES events showcase some of the latest in technology, trends, and tactics cutting-edge professionals need to know. One of aimClear’s favorite things to do prior to each big show is to host interviews with speakers, learning more about what makes them tick and what they’ll be dishing up to attendees.
This go-round, I had the opportunity to share a candid Q&A with two speakers set to take the stage at the Hyatt Regency. Mel Carson, Founder of Delightful Communications, and Jason Yormark, Senior VP of Marketing & Social Media of ShowPony, will tag-team Tuesday morning’s social session Beyond Engagement: Harnessing the Power of Social Media. Read on for an exclusive look behind the scenes of their presentations, and an extra special glimpse into their lives.
Lauren Litwinka: Welcome, Mel and Jason, and thanks for being here! OK – I’m going to ask you the same questions, and you’ll each have a chance to answer. First thing’s first: Tell the folks at home a bit about yourself. Who are you, where do you hail from, how didja end up in the online marketing industry?
Mel Carson: My name is Mel Carson and I used to be Microsoft’s Digital Evangelist. I now run my own digital and social media consultancy in Seattle although I’m originally from London. I got into the industry in 2000 because it seemed a more stable bet than acting and singing which is what I did until then. I wasn’t wrong!
Jason Yormark: My name is Jason Yormark and I’m the Senior VP of Marketing and Social Media at ShowPony, a creative and marketing agency based out of Seattle. Previously, I spent 5 years at Microsoft in a variety of roles all centered around digital marketing including search, social and community. I spent time at Microsoft Advertising, and a brief stint at both office products. I’m originally from Chicago where I started my digital marketing career roughly 15 years ago.
LL: Right on! OK, picture this: You’re stranded on a desert island, but somehow, don’t ask me how, you’re in possession of a laptop and a strong wi-fi signal. If could only read five blogs for the rest of eternity, what would they be, and why? (Word related… or not.)
MC: #1 The Everywhereist by Geraldine DeRuiter – so I could read about somewhere else!
#2 The Weekly Ramble – because David Sable is an amazing communicator and inspirational writer.
#3 Majestic SEO – because I’m their US Brand Ambassador and I’d want to know how they’re getting on around the world.
#4 Occam’s Razor by Avinash Kaushik – because he’s in my book and I know how hard he works on it!
#5 And Search Engine Watch of course!
JY: #1 Mashable – For no other reason then they are the industry leader in getting information out on social and tech news and it allows me to be looped in quickly as things happen.
#2 Problogger.net – I’m passionate about the art of blogging, and there’s a ton here for anyone from beginners to vets when it comes to solid blogging tips, tricks, and strategies.
#3 Redheadwriting.com – Erika Napoletano is fantastic. In addition to being a great thought leader around online marketing and social, she has a no nonsense approach to her writing that is funny and refreshing.
#4 TheOatmeal.com – One of the funniest most talented comics ever. Couldn’t live without it.
#5 SocialMouths.com – Francisco Rosales is great. Awesomely designed blog, and really actionable, useful stuff here. Great model for how to blog well.
LL: Most excellent. So, on the morning of Day 1 at SES Chicago, you’ll be speaking at the Beyond Engagement: Harnessing the Power of Social Media session. For all those anxious #SESCHI attendees, and for those who can’t make it to the show – can you share a sneak peek at what you’ll be dishing up during your presentation?
MC: I’ll be focusing my talk on some advanced strategies for building your brand, increasing relevant and fruitful engagement with customers and potential customers, improving your bottom line and getting better disciplined at using digital properly. I think very often, businesses are not maximizing what they are doing now, so I’ll be helping the audience tighten their current strategies with some simple tips that guarantee exceptional amplification too!
JY: I typically like to share tips, tools and strategies that are actionable and not just fluff. Things that attendees can actually take away from a session, and use immediately. I’ll be sharing a variety of web based tools that we use at our agency that are low cost, and help manage a variety of social media tasks such as content streams, analytics and engagement. In addition, I will also share actual case studies of clients we’ve worked with to help folks see how these tools can actually deliver real world results.
LL: Sounds like a must-attend sesh. Lightning round! Favorite wild animal, ethnic cuisine, and adult beverage, GO!
MC: Lion, Japanese, proper British real ale!
JY: Tiger, Mexican and Sweet Tea…because I don’t really drink!
LL: Booyah! Love it. Thanks for your time today, guys! Safe travels, and have fun in Chi-town!