Marketing Stars Series: An Interview With Ann Smarty
In our Marketing Stars Series, we bring you insights from some of the top influencers in the world of online marketing. We’ve asked the best of the best to share their insider knowledge with you, our readers, so that you can harness the power of their expert advice, tips, and tricks in your own marketing efforts. Today, we are excited to have the opportunity to bring you our interview with Ann Smarty. Ann is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. Ann’s expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing tutorials and her guest blogging project, My Blog Guest. We are thrilled that she agreed to answer a few questions for us.
Ann, you are a little infamous right now after Google made My Blog Guest a “chosen” or “target”, but for the readers who don’t know you, could you tell us a little bit about what it is you do, and why you’re so passionate about it.
I am Ann Smarty, I got into the Internet Marketing industry ≈7 years ago. (I guess I’ve been giving this number for a couple of years now, so maybe more:)) My personal blog is seosmarty.com. You can read how I started here. As you can tell, I am not very comfortable speaking about myself, so I recommend readers simply Binging my name ;)
How did you get started in this industry? What was the Aha! moment that ultimately led you to where you are today?
It was a pure accident. I was looking for a part-time job when still in the university. I got hired by an ecommerce company for customer support and got so passionate that they started enrolling me into their online marketing efforts.
What was your mission when you created My Blog Guest?
I got known thanks to my guest columns around the Internet, so I was very much aware of the benefits of guest blogging. I thought there needed to be a place for people to find each other. It seemed to be a very clean concept.
Did you ever think that you’d one day become a target of Google Action? At that time, no. Like I said the concept was pure: You are not paid or in any way forced to publish content. The only thing you are requested is to LOVE the article you are about to post :)
Honestly, when you realized that your site had been penalized, what went through your mind? I don’t remember. I guess I started checking Twitter and clicking the links to announcements, so I wasn’t really thinking.
Did you take it personally? At the beginning, no. Then I remembered that Matt tweeted he was about to do that one second before it happened. He was obviously enjoying himself. You can’t help taking that personally.
You have always stated that you were against paid links and advocated for no-follow links. Do you think you could have done more to fight spammers? I was and am against nofollow in guest blogging actually… as I believe the links in guest posts are editorial (they pass editorial review before going live). As for spam, you CANNOT fight it. It will die when it stops working. So I blame Google for letting it work.
What do you advise your users to do? I advise them to pretend Google doesn’t exist and network with real people. I guess that’s the message Google is sending: You should forget about the rankings. This does NOT mean doing anything Google is not recommending (like paid links, for example). This means don’t do anything specifically FOR Google. One exception is probably if they are hit by penalties in which case my advice would be to try and get out (I cannot recommend people staying penalized as that would be bad advice).
What is your advice to similar platforms? There are no similar platforms. :)
You’ve received a tremendous amount of support from the community. #isupportmyblogguest and #GoodGuestBlog are some of the ways people have shown their love. How did that make you feel?
I couldn’t have felt better. This penalty discovered one huge thing for me: How GREAT people really are.
What is the future of My Blog Guest? Many want it to stay, but will you fight the giant?
It stays for as long as its community wants it to stay. It belongs to the community
What’s next for you? Any big plans?
Yes, we have lots of plans. We are building one more content marketing platform and toolset which we are looking forward to launching soon.
MBG isn’t the only thing you do. You are very also a marketer and web entrepreneur. How do you juggle it all?
I am struggling :) I wish I spent more time with my family, had real non-working vacations and had enough sleep at night. I do feel happy but sometimes I am tired (now is that time).
What is your biggest tip for aspiring writers on the web? Especially now, since we should stick forks in guest blogging?
No one will stick the fork… People will call it something else under Google’s pressure and that’s it. As for the advice… Love every word you are writing. Being proud of everything you do goes a long way.
I’m curious, what is the worst and best pitch email you have ever gotten?
I am not really sure… I guess I am getting so MUCH mail daily that my memory is too cluttered – as nothing comes to mind!
Do you have any funny stories to relate about your experiences in the industry?
I think what is happening now is probably… well not the funniest but definitely the most absurd experience in my career :) As for the funny things… I always laugh out loud at this HOA video: It’s about how I forgot meeting one of my best friends at the conference and Jim explaining that. :)
Business aside, what are your all-time favorite book or movie picks? I am Russian, so you won’t understand / recognize them…
I have plenty more :)
What is your favorite Social Network?
Twitter… I am not sure why. I guess I have a long history with it and it lets you multi-task. And I’ve been using it for as long as I can remember!
Before we end this interview, do you have a favorite quote that you’d like to share? Always… I am not sure who the author is: Everything will be OK in the end If it’s not OK, it’s not the end!