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How People Skills Are Crucial For The Digital Age With Jim Christian, Head of SEO at GoDaddy #SEJSummit

It’s so cool that our next SEJ Summit will be held in the tech center of the San Francisco Bay Area in Mountain View, California, at the Computer History Museum. It really is the perfect venue for a gathering of digital marketers!

Although I won’t be attending, I did have a chance to speak with some of our great speakers for the event, including Jim Christian, Head of SEO at GoDaddy.

Jim is going to cover How To Win Friends and Influence People v2.0, which will discuss those core skills we all need to know and how to incorporate them into our enterprise and technology-dependent workplaces.

If you’d like to learn from Jim and our other seven speakers, we still have a small number of FREE tickets available for our Silicon Valley event. The SEJ Summit series is possible courtesy of our partner, Searchmetrics. Their “search experience optimization” makes digital marketing better, faster, and more profitable.

Request an invite today here.

1. You moved from working at a digital marketing agency to working in-house at GoDaddy. Can you share two major ways the strategy is different at an agency versus working in-house?

I can tell you that the strategies are somewhat different. I was used to dealing with mid-sized companies that knew about SEO but lacked the ability to fulfill content, links, and strategies. When I moved over to GoDaddy my eyes really started to open. GoDaddy had tons of link equity, teams of people to develop content, and enough people to get projects out.

One thing I always found frustrating with agency work is that you are always limited when it comes to campaigns. Either the client doesn’t have the budget or you are under an extreme deadline. At GoDaddy things are a little bit different. We have the ability to sit down with product owners and develop strategies that will improve product visibility and help out with SEO. We focus more on the best thing for the project versus how many links will I get.

2. GoDaddy sells domains, hosting, and more. Is your SEO strategy different when working with a digital product versus a physical one, such as t-shirts?

That’s a great question. I never really look at products in a different light when it comes to digital or physical. To me they are all keywords.

3. Your SEJ Summit speech will cover the “soft skills” with a nod in the title to Dale Carnegie’s classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Do you think all employees should have good “people skills,” even if they aren’t customer-facing? Why or why not?

I’m pretty confidant in saying that if you don’t have people skills you won’t survive in this industry very long. Talking with people, understanding their roles, and making friends were some of the first important lessons I learned at GoDaddy.

The one thing that people are looking for is someone else that understands exactly what they are going through, someone they can relate to, and someone they can trust. If you have that, you have the proverbial keys to the castle. The best part is that you will make new friends and be successful in what you do.

4. I think people skills are more important than ever in the digital space, since we are used to being in front of our computer all the time. Do you think the internet has helped or hurt our communication skills?

I think tech has opened up the door for new ways of communication, but I also think it has damaged the quality of how we interact. I can tell you that one of the major secrets to my success is the ability to stop using tech to communicate.

My order of communication is to:

  1. Talk in person, preferably outside and away from desks
  2. Call on a physical phone, cell first, then office
  3. Email someone directly, not in a group
  4. Office communicator (Lync or Skype)

Interacting on a personal level is how people build friends and relationships. Without that connectivity you will never get anywhere with people. We are social beings, after all.

5. How do these core skills, like empathy and persuasion, play out in SEO?

In my presentation, I talk about the two ways to influence people’s behavior. You can manipulate people into doing what you want or you can inspire them to believe in your cause. Two totally different schools of thought! I find that inspiring people is not only easier for me, but the results are much more impressive. Generally speaking, if you inspire someone they will put more effort in your projects, work harder, and be more fulfilled with the accomplishments.

People who are manipulated will only work for their paycheck and put forward the minimal effort to complete a project.

6. Bonus Question: One of my favorite things about our industry is things are constantly changing. How do you stay current?

Staying current is always important. I used to think that going to conferences and attending workshops was the best use of my time. Then a couple of years ago I started thinking about what I got out of attending conferences. This is when I identified that it wasn’t the conference I liked… it was meeting new and interesting people in my field.

So I started a small focus group of like-minded SEO’s who have been around for a while. From time to time we will have focused calls on updates or other news. Or I’ll find some excuse to go visit their offices and give presentations about my current problems.

Sharing and being friendly is the best advice I can give you for staying up to date. Best of all you will walk away with new friends and great relationships.

Thanks so much Jim! People skills are just as important now as they were decades ago.

Don’t forget, you can request your free ticket for our SEJ Summit Silicon Valley /San Francisco marketing conference, taking place July 22nd at The Computer History Museum in Mountain View. You can also come see us in NYC and Atlanta later this year.


Featured Image: Kenishirotie via Shutterstock

Category Careers
Kelsey Jones Marketing Consultant, Owner at Six Stories & StoryShout

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant, writer, and owner of and Kelsey has been in digital marketing since ...

How People Skills Are Crucial For The Digital Age With Jim Christian, Head of SEO at GoDaddy #SEJSummit

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