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Tony Wright on the Danger of Absolutes in Marketing, Answering SEO Questions & More [PODCAST]

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Tony Wright on the Danger of Absolutes in Marketing, Answering SEO Questions & More [PODCAST]
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“What you’re doing for your car dealership may not necessarily work for the lady who’s running the hair salon down the street. That is a huge deal to understand that there’s not a magic formula and people don’t get it. A lot of the worst advice that I’m seeing is coming out with absolutes and that, ‘You need to do this.’ Frankly, most of the time, you may or may not need to do that.”

Tony Wright’s work has earned him the accolades of “search marketing and social media expert,” although he says he prefers the term “geek.”

One look at his bio and you’ll know he deserves to be called that and more.

He has been in the digital marketing industry for 21 years with previous experience in journalism, public relations, and advertising.

Tony is also well-known for speaking at major search conferences and contributing to leading industry publications, including Search Engine Journal. And we’re lucky to have him as a contributor!

Aside from consistently turning in his monthly column days – even weeks – ahead of the deadline, every piece that Tony writes tells a story that resonates with readers.

On writing, he has this to say:

“[I]f you can engage someone and get them to think about something, whether I’m writing something or I’m doing a sales pitch, my goal, at the end of the day is I want someone to exclaim, ‘I never thought about it like that.'”

In today’s edition of The Search Engine Journal Show, I talk to Tony Wright – an SEO pro everyone in the industry should get to know better.

About Tony Wright

Tony Wright is the CEO of WrightIMC, a full-service digital marketing agency based in the Dallas, Texas area.

In the past, he was the Director of Digital at Weber Shandwick, the largest PR firm in the world.

He is currently a regular contributor to Search Engine Journal and he will be one of our four columnists sharing the Ask an SEO column this year.

In the past, you may have read him on Search Engine Watch, Forbes, and other publications. He has also spoken at Pubcon, State of Search, SMX, and many others.

Tony has won quite a few awards over the years as well, including Excellence in Interactive Marketing, AMA Marketer of the Year, Outstanding Alumnus of Texas Tech University, and more.

Listen to this episode and get to know more about Tony’s life and career stories, his big tips for industry newcomers, aspiring conference speakers, and would-be writers, and more.

Show Notes

  • Tony talks about what his agency, WrightIMC, does today. [2:41]
  • On founding the company in 2007 and growing it together with John Confer for the last 13 years. [3:21]
  • Before creating his own marketing agency, Tony was actually a journalist working in newspapers. [3:53]
  • WrightIMC has around 15 employees now and Tony thinks that’s a good size for quality control. “We’re in a growth mode right now but we’re not going to get much bigger than 25. I just don’t want to,” he says. [5:02]
  • As early as 2007, Tony has been a huge believer in the longevity of search. He didn’t see it going away, even if it changes the core fundamentals. [5:33]
  • The biggest changes looking at today versus when the company was just starting out. [6:29]
  • 75% of the folks Tony and his team are working with have either been burned or had a bad relationship with their previous SEO. [7:03]
  • How does Tony convince prospects and get them to buy into search even after getting burned? “Consultative selling” is the answer. [8:55]
  • Helping small businesses and learning about new things is what keeps Tony passionate every day. [10:43]
  • Tips for leaders who want to better train their employees and make sure that they get the work done. [12:03]
  • Looking to grow your own marketing agency? Here’s Tony’s advice based on his experiences. [14:00]
  • On deciding which clients to work with and determining when a client isn’t quite the right fit for his agency. [15:24]
  • The highlight moments and great memories that stand out from all Tony’s years at WrightIMC. [17:10]
  • The things that Tony took from the world of journalism and have applied to marketing and to SEO: Sticking to deadlines, writing and communicating, and research. [18:31]
  • Here’s how Tony learned about SEO in the early days. [19:42]
  • One of Tony’s favorite SEO projects was for the largest parking lot striping company in the world – helping them rank number one and realize an entirely new business model. [21:17]
  • The time they had to outsource a particular project and ended up losing $10,000-$15,000 on, as well as other campaigns that didn’t go as planned. [23:33]
  • Tony talks about his experience in online crisis communication and brand reputation strategy. [27:44]
  • He’s had his fair share of struggles as an entrepreneur. “If you haven’t stayed up at night wondering how you were going to make the payroll, then you’re not a true entrepreneur in my opinion,” Tony says. [32:18]
  • His best piece of advice for people who are thinking about getting into conference speaking. [34:27]
  • Tony’s favorite part of his job is speaking. [36:49]
  • On writing for Search Engine Journal’s Ask an SEO column. [38:02]
  • What does it take to write well? Tony shares writing tips to make your content compelling and worth reading. [39:19]
  • The favorite pieces he’s written for Search Engine Journal. [41:32]
  • Tony’s top recommended resources for people who want to learn more or stay up to date on SEO. [43:18]
  • If he wasn’t in search or marketing, Tony would most likely be in sales. (Though he’s been told he should have been a lawyer because he’s really good at arguing). [45:16]
  • If he could give his younger self some advice, it would be to “live in the now instead of always worrying and planning everything for the future.” [45:50]
  • The best piece of advice Tony has ever been given: “You have to learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable” [47:15]
  • And the worst little bit of SEO advice that he still hears people giving. [48:51]
  • Here’s how newcomers to the industry can eventually become successful and enjoy long-term success. [51:12]
  • The things that excite Tony in SEO or marketing right now: attribution, new developments in Google Ads, and Google SERPs. [53:09]
  • What’s next for Tony Wright? [54:26]

Links from the Episode

How to connect with Tony Wright

Twitter | LinkedIn | WrightIMC

People Mentioned

This podcast is brought to you by Ahrefs and Opteo.

To listen to this Search Engine Show: Better Know an SEO Pro Podcast with Tony Wright:

Visit our podcast archive to listen to other Search Engine Journal Show podcasts!


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita

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Danny Goodwin

Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal

Danny Goodwin is Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal. In addition to overseeing SEJ's editorial strategy and managing contributions from ... [Read full bio]

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