The cofounder of BlueGlass, Chris Winfield is known in the Internet marketing industry as a regular speaker, a pro at getting press coverage (he’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and more than 200 other media outlets) and the possessor of great hair (read the comments for proof).
He also originated BlueGlass LA, the upcoming, sold-out conference where Raven is proud to be the top sponsor. We asked him a few questions about content marketing, his worst day ever and bringing his daughter to work.
How was the idea for the BlueGlass conference conceived? How has it evolved?
It was the precursor to officially launching BlueGlass as an agency. The idea was to get buzz around the BlueGlass name before we actually launched the company. We have gotten so much out of conferences over the years and wanted our own way of contributing to the industry with our own flavor, so to speak. It’s pretty amazing to see how far we have come. Everything used to be so hurried and frenzied, with us hoping for the best. We plan ahead so much now (heck, we even have an in-house Events Coordinator!). As a result of that, we’re able to offer people a better experience with each show.
You’ve had many industry leaders appear at BlueGlass conferences. Who are some “dream speakers” you’ve yet to snag?
For me personally, it would be: Seth Godin (Seth could do 3.5 minutes and make it more interesting than most 30-minute presentations), Simon Sinek (watch his TED talk to know why), Sarah Evans (for the PR junkie in me) and Danny Sullivan (Danny can make any subject entertaining and informative). The funny thing is that we have only reached out to one of those four speakers (and they had a scheduling conflict) so the onus is on me to do that. Thanks for the reminder!
BlueGlass is moving further into the world of content marketing now with the acquisition of Voltier Digital. Why is now such a hot moment for content marketing?
I think content marketing has become so hot because of the shift in the marketing landscape. Consumers want to hear your story. They want something with substance. They want to feel like they can connect with you. This is why people care so much about content marketing right now (and it’s really refreshing to see).
But this all doesn’t just happen overnight or with one piece of content, it takes strategy and commitment. Part of that strategy needs to be creating content that people actually find useful rather than trying to create the next viral sensation. The companies who will see the most success are those with sustainable plans for producing useful content in innovative ways.
How do you explain what you do all day to your daughter?
We have a playroom set up in the office here so she is here (with her nanny) a lot and can learn it firsthand. But if I had to explain it to her, I would say: “Daddy creates buzz.” She’s only two and a half, after all.
What’s the toughest moment you’ve faced in your career?
Hmmmm… One of the toughest (or most stressful) was during the first job I had after I got out of college. I was working for a web development startup in Manhattan. The whole thing was a mess (I learned everything NOT to do in business there) but this day was particularly bad.
I was supposed to lead a presentation to a big potential customer. They were basically a lock and this was a formality (or so I thought). We were about to get started and the entire site was down (it was a live demo!) . I freaked. Luckily, my wife (this is the job where we met) was also with me and she’s great under pressure. She did the entire presentation without anything to demo and we still got the sale! I still get nervous thinking about that day…
You’ve written a lot about getting press coverage, and your tenacity there reminds me of the hustle of link-building. How do you think PR and SEO are related?
Most of the principles are the same. At the heart of every good PR person and link builder you have a bunch of common traits: 1) someone who is great at building relationships 2) someone who is creative 3) someone who can find opportunities 4) someone who hustles!
Do you see PR growing in importance?
PR is going to become an even bigger and bigger part of SEO. It’s just a natural progression (and has been since the beginning of SEO) but now with more & more news being digital only, it’s essential.
What are your favorite sites for keeping up with industry news?
I probably spend more time reading non-Internet marketing related stuff. Harvard Business Review is consistently good. Marketing Land has become an awesome source. Copyblogger is always good. And beyond that I like places that bring everything together and do the work for me, like the Hacker News feed or SmartBrief.
What’s the best day you’ve ever had in the BlueGlass office?
January 30th, 2012. That was the day we moved into our new office. It was perfect because the Voltier team was able to move in at the same time (before we even announced the acquisition). New office, new energy and we have been riding that ever since!
What do you wish more people knew about you?
That I really try to live in the moment and be grateful.