The Beal Deal Interview Channel

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The Beal Deal with Lisa Barone (@LisaBarone)




I know what you’re thinking and no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is a post by Andy Beal, and it is on a Saturday.

You’re witnessing history today.

OK, that may be an exaggeration, but you are witnessing the launch of a brand new Saturday morning series called “The Beal Deal” (you can thank Frank Reed for that name). Each Saturday I plan to interview some of the smartest folks in the internet marketing world and, hopefully, ask them questions that they’ve not been asked before and/or reveal something you didn’t already know about them.

lisa-baroneThis series kicks off with Lisa Barone, VP of Strategy for Overit–or as she’s lovingly known in the industry, The Lisa. Lisa gets the dubious honor of going first because, a) she misses Cup of Joe, and b) she wanted to see something different from me. So kids, let this be a lesson to be careful what you wish for! :-P

So, let’s get to it!

Q1. Looking back at your stellar marketing career, what was the catalyst that took you from “Lisa that’s good at her job, but no one knows her” to “The Lisa, marketing superstar?”

This is tough. When I started blogging in 2006 this whole “personal brand” thing wasn’t as pushed down people’s throats as it is today. I started out at Bruce Clay, Inc and my job was to blog, so I did. I blogged every day about search, sharing my thoughts with little pieces of myself mixed in. People really got to know me and maybe felt invested in me a bit. That’s all I’ve ever really tried to do – share what I thought and form relationships with other people.

Q2. How much of the real Lisa do we see online? Is your online persona any different from real life, or does the internet allow you to push boundaries you wouldn’t normally push?

The Lisa you see online is who I am when I’m with my best friend. It’s Lisa, slightly amplified. There are certain parts of my life that I keep removed from the Web either because they’re sensitive to me (I don’t post photos of me and my fiancé or use his name, for example) or because others have asked that I stop relaying stories (hi, Mom!), but I’d say it’s an accurate representation of who I am once you get to know me.

It’s important I stress the “once you get to know me” part because I think some folks are taken aback when they meet me at conferences and I’m somewhat shy and soft-spoken…but that changes pretty quickly. ;)

I think my online image has changed over the years, but I guess I’d be worried if it hadn’t. I’ve changed over the years. Makes sense Online Lisa would too.

Q3. After you left Outspoken you likely had your pick of jobs, why did Overit best fit your career path? Did you just want to work in a cool restored church?

I’ve only ever worked on the SEO side of things, at Overit I get to sit at the whole table.

Overit gave me the opportunity to do something I had never done before – to build a brand from all consumer touchpoints. Overit is unique in that’s an integrated agency in the true sense of the word. This church is filled with designers, developers, motion graphic artists, as well as content, social, PR and SEO/PPC folks. When I’m defining a brand or messaging, my ideas are applied to online video, commercials, animation work, graphic design concepts, content pieces etc. I get to touch and be a part of the full brand experience. That’s something I haven’t seen anywhere else or had an opportunity to do. I’ve only ever worked on the SEO side of things, at Overit I get to sit at the whole table.

That’s important to me. And I think it’s an important benefit Overit is able to offer clients – a single agency to create your entire online and offline brand.

The restored church is part of the experience. It doesn’t just set a cool vibe; it enables the work we do. We have a full live media room with recording and streaming capabilities. It lets us do our motion graphics work in-house and house conferences and events. It takes things to a whole other level for us as a company.

When I met the Overit team and got to see the depth of talent, I was speechless. I just wanted a chance to work with them and be one of them. Lucky for me they let me.

Q4. You’ve publicly stated that you no longer plan to blog as much as you have in the past, why is that? Did you get burned out or has blogging seen its best days behind it?

Blogging is dead. Everyone should definitely stop doing it.

[not really, don’t do that.]

It’s a lot to be so public and to be putting yourself out there all the time.

I started blogging 5-6 days a week about search in 2006 and I never got to stop. It became what I was known for – the daily updates, the snark, the liveblogging – and I felt a bit pigeonholed and trapped by it, to be honest. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, I obviously love blogging, but I wanted the opportunity to do more than I was. I felt a bit like a fraud – in an effort to get out so much content and make everyone else happy, I wasn’t able to be as hands-on with clients as I wanted to be. I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to be. And that needed to change.

When I came to Overit I was very upfront with my boss Dan Dinsmore about what I was looking for and what I needed to be doing. I wanted to be blogging and creating content – that’s my love. But I also wanted an equal amount of hours doing other things to make myself better. Dan’s a great boss and he’s really allowed me to come into Overit, immerse myself in everything they’re doing (which is a lot) and let me find where I think I best fit.

I also wanted a bit of quiet. I did “burn out”, as you ask, but it wasn’t just on pushing out all the content, it was the attention-sphere that is our little SEO bubble. It’s a lot. It’s a lot to be so public and to be putting yourself out there all the time. I’ve accomplished and achieved a lot over the past few years, but I’ve also been through a lot to get there. By being more client-focused, I also get to step back from some of that and take a breath.

Q5. Outside of marketing, what’s the one topic or cause that you spend some of your social equity promoting?

Every role model in the stuttering community is someone who has gotten over their stuttering. I don’t like that message.

I’ve accidentally become an advocate for the stuttering community, which is ironic since I never identified with that group before. But as I’ve been more open about my stuttering, especially through my TEDx talk and op-ed piece about The King’s Speech, I’ve seen how powerful my voice can be on that issue and how much misinformation is out there. It’s been very rewarding for me to lend a voice to something where a voice is desperately needed. I receive emails from parents about how I’ve helped them understanding their child’s struggle or Facebook messages from college students who stutter and now have an example of someone else who does and was still able to go out and do things. Every role model in the stuttering community is someone who has gotten over their stuttering. I don’t like that message.

I also spend a lot of time promoting Troy, NY. I’ve fallen in love with the city and I feel it’s my duty to let everyone know that. I’m expecting a job offer from the Troy, NY Visitors Center any day now. ;)

Q6. You’re getting married this year, congrats! What changes can we expect from The Lisa? Will you still flirt with Joe Hall?

Thank you! I don’t think you’ll see too many changes related to that, though I’ve been watching [lisa barone wedding] pop into my Related Searches which freaks me out.

Joe Hall will be getting an invite to the wedding. ;)

Thanks Lisa!

Tune in next week for another exclusive interview.

  • http://twitter.com/AtTroy augi

    Listen- Lisa loves-learn

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      Alliteration FTW! :-)

  • http://twitter.com/joehall Joe Hall

    Andy, this article series is an AWESOME idea!! I am so excited for future post! Some of my favorite post here at Marketing Pilgrim were where I had the amazing opportunity to interview awesome folks! I am so excited that for this!

    I am really looking forward to Lisa’s wedding! Though rumor has it, shes also inviting Micheal Streko, so apparently, she has an “open door” policy! :P

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      LMAO! And thanks Joe, you left big boots to fill.

  • Matt McGee

    Fun interview and a cool idea! And I think Frank should be put in charge of Naming All The Things from now on. :-)

    • Lisa_Barone

      I agree. The Beal Deal is the best! :)

  • Guest

    I love hearing The Lisa news! Great interview and start to a new series :)

  • http://about.me/josephmanna Joseph Manna

    This is a great interview. I feel like I’ve caught up to the last several months of Lisa. Congrats to you if you’re reading this. Keep us posted on your big wins and lessons learned! :-)

    –Not from an agency Joe

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      Thanks Joe!

  • http://www.rustybrick.com/barry Barry Schwartz

    Awesome idea and great way to kick it off

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      Thanks Barry!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cre8pc Kim Kopp Krause Berg

    Perfect choice for your debut series Andy. She’s had an intense journey in the SEO journey and deserves every happiness. I hate to admit but I really do miss Lisa’s Bruce Clay blog posts with Susan’s interruptions. They had me in stitches.

    • Lisa_Barone

      I miss the old Bruce Clay blogging days sometimes, too. Susan and I had a lot of fun. Who knew what all would follow that innocence. :)

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      Thanks Kim!

  • http://twitter.com/RadRoseDuggan Rose Duggan

    Lisa rocks! I had the honor of interviewing her last year on community management and other SoMe marketing issues. Andy, I think you’re great and this new weekly series is an awesome idea. I look forward to checking it out every week!

    As for this interview… I think it’s interesting to hear Lisa explain how she became the poster child for stuttering and the power she’s found in bringing the issue to light. I’m a cancer survivor, and I often find myself being everyone’s cancer rep. It can be a weird responsibility, but when you’re advocating for a group that needs a voice, it feels good. You’re so doing the right thing. So for the TED talk and for being so open about this, I really admire Lisa. Once you open up yourself and your issues online… it can be hard to disassociate; but there are so many people who appreciate the work being done.

    When I read/hear Lisa’s name, I totally think of “live tweeting” as the first thing. Getting pigeonholed into something so demanding has got to be tough. Kudos to Lisa for branching out and expanding repertoire and industry M.O.

    • http://twitter.com/RadRoseDuggan Rose Duggan
    • Lisa_Barone

      Thanks, Rose. Your comment about being “the poster child for stuttering” made me laugh because that’s what happened in a lot of ways simply because I started talking about this thing that impacts my life. But I see the value in it, even if it’s not something I intended or am fully comfortable with.

      There’s this great line in Tina Fey’s book Bossypants where she talks about just because she was stabbed in the face as a kid doesn’t mean she wants to play the role of The Girl With The Scar in the Lifetime movie of your life [paraphrased], and I can related to that a bit. But there’s a cause here way bigger than me.

      But thanks for the comment! :)

      • http://twitter.com/RadRoseDuggan Rose Duggan

        I so know what you mean. I had cancer when I was 20-21, I was misdiagnosed as having Crohn’s Disease for about a decade, and what I really have is a super rare genetic blood disease called “Porphyria.” With all my health issues, people suspect I’m typing from a hospital bed, when truth is that I’m a normal person, with a normal fun life… and just sometimes I get sick.

        In many ways I had NO idea I’d become the spokesperson for “young adults with serious illnesses” or whatever it is that I am… but when you have a voice, and you speak out and people listen – well, that’s how to kick the wheels of change and understanding into motion.

        I don’t define myself by my health… but, I am happy to be recognized by it and to help others in similar situations whenever I can. I’ve always been an open book, and it’s amazing how many people I’ve been able to help. Even if it’s something simple as telling them tips I use to cope easier, or suggesting that they bring hard candy to chemo because it helps with the metallic taste you get. Stuff like that!

        Anyways… super TANGENT.

        That’s a great line from Tine Fey, and I totally understand what she means.

        I really admire you for speaking out and repping people who have struggled with a stutter, even if it’s something you weren’t totally prepared to do. Sometimes our greatest contributions in life just fall into place organically. And when that happens, we just gotta go with it and play it out, right?

    • http://www.trackur.com/ Andy Beal

      Thanks for your kind comments Rose!

  • Lisa_Barone

    Ha, thanks, Cari!

  • http://casiegillette.com Casie Gillette

    I am in love with this series name. Any play on words is all right in my book. Also, love the interview. Lisa is someone who I’ve looked up to since I got into this and it’s always cool to watch people evolve & move on to new things. Look forward to next week!

  • http://www.stanleyoppenheimer.com searchengineman

    It’s amazing the voice of Lisa Barone and the content I discovered (Not so politically correct, when she names names). She was one of the first blogs (Outspoken Media) I RSS’d. I had no clue she had a stuttering problem!. Her voice on the net was/is the authority on branding, and about not being a douchebag (Social Media)! I am in awe that I now realize..what a BIG deal effective communication is to LISA BARONE, especially when the rest of us would never even to fathom, the personal stake she has in the game. More importantly I read it on every page, The voice of Lisa Barone exists on the web…and it reads authentic. I am in awe and jealous of her writing ability. You rock.

    • Lisa_Barone

      I don’t know how I originally missed this comment but it means pretty much everything to me. So, thank you.