12 May 2010

Getting to know you: Kaila Strong


In the next edition of our monthly VM interview series, we introduce you to Internet marketing specialist/social media architect/all-around power tweeter Kaila Strong. In this interview, we chat about the future of social media, link building best practices, and whether we will see this kick boxer in the UFC one day.
Vertical Measures employee Kaila Strong kicks fellow employee Michael Schwartz. (James Constable/Vertical Measures)Michael Schwartz: Describe your responsibilities here at Vertical Measures.
Kaila Strong: At Vertical Measures my responsibilities are varied. I work with clients on their social media marketing campaigns, their link building strategies, I manage the blog, co-manage the onsite components of Vertical Measures and our own link building strategy, help with promotions whenever I can, I attend and present some pretty awesome webinars, I get to go out and network with the fine peeps in Phoenix, attend conferences like Pubcon 2009, and of course I get to sit right next to the one, the only, Michael Schwartz. Oh, and I forgot: I sit up front in the office and everyone mistakes me for the receptionist so I sign for packages, show interviewees to the conference room, and get the occasional water or coffee for our visitors.
Michael: What’s the key to running a successful social media campaign?
Kaila: Being able to listen and adapt to your audience. So many people just start in with social media and don’t really evaluate what their public is saying. How are they interacting? How do they want to be approached? How can you be a brand that humanizes your messaging? These are all things to consider that you certainly can’t do without listening.
Michael: What do you see as the future of social media?
Kaila: I think that as marketers we’re entering a time where data will become extremely direct and specific, and we’ll all realize that in the end we just need to get to know our audience before sending out blanket messages to them. Connecting more one on one is a trend that is already happening, and I see it happening even more so in the future. In addition, I think we’ll start to see even more proof that social networking can show a return on investment and it won’t be such a ‘hot topic’ anymore.
Michael: Now along with being a social media architect, you also work on the link building team. What do you enjoy about the challenge of scouring the Internet and nabbing links?
Kaila: Just that, the challenge. I love being able to go to a site and say, hmmm, I want to place a link on this site….but how? How can I realistically get this site to link back to me? And then getting it done. Nothing is more pleasing than helping a webmaster find a resource that just happens to be my client, and they just happen to give me a link and actually say, “Thank you.” It also helps that the link is on a PR 4 .edu page, and on a PR 8 domain. Holler!
Michael: Give us one best practice that you follow when link building.
Kaila: Hmmm good question. I’d probably say that when link building never outright ask for a link. Provide something of value to a webmaster or contact that will show them that they should have already been linking to your site, and you’re just pointing out that fact.
Michael: You went to school at the University of Montana. What’s the greatest thing about being a Grizzly?
Kaila: Knowing that I got a great education, one that I use every single day of my life. Even though I’m not using my Bachelors degree in Political Science, I know that the writing skills I utilized, the critical thinking, creativity, etc…were well honed by the great teachers at the U of M.
Michael: What was it like growing up in Montana?
Kaila: It was pretty….boring to be honest. I was always a big city girl at heart, and when I could get out I did. I love going back and visiting my family and enjoying the sun, snow, blue skies, clean air, and quiet. But I don’t like the fact that time nearly stands still there. I’ve grown to like change in my life, and I love to have every opportunity at my fingertips. In Montana, unfortunately, things are pretty slow paced, but for some that’s what they look for. I’ll wait another 20-40 years before I start looking for that in my life.
Michael: I know that kickboxing has become a big part of your life. How long until we will see you in the Octagon?
Kaila: Haha, not anytime soon. I’m training along with a lot of great fighters and learning so much. My goal is more so for fitness and weight loss than to become the first female UFC champion or anything like that. I’m hopeful that I can help others realize that being a plus size woman doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. You can be fit, you can work to achieve a goal, and you can kick some butt while doing it. It’s made me a stronger person overall.
Michael: One random fact about Kaila most people might not know: she’s gluten free. What’s the toughest part about subscribing to this type of diet?
Kaila: Ya….I was gluten free, for a little while. But with kickboxing it’s hard to stick to no gluten. I try to stay away from it as much as possible, but when your body needs carbs after you’ve burned off 1100 calories in one kickboxing workout: you’ll know. I try to listen to my body as much as I can and understand that sometimes cravings aren’t mental, they’re physical.
Michael: You talk all the time about how much you love your job. What’s the best part about working at Vertical Measures?
Kaila: Coming into work every day and knowing that everything I do I find joy in. There’s challenge, intrigue, excitement, a constant learning atmosphere, and battling against “The Man”…. Google. What’s not to love about that? I also am able to utilize my creative skills, help clients achieve higher rankings and make more money, and I get to work with some of the greatest people I’ve ever met. It’s truly a blessing to have found a job that I never would have known existed had I not had a major change in my life. I came from a background of Real Estate, and with the burst of the Real Estate bubble here in Phoenix it prompted me to look for another job. I found this one, and haven’t regretted it one second.


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