One of the perks to working in online marketing is brushing shoulders with great people like Anthony Pensabene who is a twitter networker, marketing strategist, and content muser. In this interview you’ll get to see the refreshingly witty writing style and spunk of Anthony, enjoy.
How did you get to where you are now?
I walked from my mother’s kitchen (visiting parents in NJ) out the screen door to my laptop outside. Oh, you mean..
It’s been a looong, strange..
I studied Psychology and English. I wanted to be a Literature professor at first, mainly to wear tweed jackets. I taught high school English for a short stint. During that time, I was made an unrefusable offer from a gentleman in the NJ area with a lot of vowels in his last name regarding online marketing…
It’s about six years later “now.” Not from when I started answering the question.
What does a day for Anthony Pensabene typically look like?
It’s kind of a mashup between a Dali painting and a circus on Mars.
I really try to ‘balance’ myself; because, it’s such a challenge, yet needed. Ideally, I need some structure, but heavily gravitate toward creative whims and muse whispers.
Days consist of something for my body (jogging, working out, hiking, playing with Bubba the dog), then something for my mind (reading paper, blogs, thinking why “good evening” is a salutation and “good night” is a departure, you know, pressing issues like that..).
I make it a habit to write pretty much everyday, whether it’s ‘work’ related (muse tip: I’ve never considered writing ‘work.’) or creative (did you know I’ve written 155 sonnets? (that’s one more than the Bard)).
I really enjoy relations with family and friends. Presently, I live in Colorado. I don’t have traditional family there; but, I do enjoy spending time with people (usually in small groups rather than large- my reticence is contingent on number of people present).
What do you love most about your job?
I really love…thinking/strategizing.. Ironically (no, coincidentally..) my name means, “think well.” The latin root, ‘pensa,’ means ‘to think,’ and ‘bene’ means ‘good or well.’ Go figure!! I once (maybe more than) got kicked out of class for being ‘goofy.’ Who’s the goof now? (Don’t answer that.)
I really enjoy working with people who are passionate about what they do. I really liked one of Wil’s messages in his MozCon presentation regarding ‘real company stuff.’ He said something like, “I may fail at a percentage of what I’m gonna try to do, but I’m coming with the heat.’ I paraphrase, but that was the gyst.
Your blog is titled Content Muse, can you explain why?
I actually had to travel to the North Pole to my Fortress of Solitude. After manipulating crystals to elicit images of distant relatives from circuses taking place on Mars, I realized that should be my interwebz name.
No, I’m being silly. I have the term, “muse” tattooed on my writing hand. I like the principle behind the term. I am an emotional being, very much influenced by internal and external inspiration. Writing and content are two areas of search I love to think about. “Content Muse” just made sense- I want to inspire thoughts on the topic in others.
As someone who writes professionally, what tips do you have for someone starting out?
A younger guy, looking to break on the scene, was nice enough to ask me the very same question. Rather than reply to him, I wanted all to see my replies. I’m about to write that up and post it. James Agate offered some advice as well (dude is a business thinking machine).
For one, I think it’s great to start your own blog. I don’t really tinker around with it backend wise, but I think it was AJ Kohn, where I read starting your own blog and ‘experimenting’ is a great way to get more interested.
Also, write all the time. I really like this quote by Bruce Lee: “I don’t fear the man who practices 1,000 different kicks one time; I fear those who practice the same kick 1000 times.” Practice makes you powerful. It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, bricklayer, or rodeo clown. If you put in the time it may not seem impactful from a day-to-day perspective, but after a few months, years, you look back and you can distinguish an undeniable augmentation.
How do you build and maintain relationships in the industry?
Again, I’m an emotional and feeling (in Jungian terms) type of dude. I’m affected by my surroundings. That’s why the review of my peers means everything to me.
I think building relations online is the same as offline. Sure, there may be someone who is an ‘influencer’; but, if you really don’t have too much in common with them personality/specifically workwise, or you come across as not genuine, it’s likely not going to be a strong bond.
The people I have strong relations with, I converse with on Twitter, via email, texts, etc. It’s not ‘just’ about being ‘in’ the industry.
For instance, Sean Revell is a brilliant guy regarding search. but first, I was attracted to his snarky nature. I found him to be extremely funny. I started reading his blog more and commenting; he makes his blog fun. After some time, he began sharing my stuff and we built a professional/nonprofessional friendship.
Where do you to get inspiration for content?
Anywhere and everywhere…literally. I have to carry a notepad with me. I get these thoughts (those things are always driving around, bumper cars style, in my cabeza)
I get ideas from peers as well. BlueGlass is a super creative brand. Check some of their posts on the topic.
In your opinion, what are the elements to a great piece of content?
AN EXTREMELY SATISFIED RECEPTION OF THE READER. Done and done. I’ve read through some decent pieces exploring the topic. I take bits from here and there; yet, there’s no way anyone will convince me they have the formula down…ever.
Mac or PC?
What is a Mac? Little Mac from ‘Mike Tyson’s Punchout’?
Droid or iPhone?
I have a Droid..though I kinda miss my old BlackBerry…
Tweetdeck or HootSuite?
I do everything manually, dude. No lie. Depending on the nature of the client and business, I’ll suggest such tools; but, for me, I like going to each place manually. Admittedly, I really only leverage email and Twitter heavily for interacting online… I must get better at Gplus though.. AJ Kohn has made some convincing arguments for better Gplus usage, especially from an author’s perspective.
Drink someone can buy you at conference?
Meh. I’m a giver. I’m funny about accepting things; but, I do enjoy giving to others when I can. If I ever become rich, I’m going to be altruistically dangerous. But, I do enjoy Johnnie Black on the rocks on occasion, much to the disappointment of my Colorado pals who don’t know any beverages exist other than beers.
Hey Benjamin, it was mighty kind of you to ask me questions about myself and the industry. It was fun answering your questions; and, I hope, peers can sift through the silliness to better get at the heart of a muse.
Cheers to you, sir; and, I hope I can buy YOU a drink while I’m in town. Thanks again – 🙂
haha I get it, “gyst” (“g.et y.our s.h*t t.ogether”) rather than “gist” to pun on Wil’s ‘real company sh*t’ acronym- (please review that presentation now if you havent already) I see what –> there <– you did
I like Anthony for a lot of things he says, but especially because it’s really user oriented, and looking around, it’s not so easy to find people like this.
Glad to follow him on twitter and to talk to him from time to time.
Yo, Alessio. You know I deeply appreciate our relationship. It’s really awesome for an introvert like me to communicate with great people from around the world!
When I speak about ‘you guys/gals,’ to others, it’s like I’m talking about people I hang with; because, in essence, we do spend a lot of time ‘together’ online. It’s a great community; I’m so glad to be a part of it.
Genuinely great guy! It’s a pleasure to talk to him on Twitter and follow what he puts out. Glad to read this interview and to hear where the actual idea for the blog name came from!
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