Lunch with Becky: Interview with Nichola Stott, The Media Flow
Seeing as I have relocated to London, the center of the iGaming universe, I’ve decided to take full advantage of my lunches and book them full of meetings and interviews with industry friends and professionals.
Just recently I had the pleasure of meeting SEO and Social Media expert Nichola Stott for the first time and learned a lot about her expertise in the market, her experience in the iGaming world, a few SEO and Social Media tips and a bit about Nichola as a person. And what a lovely person she is. Expect to see a lot of this lovely lady at upcoming conferences, and in the meantime, you can learn a lot more about her and her Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Solutions business in our interview below.
Interview with Nichola Stott, The Media Flow, Owner & Director
Becky: What is your background in SEO and Social Media?
Nichola: I first got the search bug when I started at Yahoo! as head of commercial search partners back in 2005. It was principally a business development role that involved a lot of data analysis, business management and product knowledge. In terms of social media, I’ve always personally been an avid user and early adopter, plus my team at Yahoo! was involved in the beta-stages of the Yahoo! Answers product, so I’ve always been aware of the search and social overlap.
Becky: How did you become involved in the iGaming world?
Nichola: My company is a boutique agency, which is led by personality and client-fit. iGaming kind of found me. It just happened that I got referred to my first gaming client through mutual contacts, at the same time I was invited to speak at the London Affiliate Conference in January of this year. Straight away it felt like this sector was a great personality and culture fit for my business. Even when I was at Yahoo! I always found I would gravitate to the sort of business partners that would be pushing the boundaries, testing and innovating. I had big brand clients like AutoTrader, Orange and The Guardian but would find that I’d be most attracted to the search arbitrage sector. It’s an attitude thing I guess.
Becky: What made you decide to start The Media Flow in 2009?
Nichola: Couple of reasons. Firstly – I love search and didn’t want to leave search, but in early 2009 at Yahoo! I didn’t feel the opportunities would continue there. Secondly I wanted the challenge and the excitement of a new direction and to build something entirely my own.
Becky: The Media Flow specializes in SEO and Social Media optimization, strategy and consulting- what is the main difference between these three services?
Nichola: Optimization is where we manage the actual work on a monthly basis for our clients. Strategy tends to be project-led or time-limited and will be on such occasions when a client may have a perfectly adept in-house team available for implementation, but perhaps require a high-level insight into search developments in order to construct a communications plan delivered through SEO/social activities. Consulting tends to be one-off and very task oriented, such as if a client has their site sandboxed and want to know how to get out, or has a difficult product or brand and want to identify how exactly to find their voice in social media.
Becky: Can you give us 1 SEO and 1 Social Media tip specifically for the iGaming industry?
Nichola: SEO – link components of the algorithm are shifting, but even more so in gaming. 2010 we’ve seen increasing penalties for over-engineered backlink profiles and more manual intervention in the SERPS.
Social Media – you need a varied content plan that defines your brand as a personality. Broadcasting into the social void will get you nowhere. Think about social media more in terms of what you can give than what you might get, and the “get” part will take care of itself.
Becky: Who are some of your clients and how have you helped them specifically?
Nichola: With gaming, discretion is often the better part of valor, however I can tell you about one of my longest running clients, which is a bingo super-affiliate bingo-reviewer.com. In terms of how we have specifically helped them, we started with a plan to turn an affiliate site into a brand in its own right. We did this by creating an identity and personality for the site, along with a bespoke and unique content plan – both on-site and through social media. We secured a number of partnerships with demographically relevant but non-gaming entertainment brands, such as City Inn Hotels and Merlin Entertainments (who operate The London Dungeons) to offer really cool promotional events and competitions on the site and through social media. We’ve also done a lot of PR around such events, which generates both social mention and good quality in-content links. All of these types of activities have seen the site shift from the bottom of page three to the page one/two border for the volume terms in this space (including “bingo”.)
Becky: Tell me what it’s like being one of the only females in the very male dominated SEO and Social Media inudstry…and the male dominated iGaming industry!
Nichola: I love it! Those who I care about know who I am and what I’m capable of, that said respect still has to be earned, whereas I think for a lot of guys- particularly bigger older guys- appearance can often command respect. That’s just human nature and we’re all a product of our environment- it could be just as easy to be misjudged if you’re one of the young guys with the baggy jeans and the chain in the pocket that you might see at a conference- any person in the street might think they’re in the wrong place, but you or I who know this industry know that they could just as easily be millionaire bedroom-affiliates. That’s the great thing about the web – it’s a great leveler.
Becky: What do you prefer- facebook or twitter? Why?
Nichola: I could never choose! I like both for different things. Twitter is best for networking and one to one relationship development, plus surreptitious business development plans can easily unfold in the DMs. Facebook is great for attraction marketing- you can present a facet of yourself or your business that can easily become something people want a piece of. It’s not even so much as they want to buy from you, but you can make them want to be you.
Becky: What upcoming iGaming events to you plan to attend? Will you be speaking at any of them?
Nichola: I plan to be at the iGB Affiliate Awards in January, plus the London Affiliate Conference, which hopefully I’ll be speaking at – if they’ll have me back! I did London, Amsterdam and Budapest this year, but missed the super show in Prague, so will definitely be going to 2011 which is in Dublin in May. I cannot think of a better place! I’d best get practicing with the Guinness as of now. Becky have you tried Guinness? I’m half Irish, so if not you have to let me get you your first Irish Guinness, in Ireland. It is the law
Follow Nichola on twitter, linkedin and facebook!