018: The ABC’s of Mentoring and SEO Marketing: Always Be Creative with Batli Joselevitz
Creative Director, SEO lover, photography enthusiast, and creative wanderer, Batli, is here to discuss how her journey through a journalism degree in college and living on both coasts of the United States led her to the technical SEO realm. Through joining university organizations, mentoring younger students, and learning about internet marketing, Batli’s creativity has always been a driving force. Her focus on the leadership traits of her chosen mentors has helped her learn about how she thrives at being a student of life. We promise you’ll learn plenty from her story on The Digital Marketing Mentor.
Key Points + Topics
- [1:30] Batli went to the University of Texas at Austin for a Journalism degree. She has always been creative and driven by a passion to learn more about the world around her and different ways of looking at things. She used her time at college to learn in the classroom, but also, most importantly, outside of the classroom. The life skills of learning to talk to strangers and build relationships and leverage her experiences and skills to help bring attention to other projects proved highly valuable later as she began her marketing journey. While at UT, she worked at The Daily Texan as a photographer and helped the UT Fashion Group with many marketing projects.
- [8:50] Going from learning about photography and journalism, to stepping into the world of SEO wasn’t a straight-line path. She didn’t have a formal marketing background, but began work at Optidge and tried the many different genres within digital marketing, PPC, social media marketing, and eventually SEO. Learning SEO was similar to learning photography; she was taught the technical skills on the job, but it was through learning those skills and just experimenting that she learned how to be creative and think outside of the box with strategy.
- [14:50] Batli is most drawn to the Content Marketing element within SEO. SEO is different every day, which is a great element in a career for someone whose mind is ever-learning and taking in the fluctuations like Batli’s. She’s currently loving researching Image and Visual Search within SEO. It’s one of those things for which the technology is still being developed and it feels like it’s still in its pioneer days.
- [18:10] The Google Helpful Content Update was being rolled out at the time of our chat with Batli. Google was trying to direct SEO-ers to focus on making content with a people-first mindset, as opposed to an algorithm-first approach. We don’t yet know what the impact will be, but it will likely be good for users and harder for good marketers to be seen as everyone starts making better content.
- [21:30] Mentorship and being mentored, for Batli, are really more about the personality traits and behaviors of the mentor, rather than the technical skills within a given industry or platform. A mentor must lead with empathy. It’s important for the mentee to feel like they’re heard and like they have a seat at the table. Batli has taken these traits and now uses them as she mentors others.
- [29:10] A piece of advice for those just getting into digital marketing and SEO: Try everything. Don’t be afraid to just start. You won’t know what you like, what you’re good at, or how you learn until you start. You have to carve the path to the things you like doing.
Guest + Episode Links
- University of Texas Journalism Degree
- The Daily Texan
- UT Fashion Group
- Google Helpful Content Update:
Danny Gavin 00:05
Hello everyone, My name is Danny Gavin and I’m the host of the Marketing Mentor. Today I have the pleasure of having Batli Joselevitz join us to discuss all about how she got into the world of SEO and maybe she’ll give us a couple pointers about how to be successful when it comes to SEO And of course the theme of our podcast is mentoring and we want to learn about all the amazing ways that Batli has become the person she has and how she. Hands that off to the next person that she deals with. So Batli, how are you doing today?
Batli Joselevitz 01:00
I’m doing great, happy to be here.
Danny Gavin 01:02
Seo, That’s like, so you know, for a lot of people, techie, what is it, right. So did you always want to be an SEO or did you want to be something else when you’re growing up and being a kid?
Batli Joselevitz 01:12
When I was a kid, there were so many different things I wanted to be. I wanted to be a painter. I wanted to be an author over time, manifested into different things. I went to school for journalism. I’ll get into more of how I stumbled on SEO, but really it manifested in a way that just clicks for me with that background of being creative but also telling stories.
Danny Gavin 01:38
From the little that I know about you, you’re just naturally. A really creative person. I’m sure you can share a little bit about your hobbies as well. Going to college, how did that help you move on to the next point? Sometimes you’re creative person, like you just have all this natural, like why do you have to go to college? Like so for you, I was just interesting. What did college do for you?
Batli Joselevitz 01:57
You could say I’m kind of antischool in a way. I’m a huge proponent of learning outside the classroom. I’m grateful for my experience in college because it allowed me to. Build relationships and contacts and experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise being in a college with, you know, like find it individuals. With that being said, I really focused on getting experience outside of the classroom. My major was journalism. So even in that major, I had to go out in the world and really be curious and explore and be very observant of what’s going on around me. Asking questions, interviewing people, talking to strangers. I did a series on my own with photography where I would just go up to strangers and, you know, ask them a few questions, take their photos, if I like their style, You know, fashion for me is one way of expressing yourself creatively, and I always. Especially in that time was very inspired by blogs and street style. It was like at its peak. So that really got me out in the world and just being curious, even at school, even not formally any classes, but you know, organizations that were available. I was very active. I was active in the school newspaper as a photographer. That was one of my goals when I first went to UT in Austin. When I toured the school, I was like, Oh my gosh, it’s so highly spoken of the Daily Texan. That’s my goal, and when i tried out so hard. I really worked really hard to make it. And when I got it, I was just so ecstatic. That led to other opportunities. I did this one project towards the end of my time at the paper. Where I discovered this organization called the University Fashion Group. It was just so fascinating to see, you know, students who were these fashion designers and were very creative and had all these stories to showcase behind their work. And I saw a lot of opportunity there. Promoting my photography is something that I’ve always been interested in. How can I market myself since high school? So I had a blog I’ve, you know, been really into social media and how to, you know, have a voice online. And showcasing that story. So I saw this opportunity with University Fashion group to, you know, help with their social media especially. It was at a time where Facebook was still a very new thing. Instagram was barely starting. I remember I wanted to get an iPhone just to have Instagram. And as a photographer that’s like wild. No one thought about that at that time as a photographer of, you know, this resources tool, But I saw that potential. So essentially with, you know, this organization, I became the director of social media. I mentored younger students who were into blogging, gave them, you know, based on my experience. I would, you know, give them advice. You know, we would have a blog for the website for the organization. I created a team of photographers for an event for a fashion show. I worked with other creatives that I knew from the school paper. Who were very into video to help promote the fashion show online. I helped, you know, creative direct and produce a video, a promotional video, which is so cool to this day. I’m like, wow, I did this when I was like 20 Wild.
Danny Gavin 05:18
What I think is so cool, and I’m like a big proponent of this, but what you’re basically telling me is like when I ask you about college, it’s nothing about the classes, but it’s about everything else you did outside the classroom. And I think that is so important because. So many people go to college, think like that’s the end goal, right? Just to be in, be in the classes, get the grades. But I mean, the story that I like to give is I know you know someone who his parents were very much like, you got to go to school, you got to go to school and they’ve said like you cannot have any internships. We don’t want you doing anything besides studying. And imagine he went through college four years and his GPA was perfect, but when he went out, he could not find a job. Because if you do not do everything outside the classroom as internships or other things, you are going to fail. I mean, I had another call about this like 2 weeks ago with someone and it’s like, is it okay for me to take additional courses while I’m doing college? I’m like, yes, that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, but that’s exactly what you did. It’s amazing, right? And it’s so important. I’m sure there are universities and colleges that push it, but I think that there are a lot that don’t and it’s our job to spread the word that even when you’re in school. That’s just like 25 to 50 % of what you need to do exactly because once you graduate, you have your whole life ahead of you and you’re constantly learning. You’re not going to always have an institution who’s going to give you this framework of you need to do this and this, have this GPA, take these exams. You know, unfortunately, life doesn’t really work that way. So I think that definitely helps a lot. You know, just in terms of really being here is always, you know, wanting to learn more. I’m being very observant of everything around me, so I’m very grateful for that time. And yeah, definitely encourage, you know, one way or another, anything that piques your interest, explore it. Because that’s the only way you’re going to know if it’s for you, if you like it, if you love it, don’t love it. And either way is fine because that gets you closer to what you do like doing.
Danny Gavin 07:21
Because even though you might think you know what you like, but sometimes as you’re being you know, curious, you kind of. I didn’t know I’d like that, but I like that. But I think it’s a good segue into getting into SEO, right? So it sounds like you didn’t take an SEO course at college. How did you get into SEO? You know, how did you learn it for me on the job?
Batli Joselevitz 07:43
I learned it on the go on the job. I actually started out as an Internet marketing assistant, you know, which can be very vague. It can mean a lot of different things, but it was a great opportunity to really get. Have a foundation, especially not having a formal marketing background or foundation to figure out okay, which direction do I like. And going back to, you know, figuring out what you like doing, it was kind of like that. It was like, not intentionally, but it was almost like a process of elimination. But I was like okay. I tried this route. It’s okay, but it’s not like. I’m not like super, super passionate about it or I tried this route and you know, same thing. So then when an opportunity with SEO like a project came along, it definitely opened my eyes. Oh whoa, like I had no idea this existed or like this would click. But it makes complete sense with just, you know, my background in journalism and storytelling as well from a content perspective and also photography and I think going back. Even backtracking to before college, my passion for photography I discovered when I was 13 also learned a very similar way where I did take a class, but. It was more of the technicality of processing and developing black and white film. It wasn’t how to actually compose a photograph, like how to look through the viewfinder. And that took some time. And that was more of me just exploring and experimenting. And I feel like SEO was very similar where, you know, I had the tools and the resources. And then once I had that, I could actually figure out okay this is, you know, I could come up with strategies. Really think outside the box. So in a way it was kind of reversed, You know, I didn’t have a formal background of like, Oh yeah, this is what you do in this situation and so forth. But it was more of like, here’s the foundation, crystal clear basics and then how can we actually apply this in this context? And for me, that works. It might not work for everyone. I totally get that. But yeah, that’s the pattern that I’ve identified within myself of like. You know, passions that I’ve learned along the way.
Danny Gavin 09:48
Imagine that someone actually identifies the pattern in their life of how they grow and learn and you were able to see that, right? It’s like taking something, get the fundamentals, understand it. And then from there I need to try and test and that’s how I’m going to learn and become really good at what I’m doing. I think it’s such an important lesson, right? And that’s why doing things and trying things. Even if it’s in a different area, you were doing retail sales right for a while. The more experiences that you put yourself into, you got kind of figure out like how do I learn? How do I grow? And it’s just cool that, like you have found that out and you kind of have the openness to see what it is. And like okay, if I got to get to the next level, these are the things that I need, you know, I need that strong foundation and then i need that time to kind of grow and discover my own exactly and you know another point too is someone looking at my background in paper would be like oh wow, this is like a three sixty, how is it all connected? And you know, being able to identify how it’s all connected is great, but also this isn’t like A1 size fits all or just for me like someone else out there listening. I hope this should also give you some hope that. Even if you feel like you’re doing a three sixty that it all is connected and helps you for you know your next chapter. So going back to like my retell experience, something I learned in there, even though it wasn’t marketing per se, it was very fascinating because that company didn’t do traditional marketing. It’s all mostly word of mouth and the way they do marketing is very unconventional and you know overtime the clientele you start to. Identify their personalities, their personas, and understand okay, where does this type of person hang out? What do they do? You know, what is their mindset? And that’s something that’s really important, you know, in marketing is understanding like a buyer persona. So I really got that foundation working in retail. So even before I had, you know, this formal marketing background, I had real life experience where I’ve used this. It works. I’ve seen it in action and it’s really cool, so I’ve always been fascinated with that and that it’s great for SEO. It’s also, you know, other areas of paid search, paid social. All of these are definitely building blocks and you never know how to manifest.
Danny Gavin 12:11
That’s kind of how we want to look at life, even when sometimes the steps seem to be different. But really it is building blocks and you have to tap into the past in order to get to the future. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into SEO. There’s many paths with an SEO. We’ve got technical SEO. We have content link building, all these different things. So what area or areas of SEO do you enjoy the most? What are you curious about? Passionate what initially sparked my interest with content SEO, and to this day it still does. In SEO just in general, every day is different. With Google rolling out updates as well, you never know when they happen until a few days in advance. So keeping us on our toes, which I like as well, it’s exciting. It definitely pushes barriers and challenges you to really think differently and also reevaluate what like you have been doing from a journalism background tied in with SEO content. It’s definitely this opportunity of really thinking outside the box of how can I really make. High quality, valuable content that people want to read and that’s helpful for them as well. So I definitely lean more towards the content side, more of my like passion slash. Still exploring aspect is like image, SEO visual search. I could go into like a black hole of just researching and seeing what are the latest trends and techniques because it can get very technical as well like it’s creative. But there’s a lot of technology that goes into that that’s still not even developed. So I still feel like that’s almost like it’s in its pioneer days or the tail end of it. I’m not too sure. But being like a part of that story in some regard and just being in the loop I think is really good and. It gives an advantage, you know, for the future because there is a future in it. We’re seeing it more and more every day, especially with you know, other platforms like tik tok where it’s obviously very visual and you know, the search results page being more dynamic with the type of information that’s portrayed like you don’t just see web pages anymore. It can be events listed out on businesses listings having a really good idea of like how can we make. Content that’s rich content and not just run of the mill like here’s an article, because yes, that’s still important. That always will be, that’s a foundation. But to be competitive and really think outside the box, you have to see the whole picture and how to stand out from the crowd.
Danny Gavin 14:42
Yeah, so I should have guessed. Like with a journalism and photography background, Yeah, you’re going to choose those aspects in SEO, but that’s awesome. I love the content side. It’s so fascinating. How Google works with content. But that kind of brings into the challenge of today, right? I heard through the Grapevine that there’s some sort of big update that’s going on, that we’re actually in the middle as we record this call and would love if you could tell our listeners a little bit more about that and just maybe some of your thoughts.
Batli Joselevitz 15:10
Google just rolled out helpful content update essentially making. Content people first over, you know, making content for search engines. There’s still a lot of speculation. It’s a two week rollout where it just started this week. So it’s a bit early to really see. We haven’t really seen yet what the impact is, but it is very exciting in retrospect. It makes me think of like, Oh yeah, it’s a way to kind of check and balance of like okay. Is this something that’s already been implemented? Are we doing this? Do we need to do this? What else can be done going into the whole buyer persona? I think that’s a huge component that’ll be really helpful when you are creating content, is really thinking about your audience first versus pulling data of keywords, you know, changing that approach, still using this information, it’s still valid, but the order of how you’re going about it, so that way you can make more strategic decisions. And it goes back to like I’m saying, you know, using more dynamic content, so video photo very important especially unique and original. You know that’s the best way to be competitive and to stand out is to have original content like that’s the bottom line. So I think that’s the challenge too, especially you know for smaller businesses how to navigate through that. You know it’s really a matter of really thinking outside the box is like okay what can be done within these parameters. To achieve this.
Danny Gavin 16:40
And I think that one of the challenges that we have as digital marketers is that like when there’s this update that says helpful content update, like what’s the definition of helpful content? And I don’t know if I’ll ever know. You know, previous updates have been like, OK, if you have bad links with you know too much anchor text or you have the same keyword used multiple times. But here it’s like what defines what’s helpful and what’s not so? It’s going to be interesting to see where that goes. But I think overall if we’re pushing everyone to like just make better content, it might make it a little bit harder. But overall, I think us, the people, we’re just going to benefit from it. So you know, i think it’s a good move overall, just a little scary because you don’t know what the definition is and will we ever know the definition? I don’t know yeah, very sure. It’s open to interpretation, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
Danny Gavin 17:32
Exciting times as. Digital marketing usually is. I want to take a little bit of a different path and I want to go into more of the mentorship of your life. And you know, it doesn’t have to be with regards to SEO in particular, but I would just say from your professional life and work, who’s been your most important mentor in your career to date?
Batli Joselevitz 17:54
That’s a tough one. You know, every professional experience I’ve had, I learned something from the people I work with. It’s not only the job itself, but the people you work with is a huge key. They can be your teachers. Obviously that might not always be the case depending on the situation, but I’m very grateful that’s been the case for me, especially, you know, at Optage. Everyone I’ve worked with, I could say easily as a mentor in one way or another. They’re all experts in different fields. You know, Danny, like I’ve worked with you very closely, especially with, you know. So I would say you’re at the very top because it’s just also inspiring to see, you know, the different projects you are involved in, your perspective as well and just how you lead. Is very inspiring and you lead with empathy, which I think is a huge thing, especially in this day and age. So that’s definitely really paved the way for me of like how I want to be as a.
Danny Gavin 18:49
Leader obviously I don’t want to talk about and relevant to myself, but what it sounds like is so for a mentor, what’s really important? It’s not just about maybe the things that they say directly to you, but it’s the way that they also act. And hold themselves. We’re really saying that a mentor is also a role model, right? A role model doesn’t always have direct interaction all the time, but it’s important for someone when you’re looking up to a mentor, like, how should I behave? How should I act? What should I do? How do I react? Right, you’re not just looking at the things they say to you, but it’s also the way they behave exactly.
Danny Gavin 19:25
And, do you feel like that was true of the mentor of your mentors in other stages of your career? Definitely it could be the opposite of like, Oh yeah, this is something I wouldn’t want to do, or this is how I would adjust it a little bit. But since I am, you know, naturally an observant person, that usually resonates with me, you know, someone’s character.
Danny Gavin 19:44
I guess from the mentorship seat being the mentor and you got to be careful, right? Because it’s like you said, you mentioned the character you’re mentioning like what they’re not doing when someone is talking to you directly. And someone’s mentoring you. What are the qualities or things that for you like in order to really listen and hear? What would you say like for you personally? What do you need when someone’s talking to you?
Batli Joselevitz 20:06
A good listener, so not necessarily talking to me, It’s more of like talking with me. I think that’s a huge detail in terms of like a work hierarchy, like Oh yeah, this person is below me, you know, or in any regard really feeling like you’re an equal and. Open to your thoughts. One moment I had this like breakthrough where I was like, whoa, this is incredible. I was actually at UT at the school paper, and I was working on this really cool project. The main photo editor reviewed my work on the spot in front of me. I usually don’t would get that feedback like in front in that instant. And you know, it came down to just. Selecting the photos we were going to use to run for the paper and he was like, what are what are your thoughts? I was like, you want my opinion, My opinion. And I just, I was astounded and no one had ever asked for my opinion up until that point. I had never sought it out either. You know, it wasn’t something that I knew I needed. But in that moment I realized this is something I need and I do look. At in future mentors and leaders and you know, within myself mentoring others, I’m a huge proponent of that and getting their thoughts because it’s also a way for you to learn how they think, what their opinions are. It’s just really cool some companies, the culture is that, but in others it’s not. And for those that aren’t, I think you’ve brought up such a special point that when you’re talking with someone, let’s say, either on the same level or anyone, right? It’s about listening. It’s about getting their opinion, showing that you in your eyes they are valuable and what they say is valuable and that can really make a huge difference, right? It’s like I like I’m just envisioning you like in your first job and like there’s these people like kind of intimidating like they know everything and like they actually come to me and ask my opinion like that’s crazy. But that like that created that bond, made you feel special and. Yeah, I love that story. So special. So now let’s flip this story. So now you’re in a managerial role, you’re a leader, you’re mentoring people. So now that you’re in that seat, what advice would you give or what do you see works from that perspective, from that point of view?
Batli Joselevitz 22:24
Definitely, Like I said, getting people’s input. I think it’s definitely valid. You know, having a seat at the table, essentially that’s what it is. It has to be earned of course as well. Like it’s not just instantly, like you have to build trust. It’s mutual. It goes both ways, right? Where I will also expect the other person on the other end to also be like what are your thoughts so that it does feel equal, also asking questions, you know, being curious. I think those are all qualities. That I seek within myself, but within others as well. So that way it’s always a constant collaborating, but also learning together and growing.
Danny Gavin 23:02
So it’s really like a mirror, right? The way people treat you, that’s what you want to treat people, and the way you treat people, that’s the way you want to be treated. As we get close to wrapping up, what’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in SEO or digital marketing?
Batli Joselevitz 23:15
I would say try everything, but to be more specific, don’t be afraid just to start. And just try because you don’t know where it would lead. You won’t know until you try if you like it, if you don’t like it, so that you can carve that path to things you do love doing. Having an open mind just be curious allows you to have that openness, to be willing to try these different routes, whether it’s SEO or paid search or any other area of digital marketing.
Danny Gavin 23:46
I think you’re the perfect example. You started in a very different place. But just by trying things that led you to a different area, of course, everything that you had before then you brought into it. But man, like if you never would have tried it, you never would have gone into this whole new world and been successful. The head, the head of an SEO department, it’s pretty amazing and it’s all from trying, which is so cool awesome congratulations to you. Last thing before we end, I want to do our lightning round. Obviously people can follow you buttley on your Instagram and that gets like a cool insight. Into what you do. Let’s go through five things really quickly. Favorite movie or movie you think people should see, atonement, ok, what about music? What are you listening to right now that you think would be really great for people to check out? I’m not gonna lie, I’m listening to Bad Bunny so much that I’m not even actually playing it on Spotify. It’s just playing in my head. Yeah, I’m going to this concert today, so that’s why. Really, Admission.
Batli Joselevitz 24:47
I can’t wait to hear about it meal favorite food? pizza. I love pizza too. And I just had really good pizza in Seattle. So I’m on a pizza hi yeah, sure, book i.
Danny Gavin 24:58
Would say the Artist’s way. It’s a workbook. It’s great. Cool, I’ll have to check that out. And finally travel. Favorite place to visit or place you’re coming up going to.
Batli Joselevitz 25:08
San Diego It’s upcoming travel, hopefully.
Danny Gavin 25:12
Very good location.
Batli Joselevitz 25:14
Yes, weather cool all about the weather.
Danny Gavin 25:16
Well, Botley, it’s been such a pleasure having you on today. It’s so nice to learn a little bit more about you. And I think just from your journey, so many different lessons of approaching work and mentorship, it’s really been a valuable discussion. Thank you so much for joining.
Batli Joselevitz 25:31
Me likewise. Thanks for having me.
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