It’s been a while since I did an interview on SEOno (you can see previous interviews here) – in fact, I don’t really think to do them anymore, however I really wanted to interview Max Minzer about Max Impact (#maximpact) because he’s such a humble and modest guy and I love his shows (since show #40-odd I’ve attended pretty much weekly… in fact, this was my first appearance), plus with the fact that he ran his 100th show not so long ago, the timing couldn’t be better…
Steve Morgan: Hi Max! First things first, please introduce yourself – tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
My name is Max Minzer. I am the owner of ReEngage Consulting – digital marketing consulting service specialising in local search marketing. I view it as business advising and enjoy doing what I do. I also host a weekly digital marketing show called Max Impact, moderate a Local Search community on Google+ and I like meeting and talking to people.
I’m married and have a 3-year-old boy.
Steve: If someone asked you to summarise Max Impact in 30 seconds or less (or a couple of lines!), what would you say?
Max: Max Impact is a digital marketing show where people join video call (and real-time social media discussion) to share ideas to help businesses and marketing consultants grow their business.
Steve: How did you come up with the idea for Max Impact?
Max: I saw Google+ Hangouts On Air (the video broadcast platform) being used effectively in other industries to meet new people and share news, places and ideas. There was nothing like that in the marketing industry at the time. I was using Hangouts for more private conversations already but decided to give it a try as broadcast.
Also, many of us consultants work from home and often miss human-to-human interaction (during work; not that we don’t have lives 😉 ) and the “meet new people” element. It’s incredible that technology allows us to meet people around the world.
Steve: Please talk us through the usual format of a show. What happens on your typical Max Impact episode?
Max: I try to invite people 10-15 minutes before I start the broadcast so we can have an off-the-record chat and – often – meet new people for the first time and get comfortable. I then start the broadcast.
I have a featured guest in most cases and start the episode by introducing and interviewing them about a selected topic. I then become a moderator and have everyone else join the discussion. I let people ask questions, comment, discuss and I also read questions we get on social media.
Steve: As you’ve already mentioned, Max Impact is hosted on Google+’s Hangouts On Air. How is HOA as a means of broadcasting the show? Could you see yourself hosting it by some other format or using another type of webinar system, or is it essential for it to be on HOA?
Max: I thought about this in the past. I think of Max Impact as a live communication marketing show and do not call it “Max Impact Hangouts.” I see technology as a way to create that communication but not attaching/labelling the show to a specific platform.
I use Google+ Hangouts On Air because it works for creating such face-to-face communication. If that becomes unavailable at some point then I’ll find something else.
Steve: I see that Google+ is your social media platform of choice, compared to Twitter. Has your involvement on G+ helped to generate interest in the show, or vice versa (has running the show helped your G+ follower count grow)?
Max: I enjoyed Google+ when it first came out. I still do but I see a lack of innovation there now. Especially with Hangouts On Air, its possibilities and how this technology could be used. So, over the years my Google+/Twitter usage got even more or less. Hey, Google+ helped me understand Twitter and get active on it years ago – but that’s another story.
Google+ involvement helped and Max Impact audience got its start on Google+. But Twitter was always there. It’s about people and their ideas – doesn’t really matter what means got them connected to the show.
Steve: Running one show every week is a big commitment. Is there a lot of preparation and organising involved before each one?
Max: It’s hassle… what with the preparation before and making the best out of it after. I took a little break in the winter of 2015 to reorganise and – hopefully – make the show better. It is a tough commitment if you want to be consistent and repurpose content for each episode. I’ll prepare/repurpose better after the winter break.
In all that, it’s important for me not to lose the true meaning of doing this: getting to know people and sharing ideas. That’s why I want to continue doing it.
Steve: How do you decide what topics to do each time?
Max: I usually ask my featured guest what they enjoy talking about most lately related to their expertise. We try to come up with something that will help consultants and business owners grow their business.
Steve: Other HOA shows I’ve seen only include the host(s) and guest(s) in the Hangout itself – the audience can watch, but cannot participate directly. However with Max Impact, you open it up and anyone is welcome to join and contribute. Have you ever had any problems doing that, e.g. an unruly or interruptive contributor affecting the show?
Max: No. I can’t recall something I couldn’t manage. Hangouts has necessary tools. You just have to moderate well and be a good connector of people joining so that they feel that they’re a part of the show.
Steve: How has the show progressed over the months? Was it nerve-wracking hosting the first few episodes? Do you still find it nerve-wracking even now?
Max: I was nervous at first. Talking to camera and knowing that anyone can watch this now or later took some time to get used to. But I found that getting prepared in advance and relaxing and being yourself during the broadcast does the trick. I can’t remember last time I was nervous about the show. Not recently.
Steve: What are your favourite Max Impact moments? Times when you’ve thought “wow, that’s awesome” based on something that someone’s said, or someone prominent in the digital marketing/SEO industry making an appearance in one of the Hangouts…
Max: There were a lot of great moments and fascinating ideas. Many things helped me shape my mindset, strategy and approaches. Most satisfying moments were those of people getting hired or connected with business relationship because of Max Impact.
Steve: Forgive my naïvety when it comes to Google+/HOA, but do you get stats of how many people are watching (separately to those actively participating within the Hangout itself)? If so, what have been your busiest and most popular shows?
Max: I get YouTube statistics. The most popular shows are – surprisingly – those related to technical and strategic SEO. Says a lot about the majority of Max Impact audience.
Steve: You also host them for later viewing on your site and via YouTube, which must be great for people who can’t make a show when it’s happening but still want to watch it. Do they get many views later on, from people catching up at a later date?
Max: That’s correct. Yes, a lot of people watch after as well. Conversation and sharing of the event continues for the next several days.
Steve: I remember it being a big deal when #maximpact hit the 50-show mark. And yet you’ve just had your 100th show(!). How does that feel? Any special plans for that one?
Max: Yeah, so we just had 100th episode recently and it was a blast! Thanks to all of you who organised it behind the scenes. It helped me realize show’s maximum impact! 😉
Steve: Who would you love to see on Max Impact in the future? Am I right in thinking that you’ve tried to get Matt Cutts on the show?
Max: Matt agreed, yes. Talked to him about it in person at SMX. But he kept delaying it since then before taking a long leave… 😉 It’s highly unlikely now with him going behind the scenes but if I ever get him on the show – I want to talk to him as a person (TWiT-style), not as a head of Google’s Spam Team.
A lot has changed after. I no longer chase “big names.” I don’t ignore it when an opportunity presents itself, but I try to look for people who are interesting and have something fresh and mindset-changing to share. There are a lot of people in our industry who are under-the-radar but deserve to be featured for their work, experience and ideas. Max Impact will never become an echo chamber like most marketing conferences have done (where the same people talk about the same topics every year).
Another part of this – as you mentioned above – is that I want new people to join us. I’ll always keep that open.
Steve: What are your future plans for Max Impact?
To continue connecting people and sharing ideas. 🙂
Even though this is a hobby of sorts (I still tie it in to my business model per my mentor’s suggestions), I’ll try to repurpose content of the show so that people get most out of it. Transcript, summary, podcast, etc. But the core will stay regardless – I’ll keep helping people to connect and share their ideas to grow their business.