Search Marketers, It May Have to Be You
In late October, I had the opportunity to present on the topic of “Building a Better Process” for the Kansas City Chapter of the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO). With a room split between both paid and organic search marketing pros, it was a bit of a challenge for me to put my SEO process hat back on (it’s been a while) and think about how these folks execute every day.
Thankfully, this conference gave me some hope that search marketing isn’t walled off in a silo like it once was. The days of a “search team” or “the guy who does search” are numbered. In many organizations, search engine marketing is an integrated part of the strategic conversation and the practices of keyword research and optimization are becoming standard components of the overall content marketing process.
That being said, there’s more work to be done. Many companies aren’t there yet. Perhaps these companies just need to understand why they should be making search marketing a bigger priority. And perhaps they need some guidance as to how to integrate search marketing practices into their current process. If you’re reading this right now, perhaps you are the one that will have to make that happen.
That’s my focus with this presentation. Enjoy!
Brody Intro / Backstory
- Built my first corporate website in 2000 (a manufacturer, I was the only one in the MarComm department who knew anything about building websites)
- Started freelancing in 2005 and digging into SEO, mostly B2B
- Fast forward 10 years and a few hundred websites… I’ve learned three important things.
(1) Customers are in control
They control where, when and how they will engage with brands. We have to be where they are and seed good content that helps them solve their problems. If we’re only talking about ourselves, they’ll just tune us out, like fast forwarding commercials on DVR.
(2) It’s crowded and noisy out there (harder than it used to be)
The internet is a landfill of content crap and it’s only going to get worse. In my mind, there are only two strategies for breaking through the noise…
1) throw a lot of money at it, or
2) go niche (long tail).
(3) Google is controlling the game
On the organic side, Google’s algorithms and technology have made it very clear…If you want to win the ranking war for any keyword, you HAVE to be producing original, high-quality content that people want to consume and share. There will never be a technology or software platform that can game that. Great content producers will always be required.
So to wrap this up with a bow, every marketer needs to understand that content is the fuel that drives today’s marketing engine.
But…Here’s the reality
Communications and marketing teams are still struggling with this content thing. Big companies are coming to us everyday with this:
- No coordinated strategy
- No proactive planning
- Silos = Poor communication
- Inconsistent brand messaging across channels
- Insanely chaotic content production processes
- Not using the right tools
The Organic Content Process
In my world at DivvyHQ, here’s how we view the organic process.
Most of the technologies in our marketing stacks only help us execute the back half of this process. Historically, marketers haven’t spent near enough time and attention on the front end of the process. But why? I’ll tell you why…because this is the hard part. Its manual. It’s hard to automate. It requires a lot of creativity and it’s messy.
So these are the 4 process areas I’m going to focus on today and hopefully provide you with some guidance on how to improve these areas.
- You need to insert yourself into the strategic conversation
- Get cozy with buyer intent so you can boost relevance
- Map keywords to content (niche properties and individual assets)
- Use your keyword suggestion tools
- Encourage (force) regular ideation sessions
- Introduce a shared, centralized place for idea storage
- Be a dependable source of new content ideas
Planning – This is where most of us suck. There are consequences…
- Get a recurring planning meeting on the calendar and stick to it (frequency varies)
- Nail down a planning meeting agenda
- Setup and use an editorial/content calendar
- Plan ahead!
Production Workflow Per Content Type
- Define your process (creation, editing/review, approvals)
- Lead time per step
- Who does what?
It May Have to Be You
You may have to lead the charge. You may have to be the one to drive change. But…you also may have the biggest impact on your company’s marketing success.