We’ve created content for a long time now – even before it was called “creating content.” And what’s interesting about the two of us is that we have very different, yet complimentary backgrounds. Here we’ll share how you can work on building a well-rounded team of content marketing experts – including content creators AND SEO strategists.
But first, let us share our backgrounds with you:
Christopher Hart spent the first 12 years of his SEO career as an in-house SEO expert for a B2B publishing company, then went on to work for a number of different agencies and has now settled in the MarTech Space. Having put his roots down in an environment where the phrase, “Content is king” was said daily and still holds significant validity today, he would offer an edit to the phrase, “Content is still king, but it is more accountable to the people of the court than ever before.”
In the past, publishers owned the distribution channels and content creation cycles. So as a reader, when you were told ‘this is the content you need’, that is what you believed. But with the internet, no longer were the publishers the only owners of the distribution channels. They also quickly learned they weren’t the sole owners of content creation either. Brands and individuals had a voice and one that was getting progressively louder.
In an article published on Search Engine Journal, “How Oracle Got Its (Content) Groove Back”, Chris discusses how changing the direction of your company’s content and communications strategy is never an easy thing. The shifting of this mindset and culture to ensure the messaging and content is more meaningful is essential to resonating with your target audiences.
Christoph Trappe started his career as a journalist and has been telling stories ever since (and even before!). He’s shared content in print, TV, digital and even the more traditional billboards and printed pieces. He’s grown audiences across several projects over the years, and while many of the projects ended up drawing massive search engine traffic, he largely ignored doing SEO research and went at it from the perspective of telling stories that “seemed” to be good stories.
While this has actually been a very successful strategy for Christoph, he often wonders how much better these projects would have gone had he implemented true SEO strategies. Every once in awhile he did, but it wasn’t one of the pillars of his content marketing projects for the most part.
So why didn’t Christoph focus on it? It wasn’t his strength. It didn’t bubble up to be top of mind. Hey, hey, I’m over here creating content. 🙂 In reality, it wasn’t like he was snubbing his nose at SEO, it’s just a very different skillset from content creation. In fact, he’s gone so far as to say that content creators should just hire an SEO counterpart to help. Of course, there’s value in the two disciplines working together.
Let’s discuss how that’s possible:
How content creators and SEO strategists can work together
Chris reminded us to put that additional headline there for SEO purposes! 🙂 Of course additional headlines are also very useful for the majority of people who are just skimming content.
Step 1: Align strategy
Document your strategy and make sure content creators, SEO strategists and other team members know what the goals and tactics are. This is also where we should decide on our topical niches. Once we know what we’ll write about, we can get the most from our content creators and strategists.
Step 2: The calendar
Start an editorial calendar (or update the current one). The importance here is that SEO experts and content experts all have input and get a chance to review what’s being planned.
Step 3: The check-ins
We know, we know. Who needs more meetings? Nobody. But having weekly or bi-weekly check-ins does help the team align efforts and also brainstorm.
Step 4: Measure
Often, we like this to be combined with the meeting but we can also just holler successes across the room – when teams sit near each other. Email or Slack works too when something needs to be shared right away. For constructive feedback we do however recommend in-person (virtual works too!) meetings.
SEO strategists and content creators can help content teams achieve a more well-rounded set of skills. For content to have a chance to be effective, we need educated planning, useful creation and then sophisticated distribution. Together, as a team, we can get there.