Whether you’re finally redesigning your business website or building your first one, you have an important question to answer: who will provide the copy for all of those pages?
The idea of providing quality copy for dozens to *gasp* hundreds of pages on a website sounds about as much fun as changing a tire at 65 below zero in the middle of Alaska without gloves.
If that comparison sounds suspiciously specific, it’s because I once did exactly that. It was easily the second worst experience I’ve had with cold weather in Alaska.
During the 20 minutes of back-and-forth hopping out of the car to work on it until I couldn’t feel my fingers then jumping back in to thaw them, then jumping back out to work a little more, I couldn’t help but think, “man, I wish somebody else would just do this for me.”
If you’re reading this article, I’m guessing there’s a good chance you’re thinking about finding someone else to handle all of that copy for your website.
It certainly sounds easier.
If a mechanic can change the tire of a ‘95 Dodge Neon quicker than an apprentice carpenter on his way to sheetrock a barracks at Clear Air Force Station, a freelance writer should be able to provide better website copy than yourself.
But is it the right move?
Should you call the marketing version of Triple A? Or zip up your parka, put a pair of wool socks on your hands, pop the trunk, and grab the spare tire your dang self?
Whether you’re leaning towards a hands-off or DIY approach, there are some problems with outsourcing your website copy you’ll want to consider.
To be fair, hiring freelancers is not all bad. In fact, there are many situations where it’s a better option for you. However, I still want to take a little time to cover some of the potential issues you might encounter when hiring a freelancer
1. Not as knowledgeable
Here at IMPACT, whether we’re talking about blogging, social media posting, or website copy, we recommend companies try and tackle the copy themselves.
The primary reason being: Nobody knows your business or your customers like you do.
When you hire freelancers, they have to figure out who you are, what you sell, and what your value to customers is.
But where do they learn it from?
From you and others in your organization.
But just like a kid’s version of “the telephone game,” the final result might miss the mark entirely.
Unfortunately, the freelancers just don’t understand your business quite like the people within it.
2. Limited access to your experts
One of the reasons freelancers struggle with understanding your business is their limited access to your experts.
Freelancers are often juggling multiple clients and therefore have strict timelines to adhere to. This ties their hands a bit from being able to hop on quick, spontaneous calls with your experts.
Sure, they can set up interviews with your subject matter experts (SMEs) and send emails to clarify points, but it’s still not as effective as having your experts write the content themselves.
Even when you have a content writer in-house who isn’t an expert, it’s still a lot easier for them to get a few moments of time with SMEs than it is for someone outside the organization.
Whether it’s a quick walk down the hall to their office, catching them in the lunchroom for 10 minutes, sending a Slack message, or blocking their car from leaving the parking lot until they get some answers, your people have better access to each other.
3. Off-brand voice
Do you have a defined content style guide for freelancers to review before publishing content that discusses your policy on voice, tone, and style?
Whether you insource or outsource your web copy, it’s important to define your brand’s distinctive personality so that it shines (consistently) across all of your pages.
Without a style guide, freelancers may fall back to their comfort zone and write in their own style that may not quite match the voice, tone, and style you would want for your customers or the tone they are used to.
This inconsistency could lead to confusion as someone goes from page to page.
When someone within your organization is creating your content, they can be in charge of developing and upholding your brand’s voice.
Now, in some cases, you may want to hire a writer because you enjoy their unique voice and perspective and want to share that with your audience.
Even if this is so, make sure whoever’s voice is being presented is one that resonates with your audience and helps build trust with your brand.
4. Fixed deliverables
When you own the means of content production for your website, you can work on as many webpages in a week as you desire and go through as many revisions as necessary.
Most freelancer’s contracts, on the other hand, include a fixed number of pages or words written each week.
This can prove to be a hurdle if the content isn’t up to par within those limitations.
The longer you have to wait for web pages to be filled with copy, the more opportunities you could be missing to educate and connect with visitors on your site and convert them to leads and customers.
5. Potentially low-quality work
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great freelance writers out there, but, only if you find the right fit.
This is someone whose words will have a direct impact on the experience your audience will have when they visit your site.
Review their portfolio, read their reviews, contact their former clients, interview them extensively.
It’s a little unsettling the number of clients I’ve worked with that have had previous freelance work on their website with quality ranging from passable to easily passed over.
For example, when I started my first content manager position writing for a local sleep clinic, they had hired freelancers previously to write all of their blog content.
The freelancer had convinced the clinic that micro-blogs, blogs shorter than 300 words, were the hot trend in marketing at the time.
The freelancer wrote nearly a hundred blog articles, b ut none of the articles have ever been found in organic search.
They were too short to have any sustenance or real value, and many weren’t relatable to people suffering sleep disorders.
Whether you outsource or insource your copywriting, quality is key.
6. Likely no iterations
With a lot of freelance work, there’s a “set it and forget it” mentality.
They’re concerned with knocking out a whole bunch of content for a slew of pages. Unfortunately, not a lot of thought goes into the performance of those pages.
If factual information changes, they’re not going to revisit the page to update for accuracy.
If the page doesn’t end up ranking for the desired keywords, they’re not going to reevaluate the keywords in their copy.
Freelancers are paid to put words on a page and then move to the next one. They’re not responsible for analyzing how your audience reacts to those pages and iterating.
The copy may seem great, but until it’s read and reacted to by real people, you’ll never know how impactful it really is.
When you have someone in charge of your website’s content in-house, making quick updates or major overhauls is cheaper and easier.
Plus, someone is held accountable for the content achieving what your business needs it to.
Now that you’re aware of some of the downsides and potential hazards of outsourcing your web copy to a freelancer, you’ve got a tough decision to make.
Are you going to hire outside help or attempt to tackle the writing yourself?
Please don’t take this article as a knock at freelancing.
I’ve worked with many amazing freelance writers and have done freelance work myself. I just want you to be aware of potential problems that may arise so you can nip them in the bud before they manifest.
However, I am also biased towards producing content in-house because that’s honestly where I’ve seen the most success: companies taking full ownership of their content marketing.
It may seem daunting, but all of the case studies you read on our website are from clients that took the reins of writing their content in-house.
But that doesn’t mean they did it alone.
Here at IMPACT, we’ve been training our clients to create their own content.
Nobody knows your buyers like you do. Nobody knows your products and services like you do. Nobody knows how to perfectly mimic your brand’s voice. And nobody cares as much about your success as you do.
We help empower businesses to take full control of all of their content from web copy to blogging to video marketing.
And when the results start to roll in, the moment of pride and accomplishment will be all yours. Just like if I had called Triple A to change my tire for me, I wouldn’t be able to write such humblebrag-filled analogies as this one.
Marketing During COVID-19: 4 Essential Copywriting Guidelines
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all aspects of our lives, including marketing. Even if your business is not health-related, you are most likely incorporating the pandemic into your content and messaging. Yet you are also most likely trying to figure out exactly how to stay relevant while also appropriate during such an unprecedented time. This guide was written to help you with that. It includes:
- Guidelines for staying sensitive
- Resources for ensuring accuracy
- Suggestions for modifying your offers
- Tips for keeping track of it all
COVID-19 has not only shifted business trends, but also consumer priorities and the entire marketing landscape. The goal of this guide is to help you adapt your messaging accordingly so you can continue purposeful, quality communication with your audience and stand strong with your customers. Let’s start with the most important one:
COVID-19 has impacted individuals on a personal level world-wide, so the risk of inadvertently coming off as insensitive or even exploitative is higher than ever right now. And with social media communication at a peak, one small mistake could mean far-reaching and long-term consequences for you. Follow these guidelines to make sure you’re communicating appropriately during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Better too serious than sorry
While it’s normally common and effective for brands to keep a conversational tone, it’s best to steer clear of using humor or wit to accomplish that right now. Even being overly casual can be off-putting. Your content may not be as colorful or aligned with your brand personality, but it’s far better to be more serious than you want to be than to be more sorry than you can express.
We recommend keeping a positive, inspirational, and helpful tone. Avoid being humorous, witty, or casual.
Denny’s provides a good example of deviating from their normally playful
and pun-filled tone (see left) to a more serious one (right).
There’s a right way to make light of the situation
Being more serious doesn’t mean somber. You can still stress the bright side; just know the difference between positivity and humor, and between being uplifting vs dismissive of the situation.
An appropriately uplifting email relevant to COVID-19.
Check for insensitive words
You know not to use overt puns, but keep in mind that there are several words and phrases that prior to COVID-19 were completely harmless. For example:
- Killer (as in a “killer deal”)
- Contagious (“how to create contagious content”)
- Health or checkup-related terms (“give your budget a pulse check”)
Take a neutral or supportive stance
If your business is still operating and relevant, be careful with your positioning. For example, among the Federal government’s COVID-19 measures is a steep interest rate cut. For mortgage brokers, “Take advantage of the low interest rate now!” conveys an inappropriately exciting message. On the other hand, “Let us help you navigate the unstable economy” offers security and respects the gravity of the situation.
Similarly, marketing and advertising agencies reaching out to these businesses should take a position not of helping businesses to “capitalize” on the current times, but rather of helping them to make themselves as visible/accessible as possible right now to those who need them.
- Use: “contribute,” “connect,” “play a role,” “navigate,” “cope,” “respond”
- Do not use: “capitalize,” “advantage,” “offer,” “gain,” “profit”
- Be careful with: “opportunity,” “make the most”
Think contribution, not conversion
If you’re one of the less or non-essential businesses with respect to COVID-19, there are still ways to stay relevant. However, your motive here should not be to get more business but to continue offering value to your audience. People are just trying to say afloat right now, so think contribution, not conversion.
I recently received an email from CodeAcademy that embodies the contribution approach. Here is a snippet from their email:
This is not the time to convert customers but to contribute to the COVID-19 response.
Now more than ever, taking the extra steps to stay accurate will help you to maintain the trust you’ve worked so hard to build with your audience. It will also help you to keep up with changing search trends and even filter out any unreliable COVID-19 resources of your own. Here are some guidelines and resources to help you stay accurate.
Use credible COVID-19 sources
Effective copywriting provides information while simultaneously delivering a greater message. Your intended message may be “I am here to help you,” but if your information is inaccurate, this is not the message that will come through. At best it will say “I’m careless,” and at worst, “I can’t be trusted.”
Inaccurate information about the coronavirus is everywhere, so make sure you get your facts straight when copywriting—especially for social media captions or ads that can get shared. The best places for reliable information are:
- Centers for Disease Control
- World Health Organization
- The Department of Public Health for your state
- Factcheck.org’s Coronavirus Coverage Guide
In an effort to minimize the spread of inaccurate information, Canva came up with a range of free print and social media templates using information from the World Health Organization. You can access their Coronavirus Awareness Collection here. Their messaging around providing these templates is also on par with the suggestions in this guide:
Canva demonstrates sensitive messaging, contribution-focused positioning, and accuracy of information.
Employ proper grammar
Checking for grammar is a no-brainer when it comes to copywriting, but it’s especially important when it comes to COVID-19. Improper grammar can undermine the validity of your facts, and even alter your message. For example, “the governor put a shelter in place for the city” actually means a shelter was put into place and even implies a gathering. Small details matter. To clarify, for this example:
- Shelter in place is a verb (action): “We advise you to shelter in place.”
- Shelter-in-place is an adjective (description): “We’ve instated a shelter-in-place policy.”
And for your coronavirus-related copywriting in general, there are two great tools that we can suggest:
- Topical Guide on COVID-19: This simple yet super-helpful guide was created by the Associated Press to help with coverage of the coronavirus.
- Grammarly: This is a contextual editor that catches important fixes that slip past regular spell check. It’s a free plugin you can download and use across all applications.
Checking up on details like this takes some extra time, and maybe your audience will know what you meant, but better to be safe than sorry. Plus, COVID-19 isn’t a trending topic; its effects are going to be long-lasting, so your content is likely to stay relevant for a while. Make sure it’s as up to standard as the rest of your copywriting.
Stay optimistic, but don’t overpromise
It’s important to inspire hope and forward-thinking through your copywriting, but remember that this is an unprecedented situation; even expert predictions have questionable accuracy. All that you can promise your audience is that you’ll stay committed to handling the situation and serving them the best way you can. Ensuring anything else, even if to keep up morale, could backfire on you.
Modifying your offers
Google has banned advertising on travel-related services, but there are still a lot of businesses that can, and should, advertise relevant services during COVID-19. Just make sure to modify your copywriting so that calls to action are appropriate. Also, keep in mind that things are evolving fast, so keep your messaging as versatile as possible so you don’t have to be constantly updating your copy. Here are some guidelines and suggestions for CTAs with respect to COVID-19.
Ease up on urgency
“Call now” or “Book now” buttons are fine; but excitement- or scarcity-driven copywriting, like “Don’t miss out!” or “Grab your spot before it’s too late!” is not going to resonate with consumers or businesses right now. Nothing is as urgent as COVID-19, and this type of tone is more likely to cause you to come off as unaware or ignorant.
A nice example of adjusting messaging away “book now” urgency
Adjust for relevance
Check your offerings and make sure your copy is aligned with COVID-19 safety measures and lifestyle changes For example:
- Change irrelevant value propositions like “more dog walks” or “more diners in your doors” to something more neutral, like “more leads,” or more timely, like “more online orders.”
- Reword inapplicable CTAs, like “join now” for facilities that are closed. “Learn more” could work here.
- Use words to reinforce the safety of your audience, such as “contact-free,” “virtual,” “remote,” “in-home,” “downloadable,” “delivery,” “online.”
Sweetgreen has modified #sghacks to #sghacks from home
Coolidge Yoga has made appropriate COVID-19 adjustments with a virtual offering.
Check your scheduled content
Don’t forget to check your automated emails or scheduled posts for relevance and appropriateness. This may include:
- April Fools humor
- Easter gathering-related content
- Birthday or anniversary offers
- Automated nurture campaigns
Staying on track
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the changes you need to make to your copy, just remember that you’re not alone. Everyone is having to make adjustments right now and settling into new rhythms. Here are some tips to help you through.
- Prioritize. You won’t (and shouldn’t) make the above changes to all of your copy. Start with top-trafficked content and new content moving forward.
- Track your changes: Create a spreadsheet of the changes you make so you can keep track of what to change back when things start to settle out.
- Don’t delete anything: Save your good ideas and well-performing campaigns for reinstatement in the future when they will be more effective. Things will return to normal someday. A new normal, but a normal nonetheless.
Maintain your copywriting standards while marketing during COVID-19
COVID-19 may be a new era, and your messaging and offers may change, but your copywriting standards should be the same. At the end of the day, you are still supplying information, adding value, and conveying to your audience that you are in tune with their needs.
But what could you learn instead?
The other day, I was talking to a friend in college. He was complaining about a lousy class he was taking, one that was now significantly worse because it was online. I asked why he was even taking it, and he looked at me like I was nuts.
He’s in it for the education, not the learning.
A colleague, recently graduated from a famous college, told me about the regime of clickers, used to make sure that students actually come to class and don’t fall asleep while they’re there.
The degree is what’s on offer, not fundamental change.
For a semester, I taught at the esteemed Stern business school at NYU, regularly ranked in the top twenty of all business schools. In every class, students angled for a way to do less work and have less engagement. One skill they had mastered was relentlessly narrowing the scope of their responsibility.
Compare this to the courses I taught at Mercy College, a local community college where most of the students had day jobs or small businesses. In every single session, they demanded more from me. More insight, more learning and yes, more homework. They made me stay late after every class. The difference was stunning—they were there to learn something.
None of this is surprising once you see how we got here.
Labor struggles with management. Management wants people to put in more effort, and never has enough to be satisfied—because productivity goes up if there’s more output for less money. In response, labor goes on defense and pushes to do less, because if they don’t, management will simply use them up and toss them out.
Organized education was built on this same model. There is a regular regime of measurement and testing. There are promotions, demotions and the risk of failing out. And at the end, the prize is a certificate that proves to management that you’re a suitable candidate for labor.
Contrast this with the joy of creativity. Of making something magical. Of art.
The artist rarely says, “I’d like to do less.” Instead, she wonders how to contribute more, because the very act of creativity is the point of the work.
You can learn just about anything now. Thirty years ago, that statement was ridiculous. In just one generation, we put everything you need to know about anything you want to know just a click away. The hard part isn’t access to it, the hard part is finding a cohort and a system that helps you do it. Because learning comes from doing.
We talk about ‘learning’ as though it’s as easy and natural as shopping or watching or doing errands. But it’s not. It’s a commitment, one that we regularly make up excuses to avoid. This simple idea from John Smith, for example. Easy to imagine, not that easy to do. Because you’ll have to get good at it as you go. Learning doesn’t have to be expensive to work.
Learning takes effort, and it’s hard to find the effort when the world is in flux, when we’re feeling uncertain and when we’re being inundated with bad news. But that’s the moment when learning is more important than ever.
[This week, we’re launching the 40th session of the altMBA. And for the people who signed up for it a few months ago, it will be a chance to actually learn something. Not to grind it out in search of a certificate, not to find a chance to do less, but to use the shift in our culture and the rhythm of our ideas to actually learn something.
Seeing the nearly 5,000 people around the world who have chosen to go on this journey together is thrilling. Year after year, we see the transformations, the shift in posture and possibility that happens after just a month. We’re looking for a few people to join us in July, I hope you’ll check it out.]
This shift is difficult to commit to, because unlike education, learning demands change. Learning makes us incompetent just before it enables us to grasp mastery. Learning opens our eyes and changes the way we see, communicate and act.
“What did you learn today,” is a fine question to ask. Particularly right this minute, when we have more time and less peace of mind than is usually the norm.
It’s way easier to get someone to watch–a YouTube comic, a Netflix show, a movie–than it is to encourage them to do something. But it’s the doing that allows us to become our best selves, and it’s the doing that creates our future.
It turns out that learning isn’t in nearly as much demand as it could be. Our culture and our systems don’t push us to learn. They push us to conform and to consume instead.
The good news is that each of us, without permission from anyone else, can change that.
The SEO Elevator Pitch – Best of Whiteboard Friday
Posted by KameronJenkins
This week, we’re revisiting an important topic for SEOs everywhere: how to show your value. In the wake of everything that’s happened recently with COVID-19, being able to describe your worth to potential clients or stakeholders is an integral skill. In this favorite episode of Whiteboard Friday, Kameron Jenkins shares how to effectively and succinctly build an SEO elevator pitch that highlights the value you bring to a business and three warnings on what not to do.
Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!
Hey guys, welcome to this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins. Today we’re going to be talking about creating an SEO elevator pitch, what is it, why we need one, and what kind of prompted this whole idea for an SEO elevator pitch.
So essentially, I was on Twitter and I saw John Mueller. He tweeted, “Hey, I meet with a lot of developers, and a lot of times they don’t really know what SEOs do.” He was genuinely asking. He was asking, “Hey, SEO community, how do you describe what you do?” I’m scrolling through, and I’m seeing a lot of different answers, and all of them I’m resonating with.
They’re all things that I would probably say myself. But it’s just interesting how many different answers there were to the question, “What do SEOs do and what value do they provide?” So I kind of thought to myself, “Why is that? Why do we have so many different explanations for what SEO is and what we do?” So I thought about it, and I thought that it might be a good idea for myself and maybe other SEOs if you don’t already have an elevator pitch ready.
What is an SEO elevator pitch?
Now, if you’re not familiar with the concept of an elevator pitch, it’s basically — I have a definition here — a succinct and persuasive speech that communicates your unique value as an SEO. It’s called an elevator pitch essentially because it should take about the length of time it takes to ride the elevator with someone. So you want to be able to quickly and concisely answer someone’s question when they ask you, “Oh, SEO, what is that?I think I’ve heard of that before. What do you do?”
Why is this so hard?
So let’s dive right in. So I mentioned, in the beginning, how there are so many different answers to this “what do you say you do here” type question. I think it’s hard to kind of come up with a concise explanation for a few different reasons. So I wanted to dive into that a little bit first.
1. Lots of specialties within SEO
So number one, there are lots of specialties within SEO.
As the industry has advanced over the last two plus decades, it has become very diverse, and there are lots of different facets in SEO. I found myself on quite a rabbit trail. I was on LinkedIn and I was kind of browsing SEO job descriptions. I wanted to see basically: What is it that people are looking for in an SEO?
How do they describe it? What are the characteristics? So basically, I found a lot of different things, but I found a few themes that emerged. So there are your content-focused SEOs, and those are people that are your keyword research aficionados. There are the people that write search engine optimized content to drive traffic to your website. You have your link builders, people that focus almost exclusively on that.
You have your local SEOs, and you have your analysts. You have your tech SEOs, people that either work on a dev team or closely with a dev team. So I think that’s okay though. There are lots of different facets within SEO, and I think that’s awesome. That’s, to me, a sign of maturity in our industry. So when there are a lot of different specialties within SEO, I think it’s right and good for all of our elevator pitches to differ.
So if you have a specialty within SEO, it can be different. It should kind of cater toward the unique brand of SEO that you do, and that’s okay.
2. Different audiences
Number two, there are different audiences. We’re not always going to be talking to the same kind of person. So maybe you’re talking to your boss or a client. To me, those are more revenue-focused conversations.
They want to know: What’s the value of what you do? How does it affect my bottom line? How does it help me run my business and stay afloat and stay profitable? If you’re talking to a developer, that’s going to be a slightly different conversation. So I think it’s okay if we kind of tweak our elevator pitch to make it a little bit more palatable for the people that we’re talking to.
3. Algorithm maturity
Three, why this is hard is there’s been, obviously, a lot of changes all the time in the algorithm, and as it matures, it’s going to look like the SEO’s job is completely different than last year just because the algorithm keeps maturing and it looks like our jobs are changing all the time. So I think that’s a reality that we have to live with, but I still think it’s important, even though things are changing all the time, to have a baseline kind of pitch that we give people when they ask us what it is we do.
So that’s why it’s hard. That’s what your elevator pitch is.
My elevator pitch: SEO is marketing, with search engines
Then, by way of example, I thought I’d just give you my SEO elevator pitch. Maybe it will spark your creativity. Maybe it will give you some ideas. Maybe you already have one, and that’s okay. But the point is not to use mine.
The point is essentially to kind of take you through what mine looks like, hopefully get your creative juices flowing, and you can create your own. So let’s dive right into my pitch.
So my pitch is SEO is marketing, just with search engines. So we have the funnel here — awareness, consideration, and decision.
Awareness: Rank and attract clicks for informational queries.
First of all, I think it’s important to note that SEO can help you rank and attract clicks for informational queries.
Consideration: Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries.
So when your audience is searching for information, they want to solve their pain points, they’re not ready to buy, they’re just searching, we’re meeting them there with content that brings them to the site, informs them, and now they’re familiar with our brand. Those are great assisted conversions. Rank and attract clicks for evaluation queries. When your audience is starting to compare their options, you want to be there. You want to meet them there, and we can do that with SEO.
Decision: Rank, attract clicks, and promote conversion for bottom-funnel queries
At the decision phase, you can rank and attract clicks and kind of promote conversions for bottom of funnel queries. When people are in their “I want to buy” stage, SEO can meet them there. So I think it’s important to realize that SEO isn’t kind of like a cost center and not a profit center. It’s not like a bottom of funnel thing. I’ve heard that in a lot of places, and I think it’s just important to kind of draw attention to the fact that SEO is integrated throughout your marketing funnel. It’s not relegated to one stage or another.
We talked about rank and attract clicks and promote conversions. But how do we do that? That’s the what it does.
But how do we do it? So this is how I explain it. I think really, for me, there are two sides to the SEO’s coin. We have driving, and we have supporting.
So on the driving side, I would say something like this. When someone searches a phrase or a keyword in Google, I make sure the business’ website shows up in the non-ad results. That’s important because a lot of people are like, “Oh, do you bid on keywords?”
We’re like, “No, no, that’s PPC.” So I always just throw in “non-ad” because people understand that. So I do that through content that answers people’s questions, links that help search engines find my content and show signs of authority and popularity of my content, and accessibility. So that’s kind of your technical foundation.
You’re making sure that your website is crawlable and it that it’s index the way that you want it to be indexed. When people get there, it works. It works on mobile and on desktop. It’s fast. So I think these are really the three big pillars of driving SEO — content, links, and making sure your website is technically sound. So that’s how I describe the driving, the proactive side of SEO.
Then two, we have supporting, and I think this is kind of an underrated or maybe it’s often seen as kind of an interruption to our jobs.
But I think it’s important to actually call it what it is. It’s a big part of what we do. So I think we should embrace it as SEOs.
A. Be the Google Magic 8-ball
For one, we can serve as the Google Magic 8-Ball. When people come to us in our organization and they say, “Hey, I’m going to make this change, or I’m thinking about making this change.Is this going to be good or bad for SEO?”
I think it’s great that people are asking that question. Always be available and always make yourself ready to answer those types of questions for people. So I think on the reactionary side we can be that kind of person that helps guide people and understand what is going to affect your organic search presence.
B. Assist marketing
Two, we can assist marketing. So on this side of the coin, we’re driving.
We can drive our own marketing strategies. As SEOs, we can see how SEO can drive all phases of the funnel. But I think it’s important to note that we’re not the only people in our organization. Often SEOs maybe they don’t even live in the marketing department. Maybe they do and they report to a marketing lead. There are other initiatives that your marketing lead could be investigating.
Maybe they say, “Hey, we’ve just done some market research, and here’s this plan.” It could be our job as SEOs to take that plan, take that strategy and translate it into something digital. I think that’s a really important value that SEOs can add. We can actually assist marketing as well as drive our own efforts.
C. Fix mistakes
Then number three here, I know this is another one that kind of makes people cringe, but we are here to fix mistakes when they happen and train people so that they don’t happen again. So maybe we come in on a Monday morning and we’re ready to face the week, and we see that traffic has taken a nosedive or something. We go, “Oh, no,” and we dive in.
We try to see what happened. But I think that’s really important. It’s our job or it’s part of our job to kind of dive in, diagnose what happened, and not only that but support and be there to help fix it or guide the fixes, and then train and educate and make sure that people know what it is that happened and how it shouldn’t happen again.
You’re there to help train them and guide them. I think that’s another really important way that we can support as SEOs. So that’s essentially how I describe it.
3 tips for coming up with your own pitch
Before I go, I just wanted to mention some tips when you’re coming up with your own SEO elevator pitch. I think it’s really important to just kind of stay away from certain language when you’re crafting your own “this is what I do” speech.
So the three tips I have are:
1. Stay away from jargon.
If you’re giving an SEO elevator pitch, it’s to people that don’t know what SEO is. So try to avoid jargon. I know it’s really easy as SEOs. I find myself doing it all the time. There are things that I don’t think are jargon.
But then I take a couple steps back and I realize, oh yeah, that’s not layman’s terms. So stay away from jargon if at all possible. You’re not going to benefit anyone by confusing them.
2. Avoid policing.
It can be easy as SEOs I’ve found and I’ve found myself in this trap a couple of times where we kind of act as these traffic cops that are waiting around the corner, and when people make a mistake, we’re there to wag our finger at them.
So avoid any language that makes it sound like the SEOs are just the police waiting to kind of punish people for wrongdoing. We are there to help fix mistakes, but it’s in a guiding and educating and supporting, kind of collaborative manner and not like a policing type of manner. Number three, I would say is kind of similar, but a little different.
3. Avoid Supermanning.
I call this Supermanning because it’s the type of language that makes it sound like SEOs are here to swoop in and save the day when something goes wrong. We do. We’re superheroes a lot of times. There are things that happen and thank goodness there was an SEO there to help diagnose and fix that.
But I would avoid any kind of pitch that makes it sound like your entire job is just to kind of save people. There are other people in your organization that are super smart and talented at what they do. They probably wouldn’t like it if you made it sound like you were there to help them all the time. So I just think that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t make it seem like you’re the police waiting to wag your finger at them or you’re the superhero that needs to save everyone from their mistakes.
So yeah, that’s my SEO elevator pitch. That’s why I think it’s important to have one. If you’ve kind of crafted your own SEO elevator pitch, I would love to hear it, and I’m sure it would be great for other SEOs to hear it as well. It’s great to information share. So drop that in the comments if you feel comfortable doing that. If you don’t have one, hopefully this helps. So yeah, that’s it for this week’s Whiteboard Friday, and come back again next week for another one.
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