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Whether you’re working in-house or agency side, putting together a cohesive team is paramount to the success of any online campaign. If you stop and think about all the different marketing disciplines and channels, your campaign may transcend across two, three or ten different teams, depending on goals and budget. With this in mind, are your teams working as effectively as they could be?
One of the best examples of where Digital Marketing teams need to be working together is with SEO and Content. With the SEO spectrum being so broad these days [See: The Drum], the use of various teams and departments is now more prevalent than ever before. For example, the following is a list of skill sets that may transcend across a number of teams:
With so many different areas involved in Search Engine Marketing, it’s no surprise that a successful campaign relies on a cohesive team.
Your business or agency may be set up slightly differently, with more than just an SEO and Content team. Nevertheless, the principles of getting teams (who operate at very different ends of the marketing mix) working together should be acknowledged and implemented where possible.
To emphasise this point further, just take a look at how different these skill sets are. This Infographic perfectly demonstrates the different sides of the brain used when unleashing a Digital Marketing Campaign. [See: Marketo].
As such, the following are a list of tips and advice from myself and some of the most experienced and well respected Digital Marketers from within the industry on how you can get your SEO and Content teams working better together. If you like the advice, give it a tweet.
First things first, to make sure you’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, you need to sort out your internal structure.
Ask yourself, when a new client comes on board, or a new campaign starts, what’s the process? If you’re emailed a brief before you have a quick catch up then something is wrong. You need to make sure you meet and see the client first of all.
Arrange kick off meetings, induction meetings, brainstorming sessions, and road maps. #SEOandContent
For example, weekly catch ups to discuss the work needed for the following week, monthly meetings to discuss the results and iron out the tasks for the following months, and quarterly meetings to review performance and establish a plan of action.
Give yourself as many touch points to discuss the campaign thus far. #SEOandContent
When you communicate make sure you’re not just pinging emails left, right and centre. Depending on what needs to be discussed and when, think about face-to-face discussions or phone calls. Often this will speed up trying to explain information, as emails can sometimes get lost in translation.
Think about quality of communication. Face-to-face discussions and phone calls. #SEOandContent
How do you, your colleagues, stakeholders and anyone else working on the campaign stay in touch? Email? If so, you need to work more efficiently. Keep up-to-date with campaign developments by using project management tools. There’s loads out there to choose from.
@Koozai_James collab tools like Trello and Realtimeboard much better and more efficient for quick feedback than an email.
— Patrick Langridge (@patlangridge) January 30, 2015
It’s the only place to start when thinking of an SEO and Content Marketing strategy. Ask yourself, what is the goal of your campaign? Rankings, links, increased traffic? If so, to what pages, products and services? This will give you a starting point when putting a strategy together.
— Emma North (@MorphNorth) January 30, 2015
Once you know your goals, how will you measure success? Transactions, goal completions, links to content, social shares? There’s a whole host of KPIs to track performance, just make sure yours are relevant to your goals.
@Koozai_James KPI everything. Is it to convert/share/link to? Ask if you think it works before upload and then measure results.
— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) January 30, 2015
A key part of any strategy. Who do you want to target, and how will you target them? Think about the different types of customers – B2B, B2B, age, sex, location, interests, and hobbies. Create buyer personas, or if not, a list of audience types.
@Koozai_James never produce any content without completely understanding what you want the audience to do as a consequence
— kelvin newman (@kelvinnewman) February 9, 2015
@Koozai_James SEO can help content understand the audience and create content that answers the right questions.
— Bas van den Beld (@basvandenbeld) February 9, 2015
Armed with your KPIs and target audience, you can start to put together a strategy and roadmap of how your Digital Marketing campaign will achieve its goals. To do this you need everyone around a table contributing ideas to the process. The SEO team will have their targets in mind and with the creativity from the Content Marketers, start thinking of ideas, content types and activities to formulate within your strategy.
@Koozai_James Get all involved parties (SEO and content) in the same ideation sessions from the outset. Early buy in all round
— Stacey MacNaught (@staceycav) January 30, 2015
The campaign is purely focussed around the customer, their needs and wants. So whilst you’ll have your line-managers or clients to report to, ultimately collective decisions should have the client’s interest at heart.
@Koozai_James Remember that for both of teams.. the person you answer to ultimately is the customer, and not the client or CEO.
— Ann Handley (@annhandley) February 9, 2015
Whether it’s an editorial process for content, or a line-manager to sign off implementations, always discuss these ideas amongst both teams to get their buy in – or as Luke Jordan eloquently puts it (this one has been paraphrased):
Run a basic idea through an 'is it ok?' test in both teams. If OK, turn it into something cool.
It’s something we’ve discussed earlier within project management – but it’s that important it needs to be said again. When delivering campaigns you have to keep other teams and clients in the loop, so regular communication is key.
@Koozai_James Share knowledge, remember to view the client's campaign as a joint effort and both regularly communicate with the client.
— John Waghorn (@John_Waghorn) January 30, 2015
@Koozai_James Regular Communication is essential! + Remember the overall aim of the project throughout the planning and implementation!
— James Challis (@jamesachallis) January 30, 2015
Throughout the process be as flexible, agile and creative as possible. Make sure you still keep to your goals and objectives, but don’t stick to tunnel vision, open your eyes and be creative. As Barry Adams explains very succinctly.
@Koozai_James have team members get in to fierce arguments, video these and put them online. Viral video magic, right there.
— Barry Adams (@badams) February 9, 2015
Be sure to report to the client or project manager/leader at least once a month. This depends on how you break down the campaign delivery and your communication with the client, but a campaign overview once a month and a review once a quarter is good practice.
Keep everyone up-to-date with campaign performance. Once a month is ideal. #SEOandContent
You can’t have SEO without Content and vice versa. So, don’t lose sight when working on a campaign that you need to work together.
@Koozai_James on the subject almost no content gets links without help. Even with help from PR content has to be designed for links to work.
— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) January 30, 2015
How are you informing your clients or project managers of your results? Meetings and calls are preferred, but you’ll need to send them a report or document to discuss. Therefore, make sure you either create a report or deliver the results through project management systems.
Deliver reports via email or project tools. Follow up with calls or meetings. #SEOandContent
The client or project manager will want to see relevant metrics and KPIs, so don’t blind them with science. You could waste hours putting together reams of information, only for the client or project manager to ask for the bare facts. Spend more time on the doing rather than the showing.
Report on the relevant metrics and KPIs. #SEOandContent
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make sure your internal and external teams are all working together to deliver successful campaigns. From project management and strategy, to delivery and results – we’ve covered some of the main areas to focus on.
Got anything else you’d like to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet me at @JamesaChallis or leave a comment below.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.