With more than a billion websites across the World Wide Web, it’s not hard to understand that it’s tough to stand out among them.
That’s why the best content on the web has to be well-written, well-researched, and downright compelling to read, regardless of the subject matter being covered.
And that’s not always – or rarely is – an easy task. But breaking this daunting task into more straightforward steps makes the job much more manageable.
Creating content – not just blogs – should always start with planning. And that’s often the difference between mediocre content and excellent content.
To outline that plan, use these six steps for content-creation success and ensure what you and your brand is publishing is being found easily and digested by the right people at the right time.
Readers won’t just respect this content and the brand behind it but will seek out this content and hold the brand in high regard.
Offering something valuable (high-quality content) to the people who matter most to your business (customers) is a no-brainer and a long-term-winning strategy that pays extreme dividends.
Doing so is also the natural way to build authority through your entity (a brand, person, etc.) for readers and search engines like Google.
1. Know The Brand You’re Representing
There can never be enough emphasis on this.
Too many times, when writing on behalf of a brand or business, writers forget (or never consider) said brand’s overall voice and tone.
This is a critical component for success regarding consistency, styling, and messaging.
You want to ensure all of this is in line with general brand guidelines and its overall brand image.
Larger, well-established brands typically have guidelines that should include brand voice and tone.
But even if official brand guidelines aren’t available, there are still many ways you can better understand a brand, its voice and tone, and its general messaging with goals in mind.
Read Old Blogs By The Brand
A good starting point would be to look back and read older blog content published by the brand.
Depending on how long the brand has been creating well-developed, quality content, you could deeply understand the general style and brand voice used.
Work to recreate that with your insightful spin.
Run A Content Audit (Or A Shorter, Modified Version Of One)
When in a position to run the overarching content strategy or consistently write content for the same brand, it would likely be worth a writer or content strategist’s time to run a micro content audit.
This will help you get the best idea of not just the overall style and voice of the content but also the brand’s goals and identify what works well in terms of traffic, engagement, and performance (and what does not).
This will also help develop ideas for blog topics and identify content gaps.
Look At Competitors
Another way to better understand the brand a writer represents – and what not to be – is to look at some of the brand’s main competitors.
Competitors will likely publish their quality content, but the content produced on behalf of a competing brand like the one you represent should be unique to that brand.
That is one of the main ways brands can stand out and are supposed to. Use it to your advantage.
This is also a no-brainer when moving into a content role within a business or industry with which one may not be too familiar.
You want to understand the brand you represent and its messaging.
But it will also help to understand the brand’s main competitors, how they work to separate themselves from their competition, and ways you can surpass them in educating and enlightening potential customers.
2. Understand Your Audience
Understanding the audience you’re writing for goes hand-in-hand with knowing the brand you represent.
You can’t understand your audience without knowing the brand you’re writing for.
You can’t publish quality content without fully understanding those critical variables.
The means mentioned above to better understand both will help a brand’s overall content strategy and execution.
Remember to use topics that interest your audience and vocabulary that makes sense to your audience.
3. Finding Topics To Write About
For many, this may be one of the most challenging steps of the planning process. But it shouldn’t be.
As a writer representing a brand – a brand that is an authority on specific topics and industries – there will always be valuable insight to offer current and potential customers.
Think about Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on many websites; they are built from topics/questions commonly asked repeatedly over time by those interested in the brand and its business. Those answers are sought out through search engines thousands of times per day.
Offering people (the right) answers to their questions will always build trust in a brand and the writers representing it.
Aside from the Frequently-Asked-Questions exercise to explore content ideas, writers should also lean on competitive analysis to develop more good topics to write about.
Some brands will do a decent job of covering many different topics within their industry. In contrast, other brands will do a better job covering only specific areas within that industry they may specialize in or have more experience in.
Use all this research to build out quality blog topics based on the abundance or lack of quality content on specific issues.
Identify competitors’ content gaps as areas to focus on, gain market share from the competition, and stand out in the areas that other brands lack.
An analysis of your brand similarly will help you identify where your brand is lacking as well.
Conducting keyword research around topics and ideas helps writers develop keyword targets but also helps shape blog posts in terms of:
- Topics covered.
- Questions to be answered.
- The essential elements of more in-depth issues have various layers and subtopics.
Over the last 10 to 15 years, many keyword-research tools have hit the market to help content strategists with topic discovery.
In addition to traditional tools like Google Keyword Planner (formerly known as the Keyword Tool), Ubersuggest, Google Analytics, and traditional Google Autocomplete, new-and-improved platforms like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, and MarketMuse, to name a few, have also made quite the impact on the world of content.
Other proprietary tools that are higher in terms of cost but are ever-so-powerful, like Conductor and BrightEdge, offer even more content ideas and high-value keyword targets to help shape strategy, among other content marketing tools.
Make Sure It’s Interesting
Most of all – and it may sound simple, but it is all too often ignored – make sure the content you’re planning is interesting to the audience for which it is being written.
If you’re well-versed in a brand and industry and don’t personally find a blog topic interesting, helpful, or educational, chances are the audience won’t think it is.
Write about interesting topics while offering expert opinions, feedback, and insights.
The audience will reward it by trusting the brand, its content, and its messaging.
4. Do Your Research
Thorough research from credible sources is the main pillar of quality content.
Readers will look for expert opinions and analyses based on research done.
That allows writers and brands to stand out – real-life experience and a deeper explanation of sometimes complex situations.
But that research is paramount to building authoritative content that will have a long-standing impact.
As with all published content, check and double-check all facts and properly source proprietary knowledge to its original publisher.
5. Create A Strong, Enticing Headline
Headline writing is an art, even more so in the internet age.
Now, more than ever, humans are consuming vast amounts of information from everywhere.
Headlines must be great to stand out.
Otherwise, the content will likely never be seen.
There are a variety of different approaches to take when developing a crafty and attractive headline that will grab readers’ attention.
All headlines must:
- Relate directly back to the content they represent.
- Be well-written.
- Not be too long.
6. Consider Visual Content
Rich media will always help a blog post in terms of click-through rate and the general likelihood that someone would be more enticed to click on it and learn more.
This also helps if headline writing isn’t your craft; a good visual typically attracts readers, and it’s easier for the eyes to understand and retain visuals than written words.
Know what works best for your content and your audience.
Next Steps After The Blog Post Is Prepared
Now is when the real work begins! The following are steps you will need to take to transform your idea into a successful piece of content!
- Write it!
- Optimize it all.
- Copyedit it, then copyedit it again.
- Then have someone else copyedit it for you.
- Publish it.
- Ensure the post has visible share buttons for social media and valid rich media previews.
- QA the live blog post yourself.
- Have a colleague QA the blog post.
Featured Image: puhhha/Shutterstock
How do you hire an SEO manager?
- Business leaders struggle to hire SEO managers, and often wonder if they need one
- SEO visibility is key to business success and is hard to increase your customer base and sales
- SEO is a great contributor to brand growth and essentially needs the right mindset
- This is a checklist to help you hire the right fit for your business
If you’re looking to improve your website’s search engine ranking, you may be wondering how to go about hiring an SEO manager. It can be a daunting task, but with the right information, it can be more straightforward than you think.
In this article, we will discuss some of the things you should consider when hiring an SEO manager. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make sure your team works well together and gets the most out of your SEO manager.
Why hire an SEO manager?
Without an SEO manager, it’s often difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving your website’s search engine visibility. And without valuable organic traffic, it’s hard to increase your customer base and sales. SEO can be a big contributor to brand growth.
An SEO manager can help you identify the best strategies for improving your website’s search presence. They will also be able to monitor overall performance, spot potential improvement opportunities, and create effective tactics to get the best results from your website’s content.
This includes conducting keyword research and creating SEO content, optimizing existing website pages, analyzing traffic sources, managing link-building campaigns, monitoring search engine performance, and regularly reporting on the progress of organic traffic. An SEO manager will ensure that your business sees SEO progress much more quickly.
What responsibilities does an SEO manager have?
If you’re not on the first page of Google for your most important keywords, you’re missing huge sales opportunities. This is particularly true for ecommerce SEO, where a poorly-performing website and SEO strategy can literally be the difference between a thriving business and bankruptcy.
They should have the ability to assess the current health of a website, developing plans to improve ranking in organic search results. The successful candidate should also be able to track and analyze performance metrics, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates.
What characteristics make a good SEO manager?
When looking for an SEO manager, you’ll want to find someone who is knowledgeable in the field, has good communication skills, is a self-starter, and can work independently.
Personality traits are key too. The person should be creative, persistent, and have a passion for problem-solving. They should also have good organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks.
It is important that the SEO manager you hire is a team player, and can take direction from upper management. Having the ability to build relationships with stakeholders and clients is also essential.
The importance of project management
Project management skills are essential for an SEO manager as they will need to coordinate activities between multiple teams and departments, manage timelines and budgets, and report on project progress.
Without good project management skills, an SEO manager will struggle to get results and could cause delays in achieving desired outcomes.
How can you ensure that your team gels well?
The key to creating a successful SEO team is finding people with complementary skills who work well together. This involves looking for individuals who have experience in different aspects of digital marketing, such as content writing, web design, and analytics.
You don’t want to hire a team of people who are all experts in the same field, as this will limit your team’s ability to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas.
It is also important to ensure that your SEO manager has good interpersonal skills. Having an open-door policy where everyone can easily communicate with each other is essential. This will help build trust between team members and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Having an open dialogue between all team members will also be crucial. This will ensure their feedback and input on how best to optimize the content or improve strategies.
Ideas for welcoming and onboarding your new hire
This could include creating an onboarding checklist, setting up regular meetings, assigning tasks to the team members, and scheduling time for team-building activities. Do make sure your SEO manager has face time with key leads from across the business to get a strong understanding of the business and its needs. This pays off in the long run.
Hiring in-house vs SEO outsourcing
Hiring in-house may be more expensive but can provide a greater level of control and allows for closer collaboration with the team. You totally own your processes and have granular input on everything.
On the other hand, outsourcing to an agency or freelance professional may be more cost-effective and can provide specialized skills that are not available in-house. Many SEO providers will offer types of monthly SEO packages, which make costs predictable and controllable. And depending on the terms of a contract, you likely have the freedom to cancel whenever you like. This can be much less hassle than employing someone – a poorly-performing employee, which can be more troublesome to resolve.
|Hiring in-house||Hiring an SEO agency or freelancer|
|Pros||• Greater control and collaboration
• Easier to monitor progress
• Assign tasks quickly
• Access to specialized skills
• High level of expertise and experience
|Cons||• Can be more expensive
• Limited experience level
• Can be difficult to find the right candidate
|• Lack of control over the process
• Communication can be more difficult
• Accountability can be less clear
Interview questions to ask your potential SEO manager
When interviewing a potential SEO manager, you should ask some specific questions to make sure they are the right fit. These can include questions about their experience with SEO, how they stay up-to-date on algorithm changes, and what strategies they would use to improve your website’s ranking.
Example starter questions
- What experience do you have with SEO?
- How do you stay up to date on algorithm changes?
- What strategies would you use to improve our website’s ranking?
- How would you optimize our content for search engine visibility?
- What kind of link-building tactics do you employ?
- What do you consider to be the most important SEO trends?
Common mistakes to avoid when hiring a new candidate
When hiring an SEO manager, there are some common mistakes you should avoid:
Not understanding the responsibilities of an SEO Manager
It is vital you have a clear idea of what the job entails and that the candidate has the relevant skills for the position.
Not considering the team’s current culture
When bringing someone new onto your team it is important to consider how they will fit in with existing colleagues.
Not asking enough questions during interviews
Make sure you ask any potential candidates about their experience and qualifications, as well as their ability to work with the team and manage client relationships.
Not setting clear goals for the role
Setting clear expectations will ensure that everyone is on the same page from the outset and that any targets are achievable.
Not agreeing on a budget
Before you start your search, make sure to set a realistic budget for this role. This will help you determine how much you can afford to pay, and what kind of person is best suited to the job.
Not conducting background checks
Background checks are important when hiring an SEO manager as they will provide insight into their past experience and any qualifications they may have. It’s also a good way to make sure that there are no discrepancies in their resume.
Q: How do I find an SEO manager?
A: You can look for SEO managers on job boards, or hire a freelancer or agency. Make sure to ask them questions about their experience and qualifications, as well as their ability to work with the team and manage client relationships.
Q: What should I look for in an SEO manager?
A: A good SEO manager should have experience with SEO, and up-to-date knowledge of algorithm changes and strategies to improve a website’s ranking. They should also be able to optimize content for search engine visibility, employ link-building tactics and keep track of the latest SEO trends.
Q: How much does it cost to hire an SEO manager?
A: The cost of hiring an SEO manager will depend on the level of experience, skills, and services required. Generally, in-house managers can be more expensive than agencies or freelance professionals. It’s important to set a realistic budget before you start your search.
Q: Is it a good idea to hire an SEO manager overseas to work remotely?
A: This depends on the situation. Hiring a remote SEO manager can be beneficial if they are highly experienced and able to deliver results, however, communication and accountability can be more challenging with remote workers. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons before making your final decision. There may also be legal or compliance issues when employing internationally.
Finding the right SEO manager is an important step in ensuring your website’s success. Make sure to ask potential candidates plenty of questions and take into account their skills, experience, and ability to fit into the team culture before making a decision. Consider both the benefits and disadvantages of hiring an in-house employee or outsourcing to an agency or freelancer, and don’t forget to set a budget. With the right candidate on board, you’ll be well on your way to achieving long-term SEO success.
How do you hire an SEO manager?
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