Diary Of An SEO Newbie 1: Leaving The Assembly Line

Want to know our digital marketing secret? We employ experienced professional writers, not technicians. Award-winning writer Tara Gould shares her experience of learning the digital ropes. This week: do you treat your writers like cogs or assets?

SE-oh no…

I’m a writer and editor by trade – both fiction and non-fiction. Robin Dally, Ethical SEO founder and Managing Director, employed me on the strength of my abilities as a writer, not on my knowledge of digital marketing – which was next to nothing.

My first dalliance with SEO was as a copywriter for an international agency. I was given a topic, a word count then told to produce a number of articles on, say, upscale restaurants in New York, or the recent developments in satellite navigation. Sound familiar? If you’ve done your copywriting apprenticeship, it probably will be. All I understood of SEO was that it meant Search Engine Optimisation, and that it involved keywords and Google algorithms and brand visibility and other such foreign jargon that didn’t interest me at the time. It was bread and butter – that’s all.

The Assembly Line

The SEO part of it was merely assembly line: I was given one or two keywords, which I needed to integrate into the article, preferably in the first paragraph. I didn’t embed anything, I just highlighted the word and sent the article off for someone else to deal with. I didn’t know how these magic keywords actually worked, and I never knew where, or indeed if, my articles got placed, and I didn’t get paid much. As a consequence, and true to Marxist theory, my interest, connection and investment in the work was limited. I could place no value and attach little meaning to the articles I wrote.

The Bigger Picture

I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to see the bigger picture, so when Ethical SEO trusted me not only to write the articles, but to research and find appropriate places to publish them; to generate engaging ideas, to pitch, to embed keywords, and to see my pieces published, the process became so much more exciting and meaningful. I was given ownership and responsibility. Seeing how all the pieces of the puzzle fitted together meant that I could write much more effectively for the client and target audience.

As someone who is passionate about sustainability and ethical business, it helps that I am representing businesses I really care about. From clean energy and Fair Trade fashion to human-centred companies, it’s a bonus to support clients who not only have great products, but who work ‘consciously’. The process of getting close to a particular client, their story, their voice, their personality, all fuelled my desire to write compelling content for them. Plus, I was beginning to understand SEO and how valuable it is in adding credibility and brand awareness to businesses. I was beginning to see something of how the cogs connected and turned in a digital marketing campaign.

Empower Your Employees

Robin is one of a new breed of digital marketers and business leaders. He knows it’s important not only to trust, but to empower employees – and invest in their talent. As SEO expert Michael Martinez recommends in his article:

“If you’re going to pursue a content-driven marketing strategy then you ABSOLUTELY MUST invest in well-written content that wanders all over the keyword map and draws in huge volumes of random long-tail visitors.”

To create effective content that is valuable, unique and engaging, you need to employ professional writers, not technicians. Entrusting your content marketers with the bigger picture will be the best thing you ever did for your digital strategy.