On this episode of Old Guard vs New Blood, we’re focusing on SEO’s twin brother – content. Specifically, discussing the types of content that are much more effective now as well as how to tie everything together into a coherent content marketing strategy for 2021.

On Wednesday the 2nd December, Dixon Jones was joined by 3 leading “old guard” and “new blood” content experts, to pinpoint whether or not you’re on top of the current content game.  

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Your Panellists

Rebekah Dunne – Content Marketer at Sweet Digital

Shaun Hill – Head of Content at iProspect

Miranda MillerContent Strategist

Transcript

Dixon Jones

This time round we’re going to be talking about content. I’m really pleased to say that we’ve got a bunch of content writers and great writers here so we should have plenty of things to talk about. If you want to ask questions, if you’re in the Zoom call, then please do chat and ask questions in the Zoom call. I can see that. I can probably see the questions in the Facebook group but hopefully David’s going to have a look at those and pull those up because I’m a little disorganized, that sort of thing.

Obviously this wouldn’t happen without our sponsor, Majestic, so thank you very much to Majestic for coming on and sponsoring these events and these webinars. If you haven’t tried their new product, Majestic Monitor, we’re actually talking about it at a paid social event, which is a brightonSEO, sponsored event or put on by brightonSEO in a couple of days so have a look at that and there’s a demonstration of Majestic SEO and particularly Majestic Monitor and hopefully that’ll sort of highlight interesting ways of finding the influences and using the flow metrics that Majestic has to find influencers. It’s a separate product to the main Majestic products, so have a look at that.

Okay guys, so I’m going to start by asking the panelists to introduce themselves. Hopefully you know a little bit about them. I’ll let you guys talk about yourselves and your experience in writing and content. Miranda, you’re up on my screen as the first person to go, so why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us about yourself and who you are.

Miranda Miller

Sure. Well, first of all thanks for having me today, Dixon.

Dixon Jones

You’re welcome. Thank you for coming on, I appreciate it.

Miranda Miller

Yeah, Miranda Miller from mirandamiller.com. I have been a writer, editor, and content marketer for 15 years now so I think I might be the Old Guard on this call. Formerly the editor of Search Engine Watch,

Dixon Jones

You and me are the Old Guard, by the way. Just so you know. I’m still in radio.

Miranda Miller

Not that we’re aging ourselves, but…

Dixon Jones

No, no, no, but there we go. Thank you for volunteering.

Miranda Miller

Yeah, so today I have a small creative agency and we help brands with their publishing operations, getting started and running them as well.

Dixon Jones

Okay, that’s great. You’re writing on Search Engine… which one?

Miranda Miller

Search Engine Journal.

Dixon Jones

Journal, yeah. You’ve got to get the right one. You can’t say the wrong one on the wrong thing. Yeah, I’ve seen some posts over there and there’s some great stuff over there. Rebekah, who are you and where do you come from?

Rebekah Dunne

Hi, I’m Rebekah.

Dixon Jones

As we say in one of the shows in the UK. Who are you and where do you come from?

Rebekah Dunne

I come from a little town called the Black Country. It’s quite literally halfway between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, so I belong to neither. I’m what you call a Yam Yam. I have five years experience in digital marketing and writing, so I feel like that might hopefully make me a Young Blood, even though I don’t always feel it.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, absolutely you are. Yeah.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, I started out as a content writer then I explored SEO, PPC, social media. Realized that I still love content and went back to it. That’s what I do at Sweet Digital. I’ve just finished NaNoWriMo, which is writing a whole novel in a month, and it was really, really tough but I did it.

Miranda Miller

Well done.

Dixon Jones

You did what? Say that again, sorry. What did I miss?

Rebekah Dunne

It’s called the NaNoWriMo challenge and you have to write an entire book in a month.

Dixon Jones

Ooh.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, so I did it two years ago and I’m just editing that book now. And I took a break from that to do it this time around. I forgot how hard it was and how tiring.

Miranda Miller

That is major. I’ve tried three times and have never finished one, so kudos to you.

Rebekah Dunne

Thank you.

Dixon Jones

Okay, and we’ve got Jason. Jason Darrel jumping in there saying, “Hey, I’m from Tipton. Go Yam Yams.”

Rebekah Dunne

Yes, go!

Dixon Jones

You have a friend in the audience, so it’s good.

Rebekah Dunne

Wonderful.

Dixon Jones

David’s asking me if I can see myself streaming on Facebook. I can, but I can’t give you a link because it’s just my Facebook stream, so I don’t know.

Shaun, who are you and where do you come from, sir?

Shaun Hill

Originally, I’m from a lovely little place called Bury, St Edmunds, but currently I’ve just recently moved out of London and I’m now living in Port Smith, by the coast. COVID’s been a strange time and it’s been a time of reflection for me so got myself out of London and now living by the seaside so it’s ten minutes away. I’m head of content at High Prospect in the London team, but I previously worked at Greenlight Digital and that’s kind of where I first sort of got involved with SEO.

Before that, I was training to become a journalist and I realized that getting into journalism was super difficult, particularly as I wanted to be a music journalist and it appeared that most music publications were either going out of business or they were cutting staff. So I actually wrote my dissertation on why the enemy should go completely free. And then I sent it to them when I finished my MA and then about two years later they did go free, so I’d like to claim that that’s because of that dissertation that I wrote on that topic, but I think it’s more because advertising sales were probably something they were going after at that point.

Dixon Jones

Okay, interesting. I know Warren from Greenlight fairly well. Did the bid back in the day. I’m more tech side now, so yeah. That’s great.

Shaun Hill

Yeah, he’s a good guy. I remember that I used to sit near him.

Dixon Jones

Him and I go back a long, long way. Those early days, definitely I’m the Old Guard on that one with Warren. Okay guys, so I wanted to start with my first question for each of you, just in case people don’t have the time to go through all 45 minutes or they want to make sure that they’re going to get something out of here. Content is the topic of the day. If they don’t listen to anything else, what’s the one tip that you can give to people about content that we can get right at the top of the show? I’ll tell you what, Shaun, you’re on my screen again so I’ll start with you. If you’re going to have one tip that people can take away about content, what’s it going to be?

Shaun Hill

Okay, yeah. I mean, I guess for me it’s something that we were doing when I was at Greenlight five or six years ago and I don’t think it has gone away, but it’s really trying to understand who the audience is. I think that that somewhat changed the SEO quite a lot of the time. A big period of time of my time working on some clients, I guess, we were looking at a lot of seasonality and peaks and sort of key words but we tend not to look at that as much anymore. I think it’s actually really important to understand who your audience is and what they’re asking. Obviously Google helps us with that, with things like PWAs and PAs and feature snippets, but actually look into things like Trustpilot and people’s reviews on Google and other platforms actually gives us an insight into what people are asking.

I think second to that is working with… See, on my side, I’m agency side so I work with the brands and the relationship that we have there is very much like trying to find out exactly what sort of queries and questions the customer service team might get or the sales team might get because understanding what people are asking of those teams can help us write the right type of content and the type of content that people want. And I think that that’s the things I would always try to work with my teams on.

I think the best article we’ve ever done in my time at iProspect, just to give a quick shout out to the team that worked on this, was for a shower brand and the article is a step,by,step guide on how to remove mold from your shower head. It is still, to this time, my five years of working on that brand, the best performing page that we’ve, other than the home page, it’s the best performing page and it’s because it literally gives you step-by-step on that specific topic which is such a problem for people. And I know that removing mold from a shower head is a problem because I’ve currently got the problem. I need to probably go and read the article again and follow those steps.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Guys, panelists, I’ve just put the link to the live Facebook thing in the chat, so if you have an opportunity to pop it on your Facebook feeds or something like that, then that would be great. And Miranda, tell us about your one tip for us.

Miranda Miller

Yes. I think Shaun touched on, I agree with everything he said and I think what he started alooting out there is that you have to treat it like a publishing business. So a publishing operation, if content is just whoever has some spare time on a Thursday afternoon or the intern’s writing it or it’s just a chore, it’s an extra task, it’s going to be really difficult to meet your goals and it’s going to be hard for readers to appreciate that. The reason that journalists transition so well into content marketing is because the principles of publishing and storytelling are the same, that has not changed.

So who the publishers are has changed, brands or publishers now, there’s not a lot of money left in traditional publishing. If you’re trying to get a job as a magazine writer, that’s going to be really difficult for you, but I think treating it as a proper publishing organization and making sure you have the resources to do that properly… Set yourself up for success so you’re not wasting your time.

Dixon Jones

I might come back to that, I think. But before I do, Rebekah, why don’t you jump in and tell us your one tip you’re going to give to people about how to write content or how to do content, whichever you call it.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah. Well, first, congratulations, Shaun, on your shower head piece. That’s amazing that it’s doing so well still, it’s awesome. I think my piece of advice is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and it’s sort of trying to disconnect to the idea that content belongs in SEO. It’s sort of an aid to help us, yes, but it’s not that purely for SEO. So I have history in SEO as well, but I still work closely with my SEO colleague because I’m writing for interest and for the audience and the SEO will help that, but it’s not all sort of one whole thing, it’s different things coming together and I think a lot of the time people assume that content is just about SEO and it’s not. It’s so much bigger than that.

Dixon Jones

Okay, guys, right. I wanted to start off with a question that is something that kind of is important to me, I think. You guys have sort of talked about treating it as a publishing business and understand your audience and those kind of things. But for most of us, we don’t have that kind of resources. We’ve just got to be exactly what Miranda said we shouldn’t be, which is the guy that wakes up on Thursday afternoon and says, “I’ve got to do a blog post before the end of the week.” And we can come back to why that’s a bad state of mind, bad state of affairs, why you need some more resources and stuff, and feel free to punch your angles and I’m happy to do that, but I do want to ask, because most of the audience are SEOs, is it better on the internet to write short, punchy content that you can understand quickly, or is it better to write in,depth content?

Because to me, well I’ve got an opinion and I can go both ways but I’m interested for you guys. From an SEO perspective, short and punchy or in-depth and wordy? Who wants to go first?

Shaun Hill

I’m happy to jump in on it. I think the thing is it’s such a cliché, people say like, “Don’t write for the sake of writing.” So if someone’s query is, “What is the time in New York right now?” You don’t need to answer that in 500 words, that can be answered pretty instantly. If the question is, “How do different time zones work across the world and how were they developed?” then that needs a larger response. That’s a really niche ask I imagine but I’m sure it’s just something to that. I think it’s one of those things that it’s obviously something in the industry that you see and sort of grasp and you start it and if you write over a thousand words then you’re more likely to rank etc, etc. because sometimes the query and the intent of the query doesn’t require a thousand words, so therefore, don’t write a thousand words.

But in some instances, how to apply for a more mutual and how to, I’m in a bit of a mold mission at the moment, but how to remove mold from my bedroom, that’s maybe going to require a bit more detail about the action, doing it, and it may require digital content, it might require images to show people exactly what needs to be done. But if the question is simple, don’t overcomplicate the answer.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Rebekah, do you want to jump in?

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, sure. I always tend to do a little bit of both because personally I’m what they call a lazy looker, so when I read blog posts and things I read the headlines first and then, if I want more information I go deeper. So I try to do both. I try to do really punchy headings and more in,depth content, and then I try to summarize as much as I can as well just so that the person who’s really leisurely, they can take their time to read it, someone who’s in a rush, they can just get the main points and go. And I find that works quite well.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Miranda, anything to add? Because I see you have a degree with those kinds of points.

Miranda Miller

I think they both have their purpose and it’s critically important that you understand the purpose of each piece and that it’s published in the right format. So that short, punchy FAQ style content, that can be great for helping you achieve the position zero or for voice search, that kind of thing. And then you need to understand, “Okay, what option am I giving them to go deeper?”

I did contact for Quark Expeditions, which is big ticket luxury travel and we had four very distinct bio personas and it’s important that you understand what is that person looking for next. We had people who would digest like 50 pieces of content before they would book because it’s a $25,000 trip. And there are some types of buyers who really want to know every single detail. They want to know like, “What am I going to doing everyday, who is leading me, what are their qualifications?” And there’s other people who just want to know what kind of experience they are going to have, “Am I going to have good Instagram shots?” So understanding who you’re writing for and where that piece of content fits in the customer journey is super important.

Dixon Jones

So on the side there, my wife, she needs content for after she’s booked, actually. Because she loves booking in January for the summer holiday kind of stuff, and then it’s all about the waiting in between, which is another persona, I guess. But okay, so I get it. The BBC has this thing where they say you’ve got to get five of your points in in the first sentence, or something like that on a BBC News article and stuff. But I don’t want to worry about how much we’re wasting our lives on writing content that no one’s ever going to read and that’s my concern about writing long form content. I can see how it gives a lot more context to a search engine that’s trying to find the underlined meaning for it, but I can also see that there’s a huge amount of writing that doesn’t get read by very many people, even though we read the headlines and where, Rebekah, you said the lazy looker, and I think as SEOs we’re probably pretty all guilty of not reading.

If I out something out on Twitter and I’ll be able to look at how I get likes before anybody could possibly have read the content. So I do worry about that and then I sit there and think, “Well, I suppose we’re doing it for the search engines then.” But I’ve got to do it for more that the search engines. Surely we’ve got to take some pride in what we’re doing. So that brings me on to the second question really, is how long do you, as people that are basically paid to think about these things and write about these things and come up with a strategy, not just necessarily an idea for a post, how long do you usually spend writing a post or writing a… Would the customer come in and say, “I want a piece on this and then you kind of come up with a whole structure and things? How long does that take? And again, you are on the screen, Miranda, on my screen, so why don’t you go first?

Miranda Miller

I mean, it really varies. I mean, I think the best content comes from inside the company, even when you’re working as a contractor. So and this again goes back to journalism, the ability to interview people and to extract that knowledge and turn that into the story and the content and the format that people are going to be engaged with. So I mean, that can be four to six hours, there’s a lot of planning that goes into it and then usually I’ll have one of my writers do it and then we edit it and then it’s optimized and then it’s out there, but I think the more important thing is what you do with it later. So how is it being promoted?

And if you’ve spent that time creating a really solid piece of content, you can come back to it a year, two years, five years from now and keep updating it. Make sure that your calls to action are sending people to the most relevant offers or landing pages. Don’t just let it sit there and rot. It’s a living, breathing piece of your organization so keep it up to date.

Dixon Jones

Okay. And am I still talking or have I gone onto silent mode? It says I’m on mute.

Rebekah Dunne

I can hear you.

Dixon Jones

Oh, that’s fine. Okay, there we go. This is just going weird, this one, now. Okay. Rebekah, do you have anything you want to jump in there? How long do you spend on a piece of content? And what goes into that?

Rebekah Dunne

I mean, yeah. It’s super varies. I actually did a poll on this on Twitter.

Dixon Jones

Oh, really?

Rebekah Dunne

And I received like the usual Twitter responses for a fair few people.

Dixon Jones

Mostly saying it depends, yeah. Okay.

Rebekah Dunne

One person told me it took him a week and I was like, “I really don’t quite…” I mean, if that’s true, like five whole days of solid eight hours a day, then I’m not sure. I think you’re kind of trying to mess with my results are little bit.

Dixon Jones

This from person that can write a book in a month. So…

Rebekah Dunne

Well, but is it any good? Yeah, so I mean, I’ve got for example, I do guides monthly for my clients. That can take me anything between six and nine hours. Blog posts, sometimes it’s three or four. If it’s about something I really know and I really like, it’s a lot quicker, especially if I’ve had time to get to know them a lot more. And I suppose as well, it depends on how the writer’s feeling at the time. That really has a massive impact that I think people don’t put enough thought into that. I wrote a piece the other day and it really got to me and I was, I’m not going to lie, I cried a little bit because it was about care at home and it was just a really lovely piece if I do say so myself, and that kind of put me out for a little while and I had to sort of take a break and I think how you feel affects how long it takes you to write something.

Dixon Jones

I think it’s very interesting, it’s probably the difference between a professional writer and somebody who just tries to knock out on a Thursday, probably comes out in the writing, so yeah. Shaun, do you typically spend a whole day on a piece of content?

Shaun Hill

No, not at all. I think like recently I wrote a piece and it took me half an hour but I had a lot of information from the team, so I think that what I was going to say is sort of what Rebekah and Miranda have said, it’s around if you know the brand and if you know the topic very well, I think it’s obviously something that’s quite quicker. If you work in an agency, often then you’re working with lots of brands so Katie might seem she’s [inaudible 002018], she writes for lots of work. She sometimes has to write about finance and she has to write about fitness and then she has to write about dog care and then she has to write about beauty and it’s like just trying to get your head into sort of like a different product and maybe different audiences.

So I think actually if you know the brand really well, we personally found that if you put people onto certain brands or on certain topics, they can get to know that brand a lot more and I think actually from an agency point of view, I’ve found a lot of brands that we work with are specifically looking for us to provide people with expert knowledge in that particular sector. So whether that’s finance or automotive, actually having someone that knows the sector will probably, I’m probably generalizing a bit, but it will reduce the time. And I think that in terms of how you work and [crosstalk 002102]

Dixon Jones

And probably increase the quality a little bit as well, I mean…

Shaun Hill

Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s the more that you get to know the brand and the tone of voice and the audience, then I think the better the content will be. I think you can sometimes spot when someone is, I guess, trying to use Google and use Wikipedia to fuel their content and they don’t quite know the topic. So you can get away with that on sort of like what one calls a fluffier content, which is quite easy to listen and read and stuff, but if it’s serious content that you’re talking about and there are some of the topics that affect people’s lives and their day-to-day, then you do need someone that knows what they’re doing or has enough time to research. So I think sometimes actually, what we find, is that research, the inside stuff, takes longer than the actual writing. Once you’ve got all the information you need, you know the brand, you know the subject matter, you know the audience. You’re sort of just piecing it together.

So I think a lot of time, probably maybe just the way that we operate, but we do a lot of up front work before we brief the writer. But then I think Rebecca mentioned it, I think it’s a really important point to say that once you get sort of into the realm of writing, you’re in like a groove and you start writing what I find maybe it’s just that time of the year, meetings come into your diary, they disrupt what you’re writing. Yes, you’re in the middle of something, you can go back to that piece, your like, “Right, what was I writing about again?” And it takes you a bit of time to get back in, so what we try and do with Katie is block out time where she knows she’s writing and then joining a brainstorm with us or joining a meeting, just to make sure that people are blocked out bits of time dedicated to writing.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, okay. So I mean, I think that point’s interesting and in the chat as well, Jason says, “Physicists are going to recognize authority in the content.” And I think that also plays a little bit probably to Google as well. If Google can recognize the author, then that may have some kind of impact on things as well. But going to that idea of writing content that you’re not really an expert in, I’ve got a question from an attendee that says, “Can you give me any ideas on content related to the roofing industry? I don’t feel like people would care enough about the roofing industry.”

So I think that’s a good example to bring in there because it’s the sort of thing that you guys probably end up facing on a regular basis. The roofing industry, they’ve got a roofing website, they want some content, they want to give something that’s going to be meaningful, hopefully, and content,rich. What would you do? How would you answer that question?

Miranda Miller

I’ll go here.

Looking from the perspective of the person who is the authority, so if you don’t have a team, you’re not in a brand, you’re not in an agency, you’re a sole proprietor maybe, this is where it’s super important to figure out what works for you and what resources are available to you. So I have people who will send me voice notes and then we either use something like Otter.ai, which is just an AI transcriptionist, or send it to a VA and have it transcribed really quickly. They might just jump on a Zoom call for 10 minutes and explain what’s on their mind like, “Hey, I have this idea, here’s how I feel about it.” And that, again, when you’re working with someone who has the ability to interview and sort of help you flash out that idea, it’s so much more valuable to use those resources than to spend eight hours kicking yourself like, “Oh, why can’t I write this?” Because not everyone’s a writer, so-

Dixon Jones

That’s great. So, what you’re saying is that as a writer, what you end up doing is just getting the expert in the room and on a Zoom call, record the call and turn it into the content?

Miranda Miller

Right. It’s a matter of figuring out how to extract that expertise from that person who is the expert and then how can you polish that up for them.

Dixon Jones

Okay, so that’s that’s good tip, that’s a good suggestion. Okay, anyone else wants to jump in with roofing ideas for our guest?

Rebekah Dunne

I mean, I’m assuming that it’s a person, the website is someone who’s trying to sell roofing services.

Dixon Jones

I’m guessing that it’s a roofing person with their own roofing website, their own roofing company and they’re not naturally a writer and they don’t naturally have the resources to go and buy writers because it’s roofing, that’s so… So he kind of wants the inspiration from us as content writers.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, I mean, I would hop on things like the safety aspects. So falls from heights, I know from other stuff that I’ve done, is a massive issue. And that’s a bit how they’re making sure that people that are doing the job, that they are being safe. So what is the environmental aspects of it, there’re loads of things that people that are having a new roof will care about or may not even know about but they should be aware of. And I think, sorry, that’s my cat. I think don’t be afraid to sort of stray away a little bit from you service to educate and to interact with your readers because that’s going to only build your trust, they trust in you and show that you know what you’re talking about and it’s also going to show that you care, it’s going to involve loyalty.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, okay. Shaun, any other tips or ideas for that as a typical subject?

Shaun Hill

Yeah, roofing, not loads that I know about. Only that like probably got those problems in my own roof but whose looking at it every time and it’s just like, “Ah, it’ll be fine.” Unless it falls down, then there’s no issues. I think it sounds really like something you would maybe do when you’re in school and so but I know we did this a lot where like affective, when you got roofing as the topic and you’re sort of like put that in the center, you don’t have to be a writer to be able to sort of like work out what the related topics might be. And I know it sounds quite simple, just have a piece of paper, topic in the middle and start thinking about what is it that are related topics to that. So weather. Weather would be related because the weather would affect your roof, so you can start sort of like stranding out the types of content just from knowing the product.

And a roofer would know roofing content more that I will, so they will be able to come to the ideas in terms of what is related to that topic. They will know if they’re in the industry, if they’re actually a roofer themselves, they will know what the key topics are. So once they point out that, that will help them necessary write the actual content and it will definitely help sort of the inspiration of the types of content that would need to be created. And then I guess in regards to the sort of creation is the case of like, I know it sounds easy when you’re sitting here saying this, but give it a go, I guess. Just try it, run it past someone that you know that may be good at subediting. Like a couple of my friends are just from uni days I remember that they were really good with words so if it was me I would probably just, there’s a cat up here on the screen, it’s just very laughable.

Dixon Jones

So if in doubt, just write about cat of the roof. That’s…

Shaun Hill

Yeah, cat on the roof, that’s got to be a big topic. Surely. Cats, Santa Claus on the roof.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, topical as well. Absolutely can you know. Problem of getting down the chimney from a roofer’s perspective. Absolutely brilliant. Good ideas, actually. Molly’s got a bunch in the chat as well, beautiful views from the roof.

Rebekah Dunne

I love that one.

Dixon Jones

We take the risks so you don’t have to, we made one of the ways to appear to the roof, looks like you spent one million with that, I spent so close to do that, so I’ve got a bunch of ideas in the chat there. And one thing I’ll just add there, when it comes to ideas is things like Google Suggest or AnswerThePublic or question finder tools. Try and find the question that people are asking on the internet and that’ll give you a place to start because if you’re answering something that somebody’s already asked. And Quora’s a good place to look. See what questions are on their briefing. Be wary though because a lot of those are the roofers ask the question and answer the question and actually they’re the only person that’s reading their own stuff. So you have to try and find stuff that is useful.

I mean, we’ve got another one from Margery who’s working for a company that writes about the stock market. Have you make your content creative but still stay relevant? So rather than focusing, well I mean we can talk a little bit about the stock market but being creative and still stay relevant. Miranda, you talked about content that could be evergreen, that could be changed and could be updated. Is there any ideas that we can give them in the stock market? I’m not going to go into the industry and industry and industry, but I’ll take another one because the question came in. We’ve got some ideas on how we can keep creativity in stock market stuff because there’s a lot of customers that are into finance kind of sectors.

Miranda Miller

Sure. And this works for roofing and it works for, I have another friend who has started doing digital marketing for an adult incontinence brand and I was like, “Really? What do you write about?” And he said, “Actually, think about what people are going through, right?” And that’s the basis of every good piece of content, it’s the Who Cares factor.

Dixon Jones

It’s fine, you can call it ten, we know what it is. It’s all right. On the edge.

Miranda Miller

Yeah. People don’t want to hear you talk about yourself, they don’t want to read the brand’s talking about me, me, me, all the time and so if you’re approaching it from a perspective of what matters to this person who’s going to be reading this, who cares? What do they need to know? What matters to them? So in the case of the roof it could be, “I’m about to spend $10,000,” and as someone who has shingles flying off my roof every time it’s windy right now, that’s a pain point. So you could educate people and help them understand different roofing techniques, do they actually matter? You could do a lead generator buyer’s guide, what should I be asking my roofing contractor?

You can do these sort of things for the stock market too like, “What’s my biggest fear? Is I’m gonna lose my money in the stock market.” So what practical tips can you share? Get creative around that. Are there different sources I should be looking at. The stock market’s tricky because you don’t want to give advice like you’re telling people what pics to make because that’s going to get you in a lot of trouble, but help people understand how they can get started safely and what they should be looking for, how much growth is normal and these kinds of things.

Dixon Jones

And Jason puts in the chat as well, understand the pain points which is a similar thing to to what you’re saying, trying to find the audience’s pain points and make that better for them, solve a problem for them. Okay, Rebekah, sure anything you want to add in there? That’d be a no. If you could do then you have to go off-mood.

Rebekah Dunne

Yes. What I was trying to do, I did a whole presentation the other month on me and it was horrific.

Dixon Jones

Ouch.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, it was really embarrassing. And then I tried to do it again and I didn’t share the screen.

Dixon Jones

Yes, okay. Anyway, stock market ideas or creative ideas?

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, I can only think of one because the stock market, I don’t even really know what it is, but thinking of what I would like to read because I don’t know what it is, is if I was to get involved and I was to invest money, then what I would really like is if there’s a situation that’s predicted to happen or potentially happening, I would love to know whether occasions such as this happened and who came up the winner and who came up the loser for example. Just to know case studies. I think it would be interesting. So someone who knows something about stock market, I don’t know if that’s actually interesting but that’s my two cents.

Dixon Jones

I quite like that. I would say because it’s a regulated industry so some of the things we may say here, we’re not qualified to answer you, Margery, because in the UK it’s a regulated industry. But the things that I look at, I do look at tips and ideas and things, and I love the idea Rebekah, especially if you can find some parallel data source to bring into conversation. And the idea of saying, “Pandemics have happened before, this is what happened to the stock market before.” These are things you can sit there and give people some data because I think in the stock market, people invest emotionally but they think they’re trying to invest rationally. So if you can actually give them some rational ideas in this crisis, you’re probably doing them a favor. Shaun, do you want to add anything or should I just jump on?

Shaun Hill

Yeah, the only thing I was going to say is that I think when you’re in a sector which regulates it like finance, stocks, insurance, I think it’s sometimes really useful to think about who’s like an aspirational or a brand that is doing really well and is up to speed. There’s a number of sort of brands that have brought it the last couple of years and finance and insurance space, and disrupted the industries. So I sometimes find it quite fun to look at what they’re doing so Habito is like one of those. I’m not sure if you’ve seen their adverts but they gave some of their imagery and some of their assets, which is really great.

I know it sounds like something quite simple, but I just thought about having a look at what some places are doing, can sometimes provide inspiration to you yourself as a brand, but stocks and shares is a heavily regulated industry. So whilst in my head I’m thinking like, “Okay, what things can we do?” Fiction on TV shows that have like billionaires in there, but realistically, those ideas sometimes get panned off because of compliance and stuff, but yeah.

Dixon Jones

Okay. I want to move to a slightly different path now. Darren’s asked, and I think it’s a good question to go into, “What’s the most effective way to promote your content or blog posts that you’ve written? Because sometimes it’s not about the content itself, it’s what you do after that content. Now, how do you make sure that what you say, however meaningful it is, doesn’t fall on deaf ears?” Who wants to jump in on that one?

Shaun Hill

I’m happy to go on that one. I think this is one that I feel quite sort of passionate about. But I think that a lot of content creation does end up stopping at a point of publishing because I think that there’s not enough hours or not enough resource or the intellectual promotion up there. But I think that the best sort of content that I’ve been involved with in terms of myself, professionally in my career, have been content pieces where other channels have got behind so whether that be email, whether that be paid. In one instance I’ve worked with a shoe retailer where we did a piece of content and we actually put it into the store itself and that meant that more people were seeing it. That was very lucky in that instance that the client I was working with was brought into the content concept that we had.

So yeah, in terms of the promotion of it, I think that syncing into all the channels, how can those assets to that content be used in any amount on social PR in a bit, if you’re an SEO I’m sure there’s a set second session like building but that would be a tactic that I would particularly want to use. So yeah, just syncing with other channels and make sure that it goes further. But having a plan, so don’t get it live and then go, “Okay, now we should do this.” You’ve sort of got to know that when you start, you sort of need to know when you’re planning out that content, exactly when and why you would be promoting that out externally.

And I think there was something Miranda said about updating content. So when you’re producing content and you’re promoting it, think about how in a years time, it could be refreshed again. So if you are using a data source, could you then use that data source in a years time and it gets refreshed and go again? It’s just trying to always know that once content goes live on a website, that it shouldn’t just go and die, it should hopefully live on forever like my mold piece.

Dixon Jones

Rebekah, do you want to jump in?

Rebekah Dunne

I think he’s answered that really well.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Miranda?

Miranda Miller

I agree. Content promotion, that’s a whole webinar in itself. It needs to be part of the planning process. Understanding, “Who you’re trying to reach and where are they online? Where do they live online, how are you going to reach them?”

Dixon Jones

So I just want to add one idea, if I may, that I think is a good tip on this. And I think that, certainly when I’ve been promoting things for Majestic, if I’ve got my act together before the post goes out and I actually start arranging the promotion before it goes out, it works so much better. So obviously when Majestic is launching something, the audience is the people I really want to talk about, Lee Odden or Barry Schwartz or Lauren Baker or now, next on my list is Miranda Miller on SEJ. So I have a bunch of people who I do know and I spend a lot of time trying to making sure that, well, buying Barry Schwartz drinks doesn’t seem to work, but trying to make sure that I know these people well so that at least they’ll take my email.

And when I’ve got a good idea, I don’t do it with every post, I really don’t do it with every post, but when we got a product launch I make sure that I let them know, preferably in advance of the launch. And I actually say, “Right.” What I’ve done many a time, is I’ll send them a PDF of the post that’s going out and the URL that it’s going to go out at, and maybe some other material that if they want to write their own stuff about it, then it’s fine, they can do that. But they know when I’m going to go live and what we’re going to say. And that does tend to work, because usually, I don’t know which one of you said it, but one of you said people don’t like to hear you talking about yourself.

And it’s much better if Barry Schwartz talks about my product launch or somebody in my industry, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re a roofing person or whatever, if you’re a business and you’ve got something to say, sometimes your blog is not the best place for it to be said. But certainly, if that’s going to be the final place for the content, letting the people that really are good and good amplifiers of that messaging know about it beforehand so they can leak it and get the story and the glory, that’s goin to be better for you in the long run anyway.

Okay, so right, I’ve got probably time for one more question. So informational details… I don’t know what that says there. The question’s been there since the start. But Jason says, “Blind five year old, how is Google advanced in deciphering content or context from the days of temporary links?”

So I guess that’s a hard question if you’re the content writers but I’ll put it out there because it’s what the customers are asking for. So is Google understanding it much better than they were before? And how has that changed your writing styles? Miranda, you’re nodding so why don’t you go first. How has that changed the way you’ve approach the problem?

Miranda Miller

It’s actually, I think that especially for that small producer who is the expert in their field, they don’t have a content team, they should feel really good about how Google has evolved because Google’s understanding about how topics are related and how entities are related, has become so much better. So you do not have to worry about your key word density. I still see people posting, “We want a 3% key word density.” Let that go. If you are writing from a position of authority and you’re the expert in your field and you’re keeping it tightly wound around one topic, that is naturally optimized for the way that Google evaluates content now.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Rebekah, you have anything to jump in there?

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, I think restricted data that you can add to posts as well, that’s one of the layers of communicating with Google. The thing is behind the scenes for images and videos and all of those sorts of things as well. I think that’s a really great way that Google’s producing tools where you can go directly and talk to them. “Directly talk to them.”

Dixon Jones

Indirectly talk to them, yeah.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah. About what the content is about. So it also takes away the whole, “Are you writing for Google?” question because you can do both now, in two different ways.

Dixon Jones

Okay. Okay. Shaun?

Shaun Hill

Yeah, go for it. I could answer a few clearly, I would say personally I think that it is much more useful now. I think that everywhere Google’s sort of like search engine result’s page presents most different features provides people with the information they need. That starts the thing that Google wants is for people to stay within the search engine and not click for it to search. But I think that that’s something that is in the industry but it’s been lost to start to say that people still will click first, people still trust the feature snippet.

And I think that it’s been mentioned a few times already but the key word density thing and the key word is a bit of nonsense. I think just write the best feature content that you possibly can, given the entities that have been mentioned. The best feature content will generally perform. I think personally, as a user of Google, I find it super useful that it presents me with the right formats at the right times when I need them. So yeah.

Dixon Jones

The challenge for SEOs and companies as they can’t get their head around necessarily when somebody reads it on Google and never comes to the website the, “Have I actually got a customer?” And it’s hard to track at that point as well and it’s hard for content writers then at that point to say, “Well, I did a really good job of amplifying the message and stuff because no one’s ever kicked through.” So it’s hard for all of us when Google doesn’t.

Shaun Hill

Yeah. One of the most recent updates lets you see a feature snippet when you click, before it takes you through to the text passage. So which, in effect, is really good for them because it takes the customer right through to the bit they want, but as a writer that means that every head start potentially harm all the bit above it that was super useful to sell that piece so it’s challenging, I think, on both sides. But I do echo what Miranda said about Google’s, I think, actually setting up their algorithms towards great content and if that’s the case then that continues in the future then that’s a new positive thing.

Dixon Jones

One thing I did with that is I wrote a long, long piece once and so I broke into many, many different pages, or I suppose now I should be breaking it into passages, but at the end of each passage they made me put a link back to the section headers so that people could easily get to see it in context. It might be something we should be doing more of.

Shaun Hill

Yeah, I agree with that. That’s like a jump back to sections or something. I think we should definitely be something to think about it a lot more.

Dixon Jones

Yeah, people have been saying recently that the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” was never used by Google and we shouldn’t be using it, but actually maybe we should be now because we need to get the user to sort of move around the content now that Google is sending us straight into the individual sort of sections and things. Okay guys, so we are pretty much at the end of the time. It goes quick, these things. What I’d like to do is just bring in David if he’s around because we’re going to change the format a little bit next time round and find out what we are going to be talking about nest time so just for the audience’s benefit. Where are we going next time, David?

David Bain

Sure. Nest time around we’re going to be broadcasting on the Majestic social media channel so make sure you’re subscribed to the Majestic email list and we’ll let you know exactly where we’ll be broadcasting live. There will be updates-

Dixon Jones

We’ll be live on YouTube, on Majestic’s YouTube channel as well.

David Bain

On Majestic’s YouTube, on Facebook and Twitter as well. So we’re going to be broadcasting live at 5.00 PM GMT on the sixth of January, that’s 12.00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Dixon Jones

Fantastic. Guys, and what are we talking about next time? The new year. That’ll be a time-.

David Bain

It’s all about strategy. It’s all about strategy for 2021. We are going to be six days into the new year so what are the best ways of sitting down and defining your SEO strategy for the coming year and getting a head start from everyone else.

Dixon Jones

Fantastic. That’s going to be a good one. Okay, it leaves me to kind of say goodbye to you guys but I would love you to just jump in and tell people where they can find out more about you or your organization. If they want you to write some stuff for them, where should they go? So, Miranda, why don’t you go first?

Miranda Miller

Sure. So thanks for having me on. That was fantastic.

Dixon Jones

It will catch up.

Miranda Miller

That was like the most fun I’ve had on a Wednesday afternoon in so long.

Dixon Jones

Oh, that’s very kind of you.

Miranda Miller

On Twitter and Instagram, you can find me @mirandalmwrites, on LinkedIn as well. And miranda-miller.com.

Dixon Jones

Okay, that’s great. Shaun, where do we find you? iProspect obviously, but apart from that?

Shaun Hill

In Portsmouth. On social I’m @shaunchill as I’ve quoted it. And on LinkedIn, shaunhill@iprospect.com etc.

Dixon Jones

So are you chilled or are you stressed?

Shaun Hill

This session has definitely helped me feel more chilled so you guys have rubbed of on my feelings. I was definitely feeling a little bit stressed mid-week but this has done me good.

Dixon Jones

Oh, good. I’m glad I could help the panelists as well. Rebekah, where can we find you and how can the audience find you?

Rebekah Dunne

My Twitter feed is just @rebekahdunne. I’m on LinkedIn but I very rarely use it so there’s no point in getting to me on there. To those of you that want to follow my past relations, I’ve got a website rebekahwrites.co.uk. That is not SEO optimized because I want it to just be fun. So please don’t judge on that aspect. It’s just purely about the whole concept of writing for pleasure and that kind of thing.

Dixon Jones

Okay. And Rebekah is spelled with a K-A-H? Right?

Rebekah Dunne

Yes.

Dixon Jones

rebekahwrites. Is that write with a I-T-E I’m guessing. Yeah.

Rebekah Dunne

Yeah, rebekahwrites as in I’m writing something.

Dixon Jones

Yes, yeah. W-R-I-T-E. That’s what I mean, sorry.

Rebekah Dunne

I’m sorry, yes.

Dixon Jones

Sorry, yes. Okay, got it. That’s fine. So David, I think I’ve done everything I got to do?

David Bain

Just one more thing – we’ve got a podcast. And if you want to subscribe to the audio podcast and listen to all the previous episodes, go to the Majestic Blog, blog.majestic.com. We’re now live on Google Podcasts, on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. So go and listen to the previous episodes.

Dixon Jones

Go to Majestic. Well done. Excellent guys. Thank you very much for coming. I really appreciate it. Well now, press the “end” button, you guys will get cut off on Zoom so I can’t say behind afterwards and say, “Thankyou.”

But honestly, you guys taking out and sharing the information with the audience is really, really helpful to everybody. And I hope you stay in. And when we go up on YouTube blog, post the URL, I’ll let you know where it is. That’s good.

Thanks guys and thanks also the audience for watching this vlog. See you next month, cheers. Bye.

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