What does your role entail?
As a User Focused Content Strategist, I’m set with the challenge of creating online blog posts that are relevant to the target audiences of our clients, across an array of different companies, with the main goals of utilising keywords (the terms that people search for on Google) to rank as highly on Google’s search engine results pages as possible and drive more traffic to each website. User focused content, in a nutshell, puts real people and the terms they’re searching for as the rationale for everything.
I’m involved with every stage of content creation, from keyword research to identify relevant keywords and assembling briefs to map out how each piece will be structured to, as you might expect, actually writing the content.
It’s a bespoke role, as every piece of work focuses solely on queries and questions rather than the traditional search engine optimisation (SEO) approach that treats keywords as statements. We look at the Five Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why), as it’s the way in which internet users find the answer to a question, whether it’s looking up the ingredients to a homemade spaghetti bolognese or finding out how you install a basin in your bathroom. The SEO team at Click Consult always look for opportunities to assist and improve their clients’ websites, so another inevitable step forward was to optimise the content being published in their news and blog sections.
What do you enjoy most about your role and why?
I feel like the only way I would become bored and disillusioned by a role would be if I was doing the same thing every single day. Fortunately, that’s far from the case with what I do, as I’m required to work on contrasting topics for different clients.
Another positive is that I’m not only writing the content, I’m also planning out a strategy for how it’ll be coordinated, assembled, written, published and tracked. There’s an awful lot that goes into what I do, and it’s only likely to become more advanced as Google continue to set new ways to rank.
What do you feel the future of the industry looks like? Or What are the top trends for this year?
I expect that there will be more tangents from the SEO industry that require a different set of expertise. For instance, my role is a mix between SEO and content writing, but other skills could be useful in the future as more forms of media come into the mix with their own ranking factors. It’s been the case with YouTube and other online video platforms, with this type of media appearing at the top of many searches, reflecting more of a need to optimise video content.
In terms of SEO trends, user focused content is only becoming more relevant, which isn’t a massive surprise as Google’s main aim is effectively to show the person searching the best answer to the question they’re asking.
What top tips would you give to clients to ensure they face these challenges appropriately?
I can’t stress enough how important quality content is. Not only does it play a part in determining its own ranking on Google, but it also sets a precedent for the client in question. If you visited a website and saw a blatant spelling error, grammatical error, or didn’t think the content was displayed in an appealing or professional manner, it would likely deter you from using the website’s services. It’s the same on social media or even on the high street. First impressions are everything, and if someone struggles to spell or set out a sentence correctly, it can be enough to ruin any chance of a sale.
Each client’s identity is a key consideration in my role, as it’s important to stick by a client’s tone of voice, approach and feel. In cases where they’re yet to write any content in the blog section of their website, it could even be my responsibility to create their style of content using the type of company they are and any pointers from them. As you can imagine, this is an enormous responsibility. In essence, every client needs to maintain an equal balance between researched, optimised and quality content with content that perfectly suits their audience. This has always been true of content writing, but it’s only likely to become more crucial as it continues to impact how each client’s blogs rank on Google.
What are you the most proud of in your career/life?
As a perfectionist, it’s rare that I give myself credit for much, but I would say I’ve always played to my strengths and it’s clearly paid off, as it’s led me into the career I’m in. I’d always been interested in writing but with a hint of technology involved; the role I’m in is a fine mix between the two.
In life, I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive wife, family and friends behind me, as I doubt I’d be anywhere close to where I am now without them. That’s definitely played a key part in my career and the path I’ve gone down to this point, so I’d like to think my career and personal life are closely related in that sense.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
A piece of advice that has stuck with me throughout my professional career so far actually came from one of my tutors at the University of Chester. I did a degree in journalism there, spending the first year focusing on sport, and they were trying to get it across to me and others that the most important skill you could have in the role of a journalist is to improvise.
It would be wrong to say that you should ‘wing’ things or attempt to fluke important tasks in hope that it turns out with a positive outcome, but as long as you conduct the correct research and get into the correct mind frame, it’s possible to improvise to any task and convince others that you’re an expert even if you’re just a novice that’s willing to learn. I expect that advice could have been taken in a number of ways, but I’ve used it in a way that’s led me to taking on tasks I may have shied away from otherwise.
What song best describes your work ethic?
As user focused content is so closely linked to answering the questions being asked by Google users, it’s hard to not reference songs like What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? By Jimmy Ruffin, What is Love? By Haddaway, and Who Let The Dogs Out? By The Baha Men to name a few. It’s far more difficult to accurately summarise my work ethic, but I’d say I always take pride in carrying out everything I do to the best of my ability, and I always attempt to present myself as being responsible, professional and accountable for everything I do.
I would say For Reasons Unknown by The Killers comes close. Brandon Flowers mentions moving a little bit closer and that ‘if destiny’s kind, he’s got the rest on his mind’, which is often how it feels with regards to making progress with multiple tasks and finding ways to juggle various duties. Of course, the title ‘For Reasons Unknown’ also implies a sense of having to improvise with results that don’t always make sense – something that you could argue is sometimes true of keyword research!