Moving the Needle Towards Content Goals with Megan Sobieski
No matter how many content marketing influencers you talk to, one common thread is the priority of quality content that resonates with the audience’s needs and provides value. However, without proper research, distribution, and reach, even the most well-written piece of content is going nowhere.
In a tête-à-tête with Mohammed Sajjad, Senior Sales & Marketing Director at Pepper Content, Megan Rowlands Sobieski,
Fractional Director of Content at Arootah reiterates the magic SEO can bring while moving the needle toward content goals.
1. Please give us a quick introduction.
I have been in the world of content and editorial for close to 20 years now. I started in print journalism and newspaper feature writing. Then went over to the world of SEO and e-commerce, working for Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, and some bigger retail brands, and fell in love with SEO. Then expanded and went into more overall content creation across all different formats and channels.
I've had a career progression with different titles including senior content marketing manager and digital content manager; now I'm a fractional director of content and a freelance content strategist. I love all aspects of strategizing, writing, editing, researching, and making a great strategy to move the needle on content goals.
2. What got you into the content space?
I always had a pen in my hand as a child. I’m a writer at heart. But I wanted to do more with content when I saw what was possible when I started working with SEO in 2011.
SEO is like a peek behind the curtain of the human psyche.
Seeing how “point-toe shoes” vs. “pointed-toe shoes” could drive 50,000 more potential web page views! To be able to see what people are searching for and how we can use that to guide our content strategy was super exciting for me.
3. What's the most exciting and tiring part of your job day in and day out?
The most exciting part is to think about the unique challenges our audience has. What's keeping them up at night? What are they feeling? What needs do they have and how can we create content that addresses those problems?
The foundation is creating content that's going to be of value to the person. Then, do some keyword research and map your ideas back to what people are searching for so you can validate your ideas. I love seeing that all come together. And then, of course, analyzing performance and iterating.
The most challenging piece is that it’s always changing. You'll never be bored in the world of content because you're always learning something new.
5. What are key KRAs for content marketers?
It depends on the different stages of the marketing funnel. At the awareness stage, I'm typically looking for things like, what is our organic traffic. How are we doing in the SERPs? How many social shares are we having? What percentage of our audience is new? So that brand awareness.
When you get down toward the middle of the consideration stage, I'd like to be looking at things like what percentage of our traffic is returning and how email click-throughs are going. We're now engaging with our audience, so how are we growing that relationship?
When I think about the decision stage, I look for how many leads are coming through the website. What is the organic conversion rate looking like? How are people converting from a lead to an actual customer?
Here, a challenge is that leadership can sometimes just want to see a sale; it can be tough to tie the content back to that. But when you can show the value in all those other pieces before you get to the bottom of the funnel, you can start showing the magic of where content moves the needle.
6. If you have to debate between quality and quantity of content, what would you pick?
It is all about finding the right balance between quality and quantity.
You may think of quantity as 'we need to churn out a bunch of SEO content just to get to an audience and start getting our name out'. But that's likely to fail in the long run because while Google may recognize that effort, human beings want quality content and to consume something that will give them value.
Thus, it’s important to know your audience inside out and think about the content they want to consume—so, having a lot of evergreen, value-adding content and sprinkling in trending and newsjacking pieces into your content plan.
In matters of quantity, there is always a metric, of course. But if you’re pumping out 10 articles a week that aren’t generating traffic or meeting your unique metrics, it's time to change your plan.
7. Remote working and virtual teams are trending today. Will these trends sustain in the content marketing space?
Yes, especially for startups in remote working environments that maybe have leaner teams.
However, freelancers should be an extension of your team. There's absolute value in leveraging freelancers and the need for them will likely continue to grow.
8. How will a content marketing stack help you ease out your content production and your day-to-day job activities?
It's a challenge a lot of content leaders struggle with. Most of us are working with multiple platforms. Content is flexible and fluid, and I would love to see an all-in-one tool that covers all content processes like ideation, writing, editing, reviewing, distribution, metrics, etc. If we could package that up, it would be a dream come true.
9. What's your secret sauce behind content marketing success?
It's finding a unique angle as a brand. It's saying something different. This is hard because there's so much out there, and you're trying to balance how you’ll come up in search or engage with people reading your newsletter. You don't want to do the same thing everyone else is.
So, the secret sauce is leaning into what your brand has to offer and putting those nuggets everywhere in your content.
Get started with Pepper’s Content Marketing Platform.
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