Moving the Needle Towards Content in SEO with Arootah’s Megan Sobieski
No matter how many content marketing influencers you talk to, one common thought thread is the priority of quality content that resonates with the audience’s needs and provides them value. However, without proper distribution and reach, which SEO establishes, even a well-written piece of content is going nowhere.
In a tete-a-tete with Mohammed Sajjad, Senior Sales & Marketing Director at Pepper Content, Megan Rowlands Sobieski, Director of Content, Arootah reiterates the magic that SEO can bring while moving the needle toward content.
1. Please give us a quick intro about you and how you got into the content.
I have been in the world of content 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 big retail brands, and I fell in love with SEO. Then it expanded and went into more overall content creation across different formats.
Now I've had a career progression with different titles that have included senior manager roles and manager roles, and now I'm the director of content. I am also a freelance content strategist and love all aspects of strategizing, writing, editing, researching, and moving the needle toward content.
2. What got you into the content space?
I always had a pen in my hand as a child. I am a writer at heart. 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 realistic peak behind the curtain of the human psyche. Point-toe shoes vs. point-of-toe shoes could drive 50,000 more potential web page views!
To layer quality content writing that means something 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 for me is to think about the unique challenges that our audience has.
What's keeping them up at night? What are they feeling? What are they worried about? What needs do they have, and how can we create content that addresses those problems? Then take that piece as the foundation and create 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 just love seeing all of that come together. And then, of course, analyze your performance and tweak future communication.
I think the most challenging part is that this all is always changing. You'll never be bored in the world of content because you're always learning something new.
5. What's the key KRA for content marketers?
It depends on the different stages of the marketing funnel. At that 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's that brand awareness.
When you get down the funnel, and you're looking more towards the middle in the consideration stage, then I'd like to be looking at things like what percentage of our traffic is returning, how are our email clickthroughs going, we're now engaging with them to form a relationship.
And then, when I think about the decision stage, I look for how many leads are coming through on the website? What is that conversion rate looking like? How are people converting from a lead to an actual customer? It is all just incredible because you can measure all that through content.
Here the challenge comes with leadership that sometimes just wants to see a sale, and it can be tough for marketers to tie content back to that. However, 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. I connect this debate to the analogy where content is the ice cream cone, and SEO is the sprinkles on top.
So you may think of quantity as we need to turn out a bunch of SEO content just to get to our audience and start getting our name out there. But that's likely to fail in the long run because Google now recognizes that human beings want quality content, and they want to read something that will give them value.
Thus, it is important to know your audience inside and out, become obsessed with them, and then really think about the content they want to consume—so having a lot of evergreen content and sprinkling trending and newsjacking things in it.
In matters of quantity, there is a quantity metric, of course. But if you are pumping out ten articles a week that is not generating traffic, it's time to change your plan.
7. Remote working and virtual teams are trending today. Will these trends sustain in the marketing content marketing space?
Yeah, especially for startups that rely on remote working platforms.
However, freelancers should be an extension of your team. There's absolute value in those, and they'll 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 that a lot of content leaders struggle with. We're working with multiple platforms. Content is flexible and fluid, and I would love to see an all-in-one space that covers all content processes like ideation, writing, editing, reviewing, distribution, metrics, etc.
If we could package that, it would be a dream come true.
9. What's your secret sauce behind content marketing success, if there is any?
It's finding a unique angle for yourself 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 will come up in search or engage with people reading your newsletter. You don't want to do the same thing that everything else is.
So, the secret sauce is leaning into what your brand has to offer and putting those nuggets everywhere in your content.
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