Generating a link or two? Easy. Teaching your clients how to buy good backlinks? Easier. Building a team of 30 that do that at scale effectively, and continue to do that and improve with time? Not so much.
In this video, we share the hard lessons that come from building a 40-person content marketing team with an SEO focus. Hopefully there are a few tips you can use to support your own teams.
Hi, I’m Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media, and today I want to give you my best tips on how to build SEO-driven content marketing team. We have a ~40 person team here at Siege, so hopefully there’s a few lessons we can impart on how to build a team that is effective, and will help your website and business for the long term.
1. Align Team to Site Structure
My first tip for being more effective in building a team is actually to align it, and align each member to its own section and also their KPIs thereby. So specifically, if you have a website that’s home and garden based, maybe you do a specific section on the outdoors, and you could create a specific position, an entity for one person on your team that owns that section.
They have to generate links to that section, and also you monitor the rankings, and the performance, and the content of everything that create there. That can be their child, as it were because we find when someone really owns something end to end, they do a much better job.
So how you can do that as a larger business is, obviously, monitor the links that they generate, and also take a look at the specific search traffic to that section. Ahrefs and other tools like that are actually very good now at being able to put in an entire section, and monitor just that.
For example, if you’re in the home and garden space, then you have a folder that’s /outdoors/. You could hold one person to the performance from a search and links perspective of that section only. And we find that results in higher performing people because they own and feel that they should really build results for this thing because it’s theirs as it is.
That overall creates the best results, I think, from someone, when they really feel it’s theirs end to end and they do the best job.
2. Build Multiple Growth Paths
My second tip for building on that is to create horizontal and vertical growth paths for your team. What I mean by that is not everyone wants to be a manager, so you have to give people a path to grow, even if they don’t want to report, and be a leader, and give feedback to others on how to do their job better.
Some people just like doing, they like building, they like creating content, they like doing outreach. So for those people, they shouldn’t be omitted from the path of growth, and you can build positions for them.
Specifically on our team, we have a horizontal track that enables someone to eventually become a Senior Content Marketing Specialist rather than just a Content Marketing Specialist, and we also have a Junior Content Marketing Specialist position.
So you can see for people that just come straight out of college, we give them a path of growth that says, “You are progressing, you are doing better,” by giving them a new title that also helps them in their career from junior to just non-junior to senior. That creates a path of growth that is enabling someone to grow and get more out of their career, rather than just managing it.
Of course, managing is great too but having both of those paths enables someone to really feel like they’re going to get something out of working for your company.
3. Be Aware of Outreach Repetition
My next tip on growing a team is actually to be empathetic to outreach repetition. So SEO-driven content marketing teams specifically, do large scale outreach because links are so important in Google’s algorithm, and unlike high-end PR, it is more volume to really get the same output. No matter how qualified and great of a job you are doing from an outreach perspective, there’s going to be repetition and volume in that.
It is a thing and we get feedback from our team a lot that, “I don’t really like outreach. I would like to not eventually be doing outreach because of that repetition.”
We are empathetic to that and split our teams’ time. They don’t just do outreach, they are also doing content creation and research. They don’t always do writing, but most of the time from a marketing perspective, they do and we feel that there are three treasons to do that.
One, they own that content end to end, they feel personally responsible for its performance and second, it breaks up their day and third, it give them a path to do something else rather than the pure outreach.
Compare that to a team that has positions that only do pure outreach, and really that person doesn’t have much growth available to them. They get burnt out faster. They’re going to churn at your company. And overall it’s not going to be a fulfilling thing, as compared to the full funnel of outreach, plus research, plus, writing, so you need to be empathetic to that and also that’s why a growth path is so important because you’re giving people the opportunity to see a vision where they’re not doing outreach.
Even if they don’t love it at that specific time, at least they’ll know that if they do a great job at that, they’ll eventually be able to train people on doing that or do something else internally at the company because they’re doing such a great job.
4. Constantly Challenge Your Team
My last tip for building a high performing team is actually to continue challenging them in ways other than just content promotion, research, and writing. You do that by throwing them new things. There’s a great post from the Distilled website on T-shaped marketers<a/a> and in today’s SA world, it really behooves you to become great at one thing and have a balanced skill across the T.
What they mean by that are things like copywriting, SEO best practices, conversation rate optimization best practices, analytics and throwing people those different skills, and also putting them on new projects that challenge them in a new way, even if it’s, like, 10% percent of their time.
And of course, it’s just more fulfilling to help people grow their careers and do a better job, which in turn is naturally going to help grow your company as well. So it’s a two-sided sword.
Hopefully, these steps overall were valuable to you in helping grow your own company. If you like this video, please give us a thumbs up, subscribe and let me know what you thought. Thanks.