It’s official, the phrase SEO has now reached a point where I cringe a little when I hear it.  Agencies still sling it and bill for it and freelancers still try to sell link building for it.  The reality is the model used to deliver SEO can still look like the pre-Google Panda model from a staffing perspective,  but in my opinion we’ve now hit the point where you can spend as much time trying to figure out how to game Google, when you could be focused on learning how to create great content.  If you want to transform your retail business and position yourself for years of steady organic growth, it’s time to act like a publisher and stop using the word SEO.

It Starts With Talent Alignment

Many companies struggle with shifting their culture to produce more content because it requires a different skill set.  It is as much creative as it is technical.  The right blend of talent has the following skills.

  • Copywriting: Writing skills are extremely important.  The greater your ability to produce a variety of content for a seamless multi-channel experience, the more money you’ll make.  Personally, I’d hire a senior copywriter that can write white papers, case studies, package testimonials, create social media posts, write press releases and blogs.  It’s a tough find person and it is also worth the money.  If you’re a smaller retailer you can take a lean approach and start through developing an intern program, but I still recommend making sure you’re hiring from great colleges and students with a focus in communications.
  • Design: Graphic design is not just about website pixels anymore.  A retailer that produces good content leverages a designer to edit images, design Infographics and tables, design email templates and content, help layout articles, CMS pages and perform A/B tests.
  • Analytics: Having someone that can continually try to break Google Analytics by running too many data queries and reports is critical.  Many retailers fail simply from not identifying the right opportunities.  With the newest version of Analytics, webmaster tools and other data points at our finger tips, a good data analyst can help craft content strategy as well as anyone.
  • Photography:  Please stop using stock images.  You really have two options here.  Pay a ton to outsource your photography, or teach one of your other creatives to take great photos and buy the equipment yourself.  I’ve found that a great Digital SLR Camera and photoshop can produce some great images without having to pay someone $300 a picture.  If you are a fashion of luxury brand, you will just need to pay the money.
  • Videography: Video is an extremely untapped resource in retail.  It’s one of the best converting media channels, but most people find it to be expensive to create, produce and publish.  I recommend finding a good videographer that you can contract your videography out to that can stay in brand.  Or, if you’re bigger, hire one.
  • Community Manager: This is your maestro or conductor, this is the person in charge of connecting all the dots to drive results.  It’s a newer position that takes someone who is one part strategic, one part creative and one part analytical.  If you can craft a team like the above, you can dominate organic traffic in the next few years.

This team structure looks quite a bit different then most retailers today.  The talent is just the start though.

 

Next Comes The Process

It’s important to create an environment that encourages and supports creativity and productivity.  Sit down within your company and define what this looks like to you.  This requires your team to agree on a methodology.  It could be an agile approach where you develop two week content roadmaps and execution plans or it could be a 90 day plan with rigid deliverable schedules.  Your culture could be a flat culture with little management structure or it could be a chain of command heirarchy.  These details are important to agree on when forming your team, it helps to align your team and create a synergy that puts everyone’s attention on creating great content.

We will have several posts on how to create good content for your brand, from experience getting your talent aligned can be the majority of the struggle.  If you need any help with aligning your talent in your organization feel free to reach out.

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