Content is about more than immediate rewards

One of the things that is sometimes weird about being person who plans content within the context of SEO in the modern business world is that it doesn’t often fit within the expected frame of pumping out something as fast as possible to then show off the immediate and glorious benefits that made the company a gajillion dollars in five days.

(Not that any thoughtful and consideration marketing plans should really operate on the above structure, but you know how it goes.)

Quiet changes and small SEO endeavors are like the least sexy marketing on the planet.

You put out an article, then you develop some other articles over the course of six to nine months and decide those should really become a content pillar. You do some analytics and some optimizations and your keystone piece of content slowly and steadily amasses views and conversions until two years later you have a pretty cool case study and something that ranks high and performs well in organic search.

This is an exciting experience and can teach you a lot: Why is it performing best? Can you recreate it? Does it say something about what the audience wants or about how you crafted it? Is it worth optimizing again to get more traffic? How can it inform your content strategy in the long run?

A delight for the too involved and deeply nerdy content strategist.

Snail on green ledge, crawling down to lower surface.
Let’s all just take a second, breath and reflect on our choices.

But things can change fast in the business world and depending on the team you’re pitching to, it can be incredibly difficult to make the case for a thoughtful strategy that will take many hours to develop and then spend further time and money for careful crafting and building changes that you won’t be able to measure meaningful for a long time and a strategy that can only really be cohesively measured after a year. Maybe you work in house and you’re one of the only people who even knows what marketing is or the people at the top are calling the shots about where you should spend your time and who cares about content marketing. Maybe you work for an agency and your clients are more concerned about their next paid ad campaign and don’t want to invest time or money into the unsexy waters of SEO.

Launching a new website is fun, publishing a new article and obsessively checking how many clicks it gets is fun. But maintaining the website, continuously optimizing it and building the structure and groundwork for more articles? Not as fun. Realizing that all the clicks you got on that article were essentially meaningful traffic that didn’t do anything for you? Ugh, least fun of all.

It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works. And to figuring out which title is going to attract that most people. And what exactly you should be targeting to hit that first page of Google. And which CTA is going to convince people to buy.

Basically, you have a hundred elements to test and each time you change one of them you have to wait long enough for enough people to see the change (or to wait for the bots to reindex the page) to see if that change did anything.

Meanwhile, another team you work with created a viral TikTok.

Okay, but does everyone know that you did a full analysis of how metadata is performing and plugged it all into an updated spreadsheet?

Oh. Yeah, no. It’s fine.

Ultimately, despite the fact that the world is becoming increasingly filled with more content and noise, it’s interested how a thoughtful plan and actually creative and helpful output make a difference. Sure, your AI can now spit out fifty articles. But what do those articles say anything?

Careful planning and thoughtful work does something. Immediate returns are not the end all, be all (or at least, they shouldn’t be). What can we do to make an impact that can be measured over years and not hours?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s