Search can’t live in a silo. If you want to see success, cross-collaboration across your organic, content, and paid teams is absolutely key. But that takes a huge amount of effort, from untangling communication to cross-training to getting buy-in from everyone involved. What’s a search marketer to do?
If you missed her talk this year at MozCon 2019, here’s your chance to make up for it! In today’s edition of Whiteboard Friday, Heather Physioc shares her framework for successfully integrating your organic, paid, and content practices for a smoother search experience.
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Hey, everybody, and welcome back to Whiteboard Friday. My name is Heather Physioc, and I’m Group Director of Discoverability at VMLY&R. Today we’re going to talk about nine tips to help integrate your organic search, paid search, and content practices.
1. Announce change all at once, but roll out changes one at a time
So your first tip is that you want to announce change all at once, but then you want to roll out the changes one at a time.
It can be overwhelming to integrate practices and change processes. So you don’t want to try to do everything all at the same time. It’s like trying to boil the ocean, and it’s too much to stick. So while you want to get everybody on board and aligned to the benefits and challenges they’ll be facing as you integrate, then you just progressively roll out the changes iteratively over time.
2. Document new products & processes
Next, as you develop new capabilities and processes and offerings together, you’re going to document those processes in a shared, living wiki, because those processes are going to continue to change.
So my team uses Confluence, where we document our shared workflows, but everybody on the team has access and total trust to continue refining those in the ways that they see are best for the team.
3. Make recommendations and report together
Your next step should be obvious, but a lot of people are not doing it. You should be making recommendations and reporting together. So a lot of times we’ll collect all our data for reporting from all our different channels.
We’ll smash some slides together at the last minute before we throw it over the fence to the client. It ends up with a pretty shallow, almost meaningless set of data that doesn’t tell a story. So we should be getting together, sharing our insights, observations, and findings in the room together to find the story that is the most meaningful and help prioritize for our clients the best marketing decisions they can make from that data.
4. Cross-train to build advocacy across teams
So your next tip is to cross-train so you can build advocacy across the teams. We host a lot of workshops and hands-on training. We’ve even done job swaps where we had SEOs writing performance content for product detail pages. It creates this wonderful sense of empathy and understanding for what others need in order to do their jobs well.
But it also creates these great mental checks where you ask yourself, “Am I including the right people at the right times? Is there anyone else who could add value here? Could my work be impacting someone else?” So the purpose here is not necessarily to know how to do each other’s jobs so much as it is to empower people to be able to advocate for, speak about, and cross-sell your other teams.
5. Reintroduce the team or capability
Next, when you’ve done your integration of processes and people, everyone else in the organization may not necessarily know what that means for them. So you’ll want to reintroduce your team or your new capability to the rest of the organization. Put faces with names.
Talk about what the new capability is and does and the value it brings to the organization. Tell people how to engage with that new offering and what it means for their project or initiative or client.
6. Market the joint wins
Up next, we’re going to market the joint wins. As you’re continuously integrating, you should always be looking for wins or warnings that you can share with others so they can learn how to better engage with your offerings.
So if you have a great case study, where you integrated paid and organic or organic and content, make sure you’re marketing those stories out to your colleagues, your clients, your bosses, and of course your team.
7. Hold roundtables to deep-dive search opportunities
Up next, we’re going to do roundtables so we can deep dive search opportunities with other departments. So of course it makes sense to have roundtables between organic search and paid search or organic search and performance content, but also think beyond your immediate team.
Think about other marketing teams, like social media and pairing search behavior insights with social listening data. Or think about geographic teams. What if you sat your organic search team down with your Europe group to figure out what opportunities make the most sense for that region? Or even sales and IT and finding those areas of intersection, where you can do great search work that supports more parts of the organization.
8. Host mutual lunch & learns to cross-pollinate
Next, think about hosting mutual lunch and learns so you can start to cross-pollinate different skill sets. So similar to the roundtables, this is where you’re going to bring different groups together to talk about capabilities. But think about more than just presenting your capabilities to other people. Also be sure to invite them to present their capabilities to your group. For example, we’ve invited the project management team or the client engagement team to make us stronger in our search work through the value that they bring.
9. Give ownership of change to others
And finally, as you’re making all of these changes, it can’t just come from the top, one person just handing change down for everyone else to implement. It has to be organic, pardon the pun, and everybody should have ownership over the direction that we’re heading together. So when we make changes to products or processes or we start to integrate different groups or spin up little teams to work on specific objectives, we make sure that those individuals from each side have ownership to make those decisions together and roll it out to the rest of the group.
It helps make sure we’ve considered all the angles and greatly impacts our ability to get buy-in across the team. So those are nine quick tips to integrate organic search, paid search, and content practices. Let us know what you think in the comments below. I want to hear your tips too, and we’ll see you next time on Whiteboard Friday.