Google’s AI is learning to favor content that most effectively fulfills the searcher’s intent. It’s more important than ever to be the right answer to the queries you seek to rank for and to be the content you wish you found.
Effective content framework
I’m working on an #effectivecontent framework to help elevate my content to my own expectations. I’ll present the full strategy at the upcoming LavaCon, but here’s a sneak-peek at the five main components:
I’ve been a technical writer and editor for 10+ years and never imagined I’d attend a content marketing conference. Then, just a couple months into a new role with SEO and lead-gen as an important part of my responsibilities, I was lucky enough to attend MozCon 2017.
I love that my career has focused on technical support content and online self-service because being good at my job helps my company and customers at the same time – that’s still true with my new focus.
I was excited to bring back new insights to my team, which would ultimately benefit our MindTouch customers too.
My notes of takeaways took up 8 typed pages, but I can summarize the information-dense week with two main themes.
Focus on intent
Google AI is trying to answer questions better and quicker. It’s more important than ever to be the content you wish you found and be the best answer to the queries you seek to rank for. If you’re not the right answer to the question, Google will 86 you.
Conversely, content that doesn’t guide users to the right answer is the most disruptable. Those are your easy-target opportunities. The best strategy is to attempt to understand user intent and deliver what they need, instead of playing SEO games.
User behavior and adaptive technology is evolving rapidly, therefore you should operate as if your biggest lead-gen source(s) could disappear tomorrow. At the same time, it’s essential to be hyper aware of resources vs. reward for each of your channels and prioritize accordingly. Users are increasingly expecting personalized experiences AND they often have different expectations on different channels.
Staying agile (and successful) requires constant testing, measuring, and tweaking. Experiment with different media types and delivery methods and don’t be afraid to take risks or be bold.
I landed my last 2 jobs via LinkedIn without even trying.
Spoiler Alert: When I say I landed these jobs “without even trying” – I mean that I wasn’t directly job hunting when these opportunities landed in my LinkedIn inbox. This process still takes effort 🙂
Step One – Pack your patience
This is a long game, or at least it was for my last two moves:
The first one happened because a recruiter found me and set up a call with the hiring manager, who I clicked with. That position was filled internally (heard that one before?), but a year later when another position opened, I was the first person she reached out to and I landed the job.
The second time, over a year later, another direct message on LinkedIn turned into another positive job change. This position description was never even posted online, but I was in the right place at the right time on LinkedIn.
How do you show up in the right place at the right time on LinkedIn? See Step Two.
Step Two – Do all the things
Or at least, always be doing some of the things. Even if you’re not job hunting right now. What things?
They are free and full of valuable info about new tools, strategies, lingo, and resources. They are also a great way to expand your network with the right people … “Hi Ms. Expert, I just watched your webinar on XYZ and I’d love to connect.” Here’s a list of free Webinars for Technical Communicators or Google [your industry] + webinar. Pro tip: If a live webinar is scheduled for a time you can’t attend, still register and you’ll likely get a link to the recording.
Network with your local professional community
I joined the leadership team of a professional chapter for my industry. If you don’t have time for that, attend events when you can. Meetup is a great place to find local events for your industry. Learn the names of people and companies to follow and then engage with them on LinkedIn.
Post, write articles, comment
Have something to say about what you do. Contribute to discussions your network is starting in their posts and articles, and they’ll be more likely to return that engagement. My most recent opportunity happened because the right person saw a relevant article I had just published on LinkedIn. You don’t need to be an Influencer to write an article that gets noticed.
Don’t be complacent if you’re in a good spot now. Your network and credibility is something to build over time, not switch on for a quick return after a missed promotion or unexpected layoff.