Skyword Team Q&A: How the Strategic Services Team Impacts Your Content Strategy

content marketing strategy development

Behind the scenes at Skyword, we’re a growing company made up of various unique departments. Each plays an integral role in helping the company achieve its goal: to provide organizations a way to efficiently and meaningfully reach their audiences through quality content optimized for search and the social web.

Ready to learn more about the company and our individual roles? Read on for a Q&A with Director of Strategic Services, Christine McManus. Find out what her clients’ biggest challenges are, her thoughts on B2B vs B2C content marketing, and which leaders she thinks are paving the way in our industry.

What is the Strategic Services department and what do you do as its Director?

The Strategic Services department manages each client’s content strategy plan, including configuration with the Skyword Platform, keyword and topic management, writer recruitment and training, content review, and ongoing reporting and optimization. We also make sure the client’s site is set up to succeed in organic search by providing a site audit and submitting their site maps to Google, including Google News.

As a Director, I work closely with our Content Strategists and oversee all of the aspects mentioned above.

What types of clients do you work with and why are they using the Skyword Platform?

Most of my clients are from either the brand or media space. I work directly with Daily Glow, owned by the Everyday Health media group. They chose Skyword to increase organic search traffic to their site through a combination of evergreen and news content, and also for the ease of the automated workflow that Skyword offers. Since their launch in January of 2011, Daily Glow has seen amazing traffic growth generated by Skyword content.

I also manage IBM’s Midsize Insider site’s news program. Midsize Insider publishes articles for small-to-midsize business owners and IT decision makers with insight and perspective on the IT challenges and trends. IBM wanted to increase its site traffic through a news content strategy. With a few site changes, we were able to get them accepted into Google News and have seen their traffic increase dramatically.

What are the biggest content marketing challenges your clients face?

One of the biggest challenges I see my clients facing for content marketing is being able to produce quality content at any scale in a streamlined manner–and making sure it’s ready to perform. This process can be a major drain on their resources. Usually, the freelance writer submits the first draft in a Word document; it goes to the editor, who reviews it for quality; then, it moves onto the SEO reviewer, who “tweaks” the article for search optimization. It then goes back to the editor, who ensures the quality wasn’t diminished too much by that optimization, and then it goes live on the site. After all that, they need to make sure their payment department gets the payment to the writer in a timely manner.

One of my favorite parts of this job is being able to relieve much of the stress clients face from this process by getting them on to Skyword as soon as we can. I love hearing how excited they are when they see that back-and-forth go away, and experience the improved search performance of their content.

How is B2B content marketing different than B2C content marketing?

The only real difference is the audience. Other than that, there really isn’t that big of a difference because either way it’s about offering enriching content that engages your audience at various points during the sales process, and starting to build brand affinity. For both, there’s the awareness level, where content is needed to catch people’s attention and ignite brand consideration; there’s the purchase stage, where helpful information is presented, even in the form of additional purchases, that supports the recent purchase; and the post-purchase phase, where supportive content is helpful because it keeps the brand top-of-mind for future purchases.

What future content marketing trends are on your radar?

A rapidly growing trend is the use of video in this search-optimized world. YouTube is the second-highest search engine (only after Google) today, so clients are looking for ways to capture consumers’ attention by integrating video into their content marketing plans.

Who (a person, company, organization, etc.) do you think is doing content marketing really well?

I recently heard Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas in Virginia, speak at the Content Marketing World conference in Columbus, Ohio. He spoke about how adding content to his site dramatically increased his search traffic. It may seem that a small pool company couldn’t benefit from content marketing that targets organic search, but it absolutely has. He was able to capture local consumers just by creating relevant content for anyone purchasing a pool.

AutoTrader.com is another example of a company that is doing content marketing the right way. They understand the importance of using powerful analytics to inform content strategy and improving efficiences to make the entire process scalable. Skyword is actually helping them with this. They’re leveraging Skyword’s reporting tools to refine their assignment process, using our workflow tools to connect writers and editors and streamline communication, and they’ve even started recruiting Skywriters to transcribe video for search.

Ready to learn more about who’s who at Skyword? Stay tuned for a new Q&A session, coming soon.

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