In-House Team Building & Training – Pubcon Vegas 2013

The second session I participated in during Pubcon Vegas 2013 was the In-House Team Building & Training panel. I was joined this year by Victoria Edwards and Andrew Nevelos. Here are the notes I took …

The second session I participated in during Pubcon Vegas 2013 was the In-House Team Building & Training panel. I was joined this year by Victoria Edwards and Andrew Nevelos. Here are the notes I took:

How to Hire & Train The Right People to Get Stuff Done by Victoria Edwards, Digital Content Specialist at Florida Blue

  • Make sure you analyze your marketing strategy. Do you have clearly defined roles?
  • When looking to add to your team, make sure to train your HR department in basic SEO lingo.
    • Tell them where the talent lives so they can find quality people.
    • Teach them some buzzwords that indicate high- and low-quality prospects
  • Consider using Klout when looking for people.  Don’t neglect LinkedIn
  • When writing job descriptions, don’t ask for everything. Be specific!
  • Don’t forget to optimize job descriptions – they will be online
  • Content writers and anyone else who touches a site should have a basic knowledge of SEO
  • Ask for case studies from prospects. That will help you gauge what kind of talent they have. Also ask about current SEO topics
  • When you get good talent …
    • make sure they have to tools they need
    • invest in their training
  • If you have an Intranet, build up the content so everyone can learn what’s going on
  • Build relationships internally – especially with the IT Department (or whoever does the changes on your website)
  • Looking for content? Get people in-house to contribute content pieces in their areas of expertise

Crowdsourcing SEO by Andrew Nevelos, SEO Manager at Turner Broadcasting

  • Consider crowd-sourcing SEO – find those who are interested in SEO and get them to pitch into the effort
  • Get people who are part of brand and have a vested interest in success help with the ownership of SEO
  • Get people at all levels of the organization to buy into SEO – Start at the top. Executive buy-in can help get the whole organization to follow
  • In order to get others to align with your goals, find out what their goals are can help align all sides in a common effort
  • This especially applies to your web development team
    • Conduct regular training with your dev team(s)
    • Bribe them with food
    • Identify your “SEO Superstars” from the people who show a lot of interest in SEO and do some one-on-one training with them
  • You also need to conduct training with your content creators
  • Try to get SEO as a requirement into new projects – this keeps from have to redo a lot of website work after the fact
  • See you can find a way to meld SEO into the way people already work

I’ll share my part of the presentation later.

In-House SEO – PubCon Regional Conference Austin

The In-House SEO session at the PubCon Regional event in Austin was moderated by Joe Laratro and featured me along with Peter Leshaw and Tron Jordheim. Of course, I didn’t take any notes during my presentation (obviously), but I did jot down a few thoughts from the others …

The In-House SEO session at the PubCon Regional event in Austin was moderated by Joe Laratro, President of Tandem Interactive and featured me along with Peter Leshaw and Tron Jordheim. Of course, I didn’t take any notes during my presentation (obviously), but I did jot down a few thoughts from the others:

Peter Leshaw – Chief Strategist, iCanOptimize.com

Practical Ways of Leading Your SEO Team

  •  Build your case and tell your story. Dashboards are great for illustrating data [Note: This was a central theme throughout the day. Melanie brought it up in her keynote, I mentioned it in my presentation as did many others. Gone are the days when you can just talk about traffic stats – you have to find a way to tie SEO back into revenue.]
  • Build your team  – Personal Growth through Networking
    • Help them to understand the industry and what it’s about. Not just SEO industry, but the industries you’re working in/with
    • Provide them with tools to expand their knowledge
    • Things change all the time – it’s important to keep on top of new techniques and strategies
    • Give the team time to read blogs and such to help them learn and bring knowledge back to the team.
    • Pro-bono work can help build skills as well as help worthy causes.
    • Watch those who work outside the company. Don’t forbid, but keep track.

Tron Jordheim – CMO of StorageMart

Tron had some very interesting thoughts about local SEO:

  • Self-Storage is really a “brick and mortar” operation, but things have changed and now there is a need to be more “e-commerce”
  • More than 55% of StorageMart’s business comes from online sources
  • Challenges:
    • Operating in 2 countries
    • Several language differences:
      • Spanish
      • English (U.S. and Canada)
      • Chinese
    • Competition is huge in the self-storage business
  • Everything in SEO
    • Back in the day, the Yellow Pages was the local search engine
    • Now there are tons of options to help people find what they’re looking for
    • For StorageMart, Organic search brings the most conversions when customers get to the website
    • Even though a lot of people come in online, the majority still call, and some drive down to their local place.  It’s important to tie phone and in-person conversion back to online where appropriate.
  • It’s good to simplify the process as much as possible – the challenge is to figure out what not to do.
    • Try to figure out where your customers are and be there, too.
    • Locations? Local is key. What directories serve where you have locations?
  • Sometimes when you’re too close to a situation, outside vendors can help you see things better.

That last point is very valid. Sometimes it does take another set of eyes to see through challenges to better solutions. Outsiders can also give you a fresh perspective on how you might be able to do things better.

Let me also take this opportunity to bring up the new SEO/SEM organization being formed in Austin: ATXSEM.org. You have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what will surely be an excellent information-sharing and networking group!

I highly encourage you to attend the next PubCon event which will be held April 22-25, 2013 in New Orleans, LA. This one-day event was great, but the full 3-day PubCon is even better. I will be presenting in a couple of sessions, moderating another and participating in a live site review. It’s going to be great – click the link above for more details.

The Countdown: PubCon Regional Austin Day Conference 2013

It seems like just a couple weeks ago we were in Las Vegas at PubCon 2012 – and now it’s already time to get ready for the PubCon Regsion Austin Day Conference which will be held on February 21, 2013 at the AT&T Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus in Austin, Texas. This is going to be a great event filled with expert speakers …

It seems like just a couple weeks ago we were in Las Vegas at PubCon 2012 – and now it’s already time to get ready for the PubCon Regional Austin Day Conference which will be held on February 21, 2013 at the AT&T Conference Center which is located on the University of Texas Campus in Austin, Texas. This is going to be a great event filled with expert speakers – many from in and around Austin – from whom you can gather great knowledge to help you with your company’s or your clients’ online efforts.

I will be participating in two sessions:

Mark your calendars: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at the AT&T Conference Center, Austin Texas. Registration for this event is now open so register today.

If you can’t make it to Austin in February, maybe you can make it to New Orleans in April? I will also be presenting during PubCon South 2013 in New Orleans, April 22-25, 2013. Registration for that event is also open.

PS – You who are regular readers of The Crossing have (hopefully) noticed that new posts have been somewhat scarce lately. This is because I’ve been working some pretty long hours on a special project. This will be wrapping up soon and I’ll get back to posting on a more regular basis.

Don’t Stop Communicating – The Other Side of the Coin

I recently wrote a piece directed at marketers reminding them that it is important to keep their IT folks in the loop all the time. This is important so they can get the best advice, counsel and work the IT folks can offer. There is another side to the coin, as there usually is. The IT folks have to be willing to communicate as well.

I recently wrote a piece directed at marketers reminding them that it is important to keep their IT folks in the loop all the time. This is important so they can get the best advice, counsel and work the IT folks can offer. It’s a topic I talk and write about quite often.

Friends TalkingAs is usually the case, there is another side to the coin. The IT folks have to be willing to communicate as well.

As in any relationship, the one between Marketing and IT is a two-way street. Each side has to be willing to work with the other and offer the best they have to the relationship. Each side has abilities and strengths the other lacks. By combining skills, knowledge and efforts, the entire organization benefits.

It goes without saying that Marketing and IT have different missions within an organization. But, where those missions overlap, it is in each groups’ best interest to cooperate for the good of everyone. Sometimes this involves compromise and sacrifice. Isn’t that true in any relationship?

Here’s my challenge to my IT counterparts in 2012: Reach out to your Marketing colleagues and try to find meaningful ways you can help them succeed. Look at their business objectives and see if you can find ways to help meet them. Not only will you learn more and expand your horizons, you will help the whole business do better. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

What say you? Are you in a corporate IT group and have a good relationship with your Marketing counterparts? What kinds of things help the relationship? Please feel free to share any tips in the comments.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mikecogh

Stump The Nerds! – BlogathonATX

Some ideas I got from the Stump The Nerds panel at BlogathonATX with Jeremy Arntz, Jackie Dana and Pat Ramsey. They were taking questions on techie topics relating to blogging and other web sites. Best quote? Learning CSS, PHP and HTML are very important. Especially if you try to get help from a developer. You should have a sense of what’s going on – it’ll save you time and money in the long run

Some ideas I got from the Stump The Nerds panel at BlogathonATX with Jeremy Arntz, Jackie Dana and Pat Ramsey. They were taking questions on techie topics relating to blogging and other web sites.

  • While all blog platforms have great features and are easy to set up, a self-hosted WordPress install gives you many more options, there are a lot more themes to choose from, and you have a lot of control over your site.
  • Cloud hosting is good if you want to scale to more memory, disk space and processor power
  • Use Akismet is a great plug-in for catching comment spam. It’s worth signing up for a WordPress.com account to get an API key
  • Analytics is easy and important. Google Analytics is a good option
  • Use Regenerate Thumbnail plugin for WordPress to automatically resize thumbnails when you redesign your site.
  • Use a cache plugin to speed up your download times. W3TotalCache is a good option
  • Nextgen Gallery is a great plugin if you display a lot of images
  • Don’t forget a social media sharing plug in to help readers share your site
  • Don’t go crazy downloading plugins, if you get too many plugins your site’s performance will take a hit. Plus, there’s more updates to keep track of and more chances for problems
  • A good category structure can benefit your SEO more than tags. Don’t forget the basics like good content and titles, too
  • Tags are very handy for plugins that display related stories with a post
  • Learning CSS, PHP and HTML are very important. Especially if you try to get help from a developer. You should have a sense of what’s going on – it’ll save you time and money in the long run
  • Backups are very important. This is especially true if you try to hack some code yourself. It’s nice to be able to roll back changes if you mess something up
  • Don’t install a plugin just because you think it’s cool. Install it only if you have a real need for the functionality it offers
  • Is SEO important for the personal blogger? It is if you want people to read your blog. But, not every blog will be successful. If no one is interested in what you right about, all the SEO in the world will help it. Consider tweaking your content or changing your format
  • Make sure to delete old plugins and themes you no longer use
  • Make sure to use a good strong password. That’s your first line of defense against hacking. Also, avoid using “Admin” for the admin user name. (I wrote a post about creating strong passwords a while back: Four Steps To Better Passwords – you might find it helpful)