• simon penson

    Hi Wil. Thanks for sharing this. I agree completely with your comments around the next big bet.

    Before coming into this industry I spent 10 years as a magazine editor and journalist. I ‘got’ digital a lot earlier than my colleagues (2000) but was lucky enough to work with some super smart people who were awesome at creating audiences of value around content.

    I learned very quickly that the ONLY thing that keeps us entertained, retained and engaged is the content we consume and bet my little agency too on the fact that digital would follow the same path as every other media platform before it.

    I hope you are right but it’s great for me to hear the same thing coming from an industry vet. I truly believe it is the only way.

    How are you finding the education piece for existing clients?

  • Hunter Boyle

    Great piece, Wil. You know my thinking on Big Bet #2 and I’m glad you took it well before it was popular and validated. Not sure I see the new risk as a very big one, though — more and more journalists get it these days, and bring a lot of upside to the search marketing game, especially with quality content at the forefront. Sure, I’m biased (journo graduate), but I’d put my SEO hiring money there, too.

    Definitely make this a series. I’m already looking forward to the next one …

  • Wayne Sleight

    Awesome post, Wil. I’m really coming to enjoy how you think. We hired a PR person 6 months ago and a journalist 3 months ago. Both have been great and have helped the whole team broaden our work. I’ve also found that we are able to provide more value to the client than just higher rankings. The PR person recently got our client a 1 hour speaking presentation at an online conference attended by just over 15k people. Obviously this brought in a ton of sales and major branding for the client. And to think, all he originally was after was a link! Yes, he got the link but a lot, lot more…thanks to his background.

  • kmcgaffin

    Hi Wil, That is a wonderful post. The idea of interviewing yourself gives a great narrative piece ton SEER – a great template to follow. I couldn’t agree more about journalists – if they agree to provide 1000 words by 5pm this afternoon, that is exactly what they’ll do – and then move on to the next piece. Bringing journalists in seems like a very safe bet to me!

  • Bevie Lopez

    Finally. Someone who has seen the light.

  • Krystian Szastok

    Absolutely, the copywriters I’m recruiting for and I get in for interviews are the ones with journalistic experience as they know how to write good stories that appeal to audiences, not keyword stuffed content to any blog guidelines.

  • Miguel Salcido

    Great post Wil! We struggled with the whole SEO tech/client management role issue years ago at a large agency I helped build. We ultimately decided that having SEO people that could also handle clients was the way to go too. Our decision was mostly based on efficiencies and economics though as we had to sell this to the executive team as well as the rest of the staff. But we also believed in the facets you spoke about here.

    And having client managers that were extremely marketing savvy (not just SEO) really did pay off, especially with the more difficult clients. But another thing that happened was that we found it MUCH easier to get upsells and renewals because the client facing people were so strategic.

    Now I have to also mention that it is EXTREMELY difficult to find people that can learn/know online marketing well enough to strategize and speak confidently, and who can also manage the personal relationships with clients. We had a fantastic crew and that made ALL the difference. I believe we were sort of lucky in that regard.