Let’s Get to The Facts, Shall We?
As a freelance consultant and “hands-on” search engine optimization (SEO) content marketer, one of the biggest obstacles I face is challenging business owners and enterprise project managers to re-think how they currently manage content. There is a multitude of reasons for the reluctance. Great SEO takes time and quality content can be expensive. Experts charge anywhere from 25 to 100 US dollars per hour.
How much does quality content cost?
Here is the skinny.
An article of eight hundred words takes roughly four to six hours to create, depending on the amount of research needed. That means one piece at a twenty-five dollar rate will cost 100 dollars. It is the reason I always advocate for my clients to talk to a few people or agencies before hiring me if money is a concern. My fee is well within the market range, and I state how many hours I will need to complete the task from the onset.
Generally speaking, my articles stay below the 200-dollar mark; if an article takes longer, I do not charge for the added time. I want my clients to have an educated point of view from which to make decisions. Yes, I am that confident in what I do.
Remember, agencies help offer large-scale marketing and SEO. Still, they are sometimes less effective in providing content because they often have no choice but to sacrifice quality for quantity. The good news, with Google’s strict policies, things are improving. I am ecstatic; nothing is more frustrating than reading content that makes little or no sense. Don’t get me started on clickbait. If you want to know, read my recent article, “Clickbait is not a good marketing tactic, here’s why.” Google needs to address that problem in the future. That is a story for another day.
“You get what you pay for” when you cut corners.
Boutique SEO agencies often use a cookie-cutter system and need several people working on one client’s account; therefore, brand content may lack a consistent tone. The content can be disconnected because it lacks any “personal” touch or investment from the employee. A cookie-cutter system offers the same service or strategy to all clients. It is easier for the agency to manage but needs more to provide a unique voice to individual clients.
I have been providing services under the moniker seosam2011 for the past 20 years. I have seen Google algorithms change animals from bears to penguins and even hummingbirds! Today, artificial intelligence and relevance are all the rage. Algorithms are the guidelines for ranking on search engine pages. Contrary to popular belief, there are many Google algorithms. Each of the algorithms addresses different aspects of the content, which is how experience plays a crucial role in managing content. New writers and SEO providers tend to believe there is only one.
Here is why a personal touch matters.
A content agency wants to get the job done at the best price. Depending on the brand and the firm, this can be a good thing or bad, creating the risk of a negative campaign or loss of reputation.
An agency contacted me to work for them. They had one client with six different products and services running under one corporate brand that they wanted me to manage. My job was to provide content; it should have been easy for a seasoned professional like myself.
Let’s get down to why I decided not to take this offer.
Each product was closely related but different and sold in various industries. One industry blog was doing relatively well, the other, not so great. The firm asked me to focus on the one product with the best ROI and just “upkeep” the other. The assessment was that the site was not converting, and they did not want to invest much time in it because the “numbers” didn’t add up. Note that both websites had different products.
Why create two websites if you only focus on one? Is your client aware that you are only trying to sell some of its products? Is it just for SEO purposes? Backlinks? My spidey senses took over, and I had to investigate.
Through asking questions and researching a little further, I realized the other site was not converting because they were using a very “selling” tone. This overselling approach was likely tuning people out. To make matters worse, the social media they implemented was not engaging and scheduled only “selling products” posts. How boring is that?
SEO is only one aspect of content management, and it can be a natural buzz killer when the content is not engaging.
I explained that their client would have a much better ROI on the other side and could obtain a few more “followers” with a few adjustments to the content. He was trying to control the narrative, “If you want to get down to the nitty gritty, the clients that we are reaching for this product are large buying companies that only use keywords and search engines to find products, so we are just focusing on SEO for now.
Their client is the only business in the world with one type of buyer and focuses on one product for a company selling six and expects a good ROI from organic search alone. Someone should have checked the memo on how important relevance and reputation are for ranking and how to build that through connecting with your target market.
It did not matter to them the client was not getting the service they deserved, only that the numbers they provided to the client justified the means of the money they were spending. I could not be a part of this madness because my reputation matters.
The worse part, it was an easy thing to fix.
Fixing this situation was a simple adjustment to the original plan to be more creative and flexible with the digital content. It would entail rewriting the content and crafting posts to attract potential clients. I did not think this was a difficult task, and felt it was thier obligation to do so, but there was not much convincing him; he said, “the marketing plan is solid, and we are moving forward with it. Can you do the job or not?”
On that note, Houston, I am getting out before getting stuck in this space capsule.
While it may sound arrogant on my part, sometimes you have to draw your line in the sand to remain loyal to yourself and your brand.
I explained how his lack of caring for his client’s needs was disheartening to those of us who work hard to provide good services and cannot compete with the big agencies.
He needed to change direction. He did not want to. His response felt close to him, flipping me off in a friendly way. This happens alot to experts who challenge authority and is often perceived as being arrogrant and a “know-it-all.” Why is experience and intelligence considered to be a negative attribute? It should be considered an asset.
Marketing is a collaborative effort; even as a freelance, you are a team member and should be treated and respected as a trained professional. There was no point in considering the job in this situation because it would only frustrate me to work for someone with this outdated mindset.
Houston, my gasket is about to blow!
“Well, it doesn’t matter anymore. We proceed with all of our packages and clients this way. SEO content is all we provide. We offer a plan, and customers agree or not. You write that is your job it is not to question our methods.”
And on that note, I knew the job had imploded right before my eyes.
If you accept a job knowing full well that you are providing “less than desirable” results regardless of the position that you are in, you are selling yourself short. Compromising your principles for money affects your brand and all brands associated with you. Protect and keep it clean and free from clients more interested in profits than success.
You must be logged in to post a comment.