I have an SEO client where I thought I was going to be let go about a year ago from around today. I wasn’t, and they kept renewing (which is good because I love working with them.) Then all of the sudden the projects I was supposed to work on in my contract were now being done in-house. There was changeover and there was growth. It was a good thing. But the in house people hired two competitors of mine to do the rest of the work, so there was nothing left for me. Time to panic, right? No!
Instead of overthinking it, I looked for where I could help using my skills. And this applies to you if you’re an in house employee and have no work on your plate. I’ll stick with SEO for this example, but it applies to affiliate, email, PPC, and other marketers. I’ll share examples by channel after I share the process and deliverables I created to keep my contract going.
I dissected the different teams and included HR, customer service, wholesale/sales, and partnerships to see where I could add value. I then proceeded to create a plan of action for each. Below you’ll see how I did this for HR, and I’ve done this many times over the years with multiple companies. It’s one of the reasons clients stick with us.
By doing this you can show that you are more valuable to an organization than just the specific skill sets they hired you for. As a marketing strategist I know more than tactical marketing, I understand technical debt, business costs including operations and logistics, as well as productivity. And these are skills you likely have too. And even if you don’t, you likely understand other channels and you can apply your knowledge to them. This builds value across teams and keeps you secure in your role (while setting you up for growth.)
Knowing my project was done, I looked at what the teams were working on, then dissected the site and properties into opportunities. Instead of doing a standard SEO audit about ranking for phrases to attract investors and drive revenue, I looked at other teams that I could assist and likely didn’t know what was possible. The big one for this company was HR.
I went through the jobs section and located multiple types of roles. From an SEO standpoint I audited:
- Schema and found missing fields and missing schema occurrences.
- Job feeds not being updated with unique fields for submissions to boards.
- Or keywords and skills that are used to optimize for search results in the platforms.
- Duplicate job descriptions being sent to higher authority sites via syndication.
- Job pages weren’t being crawled or included within sitemaps.
- Refresh and discover were mostly ignoring them.
- Pages weren’t being split out and there was no additional copy or internal links for site structure through the types of jobs.
- The about us page was missing information to encourage potential employees to want to work there.
Next I created a business reason why SEO matters for other teams.
The HR plan included:
- The amount of people looking for specific types of jobs and roles we have available.
- Using estimates and estimated search volumes.
- A screenshot of the job listings in Google (marketing director jobs in DC for example) and how we were nowhere to be found.
- Conversion opportunities with calls to action, certifications, etc… on the landing page.
- This included a section with trust builders like testimonials from people in the department who are still with the company, and their photos.
- How many competing jobs exist within the job boards, and the frequency of postings vs. us being the only one if we controlled the search result.
- A productivity gain statement that would let finance balance the cost of recruitment, paid job ads and placement listings, as well as time spent on recruiters when we could be bringing candidates to us direct.
I put the plan into PowerPoint and sent it to the right people.
- The opening was about the increase in operational productivity, savings by bringing candidates to us vs. having to find them via third party resources we pay for, and the increased time HR will have when candidates come to them.
- Next I had a timeline of implementation to when we’ll see results.
- I prefaced this is up to the search engines, but gave a guestimate for the best case scenario.
- This included adding the work into the tech team’s sprints as they would need to build out the wireframes.
- What the pages would look like with the elements above.
- Job categories.
- Individual post pages.
- Improved calls to action and trust builders.
Because I have a good relationship with my direct report, they were open to listening. And it turns out they loved the idea. By utilizing the vendors that their budget covers, they can benefit other teams and shine. Finance will love the cost savings, HR will love the increase in passive and qualified candidates because they have more time and less stress, and the C Suite can share new and out-of-the-box initiatives that show they innovate to investors or the board.
The plan worked and we’re still together. Instead of just SEO projects, they come to me for more items that aren’t just about new keywords and conversions. This is one way that you as a marketer can better meet the needs of the teams through the website, wording, experience, and trust building. And this applies to all marketing and operational professionals.
- Affiliate and loyalty marketers can set up refer a friend programs with materials and templates to assist HR in finding passive candidates. Then they can train employees on how to promote the positions and make sure they use disclosures if there is an incentive like a signing or hiring bonus.
- PPC teams can make recommended job title and description tweaks based on the data they see and scrape using PPC monitoring tools from competitors and job boards.
- Email professionals can look at the follow up series, subject lines, HTML size, layouts, etc… and find ways to improve deliverability, create drip flows, and feedback funnels.
If you are ever in a situation where you are worried there isn’t enough work for you to do, look at other areas of your company and see how your skills can help them. You become a valuable asset and not another person with some skills in a seat waiting for work.