Perhaps you remember “Beauty and The Beast,” the Disney Classic, as a touching story about a beautiful girl who sees beyond physical appearance. Or, maybe you’re like me, and you remember The Beast as the most terrifying creature in Disney history.
Seriously—Watch the movie. The Beast is big, hairy, and has fang-like teeth that could rip my dog to shreds. No matter how many times those teacups sing “Be Our Guest,” The Beast’s horrendous temper shines through.
When I began working as a content writer, I equated most SEOs with The Beast. I figured they were so caught up in search results, Google, and rankings that they didn’t care about great, readable content. They didn’t care that I’d studied poetry in college, or that I could tell a great story with my words. They were willing to sacrifice my artistic expression in order to cram “cloud computing for business” 11 times in one 200-word article. How dare them!
Sure, the SEO specialists weren’t quite as physically grotesque as The Beast, but I wasn’t excited about working with them.
Then, I met Tim, the Senior SEO Specialist that showed me that there’s a little bit of beauty in SEO.
Last February, I began working as a Content Marketing Specialist at Grasshopper. Our company helps entrepreneurs and small business owners get virtual phone systems. Our product is great, but it isn’t glamorous, and I thought Tim would be intent on including phrases like “cloud phone system” into every blog post, meta-description, and landing page.
But from the get-go, Tim refused to be seen as The Beast. He admitted that sometimes people thought he was ugly and gross, just because others in his field had a reputation for shady tactics. That wasn’t him, he promised, and Tim and I began to work together to achieve online success.
We have a great relationship, and Tim has taught me a lot about how writers and SEO specialists can get along. It wouldn’t be fair to hoard this knowledge, so here are a few tips for content marketers looking to find beauty in The Beast.
1. Remember that one of you is better at Google Analytics. On my resume, I list Google Analytics as a skill, but Tim schools me in anything analytics related. Knowing that he can make charts, interpret percentages, and analyze meta-tags helps me appreciate how much I need his expertise. I’d honestly have no idea if my blog posts were performing well if it wasn’t for Tim.
2. Consider that writers and SEOs have different objectives. If you’re an SEO, you probably want to drive web traffic and perform well in SERPs. If you’re a writer, you might want to create great stuff that people want to read. The two of you may come from different academic and professional backgrounds. In order to understand where someone is coming from, you must consider the other’s perspective. It’s not all about you.
3. SEOs should not be seen as monsters. It wasn’t fair for me to assume that Tim was out to get me, even though he was the first to acknowledge that SEOs have a bad reputation. If you let yourself be caught up in what you think someone will be like, you’re a lot less likely to give them a chance. You’ll close yourself off to their ideas, too.
4. Great content = great results. As much as Tim wants the world to turn his eyes on our website, he knows he needs awesome writing. My great content will benefit SEO, and Tim knows that. If a writer has an idea to write a blog post about magic markers that she’s sure the audience will love, the SEO needs to step back and listen, even if he thinks it’s a dumb idea.
5. Be a human being. Part of the reason Tim and I get along is because we respect each other, and talk to the other as though we’re human beings. We know we’re flawed, but we do our best to talk about differences, always respecting each other’s abilities. We treat each other as we want to be treated: a positive relationship is necessary to achieve success is key to owning the internet.
Other SEOs and content writers can learn from Tim and me. Tim proved to me that sometimes SEOs are beautiful inside, just like The Beast. Underneath, they’re human beings with the same desires as writers–both want what’s best for their company.
A good relationship between SEOs and content writers? It’s the only recipe for a fairytale ending.
About the Author:
Emma Siemasko is a Boston-based writer and Content Marketing Specialist at Grasshopper, the entrepreneur’s phone system. Grasshopper provides call forwarding, toll free numbers, and other services as part of an easy to use virtual phone system. To get in touch with Emma, visit her website or follow her on Twitter @EmmaFayeS.