Imagination Publishing, a content marketing firm based in Chicago, knows that strong SEO is the cornerstone of digital content success. Unfortunately, they lacked an internal process to guide the day to day implementation of SEO into their existing content production process. I stepped in to help establish a process that would fit seamlessly into their business.
Creating an SEO Process for Content Production
Imagination Publishing is known for their thought-leadership content production. A firm that is based in print, but has kept pace with the times and gone digital, they are strong content producers who help major brands establish and maintain their status as industry leaders. As industry-leading strategists, they know how to leverage every facet of a particular medium– which is how they knew that strong SEO would be pivotal in helping their digital content reach its intended audience.
Unfortunately, Imagination Publishing did not have an existing process for folding SEO into their content production workstreams. Moreover, workstreams varied from client to client. It would be up to me to create a process that would work for every client with as little modification as possible.
Researching the Existing Content Creation Processes
I spent my first two and a half days onsite sitting down with individual team members, learning about their processes and asking questions about their interactions with each other and the client. Once I had a better feel for the day to day, I began creating an outline of their existing process and identifying oportunities to insert appropriate SEO tasks. But this project was about more than just creating a process, Imagination Publishing had a previous SEO process that hadn’t taken root. By asking team members in interviews about the prior process, I discovered that a lack of task ownership and responsibility meant that no one felt especially pressured to support the old process. SEO requirements often weren’t a consideration until the last minute, which often meant that they weren’t being implemented effectively. Ultimately, that process fell by the wayside.
Defining Tasks and Finding SEO Opportunities
As a copywriter, SEO, and content strategist myself, I was familiar with what a cohesive SEO process looked like in light of both writing and strategy (as well as client and competitor research). I examined the outlines I’d made of each employee’s workflow which included the strategists, creative directors, writers, account managers, and the handful of designers and developers on the IT team, identifying along the way the steps that required SEO knowledge, research, or deliverables. Ultimately, I was able to define and illustrate a process that worked with their existing content production workflow and identified key stakeholders and their respective SEO tasks.
The deliverables produced included:
- An SEO/content production flow chart
- A written guide to support the flow chart
- A written and illustrated guide for conducting SEO keyword research
- A template for creating search optimized web content
- An Opportunity document highlighting ways they could improve their on-page SEO
- A list of resources for further learning