When working within a large organization, oftentimes it becomes a challenge to communicate your SEO agenda. Sometimes it feels like no one cares about search engine optimization or worse, they want to take it over. Before you throw up your hands and walk away from the board room, you have to understand a basic component of communication: know your audience.
The Profile: They want results. They don’t care what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, just that you’re producing results.
Communication Tactic: Keep it short and simple. General meetings shouldn’t be more than thirty minutes, or you risk losing their attention. Make sure you provide an executive overview that gives KPIs (key performance indictors) that show you’re making progress. Conversion data should be high-level and explanation of your tactics should be broad.
The Profile: They can be your greatest ally or worst enemy depending on how you handle your interactions. They tend to be project oriented and just looking to keep the show running with as little hassle as possible.
Communication Tactic: Don’t expect them to get your marketing vision. Your requests should be concise, detailed and leave very little room for imagination. Because whatever blanks you leave, they may try to fill it for you, and you won’t necessarily like what they do. Use data to sway them to your side, and try a little in-house training to raise awareness on how their job will affect your SEO.
The Profile: They can be your greatest ally or worst enemy depending on how you handle your interactions. (Seeing a trend here?) They may resent the cut in their budget that goes towards your projects. Traditional marketing can and will affect your brand related searches so it’s essential that you’re aware on what is happening.
Communication Tactic: Integrating your efforts will only bring greater success. Make them part of the process, and go to their team to discuss highlighting a Unique Value Proposition (UVP) for the website or get their options on call to actions or offers to highlight on the SEO pages. Their marketing artistry can take an optimized page and turn it into a converter. Don’t be afraid to give their efforts credit where credit is due. You’ll find some of their traditional ideas translate well on the web.
The Profile: They can be your greatest ally or worst enemy depending on how you handle your interactions. (Yes, every department does have an essential role in the company even if they are frustrating you.) They might struggle with the concept of using keywords in their headlines and throughout the copy. Your attempts to “stifle” their creative vision might be met with resentment and frustration.
Communication Tactic: Their goal is to get the company’s news more eyeballs. Show them how your tactics can get them a successful press release. If you have to, do a test between similar press releases, one using their language versus SEO. Show them how your tactics can fit into their work rather than trying to shove SEO down their throats. Yes, honey does work better than vinegar in this case.
The Profile: They’re lawyers, enough said. Their biggest worry is that you’re going to go maverick with the messaging and get the company sued. If you’re on the wrong side of legal, you can suddenly find all of your work is under deep scrutiny and it may take weeks if not months to get your text approved.
Communication Tactic: Sit down with the legal team and set up some basic rules of engagement. Find out what you can and can not say, and stick with it. If you play nice, and show that you’re willing to stick to their rules, you may find the noose around your neck loosening with each page you submit. Eventually, you may even get enough trust that every single page doesn’t have to go in front of them.
Getting it together
Obviously, these are just archetypes of a corporate team, and your situation may differ based on the personalities within these teams. Make sure that you get to know these other players, find out their motivations and craft your communication to align yourself with their goals. Otherwise, the alternative is that you spend most of your day banging your head against the wall and getting very little accomplished. Remember, you’re an in-house SEO. Being an army of one doesn’t get you very far in the corporate structure.