4 Tips to Increase Your In-House Influence (Hint: Use Data)
Some people think SEO is some dark and mysterious art. Not only something mere mortals don’t get but don’t play with either.
You know them – they are your coworkers, bosses, managers…. In fact, I bet half of the people around you have no clue what you’re doing.
To many, you may as well be mindlessly browsing the net, all day.
That’s not the scariest part. This lack of understanding often results in SEO being omitted from important company’s decisions. In many organizations SEOs don’t even get a seat at the table to make decisions affecting their own work.
Now, that’s scary.
But it’s hard to blame C-Suite for not getting what we do though. Many of them are old school business people who find digital strategies too complex and changing too fast to catch up with. Sometimes it feels that many choose to ignore them rather than try to understand. Perhaps it seemseasier this way.
At the same time, digital marketing plays a significant role in their company’s marketing mix. And regardless of what anyone might say, SEO is one of its leading channels.
So, what could you do to get that seat at the table and increase your influence on the organization?
Use one thing you have plenty of – data. Here’s how.
1. Test and Collect Relevant Data
Organizations live by the data, fact. Just check out this 2013 report by the International Institute of Analytics on Big Data in Big Companies (link to PDF). Often it’s not common sense but numbers they base their decisions on.
At the same time, show me a more data driven industry than SEO. We love to make sense of numbers, insights, tests results, analysis and so on. More importantly, we have access to plenty of it too.
A lot of the data you collect during your SEO tests can also be relevant to other departments. Market insights, competitor strategies, emerging or changing trends to follow, new competitors to pay attention to and a lot more in between can help others in achieving their goals too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Content performance, ad placements, conversions, changes to SERPs and much more can also affect others work.
2. Make Strategic Recommendations
Unfortunately, data has no voice on its own. At the same time, data analysis is difficult, tiresome and time consuming. Luckily, this gives you a chance to make the most impact.
Make strategic recommendations based on your data. What are the key takeaways for other departments based on your information? How can this be tied down to the organization’s top objectives and initiatives? What do you recommend as a result of those insights? Build a story around your data to show how this all can improve the company’s performance.
3. Toot Your Horn A Little Too
Great data and insights are valuable but to increase your influence you need to toot your horn a bit too. You need to build news around you, share your success to create a sense of your authority.
Use events like management meeting and get a 15 minute slot to present your news story, perhaps also show the numbers and show how your work helps other departments.
Sure, you might be balancing on the thin line of bragging here. Therefore, don’t focus on yourself. Present your news from others perspective. For instance, does the uptake in traffic helped other departments too? Has a major exposure of a particular piece of content in search helped to direct more visitors to sales or even contact pages, generating more leads for the sales people? By presenting the data in relation to another aspect of the company’s operations, one that’s important to other departments you are making your story relevant to them. And what’s a better way to show people your influence than by telling them how much they gain from you?
4. Become Approachable
Lastly, SEO can be a very solitary profession, especially if you are a solo SEO in the company. Most of the time you work alone. And on things no one else really gets.
But in order to gain that influence you need to become approachable. No one’s going to consider a guy sitting somewhere in the corner seriously. Have others in mind, be helpful to them and take part in anything you are invited to.
Creative commons image by krissen / Flickr