Tracey Wallace is a writer turned content marketer and SEO pro. She was the head of the BigCommerce content team and now holds a similar role for MarketerHire, a marketplace for freelancers, launched in 2019.
In our recent conversation, she touched on the post-Covid workforce, the benefits of hiring freelancers and, yes, how to drive traffic with content marketing.
Our full audio interview is integrated below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: MarketerHire has grown dramatically.
Tracey Wallace: Yes, we have increased by an insane amount. I’ve been there for about a year and a half. Initially, I was the only full-time marketing staff member.
MarketerHire is a marketplace for freelance marketers. When I joined, the main marketing tactic was advertising; they are still important to us. But I was led to drive organic search traffic, which is my journey. I have done this for several other B2B companies.
We are trying to grow our marketing team of five employees and seven freelancers. We use freelancers from our network. But we still need internal talent, so we hire product marketers, copywriters.
Bandholz: Everyone is looking for help with marketing now.
Wallace: To the right. So many people quit their jobs. In August, the number of people in the United States who left their jobs was the highest in 20 years.
It’s scary for business owners. Big business can throw in more money, more benefit. But it’s expensive for the little guys. We recently surveyed over 600 marketers and found that many hire freelancers. They still need work.
There are a lot of freelancers; many have more credentials than internal employees.
Hiring freelancers can also be cheaper. But this requires careful integration and framing of the project. Even marketers who hire freelancers don’t always know the size of a project.
Bandholz: We have turned a lot to the freelancers at Beardbrand. The beauty of hiring freelancers is having someone one day a week who is specialized, like social media, video editing, or writing. That’s all they do and they love it. Whereas an in-house person may love social media but hate blogging or video work.
Wallace: To the right. This is the challenge sometimes with the first full-time hires. In the beginning, you need people to do a lot of things. But as it evolves, the business requires specialized expertise.
Bandholz: Let’s go back to organic research. What are the strategies for doing this?
Wallace: We could do a two hour podcast on organic search strategies. People often ignore it because it takes time. Traders are generally not patient. We can put money behind a Facebook ad and see results fast. Organic research takes six months to a year.
It’s a lot of money for companies to invest without seeing an immediate return. I worked at BigCommerce for four and a half years. I was the sole content marketer for three and a half years. It’s crazy. Shopify, on the other hand, had a bunch of people working there. HubSpot invested in it early on.
The best advice I can give to any small business interested in growing organic search traffic is to post one article per week, or even once per month. And write about your own expertise related to your business.
Do a quick Google search on your topic. There are a ton of search engine optimization tools to help you out. But Google itself will provide information just by searching. There will be 10 articles on page 1. Look at them, especially the first five. Read the.
At the bottom, Google has “Related Searches”. Copy these suggestions and drop them in a Google document. Google also includes similar questions in the search results, called “People ask too.”
Click on these questions and more will appear. You only need three or four questions. Also drop them in a Doc.
Then look at what you just collected. Start formulating what kinds of questions to answer and what people are looking for. These questions should be headers in your article – HTML headers such as an H2.
Then write the response in your own voice under the heading. You can even use CopyAI or Jarvis.
Bandholz: What are CopyAI and Jarvis?
Wallace: These are new writing tools. I don’t know how much they cost. I tried them and a few others.
I am a writer. It is not a challenge for me to produce content. I am not a fan of the copying the tools produce.
But if you’re not a writer, these tools can help. Include a topic such as how to build a bicycle. Then choose your tone, your voice, other variables. You can insert entire outlines and the tools will write articles for you.
It’s all based on artificial intelligence, not human writers. But you can edit it and copy and paste it.
So if you’re struggling to publish a monthly article, try an AI tool.
Bandholz: So, the SEO strategy is all about developing content around the products you are selling.
Wallace: Yes. I use an SEO platform called Ahrefs. I prefer it to Semrush. Many people prefer Semrush. I have used Ahrefs my whole career.
Go to Ahrefs and enter your homepage URL at the top. It will display the number of keywords your site is already ranked for. For each keyword, Ahrefs lists the search volume.
Ahrefs also provides a keyword difficulty score – from 1 to 100, with 100 being the hardest. If you’re new to content marketing, ignore the higher scores and focus on the lower ones.
Look for keywords with high volume that you already rank for, even just a little, and with low keyword difficulty. Then go to that page of your site and improve it – add content or improve what’s there. You can start to climb quite quickly.
Google rewards sites that update pages.
Bandholz: Beardbrand has approximately 1,000 articles. Many of them have not been affected for years. How to update them?
Wallace: You are well placed with 1,000 older articles. Re-drop each article url into a tool like Ahrefs. What keywords do they rank for? Most likely are not classified for many.
Next, figure out which URLs are the most powerful – ranking for the best keyword or driving the most traffic. Then rewrite that post and combine all of the related blog posts into one using 301 redirects. Google likes long content.
Try to update the best articles once a year, or even every six months. You don’t always need a huge update.
And include pictures by all means. Put the keyword in the name of the image. It’s super important. You can even hide keywords there. Tools like Clearscope will tell you which keywords need to be in your article to rank highest. I highly recommend it.
Sometimes you can’t fit all the keywords in an article. I am including these in my image names.
Bandholz: Are we talking about the collection of emails? Do you recommend popups?
Wallace: Well I hate popups as a consumer. I have always hated popups. But they work so well.
If you want to collect more email addresses, a pop-up window makes sense. Just be aware that some people will despise the website because of this.
I like what some brands do with SMS, where they solicit SMS on their Twitter profiles or website or even on packaging. Consumers text brands. As a buyer, I don’t feel like it’s in my face. It doesn’t sound hopeless.
Bandholz: At Beardbrand, we encourage people to text “Style” to a phone number and we will provide style advice.
Wallace: I love it. I think it’s genius. I’ve seen kitchen brands say, “Send ‘Recipe’ to this number and we’ll send you recipes. “
It’s genius. The brand did not spam me. I asked to receive the info. I am not bored. In addition, it is easy to withdraw.
I have to add that I don’t know how it works for brands. But as a consumer, I like it.
Bandholz: SMS kills for everyone now. Traders need to get on this train before it gets crowded like email.
How can listeners contact you?