3 biggest strengths experience gives you, which I completely underestimated…
I wanted to share three things with you, which I’m not even sure I realised were valuable skills at the time, but I’ve certainly come to appreciate more over the years.
I’m sure this will be different for everyone, but looking back, these are some things that have worked well for me:
1) Building a strong network = potential to fix challenges quicker
In the early days (~2003–2007-ish) I learned SEO by absorbing as much information as I could get my hands on, and by applying it to learn through experiences.
I still think this is the best way for anyone to learn. But now I’m less involved in the day-to-day activity, I have to be more efficient with my time in keeping up-to-speed with latest trends and fixing challenges.
I’ve offered help to a lot of people over the years, always without expecting anything in return and that has a huge amount of benefits when it comes to not just gaining trust / building relationships / winning new clients / growing a business, but also in being able to problem solve for clients.
My fear has always been that I’ll become out of touch, but taking SEO to the next level for me has become about; a) being able to say when you don’t understand the answer to something, and b) knowing who to ask that will be able to help.
2) The ability to combine business experience + SEO knowledge, has made me a better marketer
Following on from the above point, in many ways I’m definitely not as strong as I once was at being an SEO/marketing practitioner.
However, the skillset I have realised I have is that by having ran a business for over 11 years and done SEO for 15 years, I can combine the two to create a much more meaningful strategy, which has proved to be a very useful and underrated (by myself) strength.
Plus it also frees me up to think much more about the future of search, where we want to take our clients and the vision for ourselves as an agency to best support where things are heading.
This has helped me to keep things simple and talk a business owner/marketing director language.
Marketing very rarely has to be complicated — if you can focus the conversation on the essentials of how to make a positive return from your marketing spend, you’re unlikely to go too far wrong.
Keep it simple, stupid 🙂
3) Being a marketer, has made me better at sales
I’ve tried, and always failed, to hire sales people that can support our growth as an agency in a win/win model.
This could easily be a post in itself, but the summary is that by experiencing many different challenges (both in SEO/content marketing and running a business), this has been extremely useful when it comes to sales.
I’m the first person to admit that I’m not a salesperson (certainly in the traditional sense), I’m a marketer at heart — and that’s brought unexpected advantages, as the challenge for me is always about problem solving, rather than thinking about how/what I’m going to sell.
Being able to give case studies and frames of reference off the top of my head from previous work I have been involved in, has been very useful towards building trust around how to fix a specific challenge, as rather than trying to sell, I can often explain how a similar issue has been fixed before.
I’ve found that’s normally more useful for the buyer, because it means that I often pay much more attention to understanding their challenge, and rather than trying to sell them a solution, I jump straight into trying to find the right one for them.
I hope that’s useful, and at the very least it re-assures me there are at least three benefits to getting old!
Kevin Gibbons, CEO, BlueGlass