In this episode, we discuss content marketing and working as a content marketer. You will learn what it takes to work as a Content Marketer and have a unique sneak peek into Daisy’s daily life.
Daisy is a Content marketer using SEO, audience research, & strategy to help clients create enticing content for bots and humans. She is also a truly inspiring human. It was a pleasure to interview her.
🧡 Many thanks to Daisy for sharing her experience with us.
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Getting in touch with our podcast guest, Daisy-ree Quaker
#WorkinSEOPodcast full transcript with Daisy-ree Quaker
Isaline: Hello, everybody. It's Isaline, and I'm thrilled to record another episode of WorkInSEO Podcast, a podcast where we explore the diversity of career path in SEO. We interview amazing people to learn from them and help you find your way in your SEO career. I'm Isaline Muelhauser, SEO nerd and content strategist, founder of the SEO consultancy, Pilea.ch.
Today, I am joined by the wonderful Daisy-ree Quaker. Daisy is a content marketer using SEO audience research and strategy to help clients create enticing content for bots and humans. The story of how I spotted Daisy is very typical of my digital behavior. Someone I follow commented on one of Daisy's posts. I liked what I saw, so I kept on checking what kind of profile she had. I checked her medium accounts to see if she wrote anything. I was a friendly digital stalker. I followed her on LinkedIn, but it took me a while to get in touch with her because I had nothing really. I mean, I didn't know her and I'm not asking people to get in touch with me if I don't have something to tell them. I just followed silently.
I'm really happy. Today, I get a chance to talk to Daisy. Finally, I think we are friends on LinkedIn or whatever that is called when people are linked. Anyway. Hey, Daisy, and welcome.
Daisy-ree: Hi, Isaline. Thank you for having me.
Isaline: As you know, SEO is a very broad industry and content marketing as well. When you're first starting in SEO, it can be difficult knowing what kind of role one wish to do or what kind of specific fields one wish to work with. Today, in this WorkInSEO Podcast with Daisy, we discuss working as a content marketer and an SEO. We'll discuss what it takes and what kind of skill you might need to do this, and of course, resources, and anything related to this.
Daisy, can you give our audience an overview of what you currently do?
Daisy-ree: Sure. Currently, I do consulting. I work with clients, companies range in sizes, helping them with their SEO content efforts. Whether that strategy in terms of figuring out what they need to do, capacity resource building sort of training their teams and getting them to understand SEO, understanding content marketing, understanding the tools that we use in the industry, or creating the content itself. I kind of call it content shop. It runs the gamut from strategy and workflows and execution, training [unin 00:03:06].
Isaline: Do you have any favorite type of industry or favorite type of challenge?
Daisy-ree: That's a great question. I like the challenge question. I don't have a favorite type of industry. I would say I focus within healthcare, [unin 00:03:24] and eCommerce platforms. Other than that, favorite type of challenge. Really, I feel I'm in a great place because I go from figuring out constant strategy, what do we need to do to helping teams understand what they need to do and helping teams learn. I would say that I just kind of figuring out how content fits in to company's goals and helping them achieve those goals through content marketing, SEO, optimizing content for conversions, thinking about the customer experience through our content lens. It's sort of at the heart of what I do because I always connect what I do to the people. I think maybe that's where my mind goes and that's where I'm driven is to help people. I think of SEO content as a tool for me to help people meet their needs.
Isaline: Can you unpack for our audience where you started? Did you start first as a content marketer or as SEO, or do you think you were, the whole time, a blend of both?
Daisy-ree: I was a blend of everything. I started in the industry as a blogger, so back when blogging was cool, I guess. I had a blog when I finished college and sort of just playing around with this idea and discovered internet marketing. I started following Moz back when Rand was doing Whiteboard Fridays. That was my first sort of introduction to this whole marketing channel that I hadn't learned about previously. From there, I went and worked at an agency. I worked in-house and when I was in-house, I was managing not just SEO but PPC ad campaigns, and social media marketing, and email marketing, and marketing automation. It was sort of just digital marketing, the whole umbrella of what fit in with that company.
When I actually started working for myself, when I started consulting, I had who-am-I sort of crisis because I hadn't thought about what of these do I actually want to offer people, what do I actually want to do? It can be sort of a gift and a curse having worked in all these different fields to, one, you don't really have a specialty when you start off consulting. But two, you realize quickly that when we don't have a specialty, you are just going to get burnt out because keeping up with different clients, campaigns, channels was really exhausting as a consultant.
I went back to what I knew first and foremost was content was what drew me to this industry and helping clients improve their search traffic was really what spoke to me. There's different ways you can use content and music for social. I mean, I'm talking about the same thing I used to do. I decided to specialize in SEO content because I felt the thing that I could really own and sort of allowing the other things to come and go as need be.
Isaline: I hear that in the agency, you were really seeing the whole strategy and the different kinds of channels. You had really a broad view of a communication strategy. I hear that it can be difficult to define one specific area and not everything. Also, because as a consultant, you are supposed to have USPs, unique selling proposition, and say what you're good at.
Can you explain for our audience who some of them are beginning in SEO what would be contents marketing for SEO, what is most important? I know it's a hard question.
Daisy-ree: I was just trying to think through how to explain it without going and talking for an hour.
What is important in SEO from a content marketing perspective or what is important in content marketing from an SEO perspective? I'd say making sure that you're building according to the goals. It can be really exciting to maybe rank for a keyword and gain a certain position, but it might not mean anything for the business in terms of conversions or actual leads or customers. I think that the most important thing, I think, is to keep in mind the goal of any business is to continue being profitable and creating content and supposed to support that. Sometimes it is just a brand buildings or the build awareness, but other times, it's getting leads or getting them on a traffic to certain pages because these pages will help us with user testing.
I guess it varies, so making sure that your goal as a SEO content marketer is aligned with the business goals is really important and kind of always reminding the business support you're working on and why. You can miss it because you can be focused on one thing or another thing, and then you can miss the whole big picture where you fit into the company. That can sometimes hurt you to this freelance consultant.
Isaline: Is there any kind of special skills that you think are very useful or that anyone who wishes to work as a content marketer SEO should have?
Daisy-ree: If you work in-house, you have one set of skills. If you work with consultants, you have another. Which one should I talk about?
Isaline: That sounds interesting. I want to hear about both.
Daisy-ree: Okay. When you work in-house, the ability to work, play well with others, play nice with others, understanding that you might need to influence other people without them necessarily being in the same department as you or even in your chain of command. Just navigating that is a super powerful skill. I've seen it personally. I've seen it hold me back in my career and I've seen it help others. I tried to learn how to do it well, but just the ability to navigate internal politics can be huge difference in how your career shapes out. Because from a marketing perspective, just anyone in the marketing department, you have very little say in sometimes what happens, but you need to influence the people that are then going to have a say.
I think of the times, for example, when I took over the company blog and we had to build a team of writers and I didn't have resources to go and just outsource our writing, and I didn't have the capacity to create all the content myself or the knowledge because we were working in a very technical industry. But just by working with internal departments, I was able to build a team of volunteers that then made a huge difference in my own ability to grow traffics with the blog, to train others on how to CSU and the value of it to have advocates inside the company that could speak to what we could do with a blog in their own department meetings. That made such a huge difference that I think of that case study a lot because it is a very team effort when you work internally. A lot of the success stories, usually it's one person talking about what they did, but it's a team. That is the most important skill I'd say.
Beyond that, technical skills don't vary that much between the two, but that's the one big thing I'd say it's navigating all of those influencing others, working well and just kind of recruiting support, and building your team, and building the team of advocates that can help you advocate for a budget, help you support your efforts essentially.
As a consultant, managing the business side is really a skill that I underestimated. Basically, if you're a consultant, it's important to stay profitable, manage your time well and manage others well. I've been freelancing, going on three years, over three years. In that time, I have learned that, as a consultant, I'm my own business. I'm not brought on to be a part of someone else's team. I think of my own business as Daisy Digital, and I'm working for Daisy Visual. What is the best decision for that business?
Also, learning profitability. What's the most profitable way to spend my time? How do I package my services so that I'm not creating a new proposal every time a new client talks to me because that can be very draining? Learning to say no and passing on stuff. I don't have to take on everything, learning to sell myself and be confident on calls, especially if I usually get nervous. When I'm nervous, I'm just kind of scatterbrained and not able to answer properly or just not as competent as I could be, and that can hurt me. Learning to be confident.
I think business skills like sales, customer service, just being responsive to customers, setting boundaries, managing my time. I've since worked with two other freelancers. Recruiting freelancers and managing their time, and paying them on time, and invoicing. It's just all these business skills that are outside of the work you do but are super important because if you don't get these things right, then you have a very hard time doing the work you're doing.
Then, coming down to the work you do, the skills for SEO content, specifically our research questioning, being able to just figure out answers and not necessarily follow what is dictated to you. I think that oftentimes people tell you what they think they need, but you need to dig deeper and figure out what they actually need.
The ability to determine strategy building, it's really, I think, one of my biggest strengths is being able to look at information and figure out how all the pieces come together. You don't have to be a strategist. There's different career paths. You can just be somebody who does content writing, or you can be someone who just does strategy. But being able to understand both worlds can actually really be helpful no matter what you choose.
I think here with research, but that's easy now. There's so many tools. But being able to determine, I think search intent grew in popularity, but before all of this, I think is just that being able to determine who you're trying to speak to and what they're doing, and how this fits into that. Because if you miss that, then you might end up with a piece of content that does nothing because it's not serving anyone or it's not resonating, or it's not even nice to show up for the most relevant sort of search terms. Or, you might end up going down a path that isn't beneficial to the business and just growing a list for no reason.
Yeah. Being able to tie back what you're doing to the company goals. Reporting. Oh, my goodness. Reporting is something I sometimes dread, but I'm always glad I do. But being able to look at stats and analytics, and you don't have to be a statistician or an analyst to really understand it, but just to optimize what your content is doing but also to continue reporting back to the business, how things are going. I've just been really long-winded, but those are the things that came to mind.
Isaline: I hear many different very interesting things. The first set of soft skills actually necessary to work in-house like interpersonal communication and the capacity to influence and discuss. I suppose this is necessary for many different roles within a company, even if not a content marketer. And then, the sets of skills that are needed as a consultant because you are a business owner obviously and you need to be profitable for, but for your own sake, sort of.
Then, you described the different skills necessary to be a content marketer. There, I heard the ability to do researching and to understand really the audience. Here, probably what is interesting is understanding the audience is not necessarily understanding what your clients are asking you to do. There might be two different things here. Also, everything about reporting in analytics.
Did you learn these different skills step-by-step because you needed it during a project? Or, were you like, "Oh, today I'm learning Google Analytics and I'm doing all of the free Google Analytics classes: beginners and advanced?" How was your process to learn?
Daisy-ree: Listen, I'm lazy. If I don't need to learn something, I won't. I usually learn because of necessity. I need to be. Sometimes, I put myself in situations where I will be forced to learn because every time I say, "I'm going to learn this skill," it will never happen because I will rather do so many other things than going to sit and learn something for no reason, which is maybe a gift and a curse because there's people who really enjoy learning for learning's sake. But what I think happens with me, especially was I realized I needed a certain skill to communicate. I needed to know analytics to say what was happening on the site to advocate for. "Yeah, we need to make this decision versus that decision because this is what's happening. Or, we need to prioritize these pages. I know you want me to work on this obscure product page, but this obscure product page had a hundred page views and converted five people. These other pages, meanwhile, have thousands of page views and are doing less than conversion, so we need to optimize these pages."
Just kind of being able to get outside of my opinion was a skill that I had to learn over and over again. Now, I think I'm a lot better about not telling people what to do based on opinion, but it's definitely being forced to just work through things, I think, also makes learning more fun. Because then you're like, "Okay, I'm going to use whatever skill I just learned today on this other thing." That's how I learned.
Isaline: I can understand that. Sometimes I'm like, "Oh, I really want to know how to use Google Data Studio Dashboard." Then, I just set a project where I had to build the dashboards. Obviously, this project is not profitable because I'm going to spend much more hours than what I'm invoicing the clients. But at the end of the day, I know how to build Data Studio Dashboard. I suppose there's this very urgent situation that needs solving.
Daisy-ree: That was just me. I mean, I didn't sell it. It's included in my packages, but yeah, I was building a dashboard in Data Studio and I needed to configure it to tie with Analytics. I'd never done it because I always use automated reporting. I was just looking things up and being like, "Okay, blending data sources, what are we doing here?"
Isaline: Yeah. I've tried getting your certificate as an SEO manager from a famous training, there's online. I was like, "Oh, it would be good to have certification." It looks good on LinkedIn, but then I cannot do something if it's just learning even though the course is wonderful. But unfortunately, I dropped it. I did several days and then I needed many more days, and it was just too long. I think it's very valid way of learning.
Daisy-ree: Yeah, yeah. It sounds like you were both on the same page. We're both like, "Oh, okay, cool. How can I use this right away?"
Daisy-ree: But that's one thing I would say back to the question of skills for somebody starting: Do a project. My project was trying to create a blog, and so I learned how to do SEO because of that. Project-based learning is really popular because it works. You immediately have a place to practice and learn your skills. I also have to remind myself because I always forget those even when I'm working on something for myself that learning is a worthwhile effort in and of itself. It doesn't have to be a commercial success. You don't have to make a lot of money for something to be successful, to be worthwhile doing. Yeah, I have to constantly just be like, "Daisy, just do a project. Let's do a little project and see how it goes" kind of thing.
Isaline: Do you still do the writing, the actual copywriting of the contents pieces you deliver?
Daisy-ree: Sometimes if there is. I don't do them for a lot of clients, but there is one that comes to mind. But I do some of the writing for that or the writing for that project. For myself, I try to, I haven't been good about it. You're getting on a thing I feel guilty about. I'm just like, "I haven't been learning." But yeah, I love writing. It's one of the ways I find to communicate with people. I try to find time to do it or I do it on certain projects. I think that's good for me, too, is that having those projects where I am doing the writing kind of keeps that skill sort of sharp, or I just kind of exercise it. I think more and more, I'm moving towards just trying to do more of the strategy stuff because I said they're easier for me to just manage and bring in resources, but we'll see. Maybe that's the next iteration [unin 00:22:08] looks like.
Isaline: Yeah. It's a question I also have for myself that's why I asked.
Isaline: Because I find the mindset of doing the actual writing with the mindset of creating the ideas and the strategies, and doing the keyword search, and the audience research, and this type of things are two very different mindsets. I can hardly be this two-person on the same day because to do the writing it requires so much energy, and concentration, and being focused, and closing all apps, and this kind of things.
Daisy-ree: But isn't it kind of wonderful? I think, it's rewarding and that strategy work is never done. But when you write, you finish the draft, you polish it, it is done. That is so rewarding that I want to always have space for that. Even if it's just me writing for my own business or for my own self, I think it's just such a good feeling.
Isaline: Yeah. My mom would say, it's the feeling [unin 00:23:20]. Not sure how to say that. The feeling of having something achieved like ta-dah, you can see it, and it's there.
Daisy-ree: Yes. I love that. Yes, that's exactly it. Because I think in our work, especially in SEO, we're just constantly optimizing and tweaking things and going back, and Google did this and you have to go change stuff. It's nice to be like, "I did this."
Isaline: Exactly. I feel you. I'm the same on that.
I see that we've discussed a lot of writing and I'm really happy about everything I learned about your processes. Do you have, for our audience, a last advice for someone who's thinking about finding this SEO content marketing job and trying to build skills? What's the first thing do you recommend to do tomorrow?
Daisy-ree: You're thinking of starting a career in SEO. So many things come to me that I'm like, "Due tomorrow." Wow. If I were to do just one thing, I would start by learning the industry. I would say sign up to a couple of newsletters that catered to the SEO industry and start becoming familiar with some of the trends, what the authors write about, what is on people's minds, what people are saying. Just kind of learning that can be really powerful.
Then, beyond that, start sharing what you're learning. It's something I have to remind myself to do because again, we have this imposter syndrome, especially I feel it particularly, but where I feel I don't know enough to share what I know. That can almost be a thing that holds you back because you do know more than you did yesterday. There's somebody who's where you were, and so they're trying to learn.
This podcast itself reminded me of that. I was just like, "Oh, you find my mediums? Dang. I wrote those ages ago." But I was learning and I was sharing. That's something, I think, is powerful. I also think your brain, you kind of learn differently when you're trying to communicate what you're learning and that would be where it started.
I pick a project. I pick something that I enjoy doing, or a charity, or an organizational part of, something that's not as stressful as trying to build a business out of it. I would use that to learn because then you don't have the pressure of all of the other things that come with it being your bread and butter. Maybe finding a role, even if it's a junior role inside of the company where you can continue to learn, we get paid to learn. Why not? That's how I would go about it. I think that's probably how I did my career too.
Isaline: I really like this. The first step is always the hardest. If you are listening to us and you want to start, sign up to some newsletters. We will add some in the transcript, some ideas. That's an easy step. You can do it. Everyone can do it. And then, learn the lingo and try writing a piece of content and something you've learned because you can always explain something. That's the second easy step.
The third step, today, we advise you is to look for someone you can have like a charity, sports, events maybe, or anything. I mean, there are so many projects around us in our community that needs to be seen and heard. I'm pretty sure you can find something. The next step will just follow, I think.
It's really good. We built the to-do lists and then easy ones. I'm really happy about that.
Daisy-ree: Yeah, yeah. I think it seems easy.
Isaline: If someone wants to follow up the conversation with you, where can they find you?
Daisy-ree: Isaline probably knows all the places you can find me. I'm on LinkedIn, Daisy-ree Quaker or Daisy Quaker. Really thankful for [unin 00:27:45]. I'm on Twitter rarely, sometimes depending on the day. hiredaisy.com, that's my consulting website. Yeah, I think those are the main places I'm active online with varying levels, frequency, yeah.
Isaline: I'll make sure to add the links in the transcript of the podcast.
Indeed, I think you post a lot more on LinkedIn. That's where the interesting content is.
Daisy-ree: Yeah. I took a break from summer. I just got married and moved.
Isaline: Oh, wow.
Daisy-ree: Not as active on LinkedIn. Yeah, yeah. But I'm going back in September.
Isaline: This is so exciting.
Daisy-ree: Yeah, yeah. It has been. It's been an exciting year.
Isaline: I'm happy to hear that. I love good news. Weddings are always good news. I love hearing about them.
Daisy-ree: Yeah. "Yeah, you must want to get married, so I'm happy for you."
Daisy-ree: Yeah, yeah. That was wonderful. I'm glad that we did it, especially during the pandemic.
Isaline: Yeah. I suppose it came with many challenges to have a gathering of people at this time, but that sounds great. I transferred all of my congratulations and from the community as well. I think we've covered everything, most of what I wanted to cover today. Thank you very much for being in the podcast today, Daisy. Of course, I'd keep following you. I'm one of your best fans, actually.
Daisy-ree: I didn't know that, guys. She just got me on the podcast and told me this.
Isaline: The thing is when you post, some people read it. Maybe you don't know that people are actually reading it, but I think it's always worth posting when you have interesting content. That's an advice for everybody listening, actually.
Daisy-ree: Yes, yes. I will remember that. I'll remember at least Isaline is reading this, so I should polish my grammar a little bit, put a little more thoughts in it.
Isaline: This was WorkInSEO Podcast. WorkInSEO is dedicated to help you navigate your SEO career. I have created job boards in this podcast to help you. If you have any feedback really for me about the podcast, please reach out. You'll find me on Twitter. It's easy. It's WorkInSEO. I'll be there. You find the podcast on all podcast platforms so please do subscribe.
You can read the transcripts on WorkInSEO.com, and I'll add all the links we discussed today. Thanks again, Daisy, for being with me today.
Daisy-ree: Thank you, Isaline. This is a pleasure.