Keesa Schreane of Thomson Reuters (TR) has years of experience in tech and SEO, both as a blogger and content marketer. She currently handles the digital strategy for TR, and I wanted to learn more about her role and how brand sentiment works with SEO strategy. I had a chance to interview Keesa before our last SEJ Summit SEO conference of 2016, happening November 2nd in New York City.
Check out her answers below:
Your presentation at SEJ Summit is going to cover how emotions and SEO play together. I think most SEOs see the field as more technical and less emotion driven. What are SEOs who ignore the emotional side missing out on?
A massive opportunity lies in understanding an audience’s emotional state when they are engaging your brand. Whether you are a consumer buying a product, or a business purchasing a service, we all gravitate toward authenticity with the brands we support. We want them to deliver what they promised on the side of the can, what they promised in the ad etc.
To leverage the emotional side, the brand needs authenticity. For authenticity, brands should tap into their core value proposition and ensure SEO and content efforts map back to that core value prop.
My job is to peel back the layers and understand the customer’s real need and how we’re serving that need. For example, trust is core to the value we offer. Customers trust us to add value they can’t obtain anywhere else to their data and infrastructure (core value prop) so they can focus on driving business and revenue (customer need). All our assets reflect that trust and we aim for that concept to show through in our SEO and content.
What is the top SEO mistake that really grinds your gears? Whether because you see it over and over again or because it just shouldn’t be an issue today?
Unfamiliarity with content. If a marketer is unfamiliar with the overall messaging, the needs of the audience and how we serve that need, they are unable to optimize the content and offer effective SEO.
You started out in the finance sector, working at Citi and Pershing, owned by BNY Mellon. How do you think your experience influences your view on the SEO field?
In marketing algorithmic trading and FinTech solutions, I realized early on this is an ever-changing field, so I had to have a commitment to constantly learning about these technologies. Marketing technologies are constantly changing and improving as well. For example, some SEO ‘rules’ we abided by years ago are obsolete. My experience in the financial services sector, and my overall experience as a marketer influences me to commit to constantly learning and educating myself around SEO, social media marketing as well as my marketplace.
You are highly involved in getting girls involved in STEM and coding through Girl Scouts and Black Girls Code program, which is awesome. Can you talk a bit about how these programs work and what their goals are?
I’ve worked on the Girl Scouts Leadership Advisory Board for about five years. The Girls Scouts’ goal is to build courage, confidence, and character. I was a scout for many years. Thus I’m a major Girl Scout Ambassador. My personal ‘Why’ that directs my life’s compass is to live a life of service.
It exhilarates me to see the great things that can happen when service and technology come together. When we build service into what we do- whether we’re digital marketers, or technologists, and truly understand how our work serves others, then the businesses we serve become more innovative, and the people we serve can have more fulfilling lives. Working with Girls Scouts, Black Girls Code, Coder DoJo and all the other organizations offers me the opportunity to serve while participating in exciting tech programs! The people I work with are learning tools that can help them build innovations and improve lives. This is what drives my commitment to service.
Looking forward, what is the top skill you think SEOs need to master to be effective in the next five years?
Service drives what I do and what I bring to my work as a marketer.
A top skill to master is an SEO approach that creates content that is both brand authentic and clear on how you’re serving the customer.
Take CTAs (call to action) for example. To create content that serves the customer, we need to know where they are in the customer journey when they’re on a site. Are they in ‘research only mode’ or are they in ‘must buy now’ mode?
For the former, CTAs around watching a video or accessing a demo would serve the customer. For the latter, CTA may be click the ‘buy’ or ‘download’ button. Content should reflect exactly where the customer is in their journey, and align with services that brand offers and what the brand authentically represents. Content that misleads and keywords that pack a site for the sole purpose of driving SEO may result in customers leaving that site, and not returning.
Another example of the importance of brand authenticity and clarity around service is your social media community.
Deliver solutions that address a specific need and you serve your customer. Deliver clear and authentic content demonstrating how your solutions align with specific needs, and you grow your community.
Social engagement that focuses on service to customers, rather than product or a brand shining a spotlight on itself, encourages increased engagement (likes, shares etc) and amplifies the brand’s reputation in the marketplace.
Whether we’re looking at keywords, CTA’s or social media, we’ll continue to see success for marketers who put service at the heart of the content they deliver.
Great advice. Thanks for answering my questions, Keesa. See you in NYC!
Don’t forget; you can still buy tickets and come see us in NYC Nov. 2nd at the TimesCenter in Manhattan.