I’m writing this post to two target audiences at once: I’m talking to corporate human resource managers & planners, and I’m talking to these internet marketing specialists and self-proclaimed SEO gurus as well.
Why should anyone who claims to understand internet marketing need a job?
Do you see where I’m going with this? I always thought that the point of building organic traffic to a website was to create an independent source of income – outside of my job. I took this idea and ran with it, so now internet marketing is my job.
If you’re telling clients that you’ll help them find high converting keywords, relevant and organic traffic, and increased sales – why haven’t you turned that into a source of income with your own niche marketing efforts?
So this is a question that hiring managers and online marketing professionals both need to ask and find answers to.
Business owners, managers, strategists – here are some things you really need to think about when you’re hiring or interviewing or even coming up with an idea for what a new position or consulting contract would hope to accomplish.
Show me the Money! Where’s the proof? If you’re interviewing someone who claims X number of years experience and expertise in online advertising, can you find their websites? At least advertisements pointing to their site? Can they show you a campaign they’ve worked on before, either for themselves or for another company?
Expand In-House? Instead of hiring an expert for SEO or internet marketing, why not consider how much of this work could already be accomplished in-house with existing human resources. Your content writers or marketing specialists should be able to write great press releases and articles that can double as part of an internet and search engine optimization campaign.
Guide, Employee, or…Competitor? Put some serious consideration into the type of relationship you’re ultimately going to have with your search engine marketers. Is he or she going to come in as a guide and mentor, someone who can teach your existing staff about the best practices of internet advertising and some of the more technical aspects of turning good content into good rankings? Are they going to be someone that you hire on to a long-term position, someone who can become a loyal employee for the long haul? If you’re hiring them as a short-term consultant, will they just end up as a competitor working for your rivals as soon as the contract runs out? Ponder these issues and bring them up during the interview process – ignoring the status of your longterm relationship won’t benefit you or the employee/contractor/consultant.
For Marketing Professionals:
Just because you have the skills to pay the bills doesn’t mean you can’t have good reasons to want a job, too. If you want to seal the deal, you might want to elaborate on your exact motivations for seeking employment, and how your contributions to the company will play out in the long run.
Stability – Some people just don’t like being self-employed because it doesn’t feel secure and stable. Of course, a lot of tech jobs are disappearing lately, so its not like corporate employment is a guaranteed long-term solution, but it can feel that way for people who just don’t have the appetite for risk that running your own business requires.
Pushing Yourself too Hard – Another potential problem with self-employment is that it can lead people (like myself) to work 12 or 16 hours a day – ignoring weekends, holidays, and pesky things like daylight vs. night time. This type of workaholic personality can’t go on forever without a break, so working an old fashioned eight hours a day with weekends off might even sound like a bit of a vacation.
Something Bigger than Self – While an individual internet marketer working independently can probably bring in enough traffic and sales to cover his or her expenses, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re able to build projects of the scope and size that they dream of being a part of. Imagine Ebay or CNN.com – these aren’t sites that an individual can realistically expect to build on their own without any sort of investment or team to work with. Yet we all want to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and this can be a valid motivator for SEOs and marketers who are looking for a job.
Use Care, Not Cynicism
There are definitely issues and potential pitfalls when it comes to hiring on an internet marketing and/or search engine specialist, but these professionals still bring a lot of potential value to any organization they are working with. So long as the company has something to sell, a burst in qualified, relevant website traffic can be a big boost for the bottom line of revenue and sales numbers. Before hiring, just make sure you understand what you hope to get out of the employment relationship – and exactly what the relationship is going to look like.
SEOs and Marketers: Make sure you clarify exactly why you need or want the job. Share your outlook, your long term plans, your prior experiences, and always demonstrate your results with whatever metrics you can get your hands on.
Put it all together, and you can expand your human resource base and your qualified digital leads. Be careful in the hiring and employment decisions, but don’t get so cynical about it that you lose a golden opportunity.