Paul Norris Interview

Interview: Content Marketing and SEO with Paul Norris

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This is the seventh post in a series called Interviews at Content Hero, where we chat to industry leaders, influencers, and agencies about content marketing and how it can affect success. In our last interview, we talked with Garrett Moon, founder of CoSchedule, about content hacking.

Today we are chatting to Paul Norris, organic performance manager of award-winning online marketing agency Fusion Unlimited. Paul’s expertise lies in SEO, and he has witnessed first hand the growth of content marketing at a consumer and agency level.

I was interested to find out what impression this has left on Paul, and how closely linked he believes SEO and content marketing is in 2014.

Tell us about Fusion Unlimited, you have some impressive clients?

We’re a performance-based digital marketing agency offering expertise in all digital channels. The agency itself has been around for 13 years now, providing digital marketing services to a number of household names in a wide array of sectors – most recently we have been appointed to handle the digital marketing activity for NatWest and The Royal Bank of Scotland Business and Commercial Banking.

Great content is useless if nobody can find it. How close-knit do you think the relationship between SEO and content marketing is?

Very. An optimised piece of content is always going to have a greater impact than a piece which is not optimised. However, over-optimising content will ruin the effectiveness of great content and cheapen it, effectively diluting its link and social-share potency. Our content team and SEO team work closely together in order to create the best content, maximising effectiveness.

How can smaller businesses get their content out there to cut through the noise of the bigger brands?

We recently created a piece of content based around the World Cup this summer (If goals were followers, who would win the Social Cup?) for Stay Sourced – a Leeds based promotional items supplier. It got picked up by Wired and The SocialTimes and continues to generate more coverage and links as we get closer to the World Cup. We didn’t outreach to these sites directly but instead our strategy was to focus on much smaller blogs that the authors of these big sites regularly find their news on. It’s a method I read about in Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me I’m Lying – well worth a read for all content marketers.

SMEs, generally, aren’t tied down to style and tone of voice guidelines, like the much bigger brands, therefore they should use this creative freedom to their advantage.

What one tip would you give to people looking to optimise their content?

Start tagging your content up with Schema.org semantic markup (if you haven’t already). Google may not enrich each type of markup with a rich snippet, however the number of rich-snippet results is only going to increase and help Google more accurately identify your content.

Blog posts with author thumbnails and products with visible star ratings in search engine results have proven to increase click-through-rate.

The logical place to start is by tagging your blog posts up with the authorship tag – Google has confirmed that Author Rank is now a ranking factor for in-depth articles, so use this to your advantage and start to build up that authority in your (or your client’s) field.

Once the tags have been implemented you can use Google’s own structured data testing tool to check if it is working properly. Start tagging up your content today – it’ll help future proof your site.

70% of people would rather learn about a company through an article than an advert. What’s your interpretation of this?

People aren’t daft. An organic endorsement, whether it be online via a recommendation, or offline through word of mouth, will always resonate more with people than advertising collateral that’s been explicitly paid for.

What types of content have you found to have the most success in the search engines?

Content that the client’s audience care about. Fundamentally one of the only ways we can show search engines that we care about something online is by linking to it. It’s our challenge as marketers to create content that the client’s audience and potential customers want to link to. Naturally these are the pieces that perform best.

Have you been inspired by a content marketing campaign recently?

The Domino’s pizza Tracker feature on the app (and site) is hands down my favourite – keeping track of what stage of the pizza making and delivery process is a piece of quality entertainment within itself. Screenshots of the app get shared en mass, often accompanied with an excited and hungry by-line from salivating brand advocates makes it a user-generated marketing machine in its own right.

The Simpsons, Family Guy or American Dad?

No contest.

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