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CMC Interview Series: SEMrush


[00:00:09] Welcome everyone. Byron White here I’m here with Shannon Murphy. Welcome. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so glad you’re here as an attendee. Yes. And have you enjoyed the show so far. Yes it’s been fantastic and testing to have you great indeed.

[00:00:23] So I’m super excited to talk about some of the tools that we’ve selected on our massive 60 foot long content technology stack that we’ve prepared in the hallway. And I know that you’re an avid user and a fan of SVM Rush. So tell us a little bit about what your job is you’re in the content marketing space of course which is why you’re here.

[00:00:43] Yes yes I have been in content marketing now for close to 10 years I guess before it was content marketing. I started out as a blogger and journalist. I started managing as a content marketing manager different blogs for B2B technology companies. And now I run my own consultancy helping create SEO powered content strategies and testing this same types of customers and clients.

[00:01:07] Well you’ve got the perfect perspective both from your clients perspective as your own perspective. What did some of the bigger challenges you have with content marketing right now and they do of course tools like I see much much for helping you with. But what do you see as the big bottlenecks right now that are costing you a lot of time.

[00:01:22] Yeah. So I feel that a lot of a lot of my clients a lot of these B2B companies they when they’re hiring me and they come to talk to me about. OK. We know that we want to create content but we don’t necessarily know what kind of content to create or in some cases maybe they have a problem sourcing writers. That’s often another question but I can at least address that that SEO side of it which is like let’s use data to prioritize through the clutter. I think that a lot of content marketing teams are sort of treated as what I like to call a deli counters where everybody is coming to them with our quest. They take a ticket and they wait in line. And usually the prioritization happens based upon who is the loudest. And when you look to a CEO and and keyword research you can really anticipate what your customer needs and create your content around that.

[00:02:17] Got it. Tell me a little bit about CRM rush. You know first of all can you imagine life without CRM rush.

[00:02:25] I actually know that they’re really they’re really central to my consultancy in terms of the value that I offer my clients just in the sheer amount of data and reporting.

[00:02:35] You know I’m a power user and my clients don’t necessarily have these tools in-house to be able to analyze the health of their domain. The effectiveness of their content. Right. And I mean those are the two overwhelming things. But really you can dive down even deeper than that on it.

[00:02:53] Now a lot of us have a perception that SVM Rush is more of an NCO tool you know keyword research you know et cetera et cetera because of their monstrous success in that area. But what else are you using CRM rush for. So my process is that I’m looking at the domain authority and not even the domain authority but the.

[00:03:14] Strike in that way. Keep going. Mistakes make it real.

[00:03:21] Yeah. Let’s put that on.

[00:03:24] So. Yeah.

[00:03:27] So my process is that I’m really looking at the overall health of the domain first and what keywords that they’re ranking for which a lot of times there’s not even any transparency around that within the organization. Yeah. And from there. beyond just looking at their domain and their competitors domain then in that data and conversations with leadership I hone in on what are three to five keyword topics that we want to explore. And from there they’re a topic research tool is really amazingly helpful it can spin off thousands of potential queries. And also what I really enjoy is that. you can see which keywords or sub topics as they label them but really they’re semantically related keywords. And that gives us just such an indication of the direction that we should go. We’ve all been in those conversations with large companies and enterprises and everybody has an opinion on what is closely aligned with that topic that we feel is important to the business. And here we have actual data to say that these topics are are most closely aligned. So I’ll look at that but then from there. once I plug those into a content calendar for my customers I’ll then create them SEO templates which I can spin off in CRM rush so that.

[00:04:42] Writers who are terrific writers but not necessarily well versed in on page SEO have a guide to create that and do so naturally right.

[00:04:52] I think the conflict is that we want content that is both valuable and the SEO. There are interjecting itself in a natural way.

[00:05:04] Got it. No I know assume Russia’s topic finding too they it Magic topic find out. I think that’s the name of the troll I forget what it is.

[00:05:11] There’s there’s a keyword magic and then there’s a topic research topic that topic research as part of the content marketing platform.

[00:05:19] Terrific. What kind of topics are you finding in ACM Rush and how are you building that methodology into explaining to your clients and customers Hey we should maybe write about this because it’s popular it can drive more traffic than say some of the lame ideas that you came up with in your four hour brainstorming session on an easel.

[00:05:41] Yeah right. In the end it is it is only four hours. I agree with somebody we were talking about the time savings and. I.

[00:05:51] Think that that person aspirational if like oh they’re going to go to these different places. Yeah. The keyword research having been on those teams I was thinking that’s not actually happening. It’s kind of a gut reaction. So I take about 10 to 15 topic queries from that topic research I said. And then the strategy that I’m providing my client which usually spans for about six months saying these are the topics that we would want to address. This is the competition and what I would imply would be the effectiveness for your domain. And so that can effectiveness of a query on a domain level might be high medium or low. Right. And that’s kind of your your ability to rank on page one as well as also factoring in your competition.

[00:06:38] Got it. Do you feel like you can really harvest data and have it have an immediate impact on the content you’re creating from an EPS. Is he a brush like we talked about why we couldn’t live without it but is it. Is it harvesting popularity is it part harvesting difficulty of achieving top listings and how challenging is it to you to apply it back to the current authority of your clients Web site and make decisions on what to go after. Like that was a really long question. Right. But I guess I’m getting in your mind with how were you using ECM mirage. How is it delivering you the information that you need to know to make intelligent decisions on what to write about what frequency you should be publishing you know what keywords you should be using and whatever you write about. Bring us that bridge explain to us top of graphically how you’re using the tool and then how you apply it yourself.

[00:07:30] Yeah OK. That’s yeah. There’s still a lot in there but I will try. OK. So in terms of looking we’re looking at the Domain and we’re looking at the overall health and we can make decisions based around the data that we have from the domain as well as our topic research but then we’re going to. start.

[00:07:52] Trying to address everything said in that.

[00:07:59] Is it an iterative process. Do you like OK back to the tool. OK. Throw these ideas out. Client likes the ideas boom back to the tool. Didn’t like those ideas I mean are you. How much time are you actually spending in SVM rush. Like in the course of a day there’s a good question.

[00:08:14] What is that. I would say I would say it would vary. I love data. So when I go in there I’m in there for like grind our lives. And that’s not always based upon client request rate. It’s like Yo let’s go in this little pocket and see what’s happening here. Right.

[00:08:28] But that being said you know when when I’m looking at their domain of course I’m looking at overall site health but then they have like a content audit tool as well. So that’s really helpful and I’m going to give suggestions on topics in terms of the future of creation but we want to make sure that the domain itself has good health and good SEO. So what does that look like historically. And so I can create a content calendar and say here’s the roadmap for where we want to go in the future. And that implied impact of blogging regularly on these terms or it doesn’t have to be a blog it can be video. Right. Creating content regularly but then let’s look at our content audit as well. And where do you have content not just blogs but even your Web site pages where there’s not enough text on the page. We don’t have all the images assigned correctly so that can even for those especially in content marketing who aren’t well associated with SEO and that’s not something that they have the time to learn to be able to just see that very quickly is like here for buckets of like high performing low performing needs probably to be recycled or should be retired because it’s not performing well at all.

[00:09:39] Know for somebody who doesn’t have that knowledge to be able to come and just see at a glance at the data from ACIM rush help to give some credit if you will and some authenticity as to why people should get rid of content because it is kind of like your attic you know. You never want to get rid of anything in the attic because it’s out of sight out of mind. It just keeps accumulating. It’s like you’re worried if you get rid of something that you might need it someday or it might drive one visitor that becomes a hundred million dollar account. You know how does the data help that you’re getting from him rush.

[00:10:11] Are you saying we should like Marie Kondo our blog basically it doesn’t bring your joy through. Absolutely. I’m all for that purge.

[00:10:20] Yeah. So I think that the data can definitely help and I think that that’s.

[00:10:26] For marketers in all realms not just content marketing that’s always the thing that we need to kind of back us up and the decisions that we’re making unfortunately. Yes it’s here’s the data because more often than not when I’m working with a content team sport when I was in house and now with my consultancy it’s it’s more that there’s a fear of like what are the ramifications if we do this. And so I as an SEO can walk them through that there’s.

[00:10:50] Limited limited risk with retiring these things they go here’s why. But we can also use those monitoring tools to make sure. that. to basically back up it’s like we have the data to make the decision. Now we can also monitor going forward with this optimization technique to show you that like no harm was done to the site in the retiring of this content. Sure.

[00:11:15] Content strategy is is an ever changing process it’s evolving which is why we’re here at content marketing conference. Do you still feel like it’s absolutely necessary to have some roots in SEO and in his content strategy. Success continued to be dependent upon data and optimization and of course broad based optimization not just search optimization but off page you know conversion rate optimization landing page optimization. And how does ACM Rush fit in that whole new ecosystem which is really a broad based system which also I might evolve but involve planning content planning being part of it and how are the ACA and CRM tools helping you do that.

[00:11:57] Yeah. So I think that.

[00:12:01] I personally because I love SEO. Of course I think that SEO is vital to a content strategy. I don’t think that all content marketers have to necessarily have a strong education on it because there are tools and Sam rush that. help to just give them that information very early and simplify it by but I’m often you know why why SEO and my content strategy and I think it’s innately this is we’re creating content because we want to answer questions and solve problems and SEO augments this or or amplifies this because their audiences are turning to search engines to find answers to their questions. And I think a lot of I’ll even ask customers you know why are you starting a blog or why do you want to create content. And the answer is very similar to what it was five years ago which is that they want to be thought leaders well you can’t be a thought leader unless you anticipate your audience’s needs and deliver solutions. So I think that that’s how SEO filters in. But to your point. about optimization across the whole of course like we need to be having having varied kinds of content right instead of content we in silos video and one section of your website and your blog over here conversion rate optimization you access never been more important. And I think SEO and. content strategy and you have a nice alignment as well right but that’s yeah I think optimization across the board. But do you have to have a deep knowledge of SEO to create a content strategy with CRM rush not so much and that’s I think where it’s powerful to to help those that don’t have that.

[00:13:40] Got it. What are your most time consuming tasks with content marketing and or content strategy and how does this and rush help with that.

[00:13:48] So I would say that. One of the most time consuming tasks is if you come in to a client’s.

[00:13:58] Content disorganization if you will and you have to undertake a historical blog optimization. So in the past just a contrast when I was in-house at several different companies running their blogs I would have to go into wordpress download all of their content for the title day author meta description all of that information probably couldn’t see the actual on page content and in an easy way. So I’d have to go through that with a team of interns essentially and say OK now I’m going to take you through and basically teach you SEO to look at a piece of content and understand if it’s optimized or not. Let’s review this together and then we would have to make notes and that spreadsheet if we were going to recycle it retire it and what the process was going to be moving forward with their content audit tool you can literally sync that up with Google Analytics and it will pull all of that information in for you. And then when you want to then rewrite that content you can create specific content sets are kind of like. like limitations or barriers of what you want to see. in that content. And it will kind of like analyze it for you. So it’s definitely time saver in terms of the manual analysis but also I can utilize those that don’t necessarily have the same deep knowledge that I do and still have them be effective members of my team. Got it.

[00:15:25] What success have you had with companies and how much of that success would you attribute to CRM Rush and or some other tools you might have. But is it do you feel like there is a really high value proposition for spending the time because it’s not just the investment in the product it’s the time to learn the product and use the product and harvest the most power out of it. But when you look at the success you’ve had with your customers improving their traffic their leads could you find some direct attribution to the product itself. ACM rush.

[00:15:55] Oh yes absolutely. I think even when we’re in that proposal stage and being able to go in grab information for them that they otherwise don’t have access to. That’s a huge selling point. And wanting to have those reports on a regular basis but then also yes I’ve created content strategies we their team has started creating those blogs and then I can put those links into a position tracker basically like a customized area in which I have created basically to monitor the keywords that are important to them and that maybe even their competitors or ranking for. And I’ve been able to look at a keyword that was essential to one of my customers ranking up eighty seven. for that keyword term. And it may maybe for kind of like a half hearted product page and we create a specific piece of content and. three weeks later when I rerun that report it’s like end of month. they were position twenty four and then next month they were on page one I think position three.

[00:16:54] And so to literally be able to watch that and also the new page you build for that one piece of content you know.

[00:17:01] And so was it an existing piece of content and you just optimized No it’s completely now is a new brand new piece of content but the customer was getting some listings but for like a year like I had a product page I was like half hearted like you know maybe 100 words.

[00:17:15] Got it. And it was it was a really essential term to their business. Yeah. So that’s where we’re looking at progress.

[00:17:21] In a positive light. We can also then be monitoring on going to say OK we created a new piece of content based around these keyword themes and maybe the team has kind of become maybe three theme. Number three they kind of become lackluster on customer success something like that right. And we published a piece of content. It’s ranking on page one it went up pretty quickly maybe within two months. And then what because they’re not publishing around those keywords anymore. I can then sure the impact of like look this piece of content is starting to fail and fall. We didn’t change anything about it. It’s because you’re a domain you’re not publishing honest keyword theme regularly that we agreed to as part of the strategy. And this is the impact Google is now seeing that you are not highly relevant for this term.

[00:18:06] Final question for you. We’re here to evolve content marketing as we began to begin this discussion we’re seeing our kaleidoscopic scene in the background here. Didi guest he and Russia will continue to be one of the euro evolve or go to Tools. And can you imagine content marketing evolving without CRM rush you know at least in your portfolio for my portfolio now. Like my business is very much centered around a Sam Rush and I know it’s hard right now but I really I really love everything that they offer in terms of allowing me to do my job easier and. I kind of. am. sad to think about the time before I had.

[00:18:45] Had that I could have been so much more effective when I was working in house.

[00:18:50] But I think that yeah. They’re evolving with offering a specific content marketing platform for content marketers. And I think that where a CEO used to maybe intimidate this group that they can really get involved with minimal knowledge and start using the tool to have an impact on their content creation.

[00:19:07] Terrific. Shannon it’s been great chatting with you. Thanks much. Thank you. Hope you enjoy the rest of the show which you can now carry back to you. But thanks for taking a few minutes to talk about one of our great sponsors and we appreciate their effort and your effort as well. But to watch that. So if if if people are completely blown away with who you are that you’re interviewing right now what’s the name of your agency. How can they get a hold of you.

[00:19:28] Yes. So should I look here. Right. Yeah. Look right in the camera right over there.

[00:19:33] I suggest my company is Shine content strategy shine content strategy dot com. You can reach out to me at Shannon shine content strategy dot com or at Shannon came Murphy on Twitter. Nice. And yeah I’d be happy to answer any questions.

[00:19:47] Perfect. Thanks very much again. I think right now. Thanks.

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