The New Year is here, and SEO professionals everywhere have been tasked with presenting a 2015 plan.
While this particular presentation may be out of the way for some of you, the coming of a new year means a myriad of presentations ahead. For any and all of these, knowing how to prepare and defend your plan is as important as what you actually put in the plan. Following are some tips to guide you through this process.
When you were in school and learning how to write a term paper, your teachers no doubt spent a lot of time talking about how to organize your thoughts from introduction all the way through to conclusion. Your SEO strategy presentation should leverage these same principles, starting with an opening slide or set of slides that sets the stage for what you will talk about.
Before you write your first word, be clear in your own mind about what points you want to communicate — in this case, what activities or campaigns you are recommending. From there, identify your supporting points for each activity. Why is it you are recommending a particular approach? What benefits will it bring to the company? Be sure also to discuss any potential pitfalls and how they can be addressed.
If any elements of your plan are dependent upon each other, make sure to address them in an appropriately sequential manner to maintain a good flow of logic. Giving management the same type of information for each element of your plan is important. For example, provide the timeframes, time or cost investments and anticipated benefit for every item.
Once you have covered all of your recommendations, create a concise summary that also maps back to your introduction, ensuring that nothing is overlooked.
“Them,” of course, refers to your management team (perhaps even the C-suite in some cases). Think about what things matter most to them. At the end of the day, that always comes down to the bottom line, so you should think about the elements that affect that bottom line.
Every company should have a clearly stated set of overall company goals, in addition to an outline of annual goals by department. Use your department and company goals in your presentation and tie each of your recommendations in to at least one of these goals. This lets your upper management know that you are in tune with the direction of the company and that your work will support that.
Be sure to factor in the following and answer the appropriate questions:
Once you set the stage with this information, you must close the loop by providing the projected benefits of your plan. This is how you justify any costs or additional time needed to management and how you convey the value of your plan. These benefits typically include increased traffic, click-thru rates, leads and ultimately conversions. The more you can weave each of these together through to conversion, the tighter your plan is.
As an SEO professional, you know that you are unable to predict what the SEO landscape will look like at the end of the year. You are not in charge of Google’s algorithm update schedule, after all. Instead of fearing this elephant in the room, embrace and acknowledge it in your presentation.
Let it be known to your management team that this is a fact of life in the world of SEO. But, also let it be known that you know how to stay abreast of this. Discuss what industry blogs you read or experts you follow as well as how you prepared for and responded to previous changes from Google.
In this discussion, you should also point out SEO plans should have direction but also be allowed to change in response to industry shifts or data from analytics to provide the best results.
Deliver your presentation with confidence but also with an open attitude. Show that you have done your work and understand your industry, your company and SEO but also show that you respect the knowledge and experience of your superiors and peers.
Be ready to answer questions and provide more information about how you developed your ideas by citing industry statistics and trends as well as referencing your past successes—and even failures. Take feedback and discuss how it can be incorporated into your plan. Confident collaboration will lead you to happy implementation.