Introducing Jack Salmon, Content Marketing Manager and the driving force behind Circulate’s creative content strategies. Jack brings an infectious energy to the team and has a strong love for bold ideas and powerful messaging -making Circulate’s digital advertising strategies the best they can be.
Have you always had a passion for content marketing? Tell us a little bit about how you got into your current role.
I’ve always had a passion for marketing. After leaving sixth form I went on to university in Lincoln to study advertising and marketing because I felt like it suited me and my skill set. I’m very creative, I always felt like I had great ideas so when I went to university I really wanted to learn more about digital because it’s not only the here and now but it’s the future as well.
When I applied for Circulate I looked through the current clients, I found one of the clients they were working with and I wrote a blog article about them to go alongside my application. I got a phone call, got my interview, came to Circulate as a digital marketing executive.
After a while I found that Content was my passion and what I enjoyed doing the most. After lots of hard work and dedication, and a few promotions later, I became the Content Marketing Manager!
How does Google rank content and what advice would you give to a new business with a brand new website?
Google ranks content on various different factors. There’s a checklist that should be followed… for example, having amazing heading structures, attaching nicely optimised metadata that attracts clicks, ensuring the content that is put on a website is not only descriptive but is really valuable and giving people what they want.
In terms of brand new websites, do not expect to see success overnight. You’re often up against thousands of other websites all trying to rank higher on Google for the same terms – so my advice would be to be patient, get expert advice from someone who has a proven track record within the industry and try and get some backlinks to build up your domain authority.
What are some good ways to get other people to link to your content?
Creating content that exploits gaps in the SERPs, whilst being super valuable, is naturally going to rise up in search engines. That way, let’s say someone is writing a blog or an article, if they find your content and like what they see, you will naturally pick up links.
There are also more creative ways of obtaining backlinks, for example writing guest posts, conducting outreach, putting some PR resource behind your content efforts and more. I’d advise those looking to make the most of their content marketing efforts to build relationships with journalists, bloggers, and publications to ensure that no opportunities are ever lost.
Describe the role of data in your job. How important is it?
Data is everything, data drives decisions and that’s a core value of what we believe at Circulate. It’s particularly important in content as well because you need to understand the potential behind creating content. Whether that’s specific keyword volumes, analysing how well certain pages are doing in Google Analytics, looking at keyword ranking positions so you can re-optimise for that specific keywords.
There’s always something you can take away from analysing data, and that’s exactly what we do here at Circulate.
Which metrics do you look at when measuring the success or failure of a content marketing campaign?
There’s a whole range of different things that we can look at. That applies from strategising for a content marketing campaign to measuring success and looking for improvements.
In terms of which metrics we look at, it’s search volumes, current ranking positions, the time people are spending looking at your content, the reach that your content is getting, how much traffic you are generating – there are so many different areas that need to be measured in order to not only understand how content is performing but how you can improve it and make it better as well.
What has been your greatest success as a content marketing manager?
I’ve got lots of good results and things that I’m proud of! One of the things I’m most proud of is being the account manager of Circulate Digital’s own marketing activity and helping us get amazing rankings. This helped us not only get us traffic and conversions but seeing some huge, well-known brands come through the door was extremely satisfying.
Due to the rankings that we’ve got, such as ranking number 1 on Google for ‘paid social agency’ and being right up there for different PPC based terms. It’s really good seeing this business grow and being a key part of it.
How do you stay on top of changes in your industry?
When you’re passionate about something and you love what you do it just comes naturally. I’m constantly listening to podcasts and looking at LinkedIn, talking to my peers and my colleagues, and marketing friends I have outside of work- anything new that they might have learnt.
I’m always looking for ways to improve myself and adapt with the times because that’s one of the things with working in digital marketing – it’s constantly evolving and things are changing, to really stay on top of what’s happening in the industry is important and it helps me grow as well.
What’s the best advice you’ve received that helps you excel in your role and your personal life?
To be passionate and love what you do. Like we say at Circulate, you can train skillsets and teach people things, but to really excel you need to be passionate. If you’re working with other businesses and if you’re not passionate it’s something that they can pick up on.
I picked up how passionate Matt & Danny are and this being my first job at an agency I think it’s really rubbed off on me – so I would say just be passionate and enjoy what you do and make sure other people know how proud you are of being in such a great industry.
What gets you up in the mornings and keeps you motivated?
Just being the best possible person I can be – not only in my professional life but in my personal life as well. One thing that does keep me really motivated is the amazing and exciting projects that we have at Circulate and just knowing that every day is different. You can’t really come to work at an agency and know what the day will have in store and that’s really motivating alongside having a nice, clear line of progression in my professional life as well.
How do you keep your team aligned with the company vision and keep them motivated?
I think at Circulate at the moment it’s easy to keep people motivated and aligned with our vision because we’re a smaller team that’s growing really fast. At Circulate we promote internal talent, not only do we want the agency to grow, but we want our team members and our second family, if you like, to grow alongside the company.
I think it all starts from the top to the honest, we have a clear vision for just how good we can be and how good of a service we offer our clients and it feels like we’re at the start of a really amazing journey together.
How do you make sure your strategies are creative and always pushing the boundaries?
As a Content Marketing Manager, I have to finely balance various different aspects of content, so naturally, we’re heavily focusing on Search Engine Optimisation and organic growth, but at the same time, we work closely alongside the Paid Media team to make sure the paid activities are kicking ass as well.
In terms of being creative I operate by one rule: give people what they want! If you give the people what they want you tend to see really great results from different campaigns. A really important part of being creative is understanding the world around you and understanding what makes people tick. If you can do that, understanding people, what motivates them, and what they’re looking for, then you’re on the right track.
What would you say makes content ‘successful’?
A lot of the time, people in our industry will focus on following best practices and forget about what content really needs to do – which is provide value. Even Google has become so much cleverer now, it understands when your content is providing value and when there is expertise within your content, it even understands if users trust your content.
So to make content really successful you just really need to provide people with the information that they’re looking for in an engaging way and over time your content will become successful.
What marketing blogs or material do you read?
I naturally turn to search engines and social media to find answers that way through articles, videos, podcasts, blogs and different SEO focused websites. I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts in my downtime and enjoy learning new things every single day. There’s nothing in particular, just anything and everything that’s really worth paying attention to – I guess it’s dictated by the matter at hand.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into SEO & Content Marketing?
I would say “do it”. It’s an amazing industry to be in, it’s constantly evolving, it’s great fun, you get to be creative and get serious satisfaction out of your role. So in terms of advice, I would say go for it!
What are your go-to tools for SEO and content marketing?
The number one tool is definitely Google Analytics, you need to understand how people are interacting with your content and which content attracts people the most.
After that I’d say Ahrefs, I love Ahrefs. It’s great for competitor analysis, understanding what competitors are ranking for, you can look at their keywords, backlinks, their backlink strategies, content gaps and so much more.
Following on from that I also love SEMrush and Prowly but, in third place, I’d say Google Search Console – which is the ultimate tool that gives you real-time data from what people are typing to find your website to certain technical aspects – including page experience, how your website is being crawled and indexed and so much more.
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