written by Sean Enns | April 25th, 2013
What we conventionally think of as SEO is technical. More code than creativity.
But I don’t think that’s the future. In the future, which is closer than you think, the industry leaders aren’t necessarily coders. They’re storytellers in the conventional sense. More than how to set a title tag, the new SEO professional understands how to take a story (they exist everywhere) and leverage online platforms to tell it.
In the simplest sense, online storytelling includes a particular conversation on Twitter, maybe told with a #hashtag. It might be a video you upload to YouTube, a song on SoundCloud or a blog post.
That’s the beginning, but there’s a broader scope.
A good story, like any good story, has to be bigger than the pages it’s told on. It has to be told by the author, retold by the reader, and so on.
But that’s not always so simple. People, even those people with the greatest stories, aren’t always great storytellers. They have this thing they’ve created, this story, but they don’t know how to tell it or whom to tell it to.
So that’s what the SEO professional does. They find the story, because it always exists, and they find ways to retell it to the world in a way that serves an end.
One of the greatest SEO minds of our time (who nobody thinks of as SEO, I’m sure), is Matthew Inman (aka, the Oatmeal).
Little known fact about Matthew: For a time he was the sole designer and developer for the world-renowned SEOmoz. During his time, it’s reasonable to suggest that he probably picked up a thing or two (by what I shall call “moz”-mosis).
He’s really funny; he has great style. Most importantly, he’s a brilliant storyteller. As an illustrator, he creates content that gets shared on social media and beyond (that’s content development). As a developer, he understands the platforms on which his content is being viewed and knows how to customize his content for each platform (that’s content management in a nutshell). And he turns it all into money with prints and books (that’s content marketing).
Can you do what Matthew does? Probably not. He’s a unique example. But if you can’t be the Oatmeal, you can be inspired by what he does, and that’s the first step to becoming a better storyteller.
What’s your story?
The next step is either the easiest or the most difficult, depending on your perspective, but you need to identify what story you want to tell the world. As for how you’ll tell it, well, that’s another story. Tune in next – same bat-time, same bat-channel – for the thrilling conclusion!