By: Courtney Fogle (@courtnxyfogle)
This episode of PR Hangover features Ashley Bovin, content strategist at BlackTruck Media & Marketing. Ashley has a degree in Advertising & Public Relations from GVSU and has been working at BlackTruck since February 2017. We talk about SEO and other services BlackTruck provides, keeping up with clients’ audiences, and advice for upcoming grads. You can listen to this episode here.
The Power of a “Thank You”
Ashley was a student in Adrienne Wallace’s CAP 105 class in the fall of 2016 when she learned the power of sending a thank you card. Jason Dodge, Founder and Chief Strategist at BlackTruck, visited the class to discuss SEO and Ashley was the only student that sent him a thank you note. Her gesture landed her an internship that turned into a full time position. Authenticity is needed when writing thank you cards because it’s important that the message is genuine. Ashley says a personalized thank you card shouldn’t be done just because your professor told you to do it; you should really mean it.
Search Engine Optimization
The basic premise of SEO is getting a website to appear in search results. However, Ashley says it gets very geeky. She talks about indexing- when the search engine’s “crawler” crawls through the website and picks up information. Websites need to be indexable so they can appear in a search. She also describes ranking, which is how a website will appear for a certain query that’s related to it. Ashley recommends Moz’s introduction to SEO to learn more about this process.
BlackTruck works to make sure that the back end of their clients’ websites function properly and are nicely organized for viewers. To learn more about SEO, you can visit their website here.
Pay-Per-Click & Organic Search
Ashley’s coworkers at BlackTruck use PPC to help their clients get the best spots in search results. Depending on their client’s budget, they can get closer to the top. Google AdWords can generate ads based on what people are searching. After running PPC ads, they gather data that helps determine organic search. The information received from PPC reveals what people are searching for and how their searches are phrased.
There are many ways to approach content strategy depending on the client and their audience. “We’re not just optimizing for search engines, we’re optimizing for real people,” Ashley says. She’ll audit what’s on the website to see what kind of content their client has, then relate it to what people are looking for on the internet. She also uses keyword searches to create her content strategies and optimize entire websites.
Sometimes clients don’t know exactly what content their company needs for their specific audience or purpose. When this is the case, they’ll sometimes put out tons of irrelevant content just because they can. Ashley says that when companies put out useful content, like blog posts that are actually informational and helpful, they’re better off. You can check out some of BlackTruck’s blog posts here.
Searching Like the Audience
When asked about a target audience, Ashley says that in SEO, a target audience is more of how the audience speaks about their clients than an actual defined group. The people searching for a company might not use the same language that the company does when describing their product or service. For example, one consumer may search for “car shop” while the company calls themselves an “auto repair shop.” Depending on searching, one phrase may show up more often than the other, even when they’re searching for the same thing. If the company is talking about themselves in a very different way than those who are searching for them, they may need to make a change in order to make SEO work better.
Ahley’s Advice for Grads
Be confident. If you put in the work, you can do anything. At BlackTruck, Ashley is encouraged to continue learning on the job. She advises graduates to look for professionals that can be a mentor. Find a work environment that is a good fit for you but make sure that it also promotes personal growth.
Find your niche. Ashley suggests finding something you’re passionate about and continuing to nurture it so that when the right opportunity comes along, you’ll be able to specialize in that aspect. Her’s is writing – something she’s really happy that she can incorporate into her career, especially in content strategy.
Courtney Fogle is a junior studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is currently the Podcast Director for PRSSA and an account associate at GrandPR. Courtney is a singer-songwriter, with hopes to combine her love of music and PR so that she can work in the music industry managing artists and their brands. In her free time, you can find her listening to music or taking pictures of her cat, Oliver.