How to Align Creative & Search Optimization in Content

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This is a podcast episode titled, How to Align Creative & Search Optimization in Content. The summary for this episode is: <p>We’re kicking off the new year by talking to one of the foremost authorities on SEO, Muhammad Yasin, VP of Marketing at High Alpha—winner of multiple national marketing awards and recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as one of Indy’s Forty Under 40. In this episode, Muhammad talks about prioritizing creativity over a technicality in your content strategy, tailoring your SEO strategy to pull in high-quality leads, and much more.</p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Quote</strong></p><p>“Previously what would happen was you bring the analytical in first. They build the keyword list and they give it to the creative side. What I found over the years is that actually results in a poor outcome of content for creative because they're stuck in a mental box, not being their best self. I'm certainly not advocating ignoring everything algorithmically. What I'm saying is that the story has to come first.  Then second, you bring in the algorithm.”                                                                                                                                                        </p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Time</strong> <strong>Stamps</strong>:</p><p>* (1:03) Get to know Muhammad Yasin, and what is a venture studio?</p><p>* (6:05) How have SEO tactics evolved in the past 10 years?</p><p>* (8:13) Prioritizing creative or revenue in your content strategy</p><p>* (11:44) When should a company in the ideation phase introduce SEO into its strategy?</p><p>* (15:44) Create an SEO strategy for a market creator </p><p>* (17:23) Using SEO to target high-quality leads </p><p>* (21:27) How to convince leadership to gamble on organic content </p><p>* (23:10) Lightning round!</p><p>* (28:01) Ryan and Drew’s key takeaway </p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Contact</strong> <strong>Us</strong></p><p>Got a topic idea? Hot take? Guest pitch?<br /><br />We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at <a href=""></a>.</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Sponsor</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="">DemandJump</a>. Tired of wasting time creating content that doesn’t rank? With DemandJump you know the exact content to create to increase 1st-page rankings and drive outcomes. Get started for free today at <a href=""></a>.</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Links</strong></p><ul><li>Follow Muhammad on <a href="">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow Ryan on <a href="">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Follow Drew on <a href="">LinkedIn</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="">DemandJump</a>’s marketing tools</li></ul>
Create content that engages your customer where they are.
00:58 MIN
"Lead with creative"
00:12 MIN

Announcer: Welcome to Page One Or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. In this episode, we're talking to Muhammad Yasin. He's the VP of Marketing at High Alpha, a venture studio that conceives, launches and scales next gen technology companies. Muhammad has won multiple national marketing awards and is recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as one of Indy's 40 under 40. He's bringing his recognized expertise to today's episode that you don't want to miss, to talk about leading your content strategy with creative first. But before we get into it, here's a brief word from our sponsor. Page One Or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started creating content that ranks for free at demandjump. com, today. And now, here are your co- hosts, Drew Detzler and Ryan Brock.

Drew Detzler: Welcome back to Page One Or Bust. This is Drew Detzler, your co- host, VP of Marketing at DemandJump. As always, I'm joined by my co- host, Ryan Brock, Chief Solution Officer at DemandJump.

Ryan Brock: Yo.

Drew Detzler: Today show's a little different. Believe it or not, we usually do a little prep going into these things.

Ryan Brock: Doesn't feel like it.

Drew Detzler: Today, we have thrown out the script because we're actually talking with someone we know here. In fact, Ryan, I'll go ahead and let you introduce our guest.

Ryan Brock: Yeah, I'm here talking about SEO and content and organic everything, and I don't think I'd be here today if it wasn't for the gentleman we have on the podcast here. He was my first client, my first customer, and the first guy I ever really connected with to learn about the world of marketing, because I didn't know what I was doing at all. And then within six months we said, " Hey, let's write a book," because all of a sudden, I went from knowing nothing to knowing everything. Right? Don't look it up, don't read it. It's old. But it was a really fun experience and I'm so thrilled to welcome the Vice President of Marketing at High Alpha, Mr. Muhammad Yasin. How are you, Muhammad?

Muhammad Yasin: I am doing amazing. Thank you so much for having me.

Ryan Brock: Thanks for being here. It's exciting to talk to you today. The fact that we go so far back, it just gives me the confidence that we didn't need prep for today's call. We're just going to let the conversation go. I think it's going to be a good one.

Muhammad Yasin: And we've been prepping for 10 years, right?

Ryan Brock: I know, right? It's been a long time coming and we've seen a lot of it together, which is why I'm excited for this conversation. So Drew, why don't you get us started here and then we'll dive into the freeform part.

Drew Detzler: Beautiful. Muhammad, welcome to Page One Or Bust. Before we jump in and let you and Ryan just get at it, let's go ahead and introduce you to the audience. So tell us a little bit about the scope of your role at High Alpha and what High Alpha is doing.

Muhammad Yasin: High Alpha is a venture studio company, and we were the first one in the world. Basically, what we do is we create concepts for B2B SaaS companies. We validate those, we launch those and we invest in them. So we've been doing this for about seven or eight years now, have launched about 30 plus companies and we are really, really, really good at standing these up. So I'm the VP of marketing here. My scope of my role really is two parts. One, steward of the High Alpha brand itself, but also my team is responsible for standing up the branding of these new organizations, and we're a very design first organization. So that's everything, let's say design with a big D, right? So everything from what is your name to what is your positioning, your messaging, what's your tone, all the way down to the actual visual identity of that brand. Ryan and I have been friends for a long time. One thing he knows about me is that I am very operationally focused, so the product is important to me. But I also have a design background and I fully believe that the packaging is just as important as what's in the box.

Ryan Brock: Style and substance. Right?

Muhammad Yasin: Absolutely.

Drew Detzler: That's great. So how did you all first meet? It sounds like it was about 10 years ago, you became a client of his or did you know each other before that?

Muhammad Yasin: We did not. So yeah, it was probably 10, 10 plus years ago. At that time, I was semi new to Indianapolis. I worked for an e- commerce insurance company here in town. Content marketing was huge, huge, huge for us. We were in the travel medical insurance space. Lots of stories to be told around the use of the product, but also around travel itself and really enabling those customers and educating them and we needed good content. And one of the things I'm really passionate about from a content perspective is storytelling. I think there's a big difference between marketing copy and storytelling. And in a marketing space, the storytelling is far more important and I was lucky enough to meet Ryan who is super passionate about the storytelling aspect and brought him in as a basically freelance content producer and a really long run there at that organization. And it's subsequent places that I've worked at as well, and it's been amazing. The reason I think that our relationship worked really well was that not only was he creating content that was really around telling the story very well, but also did a great job of collecting a group of a amazing writers that were doing the same. So that was incredibly valuable to me.

Ryan Brock: We used to talk about that all the time, right Muhammad? I don't know anybody in marketing who their degree is in marketing or very, very few. A lot of people study a lot of things and it's all about how you engage with human beings and tell stories, and that was the business model for Metonymy Media. That's why I started my agency. It was like, give me people who have willingly thrown away three to four years of their life to learn how to write a really good story. They've studied creative writing and English and storytelling, and they have an ability to write in voices that aren't their own, become other people, really quickly research and find authoritative sources. And all of that stuff, it translates to somebody who, as long as you give them their guardrails, these are the things you need to worry about, you're going to be fine. And the thing about those things, those guardrails, is they change every 10 minutes anyway. I'm thinking of Muhammad, back to when we got started, do you remember what it was like when you said, " Okay guys, we've got an SEO blogging project for you. Here's a spreadsheet of 120 different keywords and you're going to write an article for each one and each article needs to use this keyword 10 times"? I couldn't imagine doing that today.

Muhammad Yasin: No, I think the entire world has changed and it's changed for the better. Right? It's interesting that you mentioned the approach that I took then 10 years ago. It was, " Here's a spreadsheet, here's some content out." And I look at it completely different now, a decade later. Now, I always start the writers out with what's the compelling story? Write the story. I'm not giving you the keywords. Write the story and then we're going to come back and we're going to layer in the keywords.

Ryan Brock: Interesting.

Muhammad Yasin: Is completely, I think, flipped on its head because what's more important than anything, the algorithms are going to change constantly. But what is going to be consistently of value is engaging content. The technical pieces can be bolted on afterwards.

Ryan Brock: I think I've evolved in my perspective, just as same as you have, but the way that we operate and the way we think about content and DemandJump is our platform is we're looking at the actual network of search behavior around a topic. We're not building a keyword list. We're not even thinking about these are the keywords we're going to use. There is a step of that in the writing process. But for our writers, it's more, " All right, if I'm going to write an article that says, what is a venture studio, I could take that article in 50 different directions." But if I can look at all of the different things that people commonly search after they search for that question, I can learn what they're not finding but they wish they found in the content that's already there on page one. And that helps me as a writer with the storytelling part, because I'm going to choose to only focus on the elements of that story and what I need to say and what I need to tell, that reflect what people are actually asking about and what they care about. Whether you're leading with the story first or you're leading with your audience's needs and questions first, it's the same. There's data driven approaches to storytelling. We have data for everything. It doesn't have to be just about checking boxes and saying, " I crammed a bunch of keywords into my article."

Muhammad Yasin: Absolutely. We have been in this space long enough to still have the traumatic scars of the Panda update with Google. We learned a lot the fallout in content marketing from that massive Google update, which was done rightfully to be-.

Ryan Brock: It was totally the right thing to do, 100%.

Muhammad Yasin: It was the right thing to do, but I think it taught us a lot about chasing algorithms versus engaging with human beings.

Drew Detzler: I definitely lean analytical, that's for sure. But I love what Muhammad said, and we talked about it recently. Marketing, if you can't talk to humans, if you can't write to humans, you can have all the SEO, you have all the technical background in the world, but if you can't write for a human, you're screwed. It's not going to get anywhere. It's going to be a technical manual. So I ask you, Muhammad, how do you squash that voice in your head that's like, " Is this going to drive revenue? Is this going to drive traffic? Is this going to drive revenue?" because it's always back there?

Muhammad Yasin: It is always back there. If you don't get to that, nothing else honestly matters, if you're a marketer. I'll say that my approach and how I do this, I have found success recently in splitting my teams up into the analytics and the creatives. I give the creatives first pass, " This is the story we need to tell. Go tell the story." And then you bring the analytical in to adjust that story that's told to fit whatever the current needs are algorithmically. But I let that be done separately. That way the creative can do a great job doing what they do best without the constraints of the box that you put them in is just, this is the story that needs to be told and this is the outcome that I need. Go do your thing. And then you bring the analytical in to go ahead and make it technically sound. I don't think it's not a either or. It's just more of a matter of what order we go in. Previously, what would happen was you bring the analytical in first, they build the keyword list, they give it to the creative. But what I've found over the years is that actually results in a poor outcome of content for that creative because they're stuck in this little mental box not being their best self. You need both, right? I'm certainly not advocating to ignore everything algorithmically. What I'm saying is that the story has to come first and then second, you bring in the algorithm. The other reason I say that as well is because we have to worry about content refreshes as well. You could have a great piece of content, but what if the algorithm changes? If your entire piece of content was based on the algorithm and not the story, then your piece of content's basically screwed at that point. Right? But if you told the story and then you layered in the technical aspects, you can come back and change those technical aspects later to make that piece relevant to the algorithm again.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. It's just fascinating to think about the way that all of us work and how different we are. Because when I want to write something just for myself, sitting down at a blank page is the hardest thing in the world. Having that free rein, tell the story as you want to tell it. I can think about the story all day long. When it comes to writing it, it's very tough for me. But if I put myself into any kind of a restriction, any kind of a structure, suddenly I can flow crazy. So I've always been fascinated, and I'm not counterpointing you at all, Muhammad. I'm just saying I think there's different ways to go at the same thing with if you put me in a structure, I might create real art that I wouldn't have created otherwise.

Drew Detzler: We should AB test it. Muhammad, have you tested it? You said you had. So you had the analytics.

Muhammad Yasin: Yeah. I fully believe in the idea of AB testing. AB testing, multi- variate testing, that's where you find the final outcome. Goes back to what I was saying is I like to let the creatives lead, but then I like to hand off to the analytic. They're going to do the AB test and the multivariate testing. They're going to make sure that it's technically sound and they're going to keep it up to date. The combination of both of those I think is important. We talk a lot about in marketing, it being as much of an art as it is a science. And I don't know that either one of them is more important. I think the most valuable thing is when you have the connection of both of those things and they're both valued equally.

Drew Detzler: I love it. Okay. I'm going to take this in a little bit of a different direction and ask about some of your expertise at High Alpha, Muhammad. You're working with seeds of companies. You're working with companies in the ideation phase in seed level. When does SEO first get mentioned for them? Is it immediately? When does it come into play?

Muhammad Yasin: Let me back up a little bit into the concept of High Alpha and the concept of a venture studio, as a whole, because I think people understand venture capital, which is basically going out there, finding companies that make sense, investing in those organizations, et cetera. High Alpha kind of pioneered a whole different model. We talk about how we conceived, launch and scale B2B SaaS companies. But I find it helpful to talk about what does that look like?

Drew Detzler: Absolutely.

Muhammad Yasin: So we have kind of a team inside of the organization that we call Concept Lab. It's about 10 people, cross discipline across the organization, go to market, marketing, et cetera. And we meet weekly. And the purpose of that meeting is a couple pieces. One, we are bringing up problem statements and they're in themes. So let's say sustainability, disruption of consulting, those sorts of things. And we're saying, this is a problem. And then we're discussing, do we agree that this is a big issue, something that a software company could insert itself into solve that problem? So there's 10 of those that are coming out every week for those that make it through someone championing that idea and maybe turning it into a three slide kind of deck. And then that we're talking about actually, what could the solution be? So we believe a business could exist to solve this problem, and it could look like this. We've also got design in at that point where they may be mocking up a screen or two about what that product could look like. And then we're bringing that back to the meeting and pitching that in maybe a five minute pitch. This is the problem state. And then we're discussing that and we're saying, all right, well, yes or no. And then we're taking that every month into a kind of four hour heads down team thing. I think maybe three ideas a month make it into that. And the purpose of that is more validation, more screens, more really deep diving in. We're making calls out, talking to people in the industry, et cetera, and doing a full- blown, maybe 15 minute pitch for each of those three ideas. Then every quarter, I'd say one to three of those ideas make it into sprint week, which is shut the entire company down. We go full bore on three concepts for four days straight and really dig down into it. So think hundreds of validation calls, really digging into what the product could look like. What is the go- to- market strategy for that? It's really a lot of people on those teams. Across company, we're about 50 ish or so people, entire companies involved in this dedicated, three ideas basically. And we pitch at the end of the week and we're saying, " All right, based on what we see right now, is this something that we feel like we could invest in?" Because the problem statement's strong, the solution feels good as well. And then we go find a founder. So we're continually engaging with the marketplace, finding people who could be future founders or repeat founders, and we're attaching them to that idea. And then High Alpha is funding that business business for a starter capital. So the concept of venture studio isn't just that we're finding companies and founders and saying, " Here's some money we're going to invest in here." We're literally developing the ideas, finding founders to attach that idea, founder fit, funding those companies, and really helping them, branding them, developing them, helping with their go-to market. We're doing a lot of their backend for HR and finance and all that stuff so they can focus in on creating the best possible product and go into market with that. So that's really kind of the High Alpha as a whole does. And we've done a really, really good job of that. We've launched 33 companies so far, multiple exits for those companies at this point. And really proud to say 75 or so of startups fail right in the tech space. We've got, I think 33 to 36 companies so far. And there's only been two that have gone under so far, in years.

Ryan Brock: That's amazing.

Muhammad Yasin: And that's a huge accomplishment.

Ryan Brock: One of the things we wrestle with sometimes when it comes to SEOs for in particular, which I think will help us start to dig into what Drew was asking about, is how many of those, would you say, what percentage of them are bringing something so innovative to the market that a target audience wouldn't even know how to search for it in the first place? Because that's something that we run into pretty often. Is that something that you deal with?

Muhammad Yasin: We do deal with it. We like to go into spaces where the problem is really well- defined. Now, I would say from a go- to- market perspective, sometimes it's an SEO play. But we very much believe in kind of founder led selling and how we can engage that founder to really reach out, especially in the the beginning, how they can do outreach. We have a business right now that we just launched where Instagram marketing is working incredibly well for driving leads for them. And it's kind of a new space that our go- to market team has been playing in. There's also another business that event marketing's the best one for them. And then I can think of another kind of Web 3 business that we just launched where webinars and podcasts and which is honestly, there's an SEO component to that as well, is the best lead generation source for them. So it really depends on, I think the audience of the organization and business. I firmly believe that you go to where your customer is and engage them there. And SEO's that same thing. So if they're searching for the solution on Google being et cetera, SEO's going to be incredibly important. But if they're not searching there and they're going to trade shows, et cetera, then the content and the way you write that content's going to be different because it's something you're going to hand deliver to that person.

Ryan Brock: We really lean into organic. Inbound is a really good lead source, but can you talk a little bit about mix and the quality of leads we get from different sources? Because we see the same thing.

Drew Detzler: Yeah, certainly quality, quality will differ between all channels. Roughly 50% of our inbound marketing is from organic search. So events are important for us, this podcast is important for us, webinars and everything that you mentioned there. But one thing that you said there really stuck out that we talk about a lot is talk to them where they are. Get them where they are. And I would argue that they're all on Google. They're all on search at some point in the day. So getting in front of them there is always important.

Muhammad Yasin: Absolutely. And the problems and pains I think is from a SEO perspective, I think is important to talk about there as well. So one of the businesses or industries that I was in prior to coming here to High Alpha was in the apartment industry, they're called the multifamily industry. Traditionally, they find solutions through talking to their friends that are in the industry through going to trade shows, et cetera. And that was a little bit of a struggle because they do not search for their solutions. They're not saying for website conversion, they are not on Google doing it. They're picking up the phone and calling their friend and being like, " How do you make more people convert on your website?"

Ryan Brock: Yeah, exactly.

Muhammad Yasin: That's what they're doing. However, what you can do is if you go up funnel or down funnel, you can find those areas where they are doing some sorts of searches. Some of that might be branded searches. There was a lot of branded searches actually in that industry because you'd do brand marketing, they'd find you and then they'd Google you. So there was an SEO component there.

Ryan Brock: That'd be so weird to think that branded terms would be the most important to focus on, but that makes a lot of sense.

Muhammad Yasin: It was weird and odd, but it was just unique to that particular industry. And then there also would be, they might be actually searching for things that are related to their job. So that was another thing, that it may not be directly the product we're offering, but we know what's their correct target audience. So if you can find what they are searching for and get in front of them there and then introduce them to their product, it's a little bit of a longer cycle. But I think it's one that you really have to be conscious of by industry. And it was just for them, they're very old school. They were just really getting into the tech space, et cetera. It's probably going to be completely different in five, 10 years. But at that time in their development, that's how you had to go after them, talk about community engagement and tips for how to get your whatever. And that was a matter of doing physical research and actually going out there and talking to people and saying, " Okay, when you're on Google, I know you use Google. You have to use it for your job." This is a 99, but what are you searching for? What are you searching for? Because when I look at the keywords that make sense to me, I don't see any traffic volume.

Ryan Brock: We've experienced this so many times. One of the stories I talk about frequently is an innovator in the sales forecasting space. And it's the same thing where we'll look at our data, which helps us get around that whole guessing at what makes sense thing and just seeing around a given topic, let's say sales forecasting, what are people actually talking about? And excel branded keywords are everywhere. They're everywhere throughout this because so many people in sales forecasting are sales teams, especially for manufacturing companies and these old school widget product companies, they're just out there using spreadsheets and they're Googling, how do I make a better sales forecast in Excel? And it's like, we realize it's the second approach that you talked about. It's like, okay, if we want to start redirecting people to our solution, we have to start talking about Microsoft Excel in our content. And we beat Microsoft along the way. It's a page one, position one. But the point is, if you're actually giving the right content, you can beat anybody. You can do anything. It's a matter of really focusing on what does your absolutely customer need right now?

Muhammad Yasin: Well, and it's back to meeting them where they are, right?

Drew Detzler: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. I want to ask one more question before we get to our lightning round, to get your take from a creative standpoint and your expertise and go to market strategy. So oftentimes, marketers have budgets of less than a million dollars, sometimes significantly less at the seed round.

Muhammad Yasin: Absolutely.

Drew Detzler: How do we as marketing leaders convince leadership to gamble on content, on something that is instant gratification, like a paid search?

Ryan Brock: What a great question.

Muhammad Yasin: Wow. I think I take offense to the word gamble to start with.

Ryan Brock: Love that.

Drew Detzler: Love that.

Ryan Brock: That's true, meeting a CEO where he is or where she is, right? They see the word gamble.

Drew Detzler: We did not tell him to say that.

Muhammad Yasin: That was a saucy take there. So when it comes down to it, the outcome of results is the most important thing, right? SEO, content creation, digital marketing strategy does not have to be a gamble, and it does not have to be presented as a gamble. And I definitely take a front to marketers who present it in that format. We have decades, decades of data behind us showing what results are, what comps are, how to project these sorts of things, how to do the research to get yourself in the right space. If you are presenting to a CEO, as we're going to do this as a gamble and see what it tries... There's always experiments. Experiments are core to marketing as well. But there are you doing experiments to get to an outcome. And if you are very clear about what that outcome is and you're being very intentional about how you're getting there, it is not a gamble, it's a given.

Ryan Brock: That one- liner, that is the perfect period of the end of this wonderful conversation. So come at us, bros, if you don't see the value in content, because you're going to rile us up.

Drew Detzler: Yeah, I love that. Love that. All right, Muhammad, before we let you go, let's have some fun with our lightning round. I'll just rattle off a few questions.

Muhammad Yasin: Let's go.

Drew Detzler: What's the last thing you searched?

Muhammad Yasin: Oh, wow. That is a saucy question as well.

Ryan Brock: Yeah. First you got to remember it. Then you got to decide if it's worth saying out loud.

Muhammad Yasin: I do.

Drew Detzler: If you're going to cite or not.

Muhammad Yasin: I do. Let's see. So let's go ahead and look into my search here. Pull it up on the other screen over here.

Ryan Brock: I really hope it's like where to get a banana split or something.

Muhammad Yasin: No, I know where to get that. That's across the street. It's delicious. My most recent search, and this is very timely, we are recording this on November 9th, my most recent search was a local news station, so I could check on the results of the House and Senate races.

Ryan Brock: Yeah, I think that's true for me too, actually.

Drew Detzler: Yeah, yeah. Same. That's probably a lot of people, if they think back when the listen to this.

Ryan Brock: Remember when we didn't know everybody?

Drew Detzler: Amazing.

Ryan Brock: That's where we're at right now.

Muhammad Yasin: I'm going to throw an extra one in there. So that's my last Google search. But I would also point out that SEO and search goes past Google, and we also need to be thinking about things like Instagram and TikTok and all those sorts of things as well.

Drew Detzler: Completely agree.

Muhammad Yasin: It's this, the present, Ryan, it's the present. My most recent searches outside of that was just a TikTok search, trying to find the most recent trending sounds so that I could create some new content for the cats.

Ryan Brock: I meant to do a whole gag where I pretended that the first question we ask every guest is, how do you feel about hairless cats? Well, let me ask the question to Muhammad. How do you feel about hairless cats?

Muhammad Yasin: I'm obsessed with my two, what we call skinfants. So we have two sphinx cat. They are our babies for sure. But they're also, I think, a creative project for us as well. And it does require a lot of SEO research also. They are, I'd say, many influencers on TikTok and on Instagram, they've got about 18, 000 followers on TikTok and just under seven on Instagram. They are paid by both of those networks to create content. And it is a job, and it is one that also requires a lot of research into hashtags or keywords of the social world world. But we put a lot of work into that from a creative outlet. Doesn't make it time, but it makes my wife and I happy and it pays for their food.

Ryan Brock: I've asked my dog to earn her keep so many times, I can't even tell you. So that's the dream right there.

Drew Detzler: She just sits back and barks during our podcast recordings. Unbelievable.

Muhammad Yasin: Oh my God. She's contributing.

Drew Detzler: All right, Muhammad, over the course of your career, have you been able to bust any marketing myths? It's a tough one.

Ryan Brock: Maybe pick one.

Muhammad Yasin: Man, so I wouldn't say marketing myths, but I would say myths inside of organizations. One of the things I'm incredibly proud about in my prior career is a campaign that I did in the insurance space that was around the zombie apocalypse. Got a lot of great coverage across a lot of really cool places. But that was one where we first brought it up organizationally, the compliance team was like, " Absolutely not. There's no such thing as zombies, and why would we do that as an insurance company?" But it drove a huge amount of traffic to our website that was incredibly valuable for us in the spaces that we needed it to be, and drove a lot of business. And I am all about going around rules. I'm kind of a little bit of a rule breaker, and if I find the pivot to make it happen. Apparently with the compliance team, all you need to do is put a little disclaimer down at the bottom that says, " There's no such thing as a zombie apocalypse."

Ryan Brock: Obviously, there's no zombies. Come on. Lawyers, we all get it.

Drew Detzler: Amazing. I love that. That's awesome. All right, Muhammad, last one. What is your best prediction for SEO trends in 2023?

Muhammad Yasin: Authenticity is everything. Authenticity is everything. That is incredibly, incredibly important. Figure out your voice, figure out your story and your audience. Write directly to engage them. Make sure you understand what the algorithmic trends are and connect the creatives and the analytics. Make a great team. Like I said before, marketing SEO is a team sport. It's not a one or the other. And both of those sides of the brains are incredibly important. That's what I'm seeing. I'd say going forward, lean into that story. Do it right, and you're going to succeed.

Ryan Brock: Authentic advice from an authentic man. Muhammad, this has been so delightful. It's been a pleasure, all of the really impactful things that we've discussed today. So thank you for joining us.

Muhammad Yasin: Thanks for having me. Really appreciate it. It's nice to be back on the mic with you and Drew as well, kind of chopping it up. It's amazing.

Drew Detzler: Beautiful. Thanks, Muhammad.

Ryan Brock: That was fun for me. I hope it was fun for our audience. Drew, VP of marketing, what did you take away from this? Are you walking away with a different perspective on anything that Muhammad had to talk about?

Drew Detzler: A little bit. A perspective I already had, but it's great to hear it submitted from another VP of marketing. You call it out, I'm an analytical led marketer. So the thing that stuck out and to me was lead with creative, bringing analytics in secondary. Lead with creative, tell that story, connect with humans, something that we talk about here a lot, but it's nice to hear from someone else.

Ryan Brock: Well, and it's funny because I think about the way that you and I work together. You are the VP of marketing. I am a marketer who happens to be another executive on our team, right? We work together on a lot of stuff. And I think the magic happens... Setting aside SEO, because when we do our pillar based marketing content, we really do start with what does the data tell us our audience wants? To me, that's not very different from Muhammad saying, " This is our desired outcome." It's like, where are we meeting someone? So I think we're completely aligned with them there. But then when you think about the webinars we do, or all the different creative stuff that we work on, that's a little bit different, that's more of a, we're not worried about being found by an algorithm, I get to come to you with my wild and crazy ideas, and you get to be like, that's great or that's stupid, or whatever. I think that balance, we see it all the time when we work together, and I think it's just so important to not let one side, just steamroll the other. That's what I'm taking away.

Drew Detzler: Totally. Completely agree. Bad news for you, Ryan, is this does mean that I forever will be able to say, " Hey Ryan, why don't you take the first stab at this thing?"

Ryan Brock: I'll try to remember that next time I have a headache and you put something on me. That's it for this episode of Page One Or Bust.

Announcer: Page One Or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Know the exact content to create to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started for free today at demandjump. com.


We’re kicking off the new year by talking to one of the foremost authorities on SEO, Muhammad Yasin, VP of Marketing at High Alpha—winner of multiple national marketing awards and recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as one of Indy’s Forty Under 40. In this episode, Muhammad talks about prioritizing creativity over a technicality in your content strategy, tailoring your SEO strategy to pull in high-quality leads, and much more.

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