March 15, 2016
The success of your SEO campaign depends squarely on your ability to manage SEO projects – which translates into managing team members, clients, and external factors like updates to search algorithms or competitor behavior.
Studies have shown that committed emotional engagement and individual motivation are huge predictors for success. Your team members’ emotional engagement with project development will be hugely important for the success of individual SEO strategies in 2016 and beyond.
Why Emotional Engagement Matters
Web development, content marketing and SEO campaigns fail all the time. The reason? Sometimes it’s because the project wasn’t well conceived, didn’t set specific goals, and failed to lay out actionable tasks.
The planning stage is necessary for bringing a SEO campaign project to fruition. You’ll need a detailed project plan, and the right project management software will certainly support this process. For project management, the logistical side is a much easier problem to solve than the emotional side.
Responses to a Gallup poll identified a simple fact: People have emotional needs. If their emotional needs aren’t met, they don’t perform as well, and they’re more likely to drop off from a project. A perfectly planned process will fail without emotional engagement from every team member.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Your SEO campaign’s overall success depends on the success of each individual contributor – and each contributor needs certain skills. Their knowledge of factors like search engine algorithms, their keyword research chops, and their industry expertise are all necessary skills.
However, success also depends on personal qualities like self-control, perseverance and ability to work with others. These personal qualities make up a key business concept: emotional intelligence.
Emotionally intelligent people are team players. They readily adapt to a project’s changing needs. They’re motivated to contribute to the greater cause – the project, the client, and your organization.
Most of all, emotionally intelligent people are engaged.
Tenets of Emotional Engagement
Your SEO campaign has constraints – just like any project. As a leader, you’re limited by time, costs, and project scope. The final project’s success depends on your team overcoming these limitations and this relies on their emotional engagement.
What defines an emotionally engaged team? Here are a few examples:
- Everyone knows what to do. Each person is assigned a specific task – and can confidently bring it to completion.
- Everyone’s contribution is meaningful. Team members should feel that their work is valued and necessary. Each person understands how their particular task fits into the overall project.
- The team works together. Team members trust each other on a personal level. Each person feels connected to the project’s overall goals.
An environment like this is definitely something to aim for. Let’s talk about how to get there.
Fostering an Environment of Emotional Engagement
What does an environment of emotional engagement look like in concrete terms? In a lot of ways, it depends on what you do as a leader.
Here are a few leadership tips for getting everyone on board:
- Set clear expectations. People can’t meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are. Make sure each person knows what you expect them to do, when you expect them to do it and how it needs to be done.
- Provide opportunities for learning. SEO is a complex field. It involves creativity, an eye for design, mathematical understanding, quality content creation, competitor analysis… the list goes on. None of your individual team members will have a full understanding of every aspect of an SEO project, but your leadership can provide opportunities to expand their horizons. A project can double as a learning tool.
- Leverage team members’ strengths. Is everyone contributing as much as possible? Don’t under-utilize any of your team members. While it’s important to provide learning opportunities, you also need to play to their strengths. A team member who is both confident and knowledgeable has a great shot at success.
Ultimately, team members’ ability to engage depends on the leader’s emotional intelligence. Project managers must lead by example. Remember, your decisions affect more than just the technical parts of the project. Don’t rely solely on logic and analysis. You’ll have to weigh the technical ramifications of your decisions with their impact on the people they affect.
Final Thoughts: What Leadership Really Means
Don’t assume an emotionally engaged team can operate without guidance. Don’t assume you can control them, either. As a leader, your guidance will provide support as well as direction. Building a team means bringing together people from wildly different backgrounds, fostering healthy relationships and managing conflicts between individual players – and it all relies on combined emotional intelligence and tactical leadership.
I am a professional blogger, writer, researcher and successful investor who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. A graduate of Iowa State University, I’m now a full-time freelance writer, business consultant and independent real estate investor. Currently, I write for Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, TheNextWeb.com and BiggerPockets.com. I have previously contributed to the HuffingtonPost.com, and Business.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, I’m also active in real estate investing and spend weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization. When I’m not saving the world with my keyboard, I can be found rock climbing.