64 | Stress in SEO & Better Digital PR using Counselling Skills

This episode will cover two main topics, firstly we speak about stressors in the digital marketing industry and then we look at how you can use counselling skills to do great digital PR (to get great authoritative links).

Hannah Butcher worked in digital marketing for 11 years and in last year, she’s interested in mental health and having gone through experiences herself. Counselling skills training and currently becoming a mentor and a coach. 

Stress Factors in Digital Marketing

Hannah put together a list of feedback from the SEO industry, asking contributors (including myself) to share what was the main cause of stress and what we did in order to de-stress

Hannah describes what she saw as disappointing yet reassuring, especially for those starting in the industry, and picks out a couple of stress points that were eye opening:

  • Imposter syndrome by lots of people in the blog post. It is a common stress factor, especially for women. It’s lack of confidence or when they think they haven’t had enough experience, whereas I’ve heard someone mention they ‘fake it until they make it’. 
  • Presenteeism, when people are doing the time at work based on the work day, eg. 9am-5pm, and coming in earlier or staying later so that others think they’re doing more work or are expected to. 

Hannah says you need to be human enough online and show the good and the bad so that people don’t get a warped perception of work. For example, if something isn’t going right and you need support then be careful to add that to social media also as there are so many things that go wrong and we should talk more about those. In a previous episode, Arianne spoke about understanding that people tend to share mostly the positives on their social media. 

My own stresspoint in SEO was that Google can change the ball-park at any point. Although you know the general guidelines, here are a few things that could have happened regardless of ‘knowing’ the right things to do. 

  1. A company can take a while to implement what you’ve recommended and have not done so in time. 
  2. Something historical that wasn’t an issue before but now is. 
  3. The sites linking to you have been devalued and so your site in turn too has been dropped in the rankings. 

How to deal with stress in digital marketing?

  • Be open and have that conversation
  • Exercise and getting out, away from the computer when you’re feeling overwhelmed
  • Apps like Headspace and meditation
  • Make a cup of tea for a quick break
  • Sleep helps to destress

Use Counselling Skills to Improve your Digital PR

Here are some skills that can be helpful to learn and practice.

One example of a core skill is using more empathy, which is different to sympathy. Try and put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re dealing with. How are they feeling and what do they need? Get a perspective and apply it to Digital PR relationships. Put yourself in the shoes of journalists, for example when there are a lot of redundancies happening currently. Don’t assume that journalists are waiting for your campaigns but rather that there is a lot more going on for them. Beneficial to help you build relationships for the long term. Get to know them on a personal level. 

Check your tone and accessibility of language online. Make sure words are coming across as you intended. Read it out loud to check the tone of the email and see how it sounds. Use Grammarly to check the tone of the message. If you’re replying to a journalist request, make sure it’s relevant. For example replying to #prrequest on Twitter, don’t reply if it’s something specific and you don’t spam their notifications. 

Do more active listening. It sounds simple but it’s more complicated. It’s giving someone your full attention when there is a lot of going on and currently we have so many other distractions, such as your phone or deliveries. This includes being present, from body language to the tone of your voice, rather than having conversations that are top level, get to the meat of what you’re dealing with. Get the conversation to go deeper and solve an issue as a working partnership. 

Find out more, here are Hannah’s slides: How to apply core counselling skills to digital PR

Find Hannah on Twitter via @HannahFButcher | Email: [email protected]

Related Episodes

Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.

Introductory References