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Content Strategy, Explained by Zach Laidlaw

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The marketing world is a diverse landscape of strategies, execution and results — and the rules of the game are constantly changing.
Just like updating the software on a smartphone or computer, each new indexing algorithm Google brings to the world’s most popular search engine introduces a series of vital changes to the way marketing is conducted. In 2016 alone, everything content marketers knew about keywords and backlinks was completely ripped apart. Next year is certain to take this trend even further, ultimately bringing Google’s web-crawling bots and human consumers closer together.
Particularly enamored with Google’s latest update, Zach Laidlaw serves as the Content Strategist at Seafoam Media. Last week, we caught up with Zach to get his perspective on how content marketing at Seafoam has evolved, what his position means to the marketing industry, and what Seafoam’s content marketing strategy may look like in 2017.

Q&A with Zach Laidlaw

What is your job role at Seafoam Media?

As Seafoam’s Content Strategist, my job is to create resonating social and website materials: blog articles, social media posts and custom graphics, all relating to our clients’ various industries.

Why is content strategy important to the marketing industry?

I have a motto that I live and work by: “Authenticity breeds trust, which yields success.” In the realm of marketing, content strategy gives organizations an online voice; it’s the engine that drives authenticity, thus leading to consumer trust, which will inadvertently lead to customer loyalty (a.k.a. business success).

In terms of content strategy, can you explain the most interesting thing that happened in 2016?

A larger focus on content! In the recent “old days” of content marketing, Google’s web-crawling bots looked for keyword saturation and backlinks as a means of establishing website authority; that is no longer the case. With many of Google’s algorithm changes from this year, marketing success is being graded less on these components and more on how well marketers convey information to their audience. For a content creator and consumer like me, this makes my job feel more like a delicate art form than a box to tick off on an SEO checklist — I love that.

How has your role evolved since you’ve been with Seafoam Media?

Truthfully, I’ve only been with Seafoam since August; I’m the youngster of the group. In these past several months, though, I’ve learned so much more about marketing than in any previous legs of my career journey. Seafoam’s atmosphere is conducive to personal growth; not to mention, I am truly surrounded by a team of experts who understand their craft and do it well. For this, I cannot be more grateful.

Are there any unique qualities about your role as it pertains to Seafoam's marketing strategy that you'd like to share?

There are things that I would love to share! Unfortunately, these items are classified, at least for the time being. All I can say is that there are some great things on the horizon for Seafoam’s content strategy. When we are able to divulge further details, we will. Until then, sit tight for mid-2017; we’re going to have something exciting to show you.

Are there any lessons you learned in 2016 that will make you better at your job next year?

I believe it’s important to always be open to change. Technology is continuously shifting, and digital marketing is inevitably linked to technology; thus, I think it’s safe to say that marketing will also maintain a pattern of evolution. For instance, I don’t think it’s coincidental that tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft have made large advancements in artificial intelligence, (virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Siri and Cortana are becoming more human-like) while Google’s Penguin search update is focusing more on the human element of marketing. The “bots” and people are now closer than ever, and I think we will see these two areas converge even more, both in technology and marketing, in 2017.

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