Social media and SEO: A creative challenge for 2018

The following is a guest post from Andy McIlwain. Andy wrangles content and community projects for the GoDaddy blog. On the side, he co-organizes WordPress meetups in Toronto and writes about content strategy for small businesses. You can connect with Andy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and his personal blog


Now is a great time to start thinking ahead to our social media and SEO plans for 2018. That way we can roll into January with at least a rough idea of what we want to do in the year.

For myself: I want to create for the sake of creation across a bunch of platforms.

Why “create for the sake of creation”?

A lot of folks don’t realize that I was once an arts student. I dreamt of being a professional cartoonist like Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. I had friends encouraging me to start a webcomic. So I did a few strips, but then I stopped.

In college I was working on fansites and forums as a hobby with a bunch of friends from around the world. I started dabbling in livestreaming and podcasting for the sites, but I didn’t keep at it.

Painting. Sculpture. Photography. Video. Music. Performance. I’ve dabbled in a lot of things, and I’ve loved doing it all, but I never stuck to any of it.

Creative activities are a struggle.

A highschool arts teacher criticised me once for never finishing what I start. I’m sure it was an off-the-cuff comment for him, but it stuck with me, because he was right.

The webcomic. The podcast. The streaming. Painting. Sculpture. Photography. These were all activities that I had started and never finished.

Where would I be now if I had stuck to those things ten years ago, even if all I did was invest a bit of time each week?

We’ll never find the time, so we have to make the time.

Back in January I committed to writing twelve guest posts by the end of the year.

By February I had put that goal on the backburner because — surprise! — other things took priority, and I thought the guest posts would be easy to pull off later.

…then December showed up, and I was super-short of my goal with only one month left to go.

With my old art teacher’s words echoing in the back of my mind, I put out a call on Facebook to see if anyone wanted me to write a guest post for them.

To my surprise, a lot of people were interested. So I took every single opportunity. I added them all to a spreadsheet. Then I blocked off time in my calendar to get the posts written, edited, and submitted.

We’re now half way through December and I haven’t missed a deadline yet.

(What if I started doing this ten years ago…?)

I want to continue building on this discipline. I want to create for the sake of creating, producing something new every week throughout the year.

What does this have to do with social media and SEO?

Good question! Let me explain.

The best-performing content on social media is content that’s produced for the platform. This native content isn’t just an amplification of something you’ve published elsewhere – it’s stuff you’ve created specifically for whatever platform it’s appearing on.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘Native content should be useful, entertaining, or inspiring on its own.’ via @andymci” quote=”Native content should be useful, entertaining, or inspiring on its own.”]

And on the SEO side, we’ve known for years that publishing original content is the best way to drive long-term organic traffic to your website. Then we need to promote that content across other channels to get as much value out of it as we can.

Ongoing content creation is at the core of all this. A steady rhythm of showing up, doing the work, and making incremental gains week over week.

So that’s what I’m focusing on in the new year.

Related: Editorial calendar – the content, keyword, and SEO connection (via GoDaddy)

This is my content creation challenge for 2018.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and I’m sure some of these plans will change, but I hope you’ll take some inspiration from it.

I’ve tried my best to make these SMART goals. In other words, they’re specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timed.

Related: How to write SMART goals (via Smartsheet)

I’m also using Teamwork to manage my projects and keep myself accountable. I settled on Teamwork after kicking the tires on Google Sheets, Trello, Todoist, and Asana. Teamwork might seem like overkill at first for personal projects, but I’m loving it.

So here’s what I’m setting out to create in 2018:

  • Writing: Publish a new post or page each week. Perform keyword research to choose topics that have clear search intent behind them. Over time this builds up my website as a library of useful content. (Who knows, a self-published eBook might come out of it…?)
  • Guest Blogging: Reach out and search for guest posting opportunities. Publish one guest post per week. Schedule posts well in advance so there’s plenty of lead time to write, edit, and submit the post. (I’m currently scheduled into February.)
  • Email Newsletter: Publish one email newsletter per week. Curate content from elsewhere and provide commentary on it. Include exclusive content, like a video, that’s only available to newsletter subscribers.
  • Podcasting: Produce one podcast episode per week. 30 minutes long. Transcribe the audio and publish the transcript on a website so it’s indexed by Google.
  • YouTube: Produce one YouTube video per week. 15 minutes long. Transcribe the audio and publish on a website so it’s indexed by Google.
  • Snapchat: Produce one Snapchat story per week. (I have no idea what I’m doing here, but I’m determined to learn how to use this platform.)
  • Instagram: Produce one Instagram story per week. Post at least one new image per day.
  • Facebook: Host one livestream per week. 30 minutes long. Transcribe the audio and publish on a website. Embed the Facebook Live video.
  • Twitter: Take part in one Twitter chat per week. Produce one original Twitter video per week.
  • Quora: Answer one question per week. (I’m certain I can smash this goal but I can’t guarantee that I’ll do it each week.)
  • Medium: Publish one original article per month.
  • LinkedIn: Publish one original article per month.
  • Alignable: Respond to one question per day. (FYI: Alignable is like a social network for local small businesses.)
  • Meetups: Host one meetup per month. Publish the takeaways in a blog post.
  • Eventbrite: Host one workshop per month. Create an accompanying worksheet. Record the session. Publish the takeaways in a blog post.

I’m already getting excited thinking about how content works across platforms. I can’t wait to get started.

(If you’re interested in following along, I’ll be sharing the progress over on my personal blog. )

What’s your creative challenge for 2018?

Here’s my challenge to you: Go and publish something original every single week.

Do it for the fun of it. Do it to learn about these different platforms and types of media.

Who knows? You might find something you like doing!

Related: How to start a blog in seven steps (via GoDaddy)

And if you’re looking for an excuse to justify this, there’s nothing wrong with looking at monetization later on. Or, even better, experiment with it as marketing R&D for your business.

But first things first. You need to hit publish. You need to show up, do the creative work, and put it out there, again and again and again.

Let’s build that creativity muscle together.

See you in 2018.

** Photo by Matthieu Comoy on Unsplash **


  • Colin Murray December 15, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    You left out sleeping and eating.

    • Andy McIlwain December 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      I’ll take on the “sleeping and eating creatively” challenge in 2019. 🙂

  • KenyaBob December 18, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Hey Andy. Give Bitrix24 a try. Free, but waaay better than Teamwork or Smartsheet IMHO. It’s like having Asana+Trello+Slack+Dropbox+Calendly in one.


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