The increase in remote work has made Slack a more attractive communication tool in the corporate world. It’s a valuable tool for SEO agencies in particular, given that they often work with multiple clients on different SEO projects like backlinking, URL optimization, and content strategy.
Granted, Slack isn’t the only communication tool out there for companies. Microsoft Teams and Flock are two competitors, for example. However, I’ve been running my SEO agency remotely for approximately a decade, and introducing Slack to my team tremendously improved communication. As intuitive as Slack is, I’ve learned that there are setup tips and tricks that will help SEO agency owners get the most out of it.
Note: These tips are Slack-specific, and while I’m not familiar with competing tools, the essence of these tips could possibly apply to other options on the market.
BUCKET 1: STATUS UPDATES
Switch out meetings for status updates. Meetings are expensive—use this meeting cost calculator by the Harvard Business Review to get an idea of just how much meetings are costing you. I ran the hypothetical example of a one-hour meeting with five people who each make $60,000 a year. The total meeting cost came out to $210. You also have to think about not just the financial cost, but the cost in time: how you can use the time you’re putting into meetings to knock out other tasks instead.
That’s where status updates step in. I have a few different Slack channels for my agency that cover various status updates, including general announcements, awards, and daily standups. Instead of holding meetings, people share essential information in the relevant Slack status channels.
In particular, the daily standups channel keeps my team members on the same page. Every day, they have to answer what they worked on the previous day, what they’re going to work on that day, and if anything is blocking their progress.
I also created a “leads” channel that pings members whenever a lead enters our system and whenever people turn into marketing qualified leads (MQLs). Not everyone on my team has access to our CRM, but they can get the information they need about our leads without distracting someone from the marketing department just by joining this specific Slack channel.
BUCKET 2: DEPARTMENTAL CHANNELS
Inter-departmental communication is critically important. However, there’s a line between necessary, helpful communication and information overload. When you create departmental Slack channels like finance, operations, marketing, and sales, your employees can have segmented conversations.
If another department needs to know something, make sure you or one of the managers gets that information to that team. Create a process to minimize the chances of information falling through the cracks. For instance, you can designate one person in each department to be the “inter-departmental” communicator.
BUCKET 3: PROJECT AND/OR CLIENT CHANNELS
SEO agencies deal with various projects and clients regularly, making it a good idea to create channels focused on them. For my firm, I create specific channels with the naming structure #proj-clientname, then add the relevant team members to each channel.
Again, this goes back to giving people the ability to have segmented conversations without overwhelming everyone else at the agency. These project- and client-specific channels also make it easy for you and other leaders at your agency to track information and revisit things as needed.
BUCKET 4: EDUCATION-BASED CHANNELS
Creating education-based channels is a great way for people across your company to share industry updates and happenings.
At my company, we have a #learn Slack channel and a #news one. In the #learn channel, people post educational content related to SEO tips and tricks. In the #news channel, they post updates about what’s happening in the SEO world.
These channels are a quick, easy way for employees to engage with each other and talk about SEO-related topics. They’re a form of knowledge-sharing; employees who read interesting news and content can post about it in these Slack channels so everyone can benefit.
BUCKET 5: CULTURE-ORIENTED CHANNELS
By creating an open, friendly work environment, your organization will be a place people are excited about working for, which translates to better results.
Culture-oriented Slack channels can help you cultivate and maintain a lively company culture. These channels are especially important if your agency is remote, since remote companies can’t easily hold in-person events.
Two of the culture-oriented Slack channels I decided on were #kudos, where people give each other shoutouts, and #lounge, where people can have general conversations about non-work-related matters. I used the name #lounge instead of #watercooler because the term “water cooler” can evoke the notion of gossip.
ORGANIZE YOUR SEO AGENCY’S SLACK WORKSPACE WITH EVEN MORE PRECISION
The caveat with all of these different Slack buckets and channels? You don’t want to create too many of them. If you have too many Slack channels, you’ll just end up overwhelming employees… and avoiding that was the point of having separate channels in the first place, right?
Still, there are a few easy fixes, the first of which is obvious: try to minimize the number of channels you create. When you do create them, avoid using numbers for organization and stick to alphabetical order. Instead of having #1finance, just go with #finance, and Slack will take care of the alphabetical sorting.
The other fix is to designate certain channels as private, so employees won’t join unless they are required to. Additionally, try to instill good Slack habits for yourself and your team, such as getting everyone on board with using the “threads” feature (which will minimize notifications and keep information better organized).
Finally, everyone should organize their Slack accounts however works best for them. For instance, as the agency owner, I like being a member of our different client channels. However, I don’t need to be aware of every single notification, so I opted to mute every single client channel; that way, I’m still part of them and can monitor them on an as-needed basis.
With a well-organized Slack and great Slack habits, your SEO agency will be able to communicate more smoothly and produce better results than ever before.
Founder/CEO of Rankings.io, an SEO agency that helps elite personal injury law firms dominate first page rankings.