An Interview with Dean Quinn – Head of Content at Just Search
Just Search is delighted to welcome Dean Quinn as our Head of Content. Dean brings a wealth of writing, editing and content marketing experience to the company and is keen to see Just Search expand into providing full-service digital marketing.
We managed to snatch a few minutes with Dean to talk about his love for writing, career highlights so far, industry changes, oh and being a Stoke City fan….
Where did you work before Just Search?
Prior to joining Just Search I was Head of Product Content at Noble House Media in London, a publishing company focusing on the consumer tech industry with four industry leading print titles on its roster; Mobile Choice, Mobile Today, ISellMobile, and Wireless. My role involved developing digital strategy for all four publications and their associated web assets as well as overseeing brand visibility and reach within the digital space via video and social media channels.
Before that, I was Reviews Editor at Know Your Mobile, one of Dennis Publishing’s foremost titles, a position that involved sourcing and reviewing mobile tech products. The wealth of my editorial experience however came as Chief Subeditor at the Phones4u Group. I spent 3 and a bit years there and helped shape the company’s digital output across the Phones 4u brand. It was great fun but being responsible for every single word of copy written in the Phones 4u name (which across social, video, and web and ecommerce was a huge amount) came with its own pressures!
Back in the day though, I used to be a news journo at a couple of Johnson Press titles in the South Yorkshire area.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I don’t get to do so much actual copy production these days but I suppose I was drawn to journalism because I’m a bit nosey and like to be at the heart of what’s going on. Brand journalism and copywriting is a lot different but still as rewarding – it allows you to tell stories and create from nothing a narrative about a particular product or service (or whatever) and set the tone of voice for an organisation or company.
The SEO/content landscape is evolving constantly, what excites you about the way the industry is changing?
I keep annoying people within the SEO industry by continually stating that “SEO no longer exists”. Of course, it does exist but what I mean is that SEO doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is merely an element of digital marketing. Many of the ‘old school’ techniques of SEO that focused on keyword density, link farming and the like have been rendered obsolete and there’s now a greater emphasis on relevancy, authority, and user experience.
Content is at the heart of all this – it’s no longer viable for companies to merely pump out ‘content for content’s sake’ and pay for links; what they produce must form part of a holistic approach encompassing off-page, PR, Social Media and video content, and in some cases, ATL. The beauty of working for an agency is that you get to define clients’ content strategies and see them executed properly, pulling in all the bits that make it work and actually seeing the effectiveness of campaigns. What I say to people who define themselves as ‘SEOs’ is that “you’re not an SEO, you’re a digital marketer”. Admittedly, this doesn’t go down too well sometimes!
What visions do you have for Just Search moving forward as a complete digital agency?
It’s an interesting time for Just Search at the moment as we’re in a transitional period as we look to move away from ‘traditional SEO’ and expand into full-service digital marketing. We’re not all the way there yet and there’s a lot of work to be done in order for us to become a fully-fledged digital agency but I believe that the experience we have, not to mention a staff of industry experts have put us in good stead to make it happen.
How have you found your first couple of weeks at Just Search?
Having mainly worked as part of in-house marketing/brand communications operations, the shift to an agency environment has been a bit of an eye-opener. The sheer number of clients means that you’re always jumping from one account to another and that there are more stakeholders involved than there would be client-side. My first few weeks have been a little overwhelming to be honest but I’m learning more and more each day about how the business works and I’m having fun getting to implement some of my own ideas and initiatives that will hopefully drive Just Search forwards.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I don’t really get a lot of spare time as I freelance a lot for some of the publications I’ve worked for in the past. It sounds like a cliché but I really do get paid for doing what I love. They say that if you can find a way of getting paid for your hobby, you’ve nailed it and it looks like I have!
Other than that though, I watch and play quite a bit of football. I’ve been a Stoke City season ticket holder off and on for over 20 years and follow them home and away (the majority of which has been spent watching us being generally awful and visiting such esteemed places as Grimsby and Exeter). I also play 5-aside (my legs can’t hack Sunday football any more) but am in need of a new team since relocating back up north.