Teacher churn is high. Most teachers don’t make it past five years (that’s how long I lasted). Two-thirds quit before retirement.
You don’t decide to leave lightly.
It’s a stomach-turning time of uncertainty. And it can feel like you’re turning your back on people who need you.
But, once you’ve made up your mind, you still need to figure out “what to do next.”
Learning SEO and content marketing was the perfect field to transition into after teaching for me. Here are 11 reasons why.
Academia is awful.
It’s hard to tell when it’s all you’ve known. I went from university and waiting tables straight into teaching. Compared to running around with an apron on, and working 12-hour shifts, it was a much better career path.
But, academia is a bubble.
Life outside of universities and classrooms is very different (and a lot more enjoyable). No more grading papers. No more parent-teacher conferences. No more frantically putting together lesson plans, hoping they don’t fall apart at the last minute.
Instead, you get to experience a much more joyful, warm side of life.
To be a good SEO, you need to know how to dive into research and analyze data points. You have to be a problem solver. That’s key to building strategies that help businesses succeed.
Most marketers can do this well. But there’s one area where teachers have the advantage: most teachers know how to write well.
This is especially true if you have a background in Humanities or Science.
You already know how to find, cite, and integrate credible sources into your writing. And you know how not to make grammatical mistakes like passive voice, sentence fragments, and other issues.
You’re probably already very familiar with Hemingway editor. So, you know how to keep your writing short, punchy, and impactful.
After five years of teaching writing, I can say that it’s much easier to learn SEO than to learn how to be an effective writer. That means you already have the hard work out of the way.
I used to think that essay writing was good writing. It’s not. It’s stuffy, boring, and too structured. Giant walls of text turn people away. And long sentences stress people out.
Writing content keeps your writing skills fresh.
But, it also teaches you how to write in new, more interesting ways. You’ll learn how to reach new audiences, write in new voices, and use new types of sentence structures.
Plus, you can experiment with different styles to keep your writing fresh.
Most people don’t read academic papers. The only ones who do are other teachers and a handful of students. And that’s a hard “maybe” on both.
When you create content for audiences, that changes. Instead of writing what you think is important, you find out the pains, problems, and questions people have. After, the research you can create content that helps those people.
And if it’s written well enough, people will read it. Lots of people.
In fact, Google Analytics makes it easy for you to see whether or not people read your content. You can see how many people visit a post and how long they stay there.
And that can inspire you to write even more.
Teaching is project management on steroids. You have to plan out your entire year for multiple classes. And you have to adapt that plan to constant shifts and interruptions. SEO is the same.
You build out a roadmap at the start of your client engagement. Then, you start knocking out deliverables. SEO takes time (typically 1 – 2 years before you fully see results.)
Business goals, markets, and customer demands shift constantly. And you have to adjust your strategy accordingly.
As a teacher, you’ve likely read The First Days of School by Harry Wong. The book stresses how important policies and procedures are to running an effective classroom.
The same is true with SEO.
Without the right policies and procedures, you’ll work way harder than necessary to complete tasks.
Luckily, you’ll know how to build out these processes to streamline your workflows. And that’ll remove a lot of the administrative headaches involved with SEO.
If you can sit through parent-teacher conferences, you can make it through any SEO meeting. Period.
You already know how to deal with frustrated people (parents and students).
As a teacher, you also had to communicate expectations and results regularly. Walking clients through SEO strategies, dealing with traffic drop offs, and reassuring owners on their investment in content will be easy.
At any given point in time, teachers pretty much know where their students stand academically. You keep a running record in your brain of performance and update it regularly.
The same is true of your clients and their campaigns.
You’ll know how to dive into dashboards and evaluate campaign performance. And you’ll know how to find the sources of problems quickly. You’ll also know how to build solutions that get campaigns back on track.
As a teacher, I focused on helping my students find their voices. Now, I do the same with businesses.
I believe that the businesses I work with provide value to the world. And it’s my job to help them amplify their voice so that they can reach more people.
While your audience changes, your mindset (helping others) is still the same.
Businesses rely on marketers to stay profitable and secure jobs for their employees. In fact, 53% of businesses rely on content marketing specifically to engage with their customers.
These customers need the services they provide to make their lives less stressful. By helping them find those solutions, you’re improving everyone’s lives.
It’s not the same as helping a kid reach an epiphany, but it’s still an incredible moment.
You work long days. Everyone seems to think they can do a better job. You have administrators telling you one thing. State standards telling you another. Parents, students, and the outside world all trying to get you to do something different.
Meanwhile, you also deal with the human side of things.
I taught high school. There is a lot of drama. Whether you’re calming down a suicidal teenager or helping a kid get caught up on schoolwork after giving birth, it’s a lot to deal with.
You have to step up.
As an SEO, there is still pressure. However, it’s nothing in comparison to teaching.
You have KPIs you need to reach, and revenue you need to generate. But, you’re not getting pulled in every different direction. You don’t have society coming down on you. There’s still drama (there always is when you work with people). But it’s not at the level it is in the classroom.
Best of all, you can always fire clients that create problems (that’s not exactly an option as a teacher…).
I worked two jobs for my entire teaching career.
I taught during the day and waited tables at night. It was exhausting. I remember waking up knowing that I would do nothing but work from before sunrise to after sunset. And I did all that so I could pay bills.
Compensation for SEOs is much better than what you would make as a teacher.
Once you learn the ropes, you can charge based on your abilities. The harder you work and learn, the more you can get paid. I can’t say the same about teaching.