How Toast Used Clearscope To Handle Content Decay
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Toast has undergone a lot of changes in the past few years.The company offers a complete software solution to restaurants, covering point of sale (POS), payroll, and even online ordering. But they dealt with a lot of challenges during the pandemic, trying to meet the demands of clients who increasingly needed contactless or delivery solutions.Then they went public in September 2021 with an impressive initial valuation of $20 billion.
In recent years, Toast’s content needs have shifted with the trends in dining out. Topics that were relevant only months ago suddenly weren’t trending anymore. They struggled to keep up with how quickly they needed to adjust keywords and refresh articles.
But after they started using Clearscope in July 2022, their strategy became a whole lot simpler.
Amy Lecza joined Toast in March 2022 as their Director of Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). She’s been working closely with Amanda McNamara, Senior Manager of Content Strategy, to help shift Toast’s content needs to match the fast-paced changes of the restaurant industry.
A manual SEO strategy that couldn’t keep up with changes
Toast has always known a strong SEO strategy was necessary for their company to grow. Their content team has focused on growing their organic channels and building content around a clear strategy.
Amanda notes, “We as a team are really hands-on with SEO analysis … the assignments would come back in, go through a rigorous editing process, and then go live on the site. There may have been small tweaks [after editing] we might make to win for snippet opportunities or just optimize for additional engagement.”
They had a team of writers and editors, but they did all of their SEO work manually.
They were growing their brand but found it increasingly difficult to allocate all of their resources to cover all the channels and topics they wanted to hit.
Amanda explains, “It was also imperative for us to scale traffic at the start of the year. Every year we have pretty lofty traffic goals that we need to execute, and Clearscope was a real standout.”
Changes they introduced with Clearscope
Amy immediately knew that she wanted to introduce Clearscope to the team.
She had worked with Clearscope in a previous role and recognized that the tool could address many of the problems the team was facing. The team looked at other options, but Amy’s enthusiasm for Clearscope won out.
She notes, “It was huge for scaling at my last role, and I knew that was something we wanted to apply here as well.”
After beginning to work with Clearscope in July 2022, the team noticed a significant difference in how many pieces they could handle. They can also easily check which articles they might need to refresh.
Amy adds, “There’s a manual way to do it, but some of Clearscope’s new beta tools have been really helpful in getting a bird's-eye view of that, [and] understanding how much of our monthly time budget we should allocate to writers making improvements to existing pieces.”
The team checks content 30 days after publishing to see how it’s performing. Clearscope gives them a better understanding of this and helps them decide how to make changes if needed.
They can track when they made changes to posts and see how it impacts traffic. Clearscope makes it much easier to change things up if a post starts to drop. Or vice versa — they can emulate a successful change across other channels.
Toast also uses Clearscope to build topics and plan keywords. Then, they hand the topics off to a team of freelance writers. Their content has become more targeted since working with Clearscope, too.
How they take advantage of Content Inventory
One of the tools Toast likes best is Content Inventory (still in beta). It helps them identify gaps in their content and figure out where to place new pieces.
The team can see what competitors are targeting and estimate how their own content will perform.
Since they publish 100-150 pieces per quarter, this has been a game changer in how they approach their content creation.
Their editors and managing staff handle the SEO aspect, but staff writers also use Clearscope for outlines and analysis.
Amanda says the process has “become a lot less manual, and there's a lot less moving parts and places to check.”
Their whole team now understands how they have made their pieces perform better. This process starts with identifying high-demand keywords and planning content around them. Then, they ensure the content answers reader questions and is relevant.
Clearscope is also helping Toast grow.
Toast needed to scale and reach new markets in the restaurant industry — and a plan to reach them. Amanda says they recently introduced a version of Toast for food trucks and needed to build some authority in that market online.
Clearscope played a big role, as Toast used the tool to figure out topics to write about. The tool also helped them improve their rank for some of these posts by hitting specific keywords that are a bit different from the restaurant industry in general.
They plan to grow their freelance pool and develop even more in 2023.
Amy and Amanda agree their team loves the letter grade system and say the tool helps them prioritize both new content and refreshes.
While the way they approach their content strategy hasn’t shifted dramatically, the amount of time and work it takes to complete things has.
Clearscope has made things easier for everyone. Most importantly, they’re hitting their goals.
Amanda notes, “From our team standpoint, from our leadership standpoint, and then I think from investors, too, that's really attractive for us to [say] we're doing all things great, and Clearscope is a huge part of that.”
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