A Business Once Lost is Now Found
I typed out my first blog post in 2002 and not long after, hit publish on my
first podcast in 2004. Before that, I would spend hours online chatting with
strangers from around the globe.
Today, I travel the world speaking and consulting about social good,
marketing and creativity.
My first book Content Rules has been translated into fourteen languages
and is used in classrooms and offices around the globe. I share this with
you, so that you know I’m not just another social media expert/guru/ninja/
rock star who after figuring out Instagram and Snapchat, decided they
could make money by selling their ‘knowledge’ to others.
When I consult, the client’s best interests are always first, and any advice
I give is from years of experience in the trenches as a content creator
across multiple mediums and working on a variety of campaigns for
companies of all sizes.
My aim is help you and your organization spend your time and money wisely.
The advice that follows is to help you be better with your online efforts.
Yes, you’ve got great products or services that people would
be silly not to pay for, but you are about more than that.
Why did you start your business?
Why do you sell what you do?
Consumers need to feel an emotional response in connection
to what you create and post online, in both the search AND
Work with your agency or team to find the heart of your story
and then work it into all that you create. Every story is unique
and by finding yours, it will help you stand out from your
competitors on both search and social.
When it comes to our budgets, we all dream of bigger ones.
Even though money is important, I’d argue that your most
valuable resource is time. Everyone only has 24 hours a day
in which to work, create and do everything else that comes
with our busy lives. You can’t throw away that time with social
efforts that are not going to bring you a return.
Never do something because everyone else is doing it.
Remember that bridge our parents always talked to us about
jumping off of? You probably don’t need a Pinterest if you are
a staffing company. But, you probably DO need a Pinterest if
you’re a DIY craft store. Choose your social platforms wisely,
otherwise, they’ll rarely be found on search.
Establish a clear social and marketing strategy with measurable
goals that you can then develop tactics against. Yes, you
should make time to experiment with new tools and opportunities,
but never waste your time. By planning out your editorial
calendar months ahead of time, you can better protect
your resources and use them in the wisest way possible.
Ask anyone who has mastered a skill how they got to
that point, and they will tell you through doing it day
in and day out.
Companies like Google are heavily investing in monetizing
mobile platforms – which is no surprise, given the explosive
growth in mobile search. The most important thing to
remember is that this area is constantly changing.
What’s true and effective right at this moment may not be
applicable six months from now – as such, mobile marketing
strategies must be flexible if they’re going to succeed.
If blogging is going to be a big part of your strategy,
then start writing. Every other day write a post, and
over the course of a few weeks, you’ll find yourself
getting more comfortable with it.
Want to understand Instagram? Take an office photo
at least once a day. Use the editing tools to give the
photos a look you like. At first it will feel awkward
and you will question every photo you take, but in no
time you’ll be whipping out your phone and taking
photos because now you see images to capture and
share, rather than having to seek them out.
These photos give your audience a personal connection
to what your business represents. And don’t
forget, you want to be searchable on Instagram.
Hashtags are your friends when it comes to optimizing
your search strategy.
In the beginning creating content will feel like a
chore. The more creating you do the more second
nature it’ll become, and you’ll find yourself
It doesn’t matter if it is an informative blog post,
a quirky photo or a new product video. Your hope
should be to always start a conversation with all you
create. The key is that you have to be there when the
conversation starts and keep it going.
It is not unheard of for potential customers to ask
questions on Instagram to find out where they can
buy a product in your photo. And if you begin writing
thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn, be prepared for
people to challenge your thinking and expect answers.
Please remember one of our Content Rules of “Speak
Human.” No one wants to hear your acronyms or fine
crafted marketing messages. If they ask a simple
question, they expect a simple answer. After all, this
is their way of using SOCIAL to SEARCH for their answers.
Speak to them as you would if they came into
your store or asked you a question at a cocktail party.
Just because there is a keyboard between you and
them, doesn’t mean you have to act any differently.
There is nothing bad that can come from thanking
people for their comments, replying to questions
and genuinely talking to anyone who reacts to
In fact, by acting like a human (rather than a brand)
you’ll prove to the world that you care about what
they have to say. They’ll feel welcomed to keep
checking out what you publish because they’ll recognize
that you are not just doing it for the Google juice.
A few years ago, all you needed was as many
inbound links as possible from any site on the web,
all the right keywords on your site and a few
other tricks, and you could increase your search
Google, realizing that people were gaming the system
and seeing their users quickly becoming unhappy
with their search results, changed the game.
The algorithm for how Google decides the order of
search results is constantly changing. But, right
now they care about several different things including
how mobile-friendly your site is, how often new
content is published on the site and how many other
people are linking to and talking about your content
on social media. Your social presence now enhances
your Google search results.
Yes, you want to make sure you have relevant
keywords in your posts, and your headlines will
always be important. But, so many of the tricks that
allowed people to put ‘SEO Expert’ on their business
cards are behind us.
Your best strategy for showing up on the first page of
Google is to create the best content for your topics
and keep creating more of it. Don’t forget that Google
now shows images and videos in search results,
so don’t neglect the visual side of the content coin.
Social media is NOT going away. Every week you can see it evolving and growing beyond what many
Do you know anyone that doesn’t own a smartphone? What about someone that isn’t on any social
network? The whole world is getting connected in one form or another, and after they get sick of
personality quizzes and the latest BuzzFeed video, they are going to seek out other things.
Customers expect to be able to find, follow and interact with brands not only by using a search engine,
but also across social platforms. Over time, this can help you build deep business relationships and
trust with them. But, you’ll need to constantly feed the beast and publish new things to continue to
grow a social media presence.
Every time you have a new product, special or something that you want your customers to know about,
you’ve got to integrate it into your marketing strategy. Social media rarely gives its gold away immediately,
and thus you have to always be thinking long-term and ongoing.
Unlike a media campaign where you can pay lots of money to ramp up quickly, today’s marketing world
takes time. Unlike that same media campaign that ends as soon as you stop paying money, what you
publish today is out there forever. Every blog post, webinar, photo, video and status update lives on for
all to find.
So when you are creating social media content, remember – it is also searchable.
Want to be found on both Search and Social?
Follow these basic rules:
- Find your story
2. Establish a clear social and marketing strategy with measurable goals
3. Don’t just post or share something because everyone else is
- The key business objectives/goals should be
measured through relevant metrics. Results of
an eMarketer survey of 632 marketers revealed
the most commonly used metrics for measuring
content strategy success were: lead conversions
and sales (32%), social shares and “likes” (19%),
page views (16%), unique visitors (11%), followers
and subscribers (9%), time on site (7%), and other
- Measurement continues to be an area for
improvement, as 21% of marketers feel they are
successful at tracking ROI (Content Marketing
4. Post content that matters to your target audience
- Uniqueness matters. 76% of shoppers felt more
positive about a company after consuming custom
content (Onboardly, 2015).
5. Spending time creating trumps spending money creating
- More content does not equate to higher traffic.
Less than 20% of a website’s content drives more
than 90% of traffic. Half of a percent of content
drives 50% of traffic (Onboardly, 2015).
- 60-70% of content is never used because the
content is not relevant to the target audience
- Curata surveyed a sample of marketers and found
that most content is authored on behalf their own
organization (63%), with less being curated (24%)
or syndicated (13%) (Curata, 2014)
6. Speak human and interact with your social followers
7. Use visuals wisely
8. Again, CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT
- Visual display of content is among the most
popular tactics among B2B marketers, with
69% using illustrations/photos and 62% using
infographics (Content Marketing Institute, 2014).
- 37% increase in user engagement if the content has
compelling visuals (Business 2 Community, 2015)
- 40% of users will provide more favorable responses
to visual content than text-based content (Business
2 Community, 2015)
9. Social media is not going away – be ready to play the long game
- 91% of companies surveyed by Ragan (2015) use
- There will be an estimated 2.29 billion worldwide
social media users by 2017 (Statista, 2016).
- 43% of marketers think social media is the most
important contributor to marketing success
- The key business objectives/goals should be