Tag Archives: SEO

How to Be the Media

22 Jun

“We are the media” is a common Web 2.0 rallying cry. The upshot — every business needs to think about itself as if it were a multimedia producer with a goal of generating attention, awareness, interest and action — or sales for the business.

Adam Singer talks about this on the Top Rank Blog in the context of an organization’s agility.  His point is that it’s vital to find ways to keep contributing fresh content to the web — it impacts search engine results, improves digital PR, meets growing consumer demands and has a host of other benefits.

But what does it mean to think like the media? Or, to put it another way, how do the media think, and how can thinking like the media improve marketing and corporate positioning?

Here’s my list, and I’d welcome input from actual media folks:

1. Find stories and tell stories. The hallmark of journalism is the ability of reporters to observe, ask questions and bring people’s stories to life.  I’ve had the opportunity to play reporter for a client’s internal newsletter, and the results have been rewarding — I talk to their people and let them tell their stories — about successes and challenges and their own interests and concerns. The results are rich stories that inspire other employees to learn, strive, collaborate, innovate and sell.  These stories may well find their well to external audiences and I hope they do — there’s value in these stories — in themselves and in the conversations and ideas they can generate for the company.

2.  They generate attention. Being the media isn’t “art for art’s sake” — tbey want people to read, and view and interact with them.  From a business standpoint, we’re talking about creating content that will interest and excite your constituents — customers, prospects, partners, investors, employees, and community. Perhaps more importantly, it will encourage them to generate conversation…to whit…

3. They spur conversation..and word of mouth…and keep it going. The media want to make a difference in the lives of their audience.  And, besides the satisfaction they get form this, they want more people to consume what it creates, so that they get more subscribers, can charge more for ads and make more money.  So when The Atlantic comes out with a new cover story on “what makes people happy”, they get that story out influencers, they blog about it and they do everything they can to make sure people know that they have something exclusive, unique and special.

4. They plan ahead. The trade media are good at this.  They create ‘editorial calendars’ each year.  They lay out milestones — trade shows, seasonal events, conferences, special issues.  Then they tell people what’s coming, so advertisers can advertise and companies can participate. Can businesses to the same?  Sure — there are a lot of company events you can plan for — product launches, prime selling seasons, key trade shows, quarterly earnings — and have a content strategy for each.

5.  They listen…and react. Or at least they should be.  New media companies do. They are watching web analytics to see what stories are doing well … they’re even promoting stories by showing their site users what articles are most popular and most emailed, and offering them tools for sharing stories. They are opening their content to conversation — sometimes moderating, sometimes not — and participating in ways that keep it going. And they’re scanning the rest of the web to create links and to be sure they know where their story is going, so they can react quickly to changes.

This discipline is particularly critical in a crisis.  The question:  are you listening, and do you have the tools and skills necessary to react…quickly…in a crisis.

6. They meet their customers where they are. You want to roll your eyes when you see your daily newspaper editors talking about Twitter — it sounds like Grandpa talking about “the hippety hop music”.  But the truth is that it’s a sign that they’re paying attention to where their audience is — or is going.  Are you?

7. They think about their audience constantly, and communicate every day. Here’s where daily media and new media are strongest. Every morning, your daily newspaper or TV news organziation holds a meeting. They talk about what they’re seeing out in the world…what’s happening…what’s interesting…what’s news.  Do you do that for your organization?  Every day, every minute your online presence is saying something to your constituents.  Is what you said yesterday relevant today?  Is what you’re saying today moving people?  Are you getting the reaction you want?

The tools are there — from blogs to Twitter to YouTube to Flickr to iTunes your own website and email lists.  What’s on your channel today?

Any media folks want to add a comment…What can we learn from you?

“Recession Proof” SEO Tips

15 Oct

Invest in the Upswing #3

A post at the Top Rank Marketing blog that’s worth a read.  The emphasis here is on tactics for promoting the content you publish online.  Use blogs, media relations, social media participation with search engine optimization to bring your content to people, and people to your content.

Visit: http://www.toprankblog.com/2008/01/recession-proof-search-engine-optimization-tips/

A Matter of Reputation, Online

2 Apr

I’ll admit it: I google myself.  Not often — maybe once a month or so.  Just to check in — call it one part vanity and two parts reputation management…I just want to know what’s out there.   

I’m not the only one.  Seth Silverthorne at Harvard’s BNET delivers a necessary reminder to individuals and businesses to take their online reputation seriously:

“Reputation is what’s going to save you when a jilted paramour posts that you steal from the church, an angry customer criticizes your firm’s selling practices, and a former employee e-mails around a phony arrest record with your name at the top. Sure, a good attorney can help but, as they say, no one reads the corrections page in the newspaper.

Online reputation also becomes increasingly important with the spread of Web 2.0 and its emphasis on social and business networking. In the real word, your word is your bond. Online, its your Five Star rating that wins you more deals, wider influence, and a bank account of goodwill when that idiot blogger does decides to take a shot.”

But what to do?  First, as Silverthorne notes, treat people fairly, deliver what you promise, and be as transparent as you can in your dealings with your publics.   Nothing protects a good reputation better than earning one.

But, of course, some people just won’t like what you do.  The issue online is what comes up when people search for you in Google or Yahoo! and how that impacts you and your organization.  I won’t go into SEO strategy here — there are plenty of real experts out there.  But good communications and storytelling will ensure that you’re found.

I’ve worked with one client over the past year to ensure that bloggers in a profession understand that whether they like my client’s business or not, it offers a legitimate, credible service to consumers.  We created and maintain a blog dedicated to stating our case, respond to nearly every misinformed blog post and media article.  As a result, it is our own story — not that of negative bloggers — that appears first on most relevant key word searches…and when people see the negative, they’ll likely found a comment of ours as well.   

The new Web is a global small town.  People talk. Anyone searching will find the good and the bad.  And that’s OK — nobody’s perfect.  You can’t find everyone who might encounter a negative message about you.  What you can do is spotlight the good and address the bad, in ways that are relevant, open and online. 

And that way, you can be more confident that they’ll find you.

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