Even with all the information on the web about SEO, it’s still one of those mysterious disciplines that leaves many marketing professionals scratching their heads. I hear lot’s of folks say SEO is dead or that all you need to do is create exceptional content and people will show up at your door.
The truth is, all those are sort of true. Marketing is nuanced, complicated and an ever changing endeavor.
Everyone who has a business wants to get their message found online – the trick is getting yourself and your company discovered by the right people during their online journey.
I’ve talked quite a bit on this blog about the importance of SEO, content strategy and personal branding. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done and even more difficult when you work in an organization where you need BUY-IN to execute effectively, which is why you’ve got to take some time to formulate a strategy to market your marketing.
Marketing your marketing and helping others execute: A pretty meta job, but one that Stone Temple Consulting Senior Director of Online Marketing Mark Traphagen seems to enjoy thoroughly. Helping other brands both mid-size and large start, develop, and hone online marketing strategies is Traphagen’s bread and butter. The trick, he notes, is getting buy-in at the top of the companies he assists. There’s a ton of content on the web that outlines the value of having a digital strategy and that certainly makes it a little bit easier to justify the resources for digital marketing, but for many it’s still an uphill battle. Not enough resources in the right places in time to make a difference.
Marketers looking to convince their bosses likely know the struggle that can sometimes (or often) ensue when they bring up the value inbound marketing can bring to the bottom line. The best ways to go about getting founders, executives, and organizations at large to “buy-in” is relatively straightforward:
- Find plenty of examples of brands knocking it out of the park with their online marketing strategies
- Pack plenty of figures and data points in your presentation to higher-ups that show the ROI digital marketing can generate
- Be as specific as possible with your plans for your brand’s inbound scheme: from the content you want to create, to how you’ll promote it, and how it will be discovered in search.
- Set realistic expectations as to how long it can take to see measurable results. (Remember, this is about creating long term destinations that are assets, not short lived campaigns)
- Make sure you include sales leadership in the process so that the assets you create, align with the long term growth goals of the business.
- Set up mechanisms to include the entire organization in the process. Understanding the key stakeholders needs (and desires, which sometimes aren’t the same) Creating feedback loops so that your marketing strategy is not in a silo and as closely aligned as possible with with the different areas of your organization.
All of the above apply to an organization of one or a million.
One thing we often forget is the importance of making friends and being nice. You need real collaborators and allies to do great work.
A major selling point in persuading execs and managers to give the thumbs up for the development of an online marketing strategy needs to be how much time, energy, resources, and money can be saved by shifting a brand’s promotional efforts not only to being predominately online but from an mindset of broadcast marketing (we’re frickin awesome, buy from us) to consumer centric marketing (let me help you by paying it forward) which is all about providing value above and beyond your products and services.
“SEO used to be ‘the game’ for marketing — now it’s just one big part of the game.”
Search engine optimization is one of the core elements of any successful inbound marketing blueprint, according to Mark — and he should know, given he was one of SEO’s earliest adopters. But it’s not just mastering the art of search that will take brand recognition and sales to the next level. A broader SEO plan is needed — one that includes:
- Guest blogger outreach: Don’t find just any Joe or Jane Influencer to write for your company’s blog. Reach out to those who know your industry and products/services inside and out and can provide unique value that will hit home with your audience.
- Creating lots of valuable content: Have as many brand employees as possible contribute content in some fashion to your brand’s online marketing efforts. This help’s with buy-in as well.
- Experiment with all content types: Publishing in-depth blog posts and witty status updates is great and essential to succeed online … but don’t forget to play around with other distinct content types, including emerging social networks and longer-form content, like podcasting, ebooks, live streaming, webinars, infographics, events and even print.
No one tactic will ever be a silver bullet, at least not forever. One of the things that can be frustrating is that what works for others won’t always work for you and your audience.
Whether you’re striving to get buy-in and budget approval for your online marketing plan or are already embedded in a fleshed out digital strategy for your brand, staying up to speed on the latest stats and trends for inbound marketing, including SEO updates from Google and other experts, is how you’ll strike gold with your buyer personas — not to mention make some headway in your efforts to build a great marketing portfolio.
All of this (and much more) is discussed in this episode of the Craft of Marketing, so if you want to learn how to advance your marketing agenda and career and see how Traphagen has done so over the past 15-plus years, pop in the earbuds and get ready to take some notes.
Listen in for an honest account of what marketing is all about. The tips, hacks and strategies that professionals share with each other but rarely talk about in public.
- Showcasing the real people behind your brand instills trust and helps with reputation development
- SEO used to be the main focus of online marketing — now it’s just one component, but an important one
- If you’re going to put yourself out there as a personal brand, you better know your stuff or you’ll get called out
- Build lots of relationships! No connection is too small, so attend meetups and conferences regularly
- People don’t want to consume content from just anybody — they want to hear from likeable personalities
- The biggest mistake people can make is pushing their personal brand-building too soon. Don’t force it — let it grow organically
- Marketers look at Google+ and say, “It failed,” but in reality, they just haven’t realized it’s just not Facebook or Twitter
- Before establishing your social media profiles, ensure you have actual content to share and a strategy for each platform
- Word to the wise, young marketers: Work only for brands that don’t restrict your role or responsibilities
The feedback is super helpful for me and helps other people find the show. I actually read them. —- Thank You!
This is a labor of love, something I’ve done offline for decades and now get to share my curiosity with you. Thanks for reading and listening to the show and to Mark for being an amazing guest! Oh yeah, thank Mark on Twitter, I know he’d appreciate it.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions about this episode, let me know, and if you like what I’m doing here, please share generously via the social media buttons on this page! — Warmly, Seth