Let your content go — Online marketing shifts

Just when you thought you understood search engine optimization (SEO), increased adoption of Web 2.0 is greatly influencing online marketing, branding and of course the user experience. This shift is affecting how and where to get your message out, what content and in what format you offer, and user behaviors.

Eight online marketing shifts to take note of are:

  • From defining your brand – to having your brand defined “Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what Google says it is”
  • From “interruptive” marketing – to peer to peer testimonials and reviews
  • From telling your story – to getting customers to tell stories about you
  • From posting content on your own site – to becoming part of communities on the web – “Let your content go”
  • From having a passive customer waiting to be served – to having active participants demanding control and a voice
  • From users hoping to find something relevant – to expecting a high degree of relevancy in the format of their choice
  • From attracting “HITS” – to targeting customers
  • From treating everyone the same – to understanding behaviors

It’s no longer enough to follow SEO techniques, with the further adoption of social networking and collaboration sites, all content needs to be optimized, no matter where it resides on the Internet. It’s also important to note that it’s not enough to have your content just on your website.

“Be in the path of every audience” advises Fredrick Marckini, Founder of iProspect and Chief Global Search Officer, Isobar,  and keynote at the recent Search Engine Strategies conference held in Toronto.

Your content needs to reside on the web, woven into social networks and collaborative sites like YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr and Facebook. Each video, image, presentation and piece of textual content needs to be optimized using relevant keywords in context with your brand and then it can reside anywhere on the web and it should always link back to you.

  • Blogging will continue to grow; there are over 80 million blogs and the trend is for them to be organic and authentic, less blogs from CEOs and more from subject matter experts.
  • There are over 7 million videos on YouTube with an average length of five minutes but most are only watched for 10 seconds. Quality and relevancy is the way to capture audiences.

Your content will need to be offered in different formats as user expectations and demands expand.

Google has tabs for images, groups, news and maps and last year started offering Universal or blended search which means your search engine results page (SERP) could be a mixture of images, stories and videos. So not only is relevancy expected but the type of content in the format of the users’ choice will soon be mandatory. People who consume video will demand it; people who want to play a collaborative role will find a way to contribute.

“Own the results page by offering content under all tabs” Marckini advises.

Relevancy will also be affected by growth and quality. 20% of searches on Google have never been done before. Keywords in context within content will become more critical while tagging will increase.

“Your brand isn’t what you say it is - it is what Google says it is”
- according to Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image.

If you think Joel is giving Google too much credit, think again. 80% of people’s first experience with a brand is within search. However, if its news you’re after Yahoo is the hot ticket with its news claiming 33.7 million readers, Google follows with 10.3 million readers of its News tab and then the New York Times with 1 million readers.

So stop thinking just about getting your website found and start thinking about your overall web presence. Start participating in Web 2.0 by starting and/or commenting on blogs, belonging to relevant communities and offering collaboration. Expect users to be more demanding but also offer more of themselves in the way of opinions and hopefully testimonials. Understand your online reputation and your brand. Offer quality and relevancy and shift with the times. And let your content go – it belongs to the World Wide Web community.


  • Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin

  • SES conference, Toronto

Prescient Digital Media is a veteran web and intranet consulting firm with 10+ years of rich history. We provide strategic Internet and intranet consulting, planning and communications services to many Fortune 500 and big brand clients, as well as small and medium-sized leaders.

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