When we first started teaching strategic online marketing to small businesses and entrepreneurs, Internet 2.0 was just starting to develop. Everyone wanted to rank at the top of search engines, because that was how online customers found you. Even though only about 75% of the country had regular internet access. The burgeoning online world had gone through some radical shifts between 2006-2008:
- iPhones launched
- T-Mobile followed up with the first Android phone
- MySpace was being seriously challenged by spunky upstart Facebook
- Twitter, a new, micro-blogging platform was launched and grew rapidly
- A video sharing service called YouTube was starting to gain notoriety as more homes switched to broadband internet from dial up.
- Google, who acquired YouTube in 2006, owned the #1 and #2 search engines – at least 80% of search traffic as the wild west of search settled down and became centralized
So it was clear that to dominate the online market, you had to have a significant, findable presence on Google. But despite all of the changes, most businesses were still using old tricks to try and game the system. Things like pages of individual keywords. Backgrounds made up of hundreds of keywords in white text. Submitting and linking multiple dummy sites to “control” keywords…and countless other black hat SEO tricks.
Meanwhile, Google was rolling out update after update of their search algorithms, working to improve the average user’s results and to quietly cripple the SEO shenanigans. When we taught our clients that the best way to rank highly on Google search was to create consistent, periodic content, it was a revolutionary approach.
Consistent is the Crown of Content
Today, you can’t throw a rock without people saying you need to create consistent, periodic content. That’s how you stand out on Tik Tok, YouTube, Instagram and more – it’s no longer a question – it’s a rule.
Strangely enough, some 12 years later, some companies are still making money off bamboozling uninformed business clients with outdated SEO approaches.
In 2020, even more than in the past, only one proven approach allows you to consistently rank highly on Google. You need to know who your customers are and what problems or pains they’re searching for solutions to. And then you produce consistent, periodic content that answers those questions.
In literally just a few month’s time, you can go from being unknown to the top of the Google results for the problems you solve. Not a few random keywords, but strategically answering the questions your customers are asking.
Of course, to do that, you need a few things.
You need to do the strategic work. That’s identifying your ideal customers – their demographics, psychographics and what problems they need solved. This is not necessarily an easy task and you should give yourself/your company sufficient time to find and fully analyze the data.
The last step is creating that consistent content – blog articles, social media posts, emails, etc. It needs to be catchy/relevant enough to grab your targets’ attention. It needs to build credibility, answer questions and offer value to them. And it needs to be in a language and communication style that they relate and respond to. They need to understand it, even if the information feels basic or simplistic to someone within the company.
What We Have Here is…
And that last factor is the one so many companies struggle with. Many entrepreneurs understand that they need to communicate in terms and ideas that their customer understands. But they’re entrepreneurs, not journalists or English majors or filmmakers. They may understand advertising and the power of storytelling. But understanding is a far cry from careful, powerful execution.
That’s where people like me come in. I’ve literally written more than 1000 blog posts. I might even be approaching 2000 at this point, for dozens of different clients and customer bases. That’s just blog posts – it doesn’t count when I was writing news stories and promos for MSNBC, local ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates. Or my social media work. Or the creative writing I do. And I’m not even close to the most impressive member of the Grow the Dream team.
Betsy Dane has an MBA, and has written for hundreds of clients and non-profits. She works on websites, blog posts and social media. She writes grant applications for non-profits, as well as maintaining her own personal projects.
I understand that this sounds a little sales-pitchy at the moment – but that’s okay. There are people reading this who want to – need to – hire us to ghostwrite their content. They’re concerned about our credibility, skills and track record. Some of those reading just want to know what they need to do to curate their online marketing presence. Our clients are both. And it’s a gamble, but I’m willing to wager that a couple paragraphs that help others decide isn’t going to void the value of the rest of the article for you.
Besides, those paragraphs lead naturally to this…
Even if you start out creating your own content, there’s a good chance you run out of ideas. First, let me say that repeating yourself a little bit is okay. Every few months to a year, you can revisit the biggest questions and solutions you offer. No one’s going to be offended and it reinforces your brand and client approach.
I’ll tell you what you don’t do – you don’t buy content from a company that’s selling the exact same words, pictures and ideas to some 5-300 clients. At one point, while freelancing with another company, I wrote blog articles and emails for 3 different skin care companies. In many ways, their products and clients were similar, even overlapped a bit. But every article I wrote was solely written for one client. For their customers. Not once did I write an article for one that was published to another site – even though thousands of miles separated them. The closest I ever got was multiple Thanksgiving posts. There are only so many ways to say we’re thankful for you and happy Thanksgiving. But still, each one was distinct.
Sure, buying content “in bulk” from a company might seem cheaper, a better deal. But as I explained last week, it can actually cost you more in the long run.
A Last Note
What it boils down to is this. Like Southwest Air says at the end of each of their flights – “We know you have a choice.” You don’t have to fly the best. You don’t have to hire the most talented or experienced copywriters. You don’t even have to do the strategic work.
But if you want to rank on Google, to stand out amongst your competitors, to truly succeed – even in the midst of a global pandemic… I hope you’ll consider taking a look at our work and our approach.
And no, we don’t charge for everything. If you’d like a good taste of what we teach and implement for our clients, and have for almost 20 years, you can check out our weekly free #StrategyStreams. Every Wednesday at 1pm Eastern, we spend an hour giving free training on the timeless principles of strategic marketing. We won’t even ask for your email.
And if you would like to get started – with one on one strategic work, aligning your company with your vision and purpose, or partnering with us to get your content needs covered, please reach out.