When Buddha was asked to sum up his teachings in a single word, he said, “awareness.”
According to Buddha, to find happiness, one must become aware of reality. This awareness of reality – as a Whole – is accessible to anyone who pays attention to actual experience.
However, many people (including yours truly) get so wrapped up in thought they sometimes cannot “see” reality as a Whole. Funny enough, it’s our own thoughts that keep us from becoming “aware.”
The same can be said about online marketing.
I’m not a Zen Master, but when it comes to online marketing, the same basic dilemma exists. People are confused and mystified about the subject. Especially, when it comes to making it work for their business.
As a result, they deal with this confusion the same way they would in their personal lives. They “think” they need (or want) the latest shiny tool, tactic, or superficial outcome. “If only we had more traffic coming to our site, more fans/followers, more newsletter subscribers, more…something.”
The reality many businesses forget is online marketing is not just about having more of something or better web design, twitter account, or SEO. It’s the combination of content, search engine optimization, and social media that creates results – becoming “aware” of (and using) all three in a unified manner is the Zen of Online Marketing.
Effective online marketing starts with educational content.
As long as there are long sales cycles, there will be a need for education. Content that attracts readers through search and social media channels can do its job of teaching and motivating your target audience to act (i.e. click-through, re-tweet, share, comment, reply, contact, sign-up). Remember, without content, Google wouldn’t exist and social communities would have little to share with each other.
Start here – While SEO and Social Media are important, organizations needs to get clear on what their content is (and then create some!) before spending time optimizing these areas. Having educational content (and a home for it) is required to create an effective SEO and Social presence.
Once upon a time, there was something called SEO copywriting.
By placing the right keywords in just the right places and densities one could achieve top rankings in search engines. That’s all you needed, or at least that’s what the “SEO experts” advertised.
Here’s the deal…
Much of what determines the ranking of any page is due to what happens off the page, in the form of links from other sites. Simply put, if your content isn’t good enough to attract authoritative, natural links, it doesn’t matter how “optimized” the content is. That’s why we always start with good educational content (for your target audience).
When it’s good, each piece of content – with it’s unique URL or web address – can be optimized to create a destination for other websites to link to with a clear entry point for search engines and searching.
On its own, SEO, can provide a lift in rankings and traffic, but when combined with educational content and social media marketing it’s like putting rocket fuel in your car.
Attracting links with social media
Getting links naturally has become the hardest part of SEO, which is why we’ve seen the mainstream emergence of social media marketing as a way to attract links with educational content.
Links from social networks and other authoritative websites and blogs can serve as a signal for search engines to decide how to rank your content in the search results. Links from within social networks can send potential clients directly to specific product or services pages.
True, your company may not be ready for social media, but it’s likely that your clients and competitors are already there.
Become a Zen master (of online marketing)
Sure, at first, it might be more exciting to experiment with individual tactics and tools, but to be successful, take a step back and become “aware” of how content, SEO, and social media can work together – as a Whole – in a coordinated effort.
As a buyer of business services, are you influenced by educational content you find online via search and social?
About the Author:
Mitch Fanning is VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive (Toronto, Canada), a professional member of Social Media Club, and founding member of Social Media Club Niagara. He’s spent 10 plus years working with businesses of all sizes, from global brands – to mid-sized B2B companies – to some of Canada’s fastest growing Internet start-ups ranked in the PROFIT 100. Follow Mitch on his adventures in new media at [mitchellfanning.com].
photo credit: Okko Pyykko