Brands, like people, are in constant need of love and attention.
Just like a millennial chasing likes on Instagram, much of this need for instant gratification can be a distraction from what really matters; building real relationships, doing important work and establishing foundations that last a lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong, if resources are infinite then by all means keep up this superficial channel activity. Perception, after all, is reality. And if you’re a really large business with massive brand equity, letting it drift for the next quarter frankly isn’t an option.
But most businesses don’t have massive brand equity. Most businesses are universes short of where their vision statements or commercial objectives state they should be. And for these businesses, a little bit of drift on the surface while the foundations are addressed below is probably the pragmatic and shrewd thing to do, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.
So what do I mean by “foundations”:
- Well I’m going to be generous and assume your business is in the 20% that have a clear framework for their brand identity.
- I’m even going to assume you’re in the 10% that have a bold and compelling strategy for your content.
- What I am almost certain of, however, is that your website is only targeting a fraction of the audience that it could. Now I’m not one for placing tactics above strategy, and as I always say if you get the content right then to some extent the channels take care of themselves, but there is something really special about the relationship between your website and the search engines, and that’s the long term, compound nature of its ROI. An email, tweet or press release will provide a return for a number of hours, maybe days. A web page added to your site that caters to a particular user intent in the search engines, however, will provide a return for years and years. There is simply nothing else like it, and I would put money on the fact that your site is barely scratching the surface of opportunity.
In fact even our website – and we have so many organic landing pages – is probably targeting less than 50% of the search queries it could.
For the majority of websites this is one of the greatest long term investments they will never make. There will be literally thousands of keyword variations their audience is frantically tapping into Google, yet other than some limited optimisation of their home page and a handful of key product or service pages, they’ll do precisely nothing to capture them.
It’s a little bit like going into the middle of the Atlantic on a large scale fishing expedition and then dangling a children’s toy fishing rod into the ocean. Completely mental.
For the rare exceptions to this rule – those websites that do establish a strong foundation – it means that when they then start building their brand value via their tweets, emails and press releases, they are channelling that new found authority more powerfully and in more directions than ever before, and at absolutely no additional cost.
So if your audience is active in the search engines, put the busywork on ice, create a proper long term sitemap for the near infinite user intents and keywords that may bring people to you, and then make 80% of that plan happen this quarter. Every quarter thereafter will thank you for it.
See you next time,