“I want it now!”  Ugh, Veruca Salt, she was a rotten egg if I ever observed one (fact or fictional).  Are you being a brat in regard to online marketing traction?  Be truthful.  I will.  I don’t need a direct quote from my mom to tell readers I’ve had a history of being a little bratty.  I was an only child; give me some understanding.  As I matured, I’ve come to (most of the time) understand, patience is a virtue…both off and online.

 

 

If you’re reading this, it’s likely online marketing strikes your fancy.  What brand (startup, mid-size, gargantuan) doesn’t want to make it big…STAT?  (Did you know the medical term, STAT, stands for sooner than immediately?  I used to teach writing and English).  It’s taken some advice from industry sources to help me stay patient.  You better watch your speed too!

 

 

Know what else I really didn’t like doing as a younger man?  Listening to my elders.  Hey, what can I say?  I was a brat; such actions come with the appellation.  Dr. Pete of SEOmoz gave fatherly advice yesterday to new people on the search optimization scene.

It’s all great advice, especially the notion of “doing something.”  If you’re being bratty, I’ll assume you’re doing something; but, maybe it’s not enough.  Perhaps you’re spending too much time in your own brand’s chocolate factory.  Get out some more.  Have you thought about influencer marketing?  Eric Enge thinks you should (Don’t lend him a bratty ear either; his insight will only help you.)

Patience, doing things the slow/steady way, and making influential connections, helped one modern-day artist flourish.  I came across a WSJ article today, featuring a German artist, Gerhard Richter.  Richter did some paintings in the 1980s.  He waited.  He waited some more.  He saw no traction.  Not one, single painting sold.  (Admittedly, I’d get a little bratty, Gerhard.)  Let’s fast forward to modern times, where the tenacious artist sold one portrait for $16.5 million.  The WSJ’s Kelly Crow recognizes, “Few people can pinpoint the moment when an artist becomes iconic in the way of Pablo Picasso or Andy Warhol, but right now the art world is trying to anoint Mr. Richter.”

Read the WSJ article.  Mr. Richter’s career is a testament of patience.  He was ‘kind of a big deal’ in Germany, but as the article showcases, the real turning point in his career did not come until 1995.  I know; Anthony, my company can’t wait decades to make it big.  I understand.  Don’t take the notion literally; what I wanted to bring to light was the patience-leading-to-possible-domino-effect phenomenon.

 

 

Let’s revisit Dr. Pete’s advice.  He says do something then talk (or as I would like to think about it – then be worthy of conversation).  Do you want it now!?  Well, take it from a bona fide brat; such impatient yearnings are going to get your brand into trouble, take influence on your reputation, and have many (consumer and cohorts included) weighing and measuring your company.  Guess what happens to bratty, rotten eggs?

Technology!  It’s exciting!  It’s eye opening!  It may be hurting your brand!  Technology is moving at…modern-day computer speeds; it’s getting faster with each passing moment.  Yesterday, I wrote upon Apple’s newest iPad and analyst forecasts of mobile devices killing the ‘PC star.’

In Apple’s case, advanced technology is modifying the brand, filling iPad revenue streams and drying paths stemming from PC sales.  For the Ford Motor Company, technology may have lost it revenue as well as reversed the brand a few rungs on the ladder of reputation.

Two years ago, Ford began producing vehicles with the MyFord Touch system (developed with Microsoft).  Great idea, Ford!  Align your brand with a bastion of technology.  Was the maneuver beneficial?  Not presently.  Ford’s customer ratings plunged along with brand reputation.  It’s time to check under the hood, Ford.

Of course, MyFord Touch was an ostensible implementation of progress.  A touch screen (where are our traditional buttons going?) replaces traditional knobs and buttons.  Wise men say only fools rush in…  From a New York Times article:

“I think they were too willing to rush something out because of the flashiness of it rather than the functionality,” said Michael Hiner, a former stock-car racing crew chief in Akron, Ohio, who bought Ford Edge Limited last year largely because he and his wife were intrigued by MyFord Touch.

Ford needed to rev up celebration of its nascent touch technology.  A major upgrade attempts to resolve issues related to fickle systems (crashing and rebooting), slow touch screens, and questionably-keen voice recognition systems.

What I personally celebrate about Ford’s endeavors to remedy the situation is their direct contact with customers.  Upgrades are being sent to customers (the new software is installed via a USB flash drive in about an hour). Are you amongst the 300,000 Ford customers awaiting a flash-drive upgrade in the mail this week?

The horn was initially blown on MyFord Touch last week by Consumer Reports (Ford is now parked at 10th place on the 2012 Automaker Report Card).  J.D. Power & Associates drove Ford further from its accolades; the former dropped the latter from 5 to 23 in its most recent quality survey.

Is your brand moving too fast?  We hear about the mishaps of the big brands but I’m sure a lot more brands are frustrated regarding the insurgence of technology and the anxiety to produce bigger, better, and faster.  Can your brand keep up?  If not, when do you say when?  When your consumers begin turning on you?  Isn’t it too late then (especially for a smaller brand)?  Ford has a long-standing name and is likely to brook this reputation storm.

Citibank got itself into similar trouble with smartphone applications recently.  Similarly, Citi is a big brand, likely to leverage its already standing reputation to move past the mishap.  SMB owners, whether related to online platforms or offline technology, are you chasing tech toward a reputational cliff?

Anthony, does this relate to SEO?  Yes, I think it does.  WebiMax’s Todd Bailey recently posted on Search Engine Guide about Google’s numerous updates.  Our search engine optimization industry warrants daily-to-hourly perusal in order to stay up-to-date with Panda updates (Kevin Gibbons), new SEO approaches, Google privacy changes, ( I could go on but it’s likely I’m missing industry news as I type – I gotta go)…

 

Thanks for reading.  Be sure to check back regularly at our SEO blog and contact us for further questions.

There are a lot of smart minds out there; please contribute.  It makes my post better.

Are you winning with your PR pitches or missing the mark, like an inexperienced pitcher from the California penal league?  Remember Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn from Major League?   You may know him from his present-day role as Charlie Sheen (but I digress).  Rick had the ‘heat’ behind his hurls but his approach needed tweaking.  A customized pair of Clark-Kent glasses and a music-filled montage of highlights later, Vaughn comes around, rallying the once-trailing Indians behind him.

What does your PR ERA look like?  Are you winning?  I read a great PR post (filled with 92 ways to get press coverage )by Chris Winfield yesterday.  He addressed an array of PR-related topics including research, working the phones, and contacting members of the media.

The last topic is especially important; you don’t want to balk when approaching a media source.  Building relationships is a cornerstone of PR; throwing wild pitches at media sources can have your brand sitting the benches (out of fan sight).

I noticed a ‘management tip of the day’ from the Harvard Business Review (Reuters synopsizes here), addressing how to communicate with colleagues.  The points provided echo some of Chris’ regarding contacting media sources:

 

Delivery

 

The Business Review suggests quickly getting to the point.  Media sources embrace concise brevity; it’s likely yours is not their only email of the day to get through.  I like Chris’ suggestion related to personalizing an email, referencing a source’s body of work; it frames the impetus for contact.

 

-          Next, is this solicited or unsolicited, meaning is a media source actively searching for related news or is your brand being opportunistic?  If the media source is actively looking, help them expedite.  Give them all necessary information in your initial email.

 

-          Also, who sent the email, the industry expert (PR client) or third party (PR service)?  Media sources prefer direct contact with industry experts.  Be direct.  Be concise.  Help them save time however you can.

 

Why the Contact?

This is huge.  Every brand wants exposure but not every brand has something of value to add.  It could be a matter of timing or it could be a matter of poor quality.  Patience can help you with the former.  You need to do a lot more than read this information if your brand is in the latter group.

The Business Review asks, “What prompted you to deliver it (the message)?”  If you’re pre-skull/crossbones specs Vaughn, you’re throwing wild pitches, hoping to get attention in any way.  If you’re throwing strikes, you’re pitching like the reformed ‘Wild Thing,’ seeing things more clearly.

It’s about adding to the conversation.  Here are some of my observations (in comment section) regarding Chris’ post:

Be direct and confident, knowing you have something to offer.  The number-one tip I would direct a client’s attention to is “know what you’re talking about.”  Obviously, the sentiment is subjective and you may have some viewers on the other side of the fence, but a reporter, editor, blogger, reader, can instantly understand whether contributing or exposure is your primary concern.  I understand the endgoal of PR is exposure but it’s important to shop for windows of opportunity. Being selective and shopping for quality and the proper fit is essential; but, (very often) clients expect/want results yet must accept ongoing PR is more of a ‘quiet storm’ which strikes when most befitting.

There’s a wild and guile way to pitch to media sources.  What brand of game is in your PR bullpen?  Finding your PR strike zone is crucial; it could mean the difference between winning and losing.

 

 

I don’t’ have a high-def monitor; is it me or does your homepage look a bit dusty?  Is it time for a spring clean?  When was the last time you considered giving your brand’s online face-page a scrub down?  If you’ve been following search engine optimization tips over the years, it’s likely you’ve introduced, attended to, neglected, and eighty-sixed a number of implementations.

Let’s wax upon some recent understandings, giving your brand fresh perspective on homepage design and implements.

Stocking up on Trust
Brand management is important; a brand has an image to build and uphold.  Do you know what always felt ‘artificial’ about television commercials to me?  The actors’ feigned portrayal of using products and services; as if for brief moments, I will forget it’s an advertisement and take stock in the actors’ rejoice of the brand.  If commercials featured actual members of the brand or genuine clients, perhaps the endeavors would be more effective.

Is your brand featuring stock photos or anonymous testimonials from the homepage?  Do you think such implements hinder your brand’s reputation?  Consider Todd Bailey‘s sentiments in this SEJ post.

A keen industry contributor, Dan Shure, recently directed my attention to my Twitter photo (I’ve noticed a number of people shifting away from formal and (stock looking?) photos on social accounts), suggesting I modify it to a less-stock-looking photo.  I notice the difference and celebrate his advice as well as his insight on creating creative titles.

Secure [Attention] with Titles
Dan’s suggestion of intriguing attention through titles makes sense; there’s a lot of real estate for eyes to see; creativity calls eyes to action.  The sentiment applies to on-site page titles as well.

Additionally, consider constructing on-site titles and descriptions like meta titles and synopses.  Take a gander at this Search Engine Watch post from last week.  Read both posts and consider fusing SE best practices with creativity to optimize opportunity.

Titles also introduce chance to issue brand personality.  Your brand wants to show its ‘pieces of flare,’ right?

Is the Brand’s Homepage the Brand’s Homage Page?
It’s common to think of a homepage as a site’s…well ‘homepage’, the main page; but, is it necessarily true for your brand?  How do users behave?  I referenced a Dr. Pete blog in yesterday’s post; he directs attention to the high traffic –> poor/misleading content –> high bounce rate dynamic of particular pages.  What brand pages are most popular with users?  Are those the same pages your brand desires to be most popular?  If not, you must do some digging, understanding why users embrace particular pages over others.

These are just a few things to address.  What would you suggest to introduce a bustle in your homepage’s hedgerow?