Content & Conversation are the building blocks to the SEO Puzzle

Keyword Crossword PuzzleCreating engaging, masterful, and exciting content is the Key Word to the SEO Puzzle. Unfortunately, it is probably the greatest challenge that is faced by today’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization)/Web specialists.  As marketing professionals we have become accustomed to writing pointed sales pitches to fit into a 15-second sound bite for a radio ad or a 30 second commercial for TV. Due to the decades that we have spent crunching content, most modern day marketers have lost much of their creative writing skills and become lazy.

Few can fail to notice how radio and TV commercials contain little substance today and often have very little to do with the product; these days ads are written to grab your attention. Regarding the radio the usual tactics include any combination of audio sound bites that include: someone yelling at you, familiar music in the back ground, or the DJ talking about a grand opening or a furniture sale in the same radio voice as he announces records.

Television ads are equally devoid of content and also full of cheap marketing tactics.  The two most powerful images that you can use in a TV commercial are (1) a baby and (2) a puppy.  Each of these offers the emotional “awwww” factor.  However, the consumers of today are way too smart for these tactics; they will shut you out with a flick of the wrist, one click and you are gone.  Feeling something is important, but it has to be done in a way that is relevant to the product. To move someone today, it has to be done in a truly artful way.

Web content should be written in a way that utilizes specific KEY WORDS; these are words that are descriptive or supporting adjectives that describe your product in terms a customer would actually use.  In other words, “key words” are the very words they put into their browser to search for your product.  Correctly chosen and placed key words in your content allows a search engine to quickly and efficiently locate YOUR product, instead of just your competitors, when a potential customer types them into their browser.

Have a creative writing block?  I can suggest a great book that can help peel away the many layers and bad habits that you have fallen into over the years.  51WHHMSEHTL._BO2204203200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-clickTopRight35-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Roy H. Williams’ book, “ Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads is a masterpiece of paradigm shifting.  He helps you clear the clutter of conditioned writing that is in your head and learn to rethink.  Williams’ book has certainly freed my mind to embrace writing exciting and descriptive content.

Conversation is the final step in this segment of the plan. I am a huge proponent of blogging; I know, you are thinking, “Not another technology term!”  Do not worry about the term, instead, get excited about what it is and how it can help you.  A blog is a web-log; in fact, Facebook is a blog (feel better now?).  A blog is simply a platform where you can create and publish content that people can respond to. It is no more complicated than typing a Word document and adding a few pictures. In fact, this article and this web site is a WordPress blog. While there are strategies that you can learn over time that will help increase the value of your content and blog, I will cover these in a later session.

When it comes to conversation there are principles that you must practice.

  • When someone is speaking about you or your product online, you MUST respond to their comments. Whether it be Facebook chatter, Twitter posts, YouTube videos, or personal blog posts, you need to engage in the discussion.  Always respond to comments. It can be as simple as “Thank you so much for your great remarks from all of us at (Company Name). We are so glad that you chose us.” If they were happy before with your product, they are going to be ecstatic now!  You have touched them in a way in which no other company has. You acknowledged them as a person and therefore you must be one as well, thus a trusting relationship begins to blossom.
  • Now for that dreaded moment; how do I respond to the person on-line who is spewing all kinds of negative, foul comments about my product or service? I refer to this tactic as  ”Lancing the Online Boil.”  Yes, this is a graphic and ugly term; I chose it specifically for the visual imagery.  If you allow negative comments to go unattended, your online reputation will become tarnished and once infected; it is a long road to recovery.  This task is, without a doubt, the least savory of all  tasks that a manager must face. But that is why you, as the manager, get paid the big bucks.

If a customer is venting online about their experience you must respond to their comments. By responding to these negative comments of the unhappy guest, you have opened a constructive avenue for them to vent. I would be lying to you if I told you that you will win all these clients back.  What I will promise you is that you will earn the respect of countless viewers who read  the conversation streams. When making online shopping choices, studies have shown that future consumers find comfort and trust in a product that has managers who engage and try to solve disgruntled clients’ situations.

How To Handle TripAdvisor

For an upset customer who is trashing your product I suggest an opening response of something along these lines:  “Dear XYZ, please allow me to introduce myself; my name is (John Doe) and I am the  (Job Title ) for (Company name). I read your post and would like to find out firsthand what happened. At (Company name) our first priority is customer satisfaction. I can tell by your comments that you are unsatisfied with (either our product or service).  I’m not asking you to remove any of your comments; however, I am asking that you contact me personally. My email is JohnDoe @John or feel free to call me at 888-555-1212.  I would like to know all the details of this situation. (One caveat: because of spam software you may not want to put your e-mail address on a web site any place other than on a request form, thus I have suggested using your direct phone number.)

This approach accomplishes several objectives:

  • It lets this and all other customers know you care.
  • It puts you in the position of being the bigger person.
  • It hopefully removes this comment stream to a private conversation.
  • It allows you to gather valuable information on your product or service.

Be forewarned: some of these people will say mean and hurtful things, so do not become argumentative; the damage is done. Do not throw gasoline on the fire by trying to make it go away. The disgruntled customer may be so angry and verbally abusive that by the time you get finished speaking to them you feel as though you have been branded. Go in the door with a plan of solving the issue or defusing the situation.  If no resolution can be found and the customer resumes the online attack, just sit back and wait to see how many of your fans come to your rescue. This phenomenon never ceases to amaze me; it really demonstrates people’s capacity to care. So what  has happened to this disgruntled person, your online boil? Well, let’s just say that they will shrink out of sight; no one likes to be ostracized, it defeats the purpose of social media, which by its very nature brings people together.