Leadership is Now The Strongest Marketing Strategy

One of the hardest things to explain to people when we’re discussing SEO nowadays is that its not about the h1 tags, nofollow links and managing Page Rank. Aaron Wood summed this up well by saying that for the modern marketer, PR should stand for “personal relationships” rather than “Page Rank”. Even more accurate is this quote from Seth Godin

“Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set. Today, of course, yelling doesn’t work so well.

What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere they’d like to go. Connecting them to one another.

It’s enough if the tribe you lead knows about you and cares about you and wants to follow you. It’s enough if your leadership changes things, galvanizes the audience and puts the status quo under stress. And it’s enough if the leadership you provide makes a difference.”?

We can all think of companies that have tried to enter our markets by putting down rivals. The hot-head loses opportunities for partnerships, for links, for publicity. I’ve seen hate-bait (deliberately posting a blog that makes people angry in order to get attention) fall away as people see it for what it is.

How do you know if you’re leading and being a successful modern SEO? If you’re being copied. Its so easy to replicate ideas nowadays that the question isn’t if someone will copy your business model, but when. Imitation is a form of flattery. The time to worry is when no-one is copying you … if no-one thinks you’re worth following.

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Quote: Advertisers are Becoming the Media


"Advertisers are finding it cheaper to become the media rather than advertise on it and support its bloat"

SEOBook with hat tip to NY Times

NYTimesThis is my quote of 2008. I’ve thought about it more than any other because it sums up so many things from viral marketing to the decline of newspapers. The internet is brutal on middlemen and advertising is richest most prominent middleman around. Its an expensive extra layer between buyer and seller.

I left college less than ten years agos wanting to be a journalist. Its almost impossible to imagine someone having that dream nowadays. Newspapers rely largely on advertising for revenue and their business models just don’t work anymore.

The SEOBook quote has led me to try and apply the same understanding to our businesses. Where are we acting as middlemen? Where are we failing to sell anything tangible? Where are we relying on advertising too much?

If you sell ads … the first step is to radically cut costs. Long-term the only solution is to be astronomically better than advertisers at creating and promoting content. I see only three ways to do that:

  • Own the #1 ranking on Google for one or more very high-value keywords
  • Use an absolutely category-definining .com domain name
  • Be far and away the leading opinion-maker in your market

If you sell products … add great content, not just great products.

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Great quote from Brian Clark of Copyblogger

Great quote from Brian Clark of Copyblogger fame about how to become an expert:

"I was chatting with a friend about this topic recently, and we both came up with same initial answer about becoming an expert—read books … most people don’t read and many of those who do swamp themselves with RSS news feeds instead of the foundational knowledge contained in books."

RSS Feeds are like the news … interesting for keeping up with current events but completely lacking when it comes to building knowledge of value. I can honestly say I learnt more about Google Analytics from reading one $10 book over the weekend than from months of analytics blogs. More about that tomorrow … 😉

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