An increasing number of enterprises are engaging in PR, SEO, social media, and content marketing. Having these four areas covered is great, but many companies are not getting anywhere near the full ROI from their investment in them. In today’s column, I am going to explore the reasons why that is the case, and outline how to make sure you set yourself up for success.
Understanding your real goal is a great place to start.
- How does your website help you achieve your goals?
- Direct sales?
- Referrals to others?
- Page views (advertising or dissemination of information)?
Whatever you do with your site promotional activities, it is critical that you tie these all back to the goal of your site.
For example, how does a strong social media presence help your business?
For many businesses, it will not result in much in the way of direct sales (though there are some businesses where social media does a great job of doing just that!). If it does not directly drive sales, is it a branding play? Or, is it a channel to develop relationships with major influencers in your market space – where such relationships can become major drivers of high quality links to your site?
I am strong proponent of designing social media strategies to help drive a strong mix of signals to your site, including links. This can be amazingly effective, and it is something that my company has done with many enterprise class customers. I do think that the search engines are already be looking at sites to see if they are getting a reasonable mix of links and social media signals.
For example, imagine that you have a set of links to a webpage that has a value. For sake of discussion, we will call that value 100. Let’s also say that you have a set of social signals that has a value of 50. I would argue that the combination of the links and the social signals together may have an aggregate value of 200.
However, for some businesses, social media is best used for pure branding value, or even to build a community that helps drive direct sales and use. These are perfectly valid strategies as well.
While I have highlighted social media in ths discussion so far, the same process of understanding how any of your marketing strategies, whether it be PR, a blog on the site, or content syndication, needs to targeted at helping your site achieve its goals.
The Major Problems
This all sounds pretty straightforward, but getting it together is a lot harder than it sounds. What happens with many enterprises is that the people involved already have a lot of other stuff on their plates. The exec team knows that they need to do something, so they take some tactical actions to get it started. But, then they don’t get the value out of it they are looking for.
Here are three of the main reasons why:
- Uncoordinated Strategies: The company is very progressive, so they have setup a blog, an SEO team, a solid PR organization, and a social media team. They also actively pursue content marketing as a way of exposing their message and expertise to the audiences of other influential people. The problem is that they are not all singing from the same songbook. Getting each of these marketing initiatives to promote the same types of content and messaging is something you simply must do.
- Part-time Owners: A lot of times the people assigned have many other responsibilities. The exec assigns one of the tasks (for example the blog) to their favorite marketing manager as an additional responsibility, yet that markateing manager has tons of other things on her plate. This is not going to get great deal of attention!
- In Different Departments: For example, social media gets placed in the PR department, the blog in another area of marketing, and the SEO team is in development. What are the chances that all of these teams are going to work in close coordination? Sadly, many time they just don’t.
I believe that one of the best solutions is to have one owner that oversees all of these initiatives – SEO, social media, the blog, and content marketing. They should also have the ability to influence what happens in PR, and/or follow-up with media people that are reached by successful PR efforts.
This person needs to have four things going for them:
- Focused – Don’t pile this big responsibility on someone’s already overflowing plate.
- Passionate – They need to believe in the importance of the work and be a true evangelist.
- Supported – The exec team needs to support them and make it clear from the top that this is an important initiative.
- Authority – They need to have the ability to make things move as needed.
A single owner is the best way to set this up. If you can’t do that for some reason, then setup a team that has the same qualities. A clear mandate, a clearly defined set of responsibilities, and one or more people that are Focused, Passionate, Supported, and with Authority to drive all four disciplines toward the same goal – yup, it really can be as good as it sounds!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.