Marketing, content writing, SEO, web design: it’s all about creating for people, about matching up with the culture of the moment, about starting a conversation between brand and potential customer. As a digital marketer, it’s easy to crawl in through the frame of the computer screen and deal entirely in the world of analytics and algorithms, completely forgetting the broader sense of everything we do and are. However, there are some things that pull us out of that quagmire and throw us, blinking, back into reality. Two have come up recently: one is Brexit and my manager wisely informed me that it might not be the best idea to write about that; the second is the UEFA Euro 2016. This, I’m told, should be safe and non-controversial for me to write about. We’ll see.
Ultimately, as a marketer, we constantly want to be keeping our eyes focused on the consistent shifts in society around us, not just to utilise for our strategies but also simply to learn from. We’re ‘people’ people. Here’s what I learned from the people, the teams, and the media surrounding the latest big football blowout.
Never Underestimate the Unlikely Option
Whether we’re talking strategy or we’re talking competition, this holds true. In an industry that is as fluid and changeable as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), it is instinct to cling to the most solid and trusted methods that we know will achieve some results. However, if that’s all you keep your eye on, you could find that something small but powerful comes whizzing by and leaves you spinning. Thanks, Iceland.
Underestimating something small is incredibly dangerous. England did it in UEFA Euro 2016. Marketers can do it, too. That small local listing on some school newsfeed about how you fit their artificial turf? That one that got your address slightly wrong? No big deal, right? Well, that could cause Google to completely distrust your official address listing. If Google doesn’t trust your address listing, you won’t show up when people are searching for your services in your area. You’ve just missed untold amounts of potential business because you were focusing on how to tackle the behemoth of a listing instead. As digital marketers and SEO experts, we have to be aware of every minor mention of our client’s business online, just like how, in UEFA Euro 2016, Hodgson needed to be aware of the potential impact of even the smallest nation’s team.
Always Have a Safety Net, but Never Show That You’ve Prepared for Failure
Of all the things that could have and did hurt fans about the England UEFA Euro 2016 defeat, what may have stung the most is how perfectly prepared Roy Hodgson’s resignation speech seemed. Did he have no faith in his work or his team? Did he really see such a clear possibility of this going so wrong? Did he even trust his own ability at all?
I’ve heard this kind of talk quite a lot since the speech. I’ve bitten my tongue quite a lot since the speech. I vehemently believe that one should always be prepared for failure.
What you shouldn’t do, though, is show that you were prepared for failure
When devising campaigns and content marketing strategies for our clients, we like to be as creative as possible. We have our big ideas – our high-risk high-reward ideas – and then we have our safer ideas that are tried and tested and we know will work. We always have a backup plan, ready to implement at the drop of a hat. What we don’t have is an expectation that we’ll ever have to use it.
Be There for the Right Reasons
Or, you know, don’t be the Russian UEFA Euro 2016 ‘fans’.
Let’s say you’ve implemented an amazing digital marketing strategy, your SEO techniques are flawless, and you quickly reach the top SERP (Search Engine Results Page) position. Congratulations; now what? If you’ve built your website and written your content all just to hit that top SERP, you’ve missed out entirely on the point of both Google and marketing. UX (user experience) should and must always be the top priority. Getting to the top of Google is only the start; for customers to then convert on your website, you must have them in mind when creating it. This increases brand loyalty, and longevity, and ensures you won’t be dropping from the results page anytime soon.
Essentially, are you conducting SEO tactics just to try to manipulate SERPS? Or are you genuinely trying to help Google present the best UX? Or, are you there to watch the football, or are you amongst that collective of Russian ‘fans’ who went to UEFA Euro 2016 just to try to overpower people that never wanted a fight in the first place?
One Expert Does Not Make a Winning Team
You can’t blame Portugal for pinning all of their hopes on Ronaldo. However, we all learned yesterday that the whole team is actually capable of winning UEFA Euro 2016 and it’s not just down to the golden boy. Did the Portugal team and manager know this beforehand? It’s tough to say without having been in those team meetings. My guess is ‘no’. My guess is that it wasn’t until Ronaldo left that pitch, and they couldn’t rely on him anymore, that they suddenly rose to the challenge and realised they were perfectly capable all along – with or without him.
In any team, including a digital marketing team, it’s always great to have one industry professional that has the experience and natural talent that only comes along every so often. However, once they’ve spent some time with the rest of the team, you absolutely should presume that some of their skills will have rubbed off. Because they should have. You need to know that if you ever have to remove that key player, the rest can rise to the challenge and succeed in their strategies just as well. You can only know that if you regularly give them a chance. Don’t be left, like Portugal, with a shock absence at the most important moment. They managed, sure, but you never want to be caught in that kind of lurch. This doesn’t just apply to people, either. When implementing any strategy, you should never rely on one big campaign or one strong technique. Things can and do fail. Make sure you have multiple strategies, multiple angles, multiple methods of securing that victory so that if one element fails, the rest can rise up and succeed.
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