This is true, yet paradoxical. On the one hand, there are millions of companies trying to make themselves visible in Google, on the other there are still so many trying to stay invisible in social media.
Isn't it time to forget wondering if you need to be "getting your head around" social media? The new generations of “born digital” customers are galloping ahead of you.
If you can't manage this yourself, the most obvious people to turn to are Public Relations and Digital Media experts. These are the professionals who specialise in writing, relationships and engagement.
Yet at a workshop I was giving for a group of retail managers the other day, one said: “Why would I need to employ a PR expert to do my writing – I can get someone offshore to write me some content for a few dollars and I'll still get the backlink.”
I saw red.
Over the past decade as CEO and founder of a group of online press release and media monitoring companies, I’ve witnessed a massive surge in content that is not just badly written, it’s criminal. Here are a couple of sample headlines:
Eximious Atlanta Laser Hair Removal
Most outflanking herbal vaporizers
(I’m not kidding, and no, we did not publish these.)
This is why Google developed its “Panda Algorithm” -- to stop poor quality content written for backlinks or stolen from others from clogging the internet.
Now I see a new and welcome trend. Search engine optimization (SEO) specialists are now working hand-in-hand with PR companies, to ensure that their press releases are not just search fodder but represent the brand in what is very much the public eye.
Brands are being forced out of the corporate closet and facing a more savvy and well informed public. Yes, they may risk some negative feedback but that risk is far lower than the opportunities presented to engage.
Here are some things you and your PR pro can do to mitigate risk and ensure success:
* Don't be boring! even if you do get some negative response, nobody wants to hear the same old corporate spiel.
* Answer critics politely and if you use humour make sure it's not sarcastic - sarcasm tends to backfire.
* Track your progress and collate any comments and retweets so you can see any changes over time to public response and brand sentiment.