I get a lot of calls on SEO, and not just from San Francisco. A lot. I really feel for people. Some are struggling new businesses, sometimes with only an idea and sometimes with both an idea and some money. Some are just bad ideas (or at least to me they sound bad – if I don’t “get it,” I can’t really see trying to work on a company’s Internet marketing). Others have been burned – really burned by the shady underside of the SEO and social media marketing community. If SEO is plagued by thieves and scoundrels, social media seems to be plagued by hypesters. Both can just take your money – the former nefariously with a complete awareness of the damage that they are doing; the latter innocently (often believing their own nonsense) but damaging nonetheless.
And then there are the angry ones. These are the ones who call (or email) and have the attitude of: I hate this stuff. I really hate this stuff. I don’t want to do SEO. I don’t want to do social media marketing. I want it to just “go away” and I want you (Jason) to do what’s necessary to keep me in the game (even though I hate this stuff). Well, first of all, I don’t hate this stuff. I love this stuff, so we are already off to a bad start. I find that if you start an endeavor in life with a “bad attitude” it pretty much comes to fruition. So if you “hate” Internet marketing, you can be pretty certain it will “hate” you back by being confusing, boring, difficult, and a waste of time. Moreover, this “stuff” is the future of marketing and the future is ALREADY here, so if you want to continue in marketing, you have to learn how to “do” both SEO and social media marketing. Or, if you “hate this stuff,” then it’s time to find a different career.
I hate accounting, for example. But I don’t do it. And I don’t hate accountants. I respect and acknowledge the necessity of what they do – in fact, I am grateful that they LIKE accounting (because I don’t). How wonderful that I can do what I like, make money, and then pay them to do what I hate, and they like!
Which brings us to doing it with you and not for you.
SEO and Social Media Marketing: My Approach to Being a Consultant
If I were to approach my accountant with a “bad attitude” and act like a “black box” and not share my information with him… well, he’d think I was crazy! He expects me to give him my books, and expects me to do my best to explain in layman’s terms my financial situation – from profits to losses, expenses and everything in between. He doesn’t expect me to be an expert in accounting, of course, but he does expect me to “not fight him.”
So my accountant does accounting “with” me and not 100% for me. Yes, he does a lot “for” me – because in this case, the needle is very much tilted towards him doing more and me doing less. Taxes? a) hate them, and b) don’t understand them.
As for SEO and social media marketing, therefore, my attitude is to do it not FOR my clients but WITH my clients. Generally speaking, besides a fundamentally good attitude, I want them to help me out, in these ways –
- Explaining their business value proposition: what do they do? What do they sell? Who wants it, and why?
- Their keywords. As we research keywords, we want to keep a sharp eye on the ball. What types of customers do we wish to attract? What types of keywords are they typing into Google and/or discussing on social media? We gotta gotta gotta know our keywords and only in working WITH the client, can I really identify winnable keywords.
- Goals. What are the goals of the website? Usually it’s registrations and/or sales but it’s also branding and brand equity building.
- Brand Identity. I can write, or create many types of content – from low brow to high brow – but it may not necessarily fit with the company’s brand identity. In creating content, therefore, it’s really important to work as a team: writing content that is SEO- and SMM-friendly AND keeps true to one’s brand identity.
With you, and not for you. It’s a good motto for many business endeavors.