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Online or Offline, this is the Key to Success

Last night I was chatting with Brian about his recent article. We were talking about how when people get into online marketing they suddenly become enamored with the technology. Have you noticed that?

There is one key to success online and let me tell you now, technology is not it.

Yes, the technical side is important and has a very key role to play. Get the technology right without another critical ingredient and failure is guaranteed.

What is this magic sauce? People.

“People” are the key to your success, online or off.

What a bizarre thing to say! But it is true. Let me explain.

Take a look at this list and tell me what they all have in common …

  • Subscribers
  • Traffic
  • Links
  • Social Media Votes
  • Comments
  • Search Engine Results
  • Advertisers
  • Sales

Got it? They all rely on other people!

You might think that SEO is all about technical tweaks and tricks. Black arts, keyword stuffing, getting the right number of keywords in the right places. But I would argue the best Search Engine Optimizers are actually masters of psychology – Social Optimizers if you will.

Your best links come from other bloggers. Links and anchor text are key to search results. Social Media is partly about phrasing headlines and descriptions, but it is mostly about getting votes. Votes come from people.

Get the people side right and you have won over half the battle.

Focus on people first, when your audience is happy you will find the rest a whole lot easier!

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Comments

  1. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by all the tech stuff that I need to do for my blog, SEO ,keywords etc…

    But at the end of the day who am I writing the blog for in the first place – the readers!

    You’re completely right Chris, I should be remembering this simple, obvious fact that can be side tracked or overlooked in the process of optimizing my blog.

  2. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by all the tech stuff that I need to do for my blog, SEO ,keywords etc…

    But at the end of the day who am I writing the blog for in the first place – the readers!

    You’re completely right Chris, I should be remembering this simple, obvious fact that can be side tracked or overlooked in the process of optimizing my blog.

  3. I’d be interested to hear what role you think content plays in finding success. Where does the content/product fit alongside technology and people in achieving the overall goal? …and is content tied to either the technology or people elements you’ve described above or does it have it’s own measurable impact on success?

  4. I’d be interested to hear what role you think content plays in finding success. Where does the content/product fit alongside technology and people in achieving the overall goal? …and is content tied to either the technology or people elements you’ve described above or does it have it’s own measurable impact on success?

  5. @Mandy – Yes it is easy to be overwhelmed, but really if you focus on creating content that people love, reaching out to people and networking, the rest naturally becomes much easier. You mention keywords, selecting the right keywords and ranking for them is more psychology than technology πŸ™‚ Yes you use tools, but if you focus on the tools and not the audience you will fail. Supply what people want and respond to in a way they can digest, then you are on to a winner!

    @James – Content I would say is on the “people” rather than “technology” side, would you agree? Content is the filling of the sandwich, but without the delivery mechanism (bread), and consumer (audience, people again), what good is it? You need all the ingredients, and focusing on your audience and giving them great content is putting your priorities right. Take the BBC, they could make all the channels HD, arguably making the technology better, would that improve programming? Probably not. You have to deliver the content and deliver it in a way that your audience or readers are engaged. You do that by focusing on people.

  6. @Mandy – Yes it is easy to be overwhelmed, but really if you focus on creating content that people love, reaching out to people and networking, the rest naturally becomes much easier. You mention keywords, selecting the right keywords and ranking for them is more psychology than technology πŸ™‚ Yes you use tools, but if you focus on the tools and not the audience you will fail. Supply what people want and respond to in a way they can digest, then you are on to a winner!

    @James – Content I would say is on the “people” rather than “technology” side, would you agree? Content is the filling of the sandwich, but without the delivery mechanism (bread), and consumer (audience, people again), what good is it? You need all the ingredients, and focusing on your audience and giving them great content is putting your priorities right. Take the BBC, they could make all the channels HD, arguably making the technology better, would that improve programming? Probably not. You have to deliver the content and deliver it in a way that your audience or readers are engaged. You do that by focusing on people.

  7. Absolutely. For ages I’ve been explaining to people that when someone arrives at your web site they are a reader in reading mode, searching for good content. Spending time on the technology is a waste of time; businesses need to spend much, much more time on the creation of good content – which will then get those precious votes and recommendations. The Internet after all is really just a publishing medium, so people need to treat the web just like that, putting into place publishing systems and protocols. Do that and you won’t need to worry about search engines or other technologies.

  8. Absolutely. For ages I’ve been explaining to people that when someone arrives at your web site they are a reader in reading mode, searching for good content. Spending time on the technology is a waste of time; businesses need to spend much, much more time on the creation of good content – which will then get those precious votes and recommendations. The Internet after all is really just a publishing medium, so people need to treat the web just like that, putting into place publishing systems and protocols. Do that and you won’t need to worry about search engines or other technologies.

  9. Agreed, 110% Chris. I mean, it’s like a road. You can decorate it with flowers and trees along the side, but it’s going to have very little impact upon the actual purpose and impact the road has. The road is just there for the people to get from A to B – it’s only there for the people.

    Ok, maybe that doesn’t make as much sense as I thought it might, but I think you catch my drift. πŸ™‚

  10. Agreed, 110% Chris. I mean, it’s like a road. You can decorate it with flowers and trees along the side, but it’s going to have very little impact upon the actual purpose and impact the road has. The road is just there for the people to get from A to B – it’s only there for the people.

    Ok, maybe that doesn’t make as much sense as I thought it might, but I think you catch my drift. πŸ™‚

  11. That’s very well said.

    Karl Marx believed that human beings are intrinsically, necessarily and by definition social beings who – beyond being “gregarious creatures” – cannot survive and meet their needs other than through social co-operation and association. And I share that belief. If you take away the people from the whole blogging experience – then I would walk away too.

  12. That’s very well said.

    Karl Marx believed that human beings are intrinsically, necessarily and by definition social beings who – beyond being “gregarious creatures” – cannot survive and meet their needs other than through social co-operation and association. And I share that belief. If you take away the people from the whole blogging experience – then I would walk away too.

  13. Chris – I completely agree that people should be the first priority, and I do think the definition of content is becoming more up for grabs as user behaviour (people) and technology develop in this fast changing, exciting world of ours.

    I often hear many discussions that debate whether content really is king, or whether the technology is the most important aspect of web use – sadly the ‘people’ don’t often get a look in.

    I did recently hear a marketing ‘expert’ cry out that “content isn’t king, the brand promise is more important” but that’s a whole other can of worms.

  14. Chris – I completely agree that people should be the first priority, and I do think the definition of content is becoming more up for grabs as user behaviour (people) and technology develop in this fast changing, exciting world of ours.

    I often hear many discussions that debate whether content really is king, or whether the technology is the most important aspect of web use – sadly the ‘people’ don’t often get a look in.

    I did recently hear a marketing ‘expert’ cry out that “content isn’t king, the brand promise is more important” but that’s a whole other can of worms.

  15. it’s so easy to forget the simplest things. you are absolutely right Chris, as long as you can get information to the people and have it be what they want to read, the other things will follow soon after

  16. it’s so easy to forget the simplest things. you are absolutely right Chris, as long as you can get information to the people and have it be what they want to read, the other things will follow soon after

  17. Don’t forget Webvan’s example of failure. It had an amazing infrastructure, automated warehouse, grate delivery logistics all powered by the best hardware available. They just forget to think for a moment about who their costumers were and what they really wanted. Technology is not a business strategy; it’s a resource in the business strategy. You can have the best site but without any interesting content, it’s just useless.

  18. Don’t forget Webvan’s example of failure. It had an amazing infrastructure, automated warehouse, grate delivery logistics all powered by the best hardware available. They just forget to think for a moment about who their costumers were and what they really wanted. Technology is not a business strategy; it’s a resource in the business strategy. You can have the best site but without any interesting content, it’s just useless.

  19. People are absolutely the key. The difference between online and offline is in the way we connect with other people and how many people we can reach, but people are still key.

    It’s people that link to you and people that tell others about you and people that read your content, click your links, and buy your products and services.

    Online does add a technical component to marketing and business, but it’s still people that make the the whole thing work.

  20. People are absolutely the key. The difference between online and offline is in the way we connect with other people and how many people we can reach, but people are still key.

    It’s people that link to you and people that tell others about you and people that read your content, click your links, and buy your products and services.

    Online does add a technical component to marketing and business, but it’s still people that make the the whole thing work.

  21. Hey Chris,

    People are #1 but product is #2. You can have a 1,000,000 page views a day and do well with advertising, but why advertise other people’s product and make 1% of the money. Make a product and get a 100%.

    Yoav

  22. Hey Chris,

    People are #1 but product is #2. You can have a 1,000,000 page views a day and do well with advertising, but why advertise other people’s product and make 1% of the money. Make a product and get a 100%.

    Yoav

  23. What a great reminder to think about why you actually started your blog in the first place.

    Authenticity and connection are my goals – online and offline πŸ™‚

  24. What a great reminder to think about why you actually started your blog in the first place.

    Authenticity and connection are my goals – online and offline πŸ™‚

  25. You’re absolutely right Chris. If PEOPLE don’t read your article, or don’t connect with it, who cares where Google ranks you for your “keywords.”

    Such a simple truth that needs to definitely be explored more. Thanks for the reminder!

  26. You’re absolutely right Chris. If PEOPLE don’t read your article, or don’t connect with it, who cares where Google ranks you for your “keywords.”

    Such a simple truth that needs to definitely be explored more. Thanks for the reminder!

  27. @Graham – Yeah, it is as much psychology as anything else so you should be well placed πŸ™‚

    @Armen – Makes sense to me πŸ™‚

    @mark – Indeed, without the people I am not sure it would interest me

    @James – Content is king, but we create it for people and we need other people to help promote it – a king without other people is just a man in a funny hat πŸ˜‰

    @doug – Exactly πŸ™‚

    @Cesar – Good example! πŸ™‚

    @Steven – Yes and 100 year old direct marketing techniques still work because they focused on people, their needs and desires!

    @Yoav – That’s a good point, again it is about working out what people really want and how you can deliver it to them!

    @LAChick – Yup, I certainly didn’t start a blog to please Google πŸ˜‰

    @Phil – Yeah, and it is not much of an achievement if nobody notices πŸ™‚

  28. @Graham – Yeah, it is as much psychology as anything else so you should be well placed πŸ™‚

    @Armen – Makes sense to me πŸ™‚

    @mark – Indeed, without the people I am not sure it would interest me

    @James – Content is king, but we create it for people and we need other people to help promote it – a king without other people is just a man in a funny hat πŸ˜‰

    @doug – Exactly πŸ™‚

    @Cesar – Good example! πŸ™‚

    @Steven – Yes and 100 year old direct marketing techniques still work because they focused on people, their needs and desires!

    @Yoav – That’s a good point, again it is about working out what people really want and how you can deliver it to them!

    @LAChick – Yup, I certainly didn’t start a blog to please Google πŸ˜‰

    @Phil – Yeah, and it is not much of an achievement if nobody notices πŸ™‚

  29. Bizarre or not, must be the single most clever thing I’ve ever read about SEO.

  30. Bizarre or not, must be the single most clever thing I’ve ever read about SEO.

  31. To be honest, I’m almost considering doing away with the SEO all together. Maybe I’m just not picking my keywords well but I think I’ve been fairly conservative with them.

    Writing a personal blog, referring sites are my biggest source of traffic and people already feel a sense of connection because of their trust in the site that has referred them. When they arrive form a recommendation, they are more likely to stick around. Search engine visitors, on the other hand, make my bounce rate look like hell.

    I haven’t been blogging long but it seems pretty clear to me already that it’s all about people making connections, whether that connection is for for one sentence or for life. And if I think about it, not one of the many blogs I now subscribe to did I find via Google.

  32. To be honest, I’m almost considering doing away with the SEO all together. Maybe I’m just not picking my keywords well but I think I’ve been fairly conservative with them.

    Writing a personal blog, referring sites are my biggest source of traffic and people already feel a sense of connection because of their trust in the site that has referred them. When they arrive form a recommendation, they are more likely to stick around. Search engine visitors, on the other hand, make my bounce rate look like hell.

    I haven’t been blogging long but it seems pretty clear to me already that it’s all about people making connections, whether that connection is for for one sentence or for life. And if I think about it, not one of the many blogs I now subscribe to did I find via Google.