Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.
Let me tell you a story. However unlike other stories you have read, or been told, this one will not contain any lions, witches or wardrobes. I shall not weave tapestries with my words of knights in shining armour or dragons that must be slain. Which I suppose is a shame really, as I’m sure some out there would find that a far more interesting read for a Friday afternoon.
It’s as I type this second paragraph that I realise I may have taken Nichola Stott’s talk at ionSearch yesterday a bit too literally. You see one of the key takeaway points from her talk for me was that when you choose to follow the much championed “content led” model or strategy for your business, the content you produce must tell a story in some way, shape or form. As by telling a story you create engagement with your target audience, which is the key to making your strategy work.
When this little gem of wisdom was revealed to me, I asked the obvious question. “What’s a story?” Obviously it’s not what I started to write at the start of this post, even though that’s the traditional thing you think of as a story. A story nowadays, in the context of creating great content for your audience, tends to be things that measure things or are evocative or emotive. What’s great about thinking like this, which Nichola pointed out as part of her presentation, is that you can use your clients existing “stuff” to create these stories. Nichola suggested that people find out what their clients are doing currently, find their USP and look at consumer groups. If at all possible use all of this to give people “the warm fuzzy wuzzies” as part of the story.
One great example Nichola gave as part of the presentation showed how you can create something out of nothing if you dig deep enough. One client they had sold thermostats, not exactly the most evocative of markets. Yet upon digging further they found that they were selling thermostats to the NHS. The NHS was in turn using these thermostats in the production of incubators for babies. This all meant that they now had a fantastic, emotive story that they could create content around to share and gain both visibility and (hopefully) links.
Now while all of these great hints and tips were shared with us all at ionSearch, and in turn I have now shared with you, I couldn’t help but notice something. A lot of what Nichola had been talking about sounded to me like traditional PR work. Now this does go hand in hand with the way I believe offsite SEO to have been heading for the past two years, and the way I have been working here at PushOn, but it does lead me to wonder if PR’s and SEO’s can continue to cling to their love/hate relationship. Or will it cause them harm as the few who can let go and just love each other tear ahead of the competition. Simon has shared his own opinion on the matter here at the wallblog, which seemed to cause quite the ruckus, and it’s well worth reading both the piece and the comments to form your own opinion if you haven’t formed one yet.
Hm, I think I can see my next story to tell you on the horizon.
If you want to read a general overview of ionSearch day one, there’s a fantastic one here, written by my colleague Jonny.
Images courtesy of the BBC and me.