The unavoidable connection of “how” and “where.”
Oct 12, 2009
Before I get to the point, I owe a special thanks to Jeremiah Owyang and his Twitter stream for this post. He gave me some food for thought via the tweet to the right, and he also passed along the link to the Nielson study. For the record, that’s two things I found via social media that are informing this post about how people are finding information.
That’s key. I’ve been noticing for awhile that I use search engines (i.e. Google) and look at my Google Reader less and less all the time. It’s because I’ve found that the good stuff I would have been digging for rises to the top via the folks I follow on Twitter, Facebook and other social sites…we’ll call it “social search.” I’m squarely in the 18-and-growing-percent of folks who use social media as their starting point to finding information on the web, as revealed in the previously mentioned Nielsen study.
While the entire Nielson post is definitely worth a look, the graph below is what really grabbed my attention:
Again, social search is definitely growing. But there is plenty of importance to the fact that portals are still the starting point of 34% of those online (though the number is reportedly dropping) and 37% use search engines (which I imagine will continue to rise). There are many potential ways to be found. How can you ensure you are found? Where will folks be lead? And what’s the best content for that locale?
So to tie the “how you’re found” and “where you’re found” threads together, I’ll first quote a stat: 25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest companies are links to consumer generated content. (That’s also from Nielsen.) Then I’ll make a proclamation: I hope companies are purposefully copying a ton of content elsewhere around the web. Why? Because with the proliferation of three very different ways people are finding information, it’s more important than ever to have a content strategy* in which your information will be found by different types of folks in places that tend to favor different web destinations.
Taking into account that Nielsen Buzz stat, if someone is searching via Google for Walmart, there’s a 25% chance they won’t end up on walmart.com. And I would venture a guess that the links found by social media searchers (i.e. blogs, Wikipedia, Twitter, etc.) are even less likely to lead to corporate websites. So if Walmart wants to be found—and be part of the conversation—they have to think beyond their website. Perhaps even copying the information that has a home there to other places. That content is a great way to drive visitors to your corporate website…without relying on the method that’s being proved least effective of all: banner ads.
*In the coming weeks, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing about content strategy…about content pollination and aggregation…and about what that means in terms of your website. It’s a popular topic right now, but I hope I’ll add some unique thoughts and usable insights to the conversation. Stay tuned, won’t you?
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline. Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, GE and National Instruments.