The Best SEO, Social + Content Strategy: Thought Leadership

Posted by randfish

I’m constantly recommending thought leadership as a marketing strategy and, frequently, getting a lot of pushback. It started when I was a consultant, but continues to this day. It usually goes something along the lines of:

Other Person: It’s easy to be a thought leader in the fields you just showed, but what are the rest of us ordinary businesses supposed to do?

Me: Actually, I’m a strong believer that there’s virtually no such thing as an industry or niche where thought leadership, interesting/share-worthy content and great inbound marketing can’t work. Marketers said personal finance was boring until Mint. They thought online dating couldn’t be a thought-leadership play until OKTrends. They said elevator installation couldn’t have anything good, then Grant (an Australian firm) launched their great news section including awesome infographics like this one and earned #1 rankings for "Home Elevators."

Other Person: But those fields all have existing examples to draw inspiration from; I bet you can’t name anyone in my particular practice of XYZ

Me: That’s the best part! If no one else has risen up to claim the mantle of thought leadership; it’s an even greater opportunity. The early adopters in thought leadership and content marketing often receive a disproportionate quantity of attention from links, social media, press, etc. ROI may take elbow grease, time and patience, but if you find a way to earn the attention of the web, you have a chance to build a truly amazing brand.

Other Person: There’s no way we can invest that much energy and budget in thought leadership for marketing. We’d need to build a platform to host the content, we’d have to do design/artwork, we’d need to brainstorm and research the ideas, run them past layers of management for approval and 

Me: In 5 minutes, you can have a WordPress installation running in a subfolder of your site. You can do the brainstorming and execution by yourself at first – let’s dream up 3 ideas together right now; I bet we can do it. If you really need design work, look how Cyrus did it here (for under $500). If you can’t get executive approval; create your own blog/site, show them the success you’re having and then 301 it over.

Other Person: Well, OK, maybe.

Me: Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful marketing story.

Other Person: Umm… My name is Steve.

Me: Oh. Sorry.

I recently gave this talk on the Death and Rebirth of SEO at Webcam in Bend

And right after the talk, had very similar conversations to the above with several folks in attendance. To be fair, I completely understand how challenging the process of building thought leadership on the web can appear. But when you get into it, it’s fun, addictive and surpisingly effective. There’s no better way, in my opinion, to create a great brand on the web and simultaneously supercharge your social media, SEO and traffic-growth than thought leadership.

p.s. I’ve been enjoying a lot of shorter blog posts from folks like Brad Feld (whose post on thought leadership partially inspired this one) and Fred Wilson, so I thought I’d try my hand at slimming down my usual 1,000+ word count posts. Hopefully it’s just as impactful/useful. Oh, and slide 65 in the deck above is a duplicate; sorry ’bout that.

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Facebook introduces malicious link checker

There’s some good news in the world of social networking today, as Facebook announced they are to introduce a checking process to find malicious websites links.

The new feature begins as of now, and will warn users who click on links to sites that are infected with malware or phishing sites.

The social media site is partnering with Websense, which checks links for their security classification in real time.

If the link is considered to be dodgy, the user will see a warning page that tells them that the site is thought to be unsafe.

Users can carry on at their own risk of course, but it is to be hoped that most of them won’t.

Information will be provided to the user as to why the site is considered unsafe and they can then just return to their previous screen.

“Facebook cares deeply about protecting users from potentially malicious content on the internet,” said Dan Rubinstein, Facebook product manager for Site Integrity.

“We are excited about our partnership with Websense to provide industry leading tools to help our users protect themselves.”

The new service is powered by the Websense Threatseeker Cloud, which checks and analyses links in real time so that users get an instant result when clicking.

It will be a welcome addition for security enthusiasts and social networkers alike, with the popularity of Facebook leading the site to become a natural target for attackers.

“Websense has been analyzing and classifying the internet for more than 15 years, and now all Facebook users will be protected by the same core technology that is used in the market-leading Websense TRITON enterprise security solutions,” said Dan Hubbard, Websense Chief Technology Officer.

“Every day, Websense Security Labs works to discover, investigate, and report on advanced internet threats that are designed to circumvent antivirus products.”

Chrome ready to outshine Firefox end 2011?

Chrome is poised to overtake Firefox in terms of global browser market share before the end of this year.

Computerworld reported this estimation comes from StatCounter, the firm which back in August pegged Google’s browser as having gone past Firefox in UK market share.

The firm’s latest stats for September showed Chrome with a 23.6% global share, in third place and close behind Firefox on 26.8%.

Chrome has gained 8% since the beginning of the year, and Firefox has slipped 4%. Assuming that scenario continues to play out, Chrome will edge Mozilla’s browser out by December.

However, these figures are quite different to the picture as painted by Net Applications, which takes into account the fact that major browser markets such as China don’t visit the sites it tracks as much as the western world, adjusting numbers accordingly.

The latest stats from Net Applications still show Chrome gaining considerably, up to 16.2%, and Firefox falling very slightly to 22.5%, but it’s still clearly in second place. And given the pace of Chrome’s rise according to Net Applications, it’ll be a while yet before it moves on up to Firefox’s level.

Still, Chrome’s shift up a gear is certainly undeniable, making sizeable gains every month whichever measuring stick you go by. And it seems Firefox is destined to be overtaken by Chrome eventually, probably at some point next year.

Indeed, StatCounter has Internet Explorer’s market share pegged much lower than Net Applications, at 41.7% (as opposed to 54.4%). And as Chrome creeps towards the 30% mark according to StatCounter’s estimations, it’ll have IE in its sights.