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MAKING

TRACKS

How Creating Great Content Can Get You Free Marketing All Across The Internet.

KEVIN MCINTOSH


INTERNET USAGE PATTERNS

AMONG BUSINESS DECISION MAKERS* • 77% of business decision makers say the Internet is the place to find out about new products and companies – more than twice as many as the next highest medium • 47% of business decision makers say that the Web has influenced them to make a purchase or obtain a service for their business • The Internet is the dominant media vehicle consumed by business decision makers during the week and second only to TV on the weekend

AMONG EMPLOYED WORKERS WHO USE THE INTERNET AT WORK OR HOME** • 76% Have bought products online

• 53% Have watched YouTube or other online video content

• 35% Use Facebook, LinkedIn or other social networking sites

* Source: Business Decision Makers Online Survey, Washingtonpost.com partnered with MORI Research and Nielsen/NetRatings @Plan ** Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Survey. March-April 2008.


The online marketing strategy for a lot of small to medium-sized businesses consists of building a website, slapping the dot com address across all of their corporate communications and waiting for the new business to come running through door. The only problem is, it’s a strategy that's working less and less.

YOUR INTERNET FOOTPRINT COULD BE MUCH BIGGER. FREE. BY KEVIN MCINTOSH

The exponential growth of websites and SEO experts who know how to schmooze Google’s search algorithms has made the Internet a competitive stomping ground.

The website of the average business has been demoted from being an ever-active new business development tool to being little more than a static, online brochure.

Those highly coveted first page organic listings have become the online equivalent of leasing an office in the high-rent business district. And in the case of a highly competitive keyword search, getting a first page listing can be an ongoing SEO expense that’s out of reach for most small to medium-sized businesses.

And because of the Mt. Everest-sized piles of information-rich content coming out on the web each day, traditional marketing content isn’t exactly making its way to the top of the “things-to-read” heap. So it’s time for businesses to develop a new online marketing strategy.


Embed codes. Trackbacks. Social bookmarking. Photo sharing. Widgets. Tweets with url links. Comment boxes. These are just a few of the online marketing tools that are making it possible for smaller and medium-sized businesses to leave tracks all across the Internet. Stake Claim To Chunks Of The Internet

Great Content Spreads More Tracks The popular rallying cry among bloggers is, “Content is king." That's because the Internet is a highly competitive marketplace for information and entertainment. And with the mountains of new content added every day, the competition is greater than ever. So it's the best content that wins.

But now, there are new chunks of real estate on the Internet and they're available to businesses just like yours. And for the most part, they're free. Which means any business can start to leverage these different chunks of the Internet to its advantage.

When content is track-worthy, it takes on a life of its own. Because by using tools like those mentioned earlier, you and other Internet users can spread your content around, leaving tracks back to your blog.

During the pioneer days of doing business online, many thought the Internet would level the playing field for small and large businesses alike. But those hopes faded as businesses with enough money to throw at search engine marketing started buying up the playing field in giant-sized chunks.

What's the real value of these newer Internet parcels? The people who are visiting and settling there. They're your future marketing and PR teams. And your future clients. Welcome To The New Internet Frontier Embed codes. Trackbacks. Social bookmarking. Photo sharing. Widgets. Tweets with url links. Comment boxes. These are just a few of the online marketing tools that are making it possible for smaller and medium-sized businesses to leave tracks all across the Internet. And as your prospects run across your tracks, they will always lead back to the piece of Internet real estate that you can call your own–your blog. Here prospects can access more of your track-worthy content and the relationships can grow.

For example, in 2006, Blendtec launched a series of videos in which the company CEO used their blenders to grind everyday household objects including golf balls, soft drink cans and a Hannah Montana doll. In less than a week after the video was posted to YouTube, over 6 million visitors had landed on the company’s website (they now have a blog). Today if you Google, “Will it blend” you’ll find 400,000 sets of tracks made by people spreading the word. Less than 2 years since, sales are up 6x. However, you don’t need hundreds of thousands of links to your blog. And you don't need a hilarious video. A well-written article that introduces a paradigm shift or some other form of thought-leadership can be just as "track-worthy." It all depends on what you're marketing and who you're marketing it to.


Viral marketing success stories like BlendTec are the exception. However, you don’t need hundreds of thousands of links to your blog or website. And you don't need a hilarious video. A well-written article that introduces a paradigm shift or some other form of thought-leadership can be just as "track-worthy." It all depends on what you're marketing and who you're marketing it to. Tracks Are Like Digital Word-Of-Mouth

For people to want to make tracks with your content, the content has to be better than the rest of the content out there. It has to be spectacular. It has to either entertain, provoke, inform or educate better than the competing content. When it's passed along, the content stands a greater chance of being welcomed, especially if the person making the tracks has influence in the community. And since people form online communities with others of common interests, information can get tracked around much faster online than offline. It's digital word-of-mouth. However, when the content is great, it can

start making tracks offline, as well. After all, communities built around common interests still gather in the offline world. Content that offers a unique solution to a problem shared by a community can be very strong. Because online and offline, problems are a frequent topic of discussion. The type of content you create will depend on the audience you're trying to reach. But it should always point back to your blog.

Are You Ready To Make Tracks? The tools exist for you to make tracks all across the Internet. And for the most part, the tools are free. But to get others to track your content around, your content must be track-worthy.


Kevin McIntosh is a Digital Word--Of-Mouth Strategist and Copywriter in the Nashville market. He has worked on the marketing campaigns of over a dozen Fortune 500 brands including RCA, DuPont and BB&T. He helps clients develop "track-worthy" content and shows them how to leverage online tools to get free digital word-of-mouth marketing across the Internet.

Telephone: 615-469-5225

Blog: http://kevinmcintosh.com Twitter Address: @macwriter

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Making Tracks