b2ap3 large googlesearchlogoI review how Integrated Media Strategies is doing on Search platforms on a regular basis and for the past few months, we have been holding steady with a #2 ranking on Google for 'integrated media', just behind Wikipedia.  For a startup company less than a year old providing media and consulting services - not some buzzworthy Silicon Valley clone, it is a significant achievement. 

It also shows that it is possible for smaller companies providing good services and who have a sound integrated marketing and communications plan to be able to compete against organizations with far larger budgets.  But it does require some attention to what I call the basics:

  • A website that doesn't contain broken links or other issues likely to stymie a Search Engine robot.
  • Content that's up to date.
  • Credible content that people will read, reference and refer.
  • A website platform that provides the ability to associate page-specific metadata and keywords for every page of the site - and every page should be up to date.  Don't be lazy and use generic content - every page should have a purpose, so every page should provide keywords and metadata with some unique content.
  • At least one section of the site should be updated regularly - aim for once a week at least.  Depending on the nature of your organization, that can be accomplished in a range of different ways, but the goal is to provide value to visitors who can learn from your expertise.
  • A social media plan.  You should take time to connect regularly and authentically on social media appropriate to your organization with your community of vendors, suppliers, peers, clients, customers, admirers, followers and others just interested.  Don't just try to sell stuff to them, this is a social network so talk to them, listen to them, engage with them.
  • Use integrated media.  Video, text, print, pictures, audio, mobile and web all should work together in a consistent way that underscores your brand, key messages, and authenticity. To accomplish this, you need a plan, a process, and the time set aside to accomplish your goals.
  • Review the content on your site quarterly.  Pages have a way of gathering dust, while your organization evolves. Update them to match what you're doing and where you're going, not reflect services, approaches or products that are out of date.
  • Ask people who like you and your products and services to say so through Likes, in their blogs, in forums, in article comments, or elsewhere - and provide a service that makes it easy for them to do so.

Some of these bullet points can be worked at steadily.  As a startup, we weren't able to get all our metadata done for every page of our site, but an element of our communications plan is a content review cycle that takes into account page metrics, content and client and other feedback. We use it all to drive improvements and as we edit and update pages, we fill in all the gaps.

At speaking engagements and when working with clients, we find every week that organizations are grappling with the new communications landscape that requires them to adapt their organizational approaches to managing information for communications. The new communications landscape exposes siloed departments and punishes organizations unable to share information easily - they are no longer nimble. Social media and smartphones allow people outside the organization to have their own, unfettered conversation about the organization and unless a plan and resources are in place to talk to them and with them, brands and perceptions can be hijacked.  Integrated media can address these conversations by showing, not telling, an organization's point of view, credibly.  Of course, if you're being disingenous, the veneer is quickly exposed.

Doing the basics embodied in the bulleted list above shouldn't be the work of a lowly minion slaving away in the basement next to the backup generator.  To unlock the value of the organization's total shared knowledge, the process of translating this group wisdom into corporate integrated media that's received as authentic by the outside world requires broad participation and a process to sustain it. It's no longer a once-a-year corporate retreat thing. The messaging and positioning that can emerge from a sustainable communications process can be honest and provide a clear-eyed view, which in tough economic times is a valuable commodity.   The good news is that organizations prepared to grapple with this challenge emerge on the other side leaner, more competitive, liked by their community - and more visible to Search engines like Google. 

Just do the basics.

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