If You Chase These 5 Things, You’re Doing It Wrong

Despite digital marketing being nothing new, there is still a lot of shiny object chasing going on. And it is dangerous because it distracts you from achieving any sort of real outcomes from your activities.

If you hear a company or consultancy chasing any of these 5 things, they’re doing it wrong. They may have been manipulated to focus on the wrong thing by someone else, or simply not willing to actually put in the work required to dominate their category online.

1. Always looking for “the next big thing”

It’s clueless to always chase the next big thing in digital marketing. Those people, brands or start-ups that emerge as the next big thing didn’t suddenly flip a switch and become that way overnight. They put in the work. Creating increasing returns isn’t the result of some magical tactics. It’s about trending to success inch by inch. You either start now, create recurring tactics and execute / iterate or you never succeed.

2. Wanting new, big ideas, but failing to execute on tools and tactics already in place

Imagine a company who already has the correct tools in place to accomplish their objectives. But they’re not using them, and yet want new big, creative ideas. They’re basically setting themselves up for failure. Buzz is essential for digital marketing success, but you need to be executing right on a core mix of tactics first. The order here really matters. In fact, I would rather a company just do the stuff in between and skip the big ideas. I have managed programs and developed strategies a lot of  brands and let me tell you, this is what matters most. You need to reach a level of maturity in your online marketing before you start chasing things like viral content. If you are wondering whether your company is ready, you’re probably not.

3. Chasing social media analytics before effectively using web analytics

As I shared in previous posts discussing web analytics for PR, you have no business chasing analytics from sites you do not own until you are fluently using your own site analytics to make data driven decisions. More metrics is not a good thing, you likely already have all the tools you need to get all the way to conversion (and back out the right KPIs) in a marketing dashboard. Stop chasing more metrics, there is elegance and better decision making in the critical few.

4. More Twitter followers or Facebook likes

Followers and likes are a KPI and not an outcome or objective metric. Learn the difference. Perhaps your objective is more sales leads or more media inquiries. But think with outcomes in mind and don’t chase bloated followings within stream-based platforms for the sake of bigger numbers. If your goal is specifically to grow a community, great but focus opt-in at the source. Get people to subscribe to your messages external of the stream where you control the signal to noise ratio. You’ll build a much stronger, platform agnostic community that will propagate itself instead of just being tied to other people’s platforms and lost in the noise of real-time.

5. Ego phrases in the SERPs

If your brand is obsessed with one or two specific phrases in the SERPs just because an executive is interested in ranking for them (but there isn’t even any search demand behind them) you’re doing it wrong. Not that anyone sees the same results in the search engines anymore anyway, but it’s just a waste of time. Having a keyword glossary is vital, but never obsess over ego phrases. Instead, you should be fleshing out consistent, useful and unique content to scale the size of your site monthly. That’s how you’ll really increase search traffic.

This is of course a shortlist – what other items do you see companies, consultants or marketers chase that don’t really help them?

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