Web 2.0 Blog marketing is almost a misnomer

To quote wikipedia

A misnomer is a term which suggests an interpretation that is known to be untrue. Such incorrect terms sometimes derived their names because of the form, action, or origin of the subject—becoming named popularly or widely referenced—long before their true natures were known.

I don’t know what triggered this train of thought but I’ve got it and I’m in the mood to write.

You see for some reason I’ve got a bug in my head about the concept of blogging mixed with marketing to make it an automatic process. I know the two do mix and people are making money but …

Here’s my mental paradox:

Part of it’s to do with ethics, Blogging and Web 2.0 is all about people. Giving people the ability to mix and interact with others who share information on common interests. It’s about building communities and making friends and contacts. Marketing got bolted on to it because people were blogging.

Marketing is all about driving people towards taking an action which normally involves spending hard earnt cash and a basic human trait, (well a trait I’ve got and the last time I looked I was human) is that we all try to get the best deal possible … and if possible … something ‘free’.

So far so good.

Now this where the rosy glow of blog marketing begins to start losing its shine for me. At least in the longer term as it’s presented in a few posts and emails I’ve come across.
Everyone is (or was or should be) in to this thing called the long tail. The Money Words that people use, that are associated with profit and how they are related to SEO (search engine optimisation). Right?

Well not quite.

If you haven’t heard of ‘the long tail‘, it’s a great book by Chris Anderson that you should probably read if you haven’t already – if only to get a proper understanding of ‘it’ and how ‘it’ can relate to your SEO requirements.

It’s not that the book tells you how to implement long tail seo because it doesn’t but more how it could open up your mind to the concepts and future possiblities and how you then decide to manipulate that knowledge in to your business model.

There also seems to be information floating around, which when put together in a logical way suggests that when you smatter niche, long tail money words into some supporting text (which in turn is surrounded by adverts and links to affiliate products), that you can make money. And it’s been proven that you can. But …. there is a but!

My understanding of how ‘part’ of the long tail model affects the web 2.0 marketing model, is that it’s driven by people who want what they want, when they want it. They even know why they want it and how they want it delivered.

As the first sentence of the main product review at Amazon says

“What happens when there is almost unlimited choice? When everything becomes available to everyone? And when the combined value of the millions of items that only sell in small quantities equals or even exceeds the value of a handful of best-sellers?”

The long tail is about people having personal and infinate choice on a global basis and web 2.0 has made it easy for people from around the world to get together, share experiences and save money or time. That’s social networking.

Let me give you a recent example.

I wanted to get some specialist software. I wanted it the next day if possible. I couldn’t get it.

In fact, all bar one company I approached said they would have to put it on order for me, as it was part of a larger package that they couldn’t afford to stock. (it’s obviously a very popular software 😉 )
Thanks to the search engines, I was able to find a company in the US that would sell me the single package I wanted and because of the exchange rate, I saved just over $160 (£80), even after I’d paid customs duty and 48 hour shipping costs.

This company didn’t try to add long tail words to their website. They were just there because it was a well established company in a niche sector. They had a dedicated support forum but more importantly someone answered the phone when I called to double check the stock levels shown on the site.

“Why have you got so many?” – “Oh we sell maybe 20 or 30 packages a year on their own but we give the current package away as part of our 10 year support deal and also with our advanced ??? product. We have to keep them in stock!”

The long tail tells me that someone, somewhere in the world has exactly what I want. It also tells me that depending on how much background research I’m prepared to do, it will also affect the price I actually end up paying.

Long Tail Fact or Fiction?

Here’s another thing I’ve read. The biggest money in the long tail is the specialist or niche marketplace. The high value, low volume services and products.

Well … again yes, in part. But. (again) No.

The long tail is mainly about the thousands of little amounts that add up as the volume of your sales grow.

The key examples in the book are the digital music and book retailers, who by virtue of the fact they were able to offer more stock, without having to hold a physical stock pile to meet demand, were able to attract more individual purchases.

Advancements in print on demand technology combined with data storage and transit improvements made the long-tail model work. They were able to cater to mass niche target groups, with highly selective tastes.

It was about how allowing ‘users’ to make thier own definitions for something, increased thier understanding of profiling. How allowing the user to try before buying and posting thoughts increased overall sales. How monitoring the user input led to a change of target market and focus.

If you’ve got 10 products, you’re are selling one a day and you want to make $1000 a day. Each product has to sell at $100.

If you’ve got 1000 products selling one a day, even if you only charge a $1 a pop. You’re now making $1000 a day with no physical delivary costs and no real additional overheads.

If the market rate is $10 a pop you can then afford to offer obscure, old, out of date, unheard of, unique … things that sell once a year because there are no storage costs. If you can then deliver when someone wants what you have on offer. Wham – a long tail sale.

I’ll get back to the contradiction in my head in a sec. But, while I’ve got the bug let me ‘try’ and … explain how I see long tail money words.

Have a read through these. I think you’ll get the jist. Just imagine someone’s train of thought or search process. The ‘results’ are totally made up but give you a ‘flavor’ of an average mental search track.

I want a [product-keyword]. – 1,345,000 pages“Wow, way to many. What do I want”

I want a [colour] [product-keyword]. – 945,000 pages“Jeez. So many naff sites and the ones at the top look expensive.”

I want a [colour] [size] [product-keyword]. – 24,258 pages“Thank you. I’m starting to get there. I didn’t realise I had this much choice.”

I want a [size] [product-keyword] [colour] under [current-best-price]. – 3,825 pages : – “Wow if they’re all this much of a muchness I might as well see what’s really on offer. Also I’ve spotted some dodgy looking sites trying to make a quick buck. What about long term support?”

Now I want a [size] [product-keyword] [colour] with the [optional-extras] and [support-package]. – 149 pages“OK! A few sites keep cropping up. Only a few I felt good about though. Are there any local companies hidden further down?”

Now I want a [size] [product-keyword] [colour] with the [optional-extras] and [support-package] in [region] or [town] – 5 pages“Great. Now I can go look at, touch one and see. Just to make sure it’s what I want. (here’s the killer) – I’ll phone them all up now to see who’s got it in stock.”

Provided your man at the shop knows how to close a sale, and it’s not too out of the ‘acceptable mental price range’. That site should be credited with having performed as it should. It had all the right words somewhere that were ‘important at the time’ to ‘that particular customer’.

What if your man at the shop only had [lessor-support-package]?

Would his site have even show up in the search results?

Will the potential buyer now go home and order from a competitor online in a different region?

Here’s one part of my contradiction:

My example above supposes a physical product and I didn’t say the the site I found was a web 2.0 enabled website. The long tail was about digital discovery and how we can integrate the knowledge we continue to learn, into a real business. Running a blog is not a real business per se – A blog is afterall only a publishing tool that we are using as a sales aid. So maybe … perhaps … blog and marketing are good together after all. But even then …. a few lsi or long tail power words added to a page won’t make me buy.

For what it’s worth, I think the long tail effect, as it can be applied to basic SEO that we can safely use is this.

If you want to make money with long tail words you must always remember you are dealing with a real person who know’s what they want or want’s to know what they need.

Just having the right words on the page to influence the search bots does not mean you will ‘fool’ a potential customer. You are wasting your time if you only want to get good high search results.

Also, knowing what ‘long tail type’ of keyword to use to suit your site model will make all the difference and let’s not forget that technological advancements don’t stay secret for long. Sometimes ‘better the devil you know’ is a great plan.

The search engine companies know what they want and they’ve asked for it. Give them the good quality information they can present to their searchers. Information that answers your visitor’s concerns about your site and your understanding of their needs and the long tail will find you naturally.

The fact that blogs can be automated doesn’t mean they should be because you need a real person to buy something if you want to make cash. Search bots are skint.

Just remember: long tail lsi money word search reliability tracking is constantly evolving but good basic original and informative content is forever.

And finally ….

My mental paradox about blogs and ‘automatic’ web 2.0 marketing being a misnomer:

If blogging and Web 2.0 is all about giving people the ability to mix and interact with others who share information on common interests. It will just be a case of knowing where to look for great communities on the edge.

Then pretty soon, all of the reliable, good quality, time saving, cost cutting and profitable information and tools will become freely available anyway and I won’t want to buy anything.

There’s also my belief that the focus of web 2.0 marketing is about to shift away from using blogs in the very near future. But that’s another post.

Kevin Polley has been involved with computers and the internet since 1997. Apart from being an accomplished ecommerce consultant he is also highly experienced in Organic Search Engine Optimization techniques.

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