Love Your Work, Love Yourself
This morning was perfect for coffee on the back deck as the sun came up. It was perfect to catch up on reading some industry news in the quiet before the day became full of emails, ringing phones, inevitable discussions of home add-ons and home improvements, and finally a whole bunch of work that, oddly enough, I look forward to doing.
There was one thing that stood out to me while reading this morning. It was a rather small, but powerful, quip on Twitter, and it read “marketing is nothing more than making sure something doesn’t die, so why are you so serious?”
That is why I love content marketing. Other than being a standup comedian, I don’t think there’s another profession where your personality can be so prominent in your work. Of course there are times that call for seriousness, and Lord knows I’ve shown the fun side of myself and my work at the worst possible professional moment, but truth is, we all have, and we all live, and we all move on. And yes, I’ve been told to quit having so much fun at work before. After the stun wore off, I looked at my boss and said “that’s kinda like asking the Pope to quit praying so much. Why would you do that?”
So, whether you’re a serious work ‘til you drop type, a happy go-getter, a fun socialite who craves group interaction, and whether you own your own business or work for someone else, let yourself come out in your work or else you will never live.
Live life you wonderful you,
It was a Friday night, late fall or sometime like that. It was at least dark. We were sitting on the couch watching the TV in what we called the sun room, which is now the kids’ play and craft room. It was the sun room since three of the four walls were all windows which let all the sun in on sunny days but let a good bit of heat out during chillier dark nights. That’s important to know since I believe it played a large role in naming my company, Sawfish Online.
As the wife would tell you, when the temperature drops, I tend not to put on more layers, and I certainly won’t turn up the thermostat and watch the dollar bills flutter up and out of the chimney. No, I do the manly of manly things and that’s grow a beard and drink scotch.
This particular night, Birdy (the pre-Sam Birdy) was playing on the floor. We were sitting on the couch watching some mindless TV – I vaguely remember an Alaskan airplane show or something (I always wanted to be a pilot). The wife was getting bored (she never wanted to be a pilot) so she started talking about the content marketing and SEO company I started to develop earlier in the year while on vacation at her parents’ house in Venice, FL.
If you look in the history books, or Google, you’ll find that Venice, FL, was once the sawfish capital of the world. Well, I didn’t know that at the time. Pure coincidence, honestly. I know it as the shark tooth capital of the world, which to me, means there’s a lot of pissed off sharks swimming off the beaches of Venice, FL.
However, this fateful night of airplane shows, pizza, scotch and sawfish came tumbling together to the perfect, yet highly imbalanced, ball I call Sawfish Online. How, you are still wondering? Easy enough. Birdy has a bath toy, this hard rubber – almost plastic feeling – sawfish with a real saw for a snout on it. She got it on her first trip to Venice, FL, I believe from grandma who found it in a thrift store and gave it to Birdy as a bath toy gift. With a total length of about a foot long, this thing is a nasty one. No kidding, it’s probably from the early 1980s or even the 1970s before anyone really cared if their kids hurt themselves with toys.
So, my wife asked what I wanted to call my company. I didn’t know. I was only thinking of getting myself another glass of warmth and cheer. I said “I dunnnnwooo.” Then she pointed at this cool print of sport fish from the Gulf of Mexico hanging on the wall. I stared for a few minutes and finally had a solid lock on the sawfish that was somehow dancing around. That moment, with the tail of the toy in her firm grasp, Birdy then whacked me right in the hand with the snout of the sawfish. Everything coming together like that, how could I not choose Sawfish.com for my company name? The wife said, “that’s terrible. How about something like SawfishOnline.com?”
Feeling a little chilly,
Yesterday, I briefly sat down with a couple of friends who own an established new & used car dealership to talk about some web content opportunities. Their situation is unique is some aspects because they deal with an e-commerce business, but it would be an incredibly rare moment for someone to buy a vehicle on the internet and not visit the actual store to look over the car, kick the tires, test drive it, negotiate a price and all the other things you do when purchasing a car – at least, I’m assuming that.
However, a full-blown, fanatically enriched website is a must for a situation like this for many different reasons including being an information hub, building customer trust and most importantly visibility.
The guys know this fairly well already, and know the importance of competing in the Google rankings, but we all know and understand competing organically can be slightly more than overwhelming and leave us awake at night (BTW, take two aspirins, and call Sawfish Online in the morning).
During our discussion one of the guys asked a very good question: “If we rank No.1 on Google for a particular car and a customer clicked on that link and it went to our home page, that’s not good, right?”
Right. The worst thing you can do to a customer or a potential customer is promise to be the best (you’re No.1 in Google after all) and not deliver on that promise. Do not make them search for the car on your website. They will bounce fast than a tossed into a tub. This is called your bounce rate in web analytics, and when your bounce rate is high, it means you have a problem – people are getting to your site, but they don’t like what they see. You aren’t delivering the content. You aren’t encouraging your visitors to stay on your site and gain trust and purchase something.
We didn’t really talk about bounce rates in our meeting, that’s not much of an issue that I know of right now with my friends (thankfully), but focusing on getting high search results that point to the wrong and/or misleading item is a much bigger problem than many business owners realize or even know about.
Here’s how I think of it: Organic search like the example above is much like fishing without bait on your hook. A fish might bite, but if that fish gets off, who knows how much longer it could be before another one comes along and falls for the same thing.
Sincerely thinking about going to Florida to do some fishing now,
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I write this to you because chances are, in the future, whether near or distant, some or many of you may work for websites. It could be for anything. You could snoop on competitors. You could program html or whatever it is we are using in the future. Fact is, we will all stare into a computer and collect a paycheck.
So, without saying much more, when that day comes for you, and you find out that your website is doing something it shouldn't there should only be two options for you to take. I will list them here:
1. Fix it.
2. Email someone and ask if they can or know someone who can fix it and mark it with about a billion "!!!!!!!"s
There should be no third option of writing a note in your html copy on your website that ranks No.1 on Google stating that your website is screwing up and you don't know why like this:
<!-- causes a refresh loading the page twice and killing back button functionality, not sure what this should be doing???
I do oh so dearly want to write the web address of this company down here, and thankfully, it is not a client of mine, but it is a competitor to good friends of mine who could one day be a client of mine. So I will take the high road and offer this advice because you will never ever know who is snooping around your website for what.
I don't care if you be good (except my two kids), but be cool,
COPY: DO NOT DUPLICATE
As Google does away with authorship and rel=author when it comes to search rankings relevance, it’s a good time to brush up on what Google is looking for on a page to make it rank high in searches: Good content.
When it comes down to it in my opinion since good content is what I do 16 hours a day, attaining higher rankings seems to be a bit more simple than it used to be. Well, actually yes and no. The content has to be good, like the best-good-content-ever-content. Like, if-you-were-going-to-church-you-were-going-to-the-princess’s (a real princess not your drama queen sister)-wedding-conducted-by-the-Pope-and-you-better-dress-for-it content. That type of content is not easy to create.
So what do you do, especially if you’re trying to write item copy for a small business that is competing with some pretty sizable competition? Seriously, what do you do, because for once, I’m stumped.
First, you employ your kids to finger paint pictures. While studying their brilliant swirls and stuff, you think, pfffft, paint outside the lines.
The most amazing content is just like all the other content – except it’s better. It’s fresher. It’s more engaging. It’s more fun. It’s more everything.
You take chances and spread your wings and let go of convention while hanging on to convention. Makes sense, right? Well, you have to still play by the rules, but try and bend them as far as you can, and you will know when you have gone too far when you read over what you wrote. I’ve already mind-marked about 75 things my editor-in-chief here at Sawfish Online will red pen me on, and I will fight to near death to keep everyone of my words. Why? We’re different here. We play different rules.
Be different. And whatever you do. DO NOT COPY/PASTE/REPEAT. Do not rubber stamp your copy. You might as well hang a sign on your website and tell all your customers to just shop at Walmart then.
Be creative. Be Cool.
Larry is a content marketing professional, an experienced copywriter, avid fisherman, amateur sailor, teller of kinda funny jokes, pancake connoisseur and an overall OK guy who founded Sawfish Online.