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The MozCon 2023 Final Agenda Has Touched Down!

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The MozCon 2023 Final Agenda Has Touched Down!

It’s hard to believe that this year’s MozCon is less than two months away, and we couldn’t be more excited to dive into the future of search from our brand new venue, the Seattle Convention Center’s Summit building.

On August 7 and 8, join Roger Mozbot at MozCon for insights and tactical presentations from industry leaders, plus the opportunity to connect and network with fellow attendees!

Tickets are already 90% sold out, but there’s still a little bit of time to snag your spot before they’re gone. Night Owl pricing is on until June 30, and tickets are just $999 for Moz subscribers. Can’t make the in-person event? Grab yourself a Livestream pass + video bundle for $449 or just the Livestream pass as a standalone for $199.

Save my spot at MozCon!

We previously shared our Speaker lineup sneak peek in December, the Initial Agenda drop in April, and our Community Speaker reveal in May, but today, we’re ready to share the full and complete Final Agenda*. With our speakers putting the final polish on their presentations, here’s a look at the two action-packed days we have planned. (*exact start times subject to change)

12:00pm–4:00pm – Optional early registration & badge pick up

Arriving in Seattle early and want to get a jump on picking up your badge? Drop by registration to check in and pick up your badge.

7:30am – Breakfast & Registration

9:00am – Opening remarks + state of the Industry

Cheryl Draper

Moz’s own Senior Growth Marketing Manager will be kicking things off early on the first day with a warm welcome, laying out all the pertinent details of the conference and setting the stage for what’s to come over the two days of MozCon.

9:15am – Google’s Just Not That Into You: Intent Switches During Core Updates

Lily Ray

If your website has been negatively impacted by a Google core update, it is common to immediately assume that there is something wrong with your site. However, there are many other factors that could explain why rankings changed during a core update, and understanding these are key to improving performance. You’ll walk away from this session understanding how Google core updates work, how and why the results change, how to respond to being hit by an update, and how to future-proof your site.

9:45am – Why SEOs Need to Start Playing Offense Instead of Defense

Chris Long

In an industry overloaded with data, tools, algorithm changes, and a constantly evolving landscape, it’s tough to know what to prioritize. Often, this leads SEO initiatives and strategies to be more reactive instead of proactive. In this session, Chris will show you how to shift to an offensive SEO mindset. This will help you better prioritize key initiatives, get stakeholder buy-in, and navigate a successful long-term SEO strategy. You’ll leave this session understanding how to identify new markets to break into, leverage SEO data around key recommendations, utilize keyword segmentation to better inform your SEO strategy, and build a framework for setting up SEO experiments.

10:20am – A special announcement from Moz you’re not gonna want to miss!

10:25am – Morning networking break

10:40am – SEO Co-Conspirators: Navigating Complex Systems

Jackie Chu

SEOs have self-reported that the #1 challenge to their SEO program being successful is getting changes implemented. Additionally, we’re often faced with constantly having to prove the value of SEO as a channel. In this talk, Jackie will focus on how you can source and uncover allies, enlist your coworkers, and successfully navigate the political landscape to get your project prioritized.

11:10am – Search Data at Scale

Daniel Waisberg

Are you using Search data effectively and at scale? In this presentation, Google Search Advocate Daniel Waisberg will present the data available today, and demonstrate the best methods of using Search Console bulk exports for scaling your SEO efforts. After this talk, you’ll understand the challenges of using data to steer your strategy, and get the scoop on analyzing and visualizing this data to drive your product decisions!

11:45am – Community Speaker – Beyond the Written Word: Future-Proofing Your Content Strategy by Leveraging Multimedia Formats

Azeem Ahmad

In today’s rapidly changing digital world, marketers must go beyond just written content to engage with their target audience in the right way. Consumers, including marketers themselves, now expect content that is visually appealing, easily digestible, and interactive. If you want to ensure the longevity of your content strategy and also be more adaptable to the changing landscape digitally, you’ll need to leverage multimedia formats such as video, audio, and more. This talk will explore the benefits of incorporating these formats into your marketing strategy, including tips on how to create engaging content that resonates with your audience and boosts conversions/sales. By the end of this session, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to future-proof your content strategy and stay ahead of the competition.

12:00pm – Birds of a Feather lunch discussion tables

1:30pm – From Fear to Forward Motion: Navigating the Future of Analytics with Confidence

Brie E. Anderson

What the heck even is GA4 and why are you being forced to use it? Get ready to explore the rapidly changing landscape of analytics! In this talk, we will explore the future of analytics and provide a step-by-step guide to adjusting to the big changes that lie ahead. We will discuss how to move from fear and resistance to embracing the transformation that is already taking place. You will leave with a blueprint for success that will help you future-proof your analytics strategy and unlock new possibilities for growth and innovation.

2:00pm – Down the Mountain

Noah Learner

Struggling to find your place in SEO? Want to break through to the next level, but feel like you’ve hit the wall? Join Noah Learner on the journey “Down the Mountain”, as he shares his evergreen framework for optimizing your career in any market. This framework – built on craft, people, critical thinking skills, and synthesizing data – will help you now and in the future, as you look for what’s next. You’ll learn a repeatable process and specific skills that will help you accelerate your career and make you impossible to ignore.

2:30pm – The SERP Is Dead, Long Live the SERP

Tom Capper

SEOs have complained for many years now, that the SERP just isn’t what it used to be. We yearn for the simpler days of 10 blue links. But Google is changing for a reason, and SEOs have reason to be invested in its survival. Besides, not all SERP features are bad news. In this talk, Tom will look at Google’s direction and the strategic imperatives that are forcing its hand. You’ll walk away with a plan to unearth happiness (and organic revenue) in the brave new world.

3:05pm – Afternoon networking break

3:25pm – Headless SEO: I’m Sorry, But This Is Happening

Lidia Infante

Headless CMSes are on the rise, and headless SEO is quickly becoming an essential skill for SEOs. In this talk, Lidia will explain the concept of content modeling with RAL examples, which lies at the core of headless CMSes. By the end of this presentation, you will have a firm grasp of the limitations and advantages of headless SEO, and possess a checklist of 7 implementations you need to request from your development team.

4:00pm – Views on Views of Video SEO

Crystal Carter

Fifty-four percent of consumers report that they’d like to see more videos from brands, and video SERPs account for an average of 20% of untapped keyword opportunities. There’s never been a better time to improve your video SEO! From on-page embeds to SERP visibility, and even in your backlink profile, video is an unrivaled tool for adding value to your content and improving your website’s SEO outcomes. In this talk, Crystal explores what matters on the Google SERP, and what leads to success when optimizing the videos on your site.

4:30pm – The Evolution of Content & the Future of Our Industry

Ross Simmonds

Is it all over? Is the world as we knew it a wrap? With the rise of AI – is it realistic to assume that the world of SEO and content will stay the same? Or should we all start dusting off our resumes to try something new? In this presentation, Ross is going to share a blend of both the realities of how AI can be incorporated into our work (maybe to give us additional runway) and answer the question as to whether or not AI is actually coming for our jobs and what we can do to ensure that we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to using these tools, embracing the technology and finding edges amidst rapid change.

5:00pm – Day 1 Closing address

5:15pm–7:00pm – Welcome reception happy hour brought to you by Moz + Kickbox

Join us at the Summit private rooftop garden terrace. Meet with fellow attendees and speakers over light refreshments and snacks, music, and stunning views of the city skyline. We look forward to bringing our community together to kick off MozCon 2023. See you there!

7:30am – Breakfast & Registration

9:00am – Back to the Future: What Lessons From Marketing History Can Tell Us About the Future

Andi Jarvis

“Marketing has changed more in the last decade than at any time in history.” There’s a blog published that features a version of this line roughly every 0.5 seconds* – but does anyone stop to consider if it’s accurate? Andi will demonstrate how marketing and audiences aren’t really changing, and that the future of marketing is much the same as the past. Why is this important? Because people, not robots, sit at the heart of marketing. By the end of this talk, you’ll understand how you get your customers back to the center of what you do, and how that will turbocharge your marketing efforts. Strap yourself into the MozCon time machine for a journey Back to the Future. *Stats entirely made up… much like the results used in most content marketing efforts.

9:30am – Lower Your Sheilds: The Bord Are Here* (* Written By ChapGPT)

Dr. Pete Meyers

From ChatGPT to Bing’s Prometheus to Google’s Bard, AI (specifically, Large Language Models) is disrupting search as we know it. We can fight the inevitable, or we can put these tools to work. Learn where AI chat excels, where it fails (sometimes spectacularly), and how to use these tools to not only keep your SEO job but also level up your SEO career.

10:00am – How to Use Brand SEO to Future-Proof Your Online Visibility

Miracle Inameti-Archibong

With digital ad spending projected to reach $701 billion in 2023, generic CTR dropping by 12% between position 1 and 2, the increase in no-click searches (+60%), and the constant rolling out of updates, it’s more important than ever to build a sustainable online brand presence to algorithm-proof your traffic. This talk will explore how SEOs can contribute to brand building, and how it can help future-proof your online visibility.

10:35am – Morning networking break

10:55am – Build Better Backlinks for Local Brands

Amanda Jordan

As with everything in local SEO, backlinks are just a little different. What do local pack rankers typically have in common? To answer that question, we’ve collected backlink data across several home services businesses across the USA and categorized them. We’ll share our findings, and how you can build better backlinks for local clients! By the end of this session, you’ll be able to list the different types of backlinks local businesses typically have, identify which link types correlate with stronger rankings, and most importantly, how to apply this to your clients!

11:25am – Community Speaker – Rethink Your Industry Pages – They’re Not What You Think

Jason Dodge

B2B marketers, and SEOs alike, are all too quick to create industry-specific landing pages for every single vertical we serve. In reality, these pages have very little relevance to what your customers are actually searching for, or what it is that you actually do in that space – limiting the reach and missing out on potential customers who would benefit from your solutions. Are you ready to reimagine your entire industry vertical proposition? Jason will explain the ins and outs of industry pages, their role in content marketing, and – more importantly – how optimizing content around the pain points and direct needs of your customers is more relevant now in B2B marketing than ever before.

11:40am – Hiring the Perfect Agency: How to Avoid Getting Burned

Duane Brown

A 2022 Upwork study shows that 39% of the U.S. workforce freelances. Just think about how many more ad agencies exist today, as compared to 2019. You’d think that hiring would be easier with all of these options, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hiring is a valuable skill, and we are going to give you the skills to hire that next agency. By the end of this session, you’ll be able to identify agencies that are the best fit for your brand, effectively interview prospects, avoid pricing ambiguity and pitfalls, partake in productive onboarding, and look for meaningful results and metrics. Let’s get you the skills to hire better next time!

12:15pm – Birds of a Feather lunch discussion tables

1:45pm – Dominating TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Amazon SERPs as Consumer Behavior Changes

Carrie Rose

As search volumes rapidly change and users use new platforms such as TikTok for search, how should SEOs respond? Carrie will share her process of dominating all SERPS – not just Google! Discover how SEO fits within the user journey, and the role content can play for both offsite and onsite content, generating links and search demand. You’ll learn how advertising and SEO overlap, and what we can learn from award-winning advertising as part of search strategies.

2:15pm – Entities Are the Past: Search Is Going Multidimensional

Tom Anthony

For years, “keywords” were everything in search, and then came the rise of ‘the entity’. Tom believes that the time of the entity will soon be over, and will explain how Deep Learning ‘latent spaces’ are highlighting that entities were 1-dimensional thinking. The future of search is going to be about context, and it isn’t far off. You’ll walk away from this session with a new technique that will replace keyword research so that you can prepare, and ideally, get ahead of the competition.

2:50pm – Mind the Gap: Bridging Generational Differences in SEO

Jes Scholz

To keep up with the ever-evolving needs of users, Google is transforming from being a search engine to an ecosystem of experiences that often reach people before they need to search. Discover, Google Lens, YouTube Shorts, and Bard are just a few examples of this shift towards richer, more engaging surfaces. By the end of this talk, you’ll be able to leverage these new visibility platforms to improve organic performance and future-proof your brand.

3:20pm – Afternoon networking break

3:40pm – Talk Title To Be Announced

Speaker To Be Announced

4:15pm – Talk Title To Be Announced

Wil Reynolds

5:00pm – Closing remarks: Farewell & thank You

7:00pm–10:00pm – MozCon bash at MoPOP brought to you by Moz + CopyPress

Karaoke: check! Photo booth: check! DJL check! Join us for one last hurrah as we take over MoPOP. You won’t want to miss our legendary closing night bash — we’ll have plenty of games, food, and fun as we mix and mingle, say “see ya soon” to friends new and old, and reminisce over our favorite lessons from the past 2 days.

See you there?

Chatting with speakers, connecting with peers and potential partners at a Birds of a Feather lunch table, absorbing all the knowledge for another fruitful year of marketing… we can’t wait to share it with you! Get your ticket now and we’ll see you in August!

We hope you’re as excited as we are for August 7th and 8th to hurry up and get here. And again, if you haven’t grabbed your ticket yet and need help making a case we have a handy template to convince your boss!

Night Owl pricing is on through Jun 30th.

Register for MozCon

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

With the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers have unprecedented opportunities to expand their reach, streamline their operations, and enhance profitability. Amidst this digital revolution, adopting Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is pivotal in optimizing production processes, quality control, and resource management.

As the lines between traditional brick-and-mortar sales and online commerce continue to blur, manufacturers increasingly realize the need to adapt and thrive in this new digital landscape. This article explores the top 3 strategies manufacturers can employ to succeed in e-commerce.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is specialized application software designed to solve the tasks of synchronization, coordination, analysis, and optimization of production output within any production. MES systems belong to the class of shop floor-level management systems but can also be used for integrated production management at the enterprise as a whole.

MES collects and analyzes production processes, product demand, and inventory data. This allows manufacturers to adapt more quickly to changes in the market, reconfigure production to meet current requirements, and closely monitor trends. As a result, manufacturers can more easily predict and meet customer needs, which helps increase online sales.

MES helps in maintaining accurate inventory records and managing inventory turnover. This avoids overstock or shortages, which can affect a company’s ability to meet online demand and maintain customer service levels.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enhance transparency and automate operations, reducing human errors and operational costs. Integrating Manufacturing CRM streamlines customer data, allowing manufacturers to tailor products, respond to market changes, and offer competitive prices in online stores. The synergy between MES and CRM creates an agile manufacturing environment, optimizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Content Marketing

Kapost’s research shows that companies in the B2B segment that blog get 67% more leads on average than companies that don’t. However, it’s worth remembering that content marketing requires a lot of resources to prepare and regularity in publishing it. This content can be, for example, brand identity and E-commerce logo, articles and videos, webinars, research, and interviews.

The content should help solve a specific problem to create the image of an expert and thus influence the decisions of potential customers. The topics discussed should not be chosen randomly. A little research in Google Trends will help select the main topic, discussion areas in the video, phrases, and words that should be included in the article. Publishing content based on such a prepared analysis allows you to achieve high positions in search engines. It provides a good user experience for customers looking for answers to product/service questions, comprehensively covering the subject matter.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are free traffic, increased user confidence, and the creation of an expert image.

Content marketing is a form of promotion that requires patience and time. Its effects will also depend on the quality of thecontent itself, its optimization, and promotion methods. No specific terms can be specified here.

YouTube channels as a form of content marketing

You can discuss your production process and show and test products on your YouTube channel. If someone is looking for information about a product and is unsure which brand to choose, they will likely find your video and maybe make a purchase. Remember to choose a title that matches the search query and prepare a video description with product links. You can send out an email to announce when new videos are released. Whenever you have particularly compelling videos, you could also promote them via texting notifications to drive even more traffic.

Utilize user-generated content and social media

Not utilizing the content that your users generate is a huge issue. This is because it’s not easy to refresh an e-commerce website and keep it alive. But photos and videos taken by real customers are great for this purpose.

Adding a “widget” that connects your online store’s website to its official social media accounts brings significant benefits. These include revitalizing your social media accounts, increasing your credibility as a manufacturer, inspiring other customers to buy, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Snapchat Planets

Snapchat’s “Planets” feature provides a unique and interactive way to engage with your e-commerce store’s audience. Here are some creative ideas on how to leverage Snapchat Planets to create engaging content:

  • Virtual Store Tours: Use the AR feature to create a virtual tour of your store. Each planet can represent different sections or categories of your store. For instance, one planet could showcase your latest collection, another could highlight bestsellers, and another could offer exclusive deals.
  • Product Launches: Announce new product launches by creating a cosmic journey. Users can travel from one planet to another, each unveiling a new product with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of excitement and discovery around new arrivals.
  • Interactive Shopping Experience: Create interactive shopping experiences where users can explore products in a fun and engaging way. For example, users can navigate through different planets to find hidden discounts or special offers, making shopping more interactive and rewarding.
  • Customer Rewards and Loyalty Programs: Develop a loyalty program where users earn points or rewards by exploring different planets. Each planet can offer unique rewards, such as discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to new collections. This gamifies the shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.
  • Themed Campaigns: Align your marketing campaigns with planetary themes. For instance, during holiday seasons, you can create a holiday-themed planet where users can find special holiday deals, gift ideas, and festive content.

By leveraging Snapchat Planets, you can transform your e-commerce store’s content into a captivating and interactive experience that keeps your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more.

Use newsletters to captivate your target audience

Newsletters can strengthen the connection with the consumer and demonstrate that shopping with you is safe and profitable. Remember that the more personalized the message, the more effective it will be. It should contain a call to action (CTA), such as a button that redirects to products.

Don’t forget to put a box to check for consent to process personal data when subscribing to the newsletter. Also, add an option to unsubscribe from the newsletter in each email.

A regular email account is not adapted for the newsletter, so do not use your everyday email address. This way, you risk being blacklisted by spam filters. The benefits of newsletters are optimizing advertising costs, increasing loyal audiences from different channels, and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Print and PDF Channel

1716522964 432 Top 3 Strategies for Success

In the digital landscape, the significance of Print and PDF channels cannot be underestimated for manufacturers engaging in e- commerce. The tactile experience of print offers unique psychological advantages, enhancing comprehension and retention, which are vital for technical manuals and complex product details. PDFs merge this benefit with digital accessibility, ensuring wide reach while maintaining format integrity. This dual-channel approach not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also bolsters marketing efforts, making technical content more engaging and understandable. Utilizing catalog software further streamlines the integration of Print and PDF channels into e-commerce strategies, enhancing product presentation and distribution efficiency.

Contextual advertising: Google Ads

1716522964 713 Top 3 Strategies for Success

If you want the advertising you invest in to have an immediate effect, it’s worth turning to Google Ads. Google displays paid ads in search results and on Google’s network of partners (on-site ads in the form of banners).

You bid when you search for a keyword for which advertisers have set up a campaign. The search engine determines who will appear in the search results and at what position. When assigning bids, the quality of the landing page, the quality of the ads, and the stated maximum bid per click are all considered.

To start setting up your campaign, simply login to your Google Ads account. Using the service is free, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials on creating a campaign. However, you may find that it won’t generate valuable traffic if you don’t set it up optimally. Your budget will be wasted on clicks that won’t lead to conversions. This is why most companies resort to the help of agencies, including specialized agencies.

There is probably no industry in which Google Ads campaigns cannot be used. However, advertising can be moderately profitable if there is a lot of competition in the industry and margins are low.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are large audience reach, the ability to get the target audience as accurately as possible, and very detailed statistics on results.

The effect of launching a campaign should appear almost immediately. A properly set up campaign will increase traffic to the website. By systematically optimizing the campaign, you can achieve much better results.

You also can use paid Facebook Ads post promotion. It is important to pinpoint your target group, but how do you do it? A popular way is to draw up a customer portrait, that is, to make a collective image of your customer.

This considers age, gender, income level, location, interests and hobbies, and online behavior. Such a person will display a group interested in your services or goods.

Implement personalized product selections

Recommended product block and cross-selling are very powerful internet marketing strategies. In addition to the recommended product block, which shows the analogs of the product being viewed, it is worth paying attention to the website’s functionality.

As a rule, the products in the “You may also like” block are selected based on the pages previously viewed by the customer, his previous purchases on the website, as well as what was purchased by other customers with similar tastes. If this functionality is implemented technically sound, it can lead to additional items added to the shopping cart. “You may also like” block partly acts as an alternative to the advice of a specialist or consultant.

With blocks for cross-selling related products is a similar situation. Usually, in them are placed products from the same product line, collection, or simply those that perfectly match the product being viewed. You can use AI-powered live chats to proactively engage in customer conversations and suggest products based on their behavior.

Conclusion

E-commerce for manufacturers is a vast field, and in this article, we have presented the most popular and most effective forms of selling online. Remember, no effective e-commerce strategy exists. Each industry and business will have specifics. Try combining the above mentioned e-commerce strategies to maximize your chances of success and increase your profits.

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

Did you follow the Apple iPad Pro content debacle?

Here’s a quick recap. A recent online ad for the new iPad Pro showed a large hydraulic press slowly crushing various symbols of creativity. A metronome, a piano, a record player, a video game, paints, books, and other creative tools splinter and smash as the Sonny and Cher song All I Ever Need Is You plays.

The ad’s title? “Crush!”

The point of the commercial — I think — is to show that Apple managed to smush (that’s the technical term) all this heretofore analog creativity into its new, very thin iPad Pro.  

To say the ad received bad reviews is underselling the response. Judgment was swift and unrelenting. The creative world freaked out.

On X, actor Hugh Grant shared Tim Cook’s post featuring the ad and added this comment: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

When fellow actor Justine Bateman shared the Tim Cook post, she simply wrote, “Truly, what is wrong with you?” Other critiques ranged from tone-challenged to wasteful to many worse things.

Actor Justine Bateman shared Tim Cook’s post on X, which featured the ad, and added this comment: "Truly, what is wrong with you?".

A couple of days later, Apple apologized and canceled plans to air the ad on television.

How not-so-great content ideas come to life

The level of anger surprises me. Look, the ad does show the eyeballs on an emoji-faced squishy ball popping under the plates’ pressure, but still. Calling the ad “actually psychotic” might be a skosh over the top.

Yes, the ad missed the mark. And the company’s subsequent decision to apologize makes sense.

But anyone who’s participated in creating a content misfire knows this truth: Mistakes look much more obvious in hindsight.

On paper, I bet this concept sounded great. The brainstorming meeting probably started with something like this: “We want to show how the iPad Pro metaphorically contains this huge mass of creative tools in a thin and cool package.”

Maybe someone suggested representing that exact thing with CGI (maybe a colorful tornado rising from the screen). Then someone else suggested showing the actual physical objects getting condensed would be more powerful.

Here’s my imagined version of the conversation that might have happened after someone pointed out the popular internet meme of things getting crushed in a hydraulic press.

“People love that!”

“If we add buckets of paint, it will be super colorful and cool.”

“It’ll be a cooler version of that LG ad that ran in 2008.”

“Exactly!”

“It’ll be just like that ad where a bus driver kidnaps and subsequently crushes all the cute little Pokémon characters in a bus!” (Believe it or not, that was actually a thing.)

The resulting commercial suffers from the perfect creative storm: A not-great (copycat) idea at the absolutely wrong time.

None of us know what constraints Apple’s creative team worked under. How much time did they have to come up with a concept? Did they have time to test it with audiences? Maybe crushing physical objects fit into the budget better than CGI. All these factors affect the creative process and options (even at a giant company like Apple).

That’s not an excuse — it’s just reality.

Content failure or content mistake?

Many ad campaigns provoke a “What the hell were they thinking?” response (think Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad or those cringy brand tributes that follow celebrity deaths).

Does that mean they’re failures? Or are they mistakes? And what’s the difference?

As I wrote after Peloton’s holiday ad debacle (remember that?), people learn to fear mistakes early on. Most of us hear cautionary messages almost from day one.

Some are necessary and helpful (“Don’t stick a knife in a live toaster” or “Look both ways before you cross the street.”) Some aren’t (“Make that essay perfect” or “Don’t miss that goal.”)

As a result, many people grow up afraid to take risks — and that hampers creativity. The problem arises from conflating failure and mistakes. It helps to know the difference.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to become a rock ‘n’ roll musician. I failed. But it wasn’t a mistake. I wasn’t wrong to try. My attempt just didn’t work.

Labeling a failed attempt a “mistake” feeds the fears that keep people from attempting anything creative.

The conflation of failure and mistakes happens all too often in creative marketing. Sure, people create content pieces (and let’s not forget that there are always people behind those ideas) that genuinely count as mistakes.

They also create content that simply fails.

Don’t let extreme reactions make you fear failures

Here’s the thing about failed content. You can do all the work to research your audience and take the time to develop and polish your ideas — and the content still might fail. The story, the platform, or the format might not resonate, or the audience simply might not care for it. That doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.

Was the Apple ad a mistake? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Was it a failure? The vitriolic response indicates yes.

Still, the commercial generated an impressive amount of awareness (53 million views of the Tim Cook post on X, per Variety.) And, despite the apology, the company hasn’t taken the ad down from its YouTube page where it’s earned more than 1 million views.

The fictional Captain Jean Luc Picard once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness. That is life.” The Apple ad turns that statement on its head — Apple made many mistakes and still won a tremendous amount of attention.

I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t criticize creative work. Constructive critiques help us learn from our own and others’ failures. You can even have a good laugh about content fails.

Just acknowledge, as the Roman philosopher Cicero once wrote, “Not every mistake is a foolish one.” 

Creative teams take risks. They try things outside their comfort zone. Sometimes they fail (sometimes spectacularly).

But don’t let others’ expressions of anger over failures inhibit your willingness to try creative things.

Wouldn’t you love to get the whole world talking about the content you create? To get there, you have to risk that level of failure.

And taking that risk isn’t a mistake.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 



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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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