I met an old friend for breakfast this morning who is a total rockstar in content and search marketing. She’s got a deep background in SEO, social media, content creation… all those buzzwords. But they don’t do justice to her understanding of the way search and social technologies work and how to custom build your content for maximum reach and effect.
We started talking about the way Google is connecting Google+ to everything else in the Goog-o-sphere through the concept of authorship. These changes started making their way into various Google offerings throughout the back half of 2012 — most importantly Search — which is forcing companies to pay a lot more attention to Google+ as a result.
I really enjoyed this conversation, and learning about how Google’s changes are affecting the job of an advanced search engine marketer. I couldn’t stop thinking about the intersection between search and social on the entire drive back to the office. This is part of a trend that includes Facebook’s new search engine, Bing’s deeper social integration, LinkedIn’s revamped Jobs engine, and lots of startups like Loopit and Wajam.
Authorship Matters, Especially in B2B
Everyone is trying to combat the Internet’s noise problem. How do you trust what you read online?
This is where the real value of social networks come in. Search engines are doing something now that has been true of people throughout time — they are attaching social validation to information. This is what authorship means, and it matters. You trust your friends, you trust your peers, and you trust brands with a good reputation. That trust is much more likely to translate into motivation and action.
In the B2B buying process, authorship has become one of the most important parts of a content marketing strategy. Sure, catchy infographics and clever videos can draw lots of visitors to your site. But if you really want to convert visitors and nurture your audience, you must build trust with them. You need to have people just like them talking about why they chose your product or service, because that’s who your buyer wants to listen to.
Case in Point: The Case Study’s Point of View
Check out these two case studies from Bit9:
These are from the same company, but the first is told by the vendor with the customer being secondary in both substance and branding. The second is a personally-told video of someone who purchased and used the product. Which would you rather learn from? Which is more engaging? Which would you believe more? Obviously, the one written by the buyer, towards her peers.
I expect you’ll see lots of developments similar to what Google is doing across all the major search engines and social networks, with implications that we can barely begin to comprehend. But remember – there is really nothing new here. As has always been the case, authorship matters.
How is authorship impacting the way you communicate with your market?