"The days of concentrating your web marketing efforts on a website alone are officially gone."
Right out of the gate, it was clear that the 2009 Search Engine Strategy Conference in Chicago was going to contain a whirlwind of information about the world of blended search results. Or do you call them multi-media search results? Or do you lump them in with real-time results? Social results? It's confusing, just like any emerging trend in the search arena would be.
Regardless of the inherent confusion regarding this "hot topic," the over-arching message coming out of SES is: The days of concentrating your web marketing efforts on a website alone are hereby gone. It's time to step up to the search media smorgasbord and load up your plate with a bit of everything. You can no longer sustain your business online without following a balanced diet from all the Internet food groups. Be brave and put a bit of everything on your plate.
The Customer Is Always Right:
Why must you expand your business into all these media streams? Well, you can find a plethora of numbers, trend lines, charts, and polls all over the place documenting the facts which support this trend. What it all comes down to is recognizing the evolution of how your audience now chooses to consume content online. Your prospects, customers, and potential partners are already filling their plate with blended media results. Thus it will serve your business best to offer consumable media in as many forms as possible.
Since there are now so many inroads to reaching your audience, one of the first things that may strike you is the inherent folly of trying to do everything all at once. Your best course of action will likely be to assess your available resources related to the production of content amidst all the different avenues, and then focus on mastering those where you believe you can dedicate ready talent.
It won't be enough to simply plow forward with content across every channel possible. You must also tend to the optimization and tracking of all this new content. To manage these multiple media flavors you will do best to impose a content strategy on the entire effort. Know what your goals are. Know where your audience is. Know how to create, name, tag, link and track everything you produce. Without doing so, your cornucopia of content will quickly turn into a three ring circus or runaway train.
Video, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, images, web pages--all of these deserve some attention, even if for nothing more than monitoring your brand and/or your audience's activities. From this point forward, failing to participate in the multi-media reality of the search space will leave you significantly malnourished. Grab a plate and dig in.