by Brandon Faber
Having watched the (recently concluded) series, “The Voice” (USA), I was struck by the overall quality of the show – no doubt “the big difference” setting it apart from its competitors.
Think of reality / talent shows what you will – it’s pretty easy to spot the good from the bad and it boils down to a variety of factors, including:
- Contestants “your staff”
- Production value “the driving force behind the way you conduct your business”
- Judges/Mentors “your management team”
- Viewer engagement “how you interact with customers / service / marketing”
All of these ingredients combine to create a winning formula that Marketing and Technology “wizard”, Rand Fishken, refers to as “10X content” – in his context specifically relating to SEO or, rather, the “organic growth of your company’s popularity”.
In his famous “Whiteboard Friday” video series, Fishken states that, to truly succeed in modern SEO, you need to take a step higher than merely good content – as the bar is too low and too saturated.
“It’s much, much harder to get into those top 10 (Google rank) positions, page 1, page 2 positions than it was in the past because there are so many ranking signals that so many of these websites have already built up over the last 5, 10, 15 years that you need to go above and beyond.
Really, where I want folks to go and where I always expect content from Moz to go is here, and that is 10x, 10 times better than anything I can find in the search results today.
If I don’t think I can do that, then I’m not going to try and rank for those keywords. I’m just not going to pursue it. I’m going to pursue content in areas where I believe I can create something 10 times better than the best result out there.”
Point taken Mr. Fishken but business should look even further than content . . . thinking 10x is a good philosophy to adopt across operations as we look to . . .
Give our companies “A Voice”.
Where “The Voice” gives its main rival, “American Idol”, a massive hiding is in the (from-the-get-go) quality of contestants.
The pre-production vetting process ensures that no wannabees, no shower Sinatra’s, no “cat murdering singers” make it onto the show in the first place.
Viewers receive quality from the start . . . not all “star quality” but quality nonetheless, and that ensures the show is worthy of eyeballs from the time the first camera rolls.
We live in a rubbish in, rubbish out, world.
This does not necessarily mean you must hire the most expensive resources but it does mean you should hire the best mix of resources you can afford – combining potential with experience but making sure that those you have can deliver on your brand promise.
Richard Branson habitually authors famous quotes on this topic but you do not need a charismatic billionaire to point out one fairly obvious truth to you . . . Your people are your team, the ones around which everything circles . . . without them you do not have a business.
May as well find the right people – and then; as Branson says: “train them well enough so they can leave, yet treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Establish “your way” and stick to it. (production value)
When it comes to the quality of the coaches employed, supporting artists, lighting, stage design – you name it but “The Voice” will hire the entire New York Philharmonic Orchestra to back a singer if that’s what it’s going to take to deliver that 10X content quality.
Again this does not mean just throwing cash at the issue, no.
It means investing the time and effort to ensure that, what you are putting out there, is as relevant, insightful, useful and (in this socially connected world) share-worthy as possible.
Everyone in your company, from secretary to CEO, needs to understand what “your way” is. Nothing that does not adhere to “the way” is acceptable.
If you are consistently producing quality (content, work, service) you will stand out and will customers “share” positive comments about their experience with the world.
Managers are Mentors. (not judges)
In 2015 a local technology company, PDT, produced its second annual “State of Employee Engagement in South Africa” report.
The key report takeaway was the massive chasm between the way C-suites and company managers viewed their business – and their staff.
We have too many “managers” and not enough “leaders” in our companies.
The Voice employs quality “mentors” to partner with and manage the contestants through the various competition stages.
Guiding them to think differently when needed, pushing them to perform better as required – helping them innovate and giving them the tools (and the confidence) to shoot for the stars.
If your company leaders are not helping to shape dynamic individuals and teams that will drive better business performance the time to act is now.
The alternative is a culture that sees your best talent heading for the door, starring in someone else’s show.
Client interaction. (viewer engagement)
We live in a connected world where Customer Experience requires data-driven insights that help personalise interactions at the various stages of a client’s engagement with business.
In his recent post on Econsultancy, Ben Davis states as follows;
“. . . while customer journeys are increasingly complex across owned media, social and advertising (on different devices and platforms), a whopping number of companies have only ‘some view’, ‘limited view’ or ‘no view’ of that journey.
Customers rarely interact with a business in a single channel or in one visit and organisations are still coming to terms with this online.”
By not knowing how, why and when your customers interact with your brand (or industry) you are leaving money on the table.
10x marks the spot
Content says everything about you and your company. It gives the world a glimpse into your soul, the psyche of your business . . . how worthy of “our time” you are.
Content creates Context – and therein lies the rub.
“When your competitors or other folks in the field look and say, ‘Hey, there’s no way that we can scale content quality like this. It’s just too much effort. We can’t keep producing it at this level,’ well, now you have a competitive advantage,” says Fishkin.
“You have something that puts you in a category by yourself and that’s very hard for competitors to catch up to. It’s a huge advantage in search, in social, on the Web as a whole.”
From content to customer service, a “10x frame of mind” will keep your business, management team and staff focused on trying harder . . . just imagine the rewards if you get it half right.