Doing Almost Everything Right

Sometimes you’re rolling along doing almost everything right, and it’s good enough. Other times, doing almost everything right will get you dead. Like when the road you’re on is curvy, hilly, dark and truck-y … and rain starts falling.

would you rather listen?

This popped into my head a few days ago, while I was driving from Ohio to New York City. The trip had started too late in the day and once night fell what had previously been a long jaunt on a curvy and hilly road with too many large trucks jockeying for position became a lot more difficult; adding “dark” to the formula took the already-felt-like-an-athletic-endurance-test endeavor to a place that my 55-year-old, don’t-see-all-that-well-at-night, and had-been-awake-for-fourteen-hours-and-was-facing-another-five-hours-in-the-car body to a place that made me really, really uncomfortable.

I was grateful the forecast of rain was a few hours ahead of reality.

And then I made an adjustment: I stopped trying to drive at the legal 70 MPH and accepted that 60 MPH would suffice. Two, actually: I also put on music I was familiar enough with to sing along to, keeping myself extra-oxygenated and so extra-alert..

Doing Almost Everything Right

That whole “good enough” thing is what was in play. Perfectionist though I am, often the addition of extra variables to an ever-shifting business landscape renders doing almost everything right the way to go. I don’t like that, and I didn’t much enjoy the ride home this weekend, but I needed to adapt in a way that was safe and also productive. 60 MPH and forced over-ventilation was, simply, good enough.

How does that idea apply to business process and marketing?

This is where “doing almost everything right” can get tricky. The number of variables driving the way you do business (and the way you drive business) is huge, and growing. This morning I came across an article at Outbrain that made a handful of great points and yet somehow managed to say almost nothing. The too-long-didn’t-read-it version is this:

  • Content Specialization Matters
  • Referrals Matters; High-Influence Referrals Matter More
  • SEO Still Matters, But It Doesn’t Pay The Bills Directly
  • Did We Mention That Specialization Matters?
  • There’s More Change Coming

Oh: and while TL;DR has become a widely-used acronym since we posted that article five years ago, TLDR.IT the Internet site that started it all is no more.

I’ve mentioned here before that we no longer sell Search Engine Optimization as a stand-alone service. At the same time, the idea behind SEO is still incredibly important; in the Internet age, fail to gather all your juice and point it where you need it pointed and your business is doomed to fail. So look at the bullet points and ask what form of doing almost everything right is being illustrated?

Bullet point number two is likely beyond your means; getting a looks-like-an-article-but-is-really-an-advertisement piece posted by The New York Times is a very expensive proposition. Number one is something we’ve done here for years; when an OB/GYN client needed SEO we hired medical students to create the content. Oh, and that’s expensive, too, but at least it cost less than doctors would have.

Bullet point five is obvious; the more things change, the more they change. Duh.

Point three is the reason we stopped selling SEO on a stand-alone basis; we were very good at getting our clients great search rankings, but there came a point where that just wasn’t good enough to justify the cost. SEO became a lead-a-horse-to-water-but-he-doesn’t-drink exercise. Not good enough; you need people to actually visit your site, not merely be vaguely aware that it exists, and once there you need them to engage, and once engaged you need … well, you get it.

Which brings us to bullet point four.

No matter how great your content is, it will fail in that engagement mission unless you present it the right way, and that changes according to where it’s going. This the the reason tools that take your content and repackage it for multiple, they-all-look-and-act-differently-and-are-targeted-toward-different-types-of-people social networks just don’t work; something you write to fit in 140 characters on Twitter will look bad if you cross-post it to Facbook without changing its appearance.

Doing Almost Everything Right really is good enough, because it has to be; unless you’re a huge company with multiple people managing each of your business processes social media accounts you can’t possibly keep up with everything. But as you strive to do almost everything right you need to make sure the processes necessary to do the important things are in place, and that’s where we come in.

And remember: Even Google is Bad at Doing Everything Right.

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