All This From a PR Firm in NY?

HitTail News Jun 7, 2006

So, with a very open and honest attitude, we’ve opened the Connors Communications HitTail data to the world. This may be somewhat controversial, especially considering it will let other PR firms snoop on our search hit data… particularly our LONG TAIL data! We must be nuts! We are guessing that people from around the world, when they start discovering HitTail will hear of Connors Communications through the demo, and spread the word! See, sharing our data is going to be part of our own online viral marketing campaign.

Of course, we will use the data as well, and will give wonderful anecdotes about choosing amongst different words. We have a challenge right now in that I’m resetting the data with every Connors login, so people can play around and experiment with moving keywords between tabs. So, I’ll either install the code twice, or do some paper record keeping. Either way, the stories abound, and I can start to tell them right away.

A suggestion came in this morning: “public relations campaign for new business”. I couldn’t imagine anything more spot-on! Yet, we never thought of it specifically, and it’s buried 9 pages into Google results. And writing about it couldn’t be more natural. In fact, I had to discipline myself to do this post instead of that one. But we had better get on it quickly! Good suggestion. Good choice. Good use of long tail keyword data.

On the OTHER hand, a suggestion was issued near the end of May: “emerging technologies in wood”. I read it out loud when demo’ing HitTail to a guest at Connors, and everyone laughed out loud. “What are we doing in wood?” they asked. I didn’t even bother investigating. We’re not targeting the wood or lumber industries, although I’m quite certain it’s full of emerging technology. But it’s a good candidate for the nifty “delete” button. And in case you haven’t noticed, you can click-and-drag on the delete buttons… another innovation from the Connors team.

Going through the suggestions, you get one insight after another. One of our writers once wrote about black hat SEO techniques, and some determined searcher (wanna-be-black hat?) surfed 27 pages into the Google results to find us on that. While we certainly welcome the readership of black hat SEO’s, writing for YOUR long tail of search is intended to be a fairly manual non-automated process. We’re priming the creative pump of humans in marketing departments across the world. Yes, black hats are using long tail data in different ways, but we’re only interested in how it results in a white hat process that you would be proud to sit down with Matt Cutts or any Google engineer and discuss. That’s a real sign of SEO 2.0 methodologies: holistic and non-automated, yet still scientific and effective.

Another term that we find suggested, “SEO case study,” is spot-on, but actually producing SEO case studies poses a problem. Connors has achieved some of the highest goals in SEO: allowing major hotel chain clients to be competitive with the affiliates their own space, helping major online magazines compete with the blogging hordes, helping companies with emerging technologies and thinly dispersed customers capture tons of sales leads. Yet, it is decided with each client that no one talk about their natural search success, for fear of their competitors catching on. It makes sense, no? Do we have public SEO case studies? No. But do we have lots of good information to share with the world that you can get no where else? Yes! In a way, introducing the concept of HitTailing is our overture to the world. So, that ties back to the original concept of sharing Connors data with the world.

Connors Communications is a successful PR firm, having launched Amazon.com, Priceline and others. But we’re sometimes considered boutique, taking on very few clients, and providing very personal focus and attention. So, the big PR firms like Edelman or Ogilvy get a lot of attention, a lot of the customers, a lot of the links, and are higher profile in search than Connors. But Connors now comes up on the first page on the term “PR firm” in both Yahoo and MSN. We’re on page 2 in Google. We’re also in page 7 in Ask, but am confident we’ll rise.

“PR firm” is no longer in Connors’ long tail. It’s now at the head of the demand curve. It wasn’t always the case. It was the hit tailing process sustained over time, but less than a year in this case.

And this illustrates another characteristic of choosing terms, and the double meaning of “hit” in our new name, HitTail. By engaging in the HitTailing process, you may zero in on a single, never-before-considered, yet critical term. By doing so, you may just produce a single search hit, which still may have made it worth the entire process, depending on the value of a single customer. In the industry where I developed these methods, a single customer relationship could be worth a quarter million dollars over its life. But you may very well be on your way to producing a bona fide hit… a phrase that starts to travel on its journey UP the tail, and into the most in-demand region of the long tail demand curve. And when that happens, it’s like suddenly getting massive distribution of your product, and access to far greater potential customers.

Just paging back and forth in a few pages of the Connors data gives me the chills both about how well we are already doing in some areas, and ideas for improvements. It appears that with a little tweaking, we can pretty much dominate the results for anyone looking for a ny pr firm, or a pr firm in ny. That should be worth something, right? Perhaps there’s something to this HitTailing idea as a viable alternative to AdWords after all. I expect we’ll roll out like Walmart, developing business and users in the great under populated heartland of the Web, and by the time anyone realizes what’s going on, we’ll own the HitTail space.

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