Why HitTail May Be the Next Big Thing in Marketing

HitTail Best Practices Oct 11, 2006

So the question keeps coming up: why is HitTail something new and important? Why is it accumulating such following? On the surface, it looks like many other products, including Google Analytics, and even the new breed of analysis software that zeros in on natural search. But HitTail strikes a chord with many online marketers, bloggers and even small businesses that hasn’t been struck before. More and more, marketing-savvy bloggers are mentioning HitTail and Google Analytics in the same breath—usually as the bare minimum recommendation to know what’s going on on your site. Why?

We got the combination of features and process precisely right to take the pain out of long tail marketing online. Huh?

Yep, that’s right. Long tail marketing is painful. When you finally manage to pull the long list of keywords that are leading to your site, those words are suddenly out of the context required to give you some reasonable idea of where to focus your effort. And because these long tail keyword lists are so staggeringly long (in many cases), you’re bound to waste a whole lot of valuable time.

HitTail is like analytics for busy people. It zeros right in on the sweet spot in that long tail keyword list, and issues them as suggestions, simply stating: “Write about these, and more web traffic will follow.” This works so consistently well, because HitTail looks at these search hits in the context of the rest of your site and knows which terms are right on the edge of performing better for you, if only you used them in the headline of a new blog post or webpage.

Is it a low hanging fruit strategy? I used to think so, until I saw a Discovery Channel documentary about how ripe fruit is picked these days. They use tree shakers! Picking low hanging fruit is a laborious and tedious process, requiring lots of manpower and with very little opportunity for automation. But along come tree-shakers, where you put a funnel-tarmac under the tree, grab it with the marvelous tree-shaking truck and shake-away. All the ripe fruit comes tumbling down, gently falling onto the tarmac an into the collection-bin (in this case, the suggestion tab).

So, HitTail is a ripe fruit harvesting strategy, using some specialized heavy machinery. Let your competition waste their time picking low-hanging fruit, while you harvest ALL the ripe fruit.

But just as with fruits and nuts, just harvesting the ripe fruit isn’t enough. Inspecting machines need to sort the good ones from the bad. There is some room for automation here, and machines tend to do this better than humans. But the end product is always the same thing: identical and ideal product.

In the case of HitTail, what we’re collecting are more like uncut diamonds. For fear of mixing metaphors here, what needs to be done after auto-sorting and quality control is human inspection for cutting, and the hand of a master gem cutter. Without it, the average public wouldn’t be able to tell the diamond from a pebble. There is no shine or twinkle. This is the role of the craft of writing well. HitTail is not 100% automated. It’s a partnership with skilled writers with unique voices and budding reputations.

Well, that’s where the manual side of the HitTailing process kicks in, and another reason why it is so dramatically different from analytics, which tend to reach a dead-end at reporting. By letting you inspect the uncut diamonds coming into the sorting bin (the suggestions tab), we’re encouraging you to look closely. Visualize the finished twinkling cut stone you could create from this rough stone. Like the master cutter, you simply know that if you cut and polished this stone, it will yield a tidy return. The cutter knows this because that is simply the nature of diamonds. We know this, because that is simply the nature of the keyword suggestions that we issue. Natural search listing are the cut diamonds of the new online economy. Google knows this, and with AdWords is in the cubic zirconia market with AdWords. The untrained eye can’t tell the difference.

But natural search hits are becoming ever-more-valuable, because as the public at large becomes media-savvy, they are increasingly able to discriminate ads from genuine listings in the same fashion as they are commercials (and infomercials) from TV programs, and advertisements (and advertorials) from articles in print media.

Consequently, the rock-solid relationship between the public relations industry and HitTail, which is essentially a search engine optimization product for mainstream marketing, becomes clear. Public relations is an art-form based on creativity and unorthodox marketing, where you garner publicity without directly paying for it—idea being that you can capture a lot more attention (and ultimately get and keep more customers) while paying less than the competition must pay for more traditional advertising.

And what is natural or organic search? Much the same thing. It’s the editorial component of the new media, known as search. Search is a new media as surely as magazines or TV programs. Google, Yahoo and ASK are like the big TV networks of yesteryear. And unlike mega-sites like YouTube and MySpace, EVERYONE partakes in search. So, getting free publicity in the new media of search is precisely the same thing as free publicity in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, Oprah, the evening news, the late shows or the morning shows.

It’s the subject of other posts, but actually free exposure in search is better than the above-listed venues, because search works 24/7 and reaches out to uniquely pre-qualified prospects—those who are looking for YOU (even if on generic terms). Of course, we don’t forsake the big media hits mentioned above, as that is Connors Communications forte. It’s a rare thing to find a single company that can work equally well in both the mega-influential world mainstream media, and the turbulent grass-roots opinion-setting world of online media, capable of developing products such as HitTail.

Those who deal with branding love HitTail, because you can keep corralling your target audience back in, and have the repeated exposures necessary to build up top-of-mind awareness. Solution sales organizations selling into difficult markets (long sales cycles) love HitTail, because it often provides T1 (first touch), and numerous subsequent touches as the prospect continues their research, often looking for your competitors. Corralling them back in on a variety of used (but often unexpected) terms is critical. Online publishers love HitTail, because that business model often doesn’t work if you’re not getting your traffic for free through natural search, because if you have to pay for your traffic, then it’s a wash when you sell advertising. Small to medium sized businesses love HitTail because it fits in nicely with integrated marketing strategies that emphasize low-cost marketing alternatives, like public relations, to offer that special competitive edge and secret weapon.

We think you will love HitTail too. Simply click the register link, put a snippet of code on your site, and watch the writing suggestions start to come in.

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