How do I bring attention to my technology consultancy?
Welcome to our article on our efforts to bring attention to our products and services. If you are a technology company or a service provider, do consider setting up reciprocal links on Info Rhino's platform.
At Info Rhino, we have relaunched our technology company with a focus on products and services. We still think we can do work to improve our own website in terms of making things clearer to potential audiences. Our goal was to create content that matched what we do and provide lots of information with the view to help with getting additional footfall through the website from SEO and backlinking. We revamped our website over six months ago and have been releasing a number of updates to our website in terms of;
- Adding more presence on Social Media.
- Articles on other websites.
- Articles on our own websites about technology and guides to implementing solutions to add authority.
- Creation of video content on YouTube with links between YouTube and our website.
- Resolution of some search engine optimization issues which were reported in the Bing and Google Webmaster tools.
- Reaching out to other technology solutions providers asking if they wish to feature on our website so we can provide back links to each others websites.
- Considering third-party professionals to help improve our reach.
Content marketing and it's cyclical nature
Research has shown that content should be repurposed wherever possible. Examples where search engines look for duplicated content and give those content providers a lower priority in search engine rankings. However we have started taking our articles and putting them into audio format using Google Cloud Voice to Text Speech to then create videos which puts similar or the same content on YouTube. One person likes to read information another likes to watch videos, some prefer watching videos for entertainment, others enjoy watching videos to learn. Providing alternative ways for an audience to engage with your content does go some way to stopping naysayers who claimed that there's too much of this or not enough of that. Importantly it seems that search engines prefer cyclical content where they provide links and have a presence on other platforms. We are aware that Google likes videos linked on websites because a user may spend more time on a page.
Being brutally honest on our content management marketing efforts
We have experienced more traffic on some days since undertaking content marketing. We haven't necessarily exceeded our maximum amount of; unique visits per day, total visits per day, and page views per day. We would say that we have seen a higher coverage of access to our website since doing this work. We feel we are only looking at maybe one to two months since we think these website content enhancements would have started to have been recognized by search engines such as Google and Bing. It is said this can take six months to 18 months to really start to take hold.
How how does a technology company appear relevant to customers who are not technical?
There are only two types of scenarios where a technology company can get found by a non-technical audience.
- They have an existing system in place that needs either maintenance or enhancement, and they know what the technology is called.
- They are looking to solve a commercial problem and the technology solutions provider happens to be talking about the same product that the customer is looking for.
There is a variation on "the knowing what technology they are looking for scenario" - their own technology solutions provider/technology department supports.
We've been through lots of research on potential competitors, potential partners, companies who offer services in helping to boost your network reach. We get inundated with spam emails offering these databases of users - which we know have been scraped and are potentially breaching GDPR rules. We have looked at marketing solutions relating to email marketing. We have explored advertisements - Google AdWords and other types of potential advertising providers but felt until we have a good enough basis, the advertising would be wasted. We haven't yet gone to the point of adding open source code to online repositories such as GitHub.
We can legitimately say that none of these "tricks" work, and a reason for this is from our re-interpretation of the "Dead Internet Theory". The basic idea is that most of the Internet is made of; Bots, AI, and other forms of semi-automated content generation. DIT claims that there is little real internet and that the internet died years ago. Many claim that bots make up a large amount of activity. Some stats claim that up to 15% of Instagram accounts are fake, Facebook less. We see the current Elon Musk effort to take over Twitter centring on the issue of bots.
The internet being dead - is not entirely true, we can assure that the author of this article is human. Our take on the DIT Is that for large numbers of participants on the Internet, their presence is the same as being The Dead Internet. We did competitor analysis, not only to try to out compete our competitors, but also to try and forge allegiances and alliances with them. To no surprise, most of the competitors we found were either large businesses who who are genuinely established for a long period of time and are at the Blue chip level, and there were some smaller businesses who appeared to be successful. The reality was that most technology solutions providers we found online, typically in the software space - their efforts are awful. The efforts are not much more than setting up a Twitter page, getting between 20 and a few hundred followers, adding a Facebook page potentially, having a website, putting a few blog articles on there and thinking that is enough. In many circumstances, these companies don't even have a website, they simply have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. The issue here is that these technology providers are so plentiful they are all encroaching on each others presence online and making it very hard for them to get found.
Compounding this are power law challenges - the bigger network effect websites will draw more of the traffic, starving smaller websites of traffic.
Our proposal on how to increase network reach and attract more traffic to our website.
It is obvious to us that we have to collaborate with other websites willing to share content about our website on their platform. We have already put this on our website where we discuss how other providers can partner up or affiliate with Info Rhino. However, it seems oblivious to these other technology providers that this is necessary. Ironically, many of the website of these technology providers that have websites set up, does not lend itself to set up a relatively simple directory of partners or affiliates. We went through an exercise of contacting around about 25 companies that we had prospected and we said to them the following;
- We are wishing to affiliate with other similar technology providers who may wish to benefit from the powers of network effects.
- That we are not seeking to charge other companies for this. It is simply an altruistic effort to try to grow our reach and their reach amongst different target audiences.
- That we are happy to have a discussion with them just to see if there are other benefits by being aligned between our companies.
- That we welcome ideas on how to achieve more attention on our businesses.
- We would welcome having online discussions, creating YouTube forum videos to try and give new insights to the industry.
The reader may not be surprised to hear that this has so far made zero impact. In addition to this, we have a presence on LinkedIn and get inundated with numerous software companies trying to partner with us because they think we can give them work. We have mentioned this idea to them as well. We can only well imagine that the sales person won't have the aptitude or inclination to think outside the box and pass this information onto their CEO, CTO, or other C-level person within their business.
Doing the work
It is proving quite astounding to think that businesses haven't thought through what is beyond the typical YouTube instruction video on how to grow a technology business. The so called website social media, Blog, Video, approach really isn't sufficient to get footfall to your platform. There are only two ways we think this is going to work.
How we think we will go and audience and increase our customer base on our technology solutions providers website
1 - Create own Directory website which reviews technology company's network effects.
2- Create free open source solutions that gets interest and traction.
With regards to the free and open source solutions, the real challenge here that most developers that aren't working in large enterprises fail to acknowledge - the biggest paying customers tend to be the enterprises. Enterprises have more capital at stake, and they tend to only go with proprietary software providers. This gives them assurance that they can get support for their software. Many open source efforts, whilst hugely successful and superior to proprietary software solutions, take too long to monetize. For this reason, creating online open source solutions can only be a way of engaging other developers who seek to become passionate about the work you are doing. This becomes more about network effect to reputation.
We have reached a point where trying to break through this glass ceiling of traffic is finally showing signs of success from our efforts. We do think that content marketing is an effective way to draw in different audiences onto your platform, whereby you can showcase your products and services. We tend to try and ignore naysayers; there are many who claim that a website is not technical enough and others who say that the website is too technical. We think just getting content online and ideas is important. One thing we have sought to try and achieve is to put the same content on different platforms because different users may like to engage with that content in different ways. For example, some of our blog posts have been turned into videos. Our videos are on YouTube and other websites to try to increase network effect. We may transcribe some of our articles so that we can put this into an audio format so that users can simply open the file and listen to it.
New approaches to getting traffic and attention
From 2022 onwards, there is going to be major depressions economically. Many companies that we know are going to fail, many services are going to become relevant to many. In parallel, we see significant innovation in the blockchain space, and in terms of moves towards the cloud. We may find the cloud moves reversing as costs can be a lot higher than companies expect. The agency model and consultancy model just won't cut it when companies are experiencing profit warnings. We will put attention to creating content around new ways to help companies survive and prosper during this coming depression.
Network reach through successful projects
You may be aware that Info Rhino has two main projects in-flight. We expect to turn these projects into revenue-generating entities using our technology, bringing onboard commercial partners and clients. It becomes a "self-fulfilling prophecy" when a technology consultancy use its own tools to grow commercial platforms. At the point, these projects become viable commercial entities using Info Rhino's technology, other businesses will see the need to work with info Rhinos technology as a way to drive new commercial verticals.
What info rhino doesn't see as being high value commercial efforts to grow attention
Many are conditioned into thinking that portfolios and client lists make and help business decisions when finding new suppliers. The CEO of Info Rhino just thinks that most ratings websites are very subjective. If we took 5 individuals who secured a website development for a partner we have to ask whether the customer making those decisions is qualified to analyse the efficacy of their supplier. A better example is to think about products purchased on Amazon. If we read reviews of what other users think we nearly always find that one out of 100 will have found the product to be defective, the distribution of ratings will be a normal distribution or a one tailed distribution. Those aware of Pareto distribution and other typical statistical phenomena will realise that in many circumstances we are simply watching the effects of inevitability and predictability. Thinking back to the Dead Internet Theory - that we can believe that the Dead Internet Theory could be a valid representation of what we see today is in itself not proof that there is a Dead Internet. Instead, we can think of this as being a good model to decide that most activity does not need to be measured and cannot provide useful insights. This is a conceptual leap, once we realise that ratings and reviews or opinions are largely irrelevant in finding effective products and suppliers, we don't have to question what does make a good product and supplier. If you're still struggling with this concept think about the number of times that a friend or family member has recommended some product or service as being excellent and then when you try the same product or service you find that it is inferior. Those of us who may like a particular restaurant will find that one of the 10 experiences may not live up to the other 9.
Having a list of clients on a website is not enough therefore. Having a series of quotes is not enough either, even where these quotes are genuine - they appear more like soundbites. What is useful is a set of case studies where passion and commitment to the product or solution rings true. Equally useful is real data, analytics, and information that can be used by our audience.
Engaging consultancies - Marketing, Branding, and Search Engine Optimisation
The major issue we see in engaging a consultancy to take on growing our brand is that for a long time, we hadn't re-aligned our new business operating model - what our products and services are, and who our customers are. If we did not know that, then how can we set about spending capital on these exercises? For this reason we focused more on ourselves first, creating a baseline of online presence so we can be ready to then work with external consultancies to help grow our business.
Is content marketing a good focus for any business?
From an SEO perspective
Or we could ask - is it worth the effort? From the time that we have spent looking at what websites make it to the top of any major search engines rankings, existing that mystical first page search result - we still have mixed feelings on it. For many businesses there are different mechanisms to funnel traffic into your online presence. Some businesses can be successful purely by listing that business on a directory website. Other businesses will find that being on Twitter or Instagram with a small website is far more beneficial than expecting to get found within search engine results. What is that for many search engines a large number of the first page results are adverts, the window of opportunity for organic search engine results is low - it is almost impossible for a company claim they can get another company on the first page of Google for example. We seem to be in an era of low attention - that is, users are not likely to navigate through pages of search results until they find what they are looking for. Users will may prefer to type in a new phrase and see what comes up than trawl through pages of results.
Thinking about the utility value of Google
We ourselves question what is Google for these days, it's great for technology and certain Industries to find what you're looking, for but for some Industries, or if you're looking for a particular type of service provider you can spend a long time looking. We see Google being highly oriented towards Dominance Hierarchies - power law effects. We will find Wikipedia, Reuters, YouTube, Big Corporations, major newspapers featuring in the top search results. It isn't simply the case that a search engine is biased - it is that it's very nature cannot fulfil the true efficacy that users need. Search engine providers have competing demands in terms of making profits and delivering what they think uses want. They develop algorithms and metrics that may at face-value make sense, but algorithms can easily bias information in a way which wasn't of expected utility. A good example is the advent of fact-checker websites. These feature heavily in many search results but the quality of information on fact-checker websites is quite poor. Users spend quite a lot of time with them though, they feature higher in the rankings based upon algorithms despite their being of a low intellectual output - the author is a scientist and you won't find the same level of as on academic journal websites.
If we look at the benefits of trying to get found on Google, we won't find much in the way of value for many businesses. It is not that Google is necessarily a bad platform, it can only fulfil certain objectives and cannot meet the needs of smaller businesses that are trying to get found.
We cannot hope that users realise that different platforms works for different use-cases. We very much have a herd mentality, we still say - "I will google that", Google is ingrained on our thoughts.
The days of putting on a website online adding some content to match what we think users will find, then those users will find us and buy our products seems to be a distant memory for most.
From a knowledge base perspective
At Info Rhino, we like putting out ideas and sharing knowledge. Doing this may help other technology practitioners and commercially minded individuals think differently about implementing solution. We may be able to influence the thinking of certain individuals helping shape how technology progresses in the future. It is not simply a top-down approach whereby large companies push new products to a large number of products consumers instead often it is grassroots and bottom-up approaches which leads to new avenues and direction for many technologists.
In terms of potential customers the idea is that by putting out ideas and Concepts customers find us through natural mechanisms not by a push approach they come across content that seems to fit their thinking and then explore the supplier further.
The low value utility of "Top/Bottom ways" content online
You can perform this yourself for many verticals. When trying to look for content online, see the number of web pages which has a "Top 7 Ways to do this", "Top five ways to do that". Do we really want to be spoon fed these types of articles? It seems we just write these articles because we know they get found on Google, indeed we have done this ourselves. It seems ridiculous to write articles in this format just because a search engine prefers them. It seems to be an exercise in trying to get attention but we have to engage on this approach because it seems to be what the search engines want.
The circular nature of search engine algorithms
As a business we decide to try and see what is online, who are competitors are, what types of content they are putting out? During undertaking these searches we find that many businesses have not been found and instead we find a number of "Top x to do this" and "Top x ways to do that". We think to ourselves that we have to do the same thing.
We simulate the process of writing articles to do the same. The result is that we have added to the number of articles fitting this nonsensical format for the hope of catching some traffic. Google's algorithm finds this type of content is quite popular and propagates these types of articles higher up their algorithms leading to a lower quality experience on the web. Audiences will read these types of articles because that's what they are given, and will spend some time reading these articles.
The right approach is to create content that is outside of these typical approaches and overtime hope that we get above these types of articles.
The concept of "Minimum Acceptable Effort"
We have written about this before, it is worth highlighting within this article idea of "Minimum Acceptable Effort". Our approach is to have good information on enough platforms which is just above what other similar providers have created. From researching the industry we made the following observations;
- Little video content online
- Few blog posts
- All about technology
- Content which seemed exaggerated
- Not enough content to peak interest
- Too much animation
- No attempt to connect with a commercial audience
- No attempts to network with other entities
Our thoughts are we should at least have these boxes ticked, and we will be on a slightly better footing than other providers. We are very much looking for collaborative partners to and so by structuring website like this we should grow traffic not just from customers but from other like-minded entities.
Final thoughts on growing attention to your technology business
Nobody has the exact answers to this, it is mostly about experimenting. We have undertaken a lot of analysis on traffic over many years. 2022 is the time where Info Rhino can now take content marketing seriously and evaluate what works, rejecting what does not. This is because our technology has matured and we can look externally, rather than internally.
This "minimum acceptable effort" is a great way to structure and approach to scaling effort. We think it is important to put content on platforms we think will have longevity. Research it appears that many companies do below what is needed to have a reasonable presence online. This should mean that in many industries, not too much effort is required to get above a lot of the other businesses. The challenge is about connecting our content with marketing people as well as technology people.
When we say not too much effort, this is a bit of an understatement. We have potentially 50 articles on our website now, and now videos. Videos takes time to create, we have written code to connect with Google Cloud API to generate audio. We will engage individuals and companies to create better video content in future. we are considering setting up more YouTube content where we connect with other software and business professionals.
Anybody looking at this amount of effort may think "Aren't they simply a technology consultancy they have to spend so much time waiting content? Surely it is more about creating the products and services." We see the balance in our situation has been too skewed towards developing the products and services, rather than talking about what we are working on. We set our objectives to make 2022 more about marketing and creating actionable information for customers. We do see our content marketing efforts reducing significantly and maybe doing two videos a month, and two articles a month.
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