What Fishing Taught Me About Online Marketing

Photo of spotted rainbow trout swimming in stream

There I was standing just off the bank of a beautiful little mountain stream tucked away in the bottom of a small quiet canyon. The water was gurgling happily underneath me as I drew back my rod ready to make my  perfect cast that was going to land me that little brown trout I could see rising behind the moss covered rock just a few feet away. The sun was shimmering off my line as I drew it back carefully. Focusing as hard as I could, I started my cast it forward when…..nothing. Yep, caught the tree behind me….yes again, get off my back.

Whoever coined the term “Harder than it looks” must have been a fly fisherman.

About that same time it hit me, to be successful on the river or in the internet marketing world not only is it harder than it looks but it also takes the same time, preparation, tools and presentation to gain the traffic or fish we so dearly covet.

The Perfect Fly

There are lots of little things you need to be successful on the river your rod, reel, line etc. Even if you have all that without the right fly the slimy little devils are just going to turn up their ugly noses and laugh as it drifts by. You have to be precise and I really mean precise to make it look so much like that hot fudge sundae they won’t have a choice but to gobble it up. It better be the right pattern, color and size or just like me you get nothing. Isn’t this also true of the content we produce?

We have all written articles that just look like they are God’s personal gift to the net. Amazing, helpful and well articulated material we cast it out there and then….nothing. So what is the next step? Always start by reassessing your target market and what needs they may have, then ask yourself is this something directly relevant to what they would be looking for? As marketers I have found that sometimes we tell our customers what they need, instead of listening and letting them tell us what they really want. No matter how amazing we think an article, video or whatever we are creating is, it simply will not catch on if it is not what our market desires. We need to take the time to do our homework through persona research, competitive analysis and detailed surveys to find the voice, concerns and questions of our market and make sure what we are producing fits their needs and not our egos.

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Picture Perfect Presentation

Fly Fishing and MarketingTalk to any accomplished fly fisherman and they will tell you how you present your fly will make all the difference in the world. Without pin point accuracy we have very little chance of getting that fish to slide over and take a look at our bug. Even though we have done our home work and nailed the fly pattern choice down to the last feather. If we are casting it over and over again in nothing but a sloppy heap….nothing. Trust me on this one I have extensive experience.

A good idea would be to take that content and use the latest and greatest hot term and repurpose it! It may not perform the way you would like it to as a traditional guest post but it might be perfectly suited to something like a micropost, a step by step Slideshare or maybe even taking the extra time to put it into video form. By simply changing the outlet you use means that we can totally change the presentation and the perception of the content we have. Now, you have the perfect fly the presentation is flawless but…

Find the Big Fish

No matter what the presentation and what fly (content) we use, if we are not putting it in front of the right eyes we won’t get the results we are working so hard to obtain. Most of us will tell you this might be the most crucial part of the process; to catch the biggest baddest trout in the stream we have to find the perfect place to throw our big juicy fly. But just like in fishing, the trick is knowing exactly what to look for!  When fishing we look for places on the river that are more likely to hold fish. This can also be applied online to help tell us where our customer base is spending their time on the web. Here are some things we can look for when we are looking for the right places to post.

Figuring out the domain authority of a website is always a good way to determine the quality of a site. Try a site like Majecticseo.com or Opensiteexplorer.com, run the site your thinking of posting on and they will both give you the pages domain authority out of one hundred. Remember the higher the number the better. Next look for social engagement for example Facebook likes, tweets and my favorite blog comments. These will really help us get a feel of how many eyes are actually on the page, and the comments can also help determine if those people will want to share it through their own personal social networks for even more engagement. Lastly, fresh content will give us an idea how often the page is updated and maintained. If we can find a site with these 3 things and there is a great chance to increase our rankings, traffic, conversions, and more importantly fish!

Timing

Last but not least is our timing. On the river each time of the season dictates what type of fly you use, whether it is a giant hopper in the heat of summer or the smallest of nymphs in early spring. But what does that teach us? Just like on the river timing can be everything. We need to make sure that our content is on topic from what’s going on around us and in the industry. No one wants to read an article or watch a video about something that happened three months ago, I mean how awesome in Gangnam Style right now? Be sure to react quickly and offer a new viewpoint which will attract more readers.

There it is my friends whether its fishing or marketing the same game is being played. It’s up to us to perfect our process and put in the time to catch fish or traffic. Someone tell Google to name their next update Brown Trout so at least maybe then I can tell someone I know how to catch one!

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3 Comments

  1. Craig says

    Great analogy and very true too. It’s so easy to keep on ‘casting’ for months and not catch anything because you’re in the wrong stream, using the wrong bait or are unaware of the technique required.

    At the moment I’m busy learning more and more about SEO to enable me to increase my site authority and just produce a better site in general.

  2. Adam says

    Great analogy. Although next time your fishing.. try to take some time off from thinking about work:) I would agree 100% with what you are saying. Without the right fly, the fish will keep on looking somewhere else.

    Thanks for the article.

  3. Jameson Linda says

    Nice and creative perspective. Please optimize this website for mobile view since it was hard to read it on my smartphone.

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