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The impact of content online is huge. As digital marketers, we are constantly looking for ways to capitalize on opportunities and ride the viral train.

I just finished reading an interesting article: The blogosphere as an excitable social medium: Richter’s and Omori’s Law in media coverage, It takes us through the effect blog content instigates online. In it the authors ran studies focusing on keyword usage to discover how people react to new information by their blogging behavior. The result was a discovery of two types of events:

Exogenous: These are events where the use of a keyword is recognized in one sudden explosion. They used the event of Sarah Palin’s nomination as an illustration by following the use of “palin.” The event drew a massive, out-of-nowhere interest in the subject. Shown in graph figure (a).

Endogenous: These events begin gradually with the use of a certain keyword increasing to an eventual climax. The scenario exampled in the article was when President Obama’s inauguration was approaching. They tracked the use of the word “inauguration” and found it to follow the format of the graph in figure (b).

In both scenarios it was discovered these occurrences—particularly the fore and aftershocks— are similar to the experience of earthquakes.

So what does this mean for SEO? We know people are reacting to and involved with blogs. We also know online interaction is increasing. The question we should be asking is, “what marketing opportunities are being missed in these scenarios?”

The above occurrences likely would have been spotted and discussed without all the research spent discovering it. The endogenous event is one I feel SEOs are already doing well fielding for optimization and link building opportunities. However, when approaching an exogenous (or sudden) event I find these are missed opportunities.

A Call For Collaboration

More than any other issue in digital marketing, I consider collaboration among inbound marketing initiatives (PR, social, email, paid advertising, SEO, etc.) to be the biggest downfall. With more collaboration of marketing efforts these explosive events could be pushed more effectively and achieve larger gains.

Here is one instance I see this happening:

A company is featured on a large website, television show or otherwise. Likely the PR department was responsible for facilitating the appearance, but this wasn’t well communicated to the other marketing departments. Soon after follows a mass spread of information and news online about the subject. To the naked eye this seems great. The company got exposure, increased in sales and is doing well. But what was missed here:

  • A well-crafted press release (for both SEO and PR purposes) could have been coordinated.
  • Social media could have been building anticipation and preparing for how to push it best after—creating a well-rounded trend.
  • Paid search could better prepare with additional keywords to bring into the campaign.
  • Already established online relationships could have been contacted, guest blog posts and other specific link opportunities could have been brought in.
  • An email campaign could have been designed for correct timing in correlation.
  • Quality, fresh and optimized content could be prepared to go live on the site.
  • And likely many other approaches…

From a data perspective, would you rather see one large spike in traffic and revenue that month or a consistent above-average trend all month long? Nearly every time a steady trend achieving long-term gains will be better than a single spike. By unifying marketing avenues an exogenous event will become an endogenous occurrence with long-lasting results.

I see this issue occurring in-house and from an agency platform as well. In the most recent SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday, Tom Critchlow did a great job explaining the importance of communication and processes to be sure SEO gets done:

…When you’re trying to get things done, processes are at the heart of everything a business does. If you want to make something happen that isn’t already happening, you need a new process, or if there is an existing process, you might need to modify that process to make it SEO friendly or make it happen in a particular way.

The integration of marketing departments needs to begin at an upper level. This is one of those new processes to set in place. SEO specialists, social media gurus and PR experts all know how to roll out an effective campaign. But what seems to be missing is the perspective that all of these campaigns can be viewed as one. What is really lacking is effective project management between the different avenues.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you had this same experience or do you have an effective process established?