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A Very Relevant Interview

What's the source of truth for everything, marketing-wise, with every other aspect of marketing branching out from it? What can you measure all your marketing efforts against? How do third parties like search engines determine whether your content is worth displaying? How do visitors to your site determine if your offerings are a good fit for them? Today, we get to hear directly from the source! Without further ado, let me introduce you to Relevance! 

Two cartoon owls sitting on a talk show.

Kevin: Relevance, welcome to Marketing Wise, and thank you for joining us today--it's rare to get to sit down and chat with such an important foundational element in marketing.

Relevance: Thanks for having me, Kevin. I'm happy to be here--long time reader.

Kevin: Thanks for that! Ok, let's dig right in. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Relevance: Well, I'm a natural-born data nerd--I love correlations, relationships, and the like. In my spare time, though, I'm a bit of a matchmaker, finding things that go together and sparking that magical link. Lately, I've really gotten into the game, "Codenames". It's probably the most relevant game out there. I’m also an NYT Games “Connections” addict–I have to play it daily.

Kevin: I love it. I’m also a big fan of those games–very relatable. So, how would you describe your role in marketing?

Relevance: Some people say content is king, or perhaps it's the user intent and the context within the content that is king. But without me, those things don't even matter. If content is created without me in mind, customers won't be able to see that the information is relevant to them. Without creating content, and structuring things, optimized for search engines, the search engines won't be able to tell if the information is relevant to its users, and may never display it on the results page. How involved I am in every part of the process determines the level of success. It's a lot of responsibility, but the job suits me, I think.

Kevin: You mentioned a few things that are commonly called out as important. There are two you didn't mention, though, that I also hear a lot: Quality Content, and Authority (specifically, Domain Authority). Can you speak to those, as well?

Relevance: Sure thing! I think it's pertinent, so I'll ask this in return: Is a high-quality piece of content that isn't relevant to your target audience still considered high quality? 

Kevin: That's a good point... So you're saying that the relevance of a message helps determine its quality?

Relevance: Yeah, you could think of it like this: Let's say I'm selling the best-made hammer, on a high-quality website, using well-written content. This hammer is expensive because it uses the finest steel, best sweat-resistant rubber grips, etc. But, if the messaging is focused on price, it won't be as relevant for the people who are ready to spend good money on a good product. If your messaging doesn't resonate with your ideal customer, it won't be relevant to them. That content, then, is not high quality.

Domain Authority is a measure of a website’s credibility, social signals, domain age, and more. But that is all just a bunch of aspects used to determine Relevance. If a website has 0 other pages linking to it, or pages in a different language, or about an unrelated topic, it's not going to be considered as relevant.

Kevin: Can you give me an example of a time marketers utilized you well in a successful marketing campaign?

Relevance: Recent trends for eco-conscious products, manufacturing methods, etc. are making non eco-conscious products irrelevant to an increasing number of consumers. Marketers that call attention to their green efforts, and demonstrate the eco-friendly nature of their offerings have remained relevant. 


Kevin: So there are even overarching concerns and trends to consider when being intentional about Relevance, not just how well my product or service will help the customer. What are some other overarching factors we need to consider?

Relevance: Definitely. Technology is a big one. We can go back to when a business had to be in the Yellow Pages to stay relevant. Then, 1-800 numbers became a measure of a business’s relevance; after that you had to have a website, followed by an app, Social Media presence, YouTube channel, or podcast. Next, will be the many changes that AI is bringing to the table–in certain industries and product categories, if you aren’t using AI yet, you are already becoming more and more irrelevant.

Another big one is consumer mobility. It’s now important for websites to be mobile-first, and even business technology has become more mobile friendly to accommodate makeshift WFH setups, or for digital nomads to work from wherever they find themselves. More people are taking workations, going on international work retreats, or joining a digital nomad cruise. There are now more than 50 countries that have a current digital nomad visa offering.

Kevin: Ok, so how do small businesses, entrepreneurs, and solopreneurs improve their relevance?

Relevance: It’s as simple as collecting data. Some data is already out there, ready to use, like with Google Trends. Google Trends can show you the topics and actual search terms that are the most popular, or climbing in popularity. Here are the top five trending search topics for the last year: 

Taylor Swift
Artificial intelligence
Costco Wholesale

To extrapolate, we could infer that job searches are trending, searches looking for the meaning of a word or acronym, along with Taylor Swift, followed by searches about AI and Costco.

You can enter your own, most relevant terms people may use to look for your product or service, to see what you should focus on when creating content, or even new offerings. 


Kevin: That’s a good point. Marketing Wise actually has a tool called “Trendy” to help people compare large sets of Google Trends data–we created it because Google Trends doesn’t have an API to allow third parties to work with the data. It’s just a little workaround you can use when you want to compare the search frequency for lots of different search terms. Find Trendy here.

Relevance: I love it–very timely reference. Other data, you may have to find on your own. For example, you may know the terms that are most popular, but what about search intent, and sentiment or voice. For this A/B testing is a great tool. By serving different versions of a landing page, for example, you can determine which version leads to more conversions.

Kevin: There are some variations of a common sentiment that goes something like, “The riches are in the niches,” or “niches get riches.” How do you know when to stop whittling down to a smaller and smaller niche? How do you know when you are in the ideal-sized niche?

Relevance: Great question. I am the answer here as well. When you “niche down” until you’ve included everyone your offering is relevant to, then you start considering who you want to be relevant to the most in that group: It could be decision makers if you’re business to business, or high-earners, or even hair color if your niche is people who need a particular formula of die for their color of hair. Where people can go wrong is niching themselves out of a base big enough to thrive, or casting such a wide net that no one feels like it was made for them.

A cartoon owl throwing darts at a dartboard--bull's eye.

Kevin: Thank you for sharing your insights with us today. Is there anything you’d like to end on?

Relevance: Sure, thanks. There’s a reason why success in marketing is preceded by concentrated amounts of me. Understand your target audience and how your offering is relevant to them–then create marketing strategies that demonstrate that understanding to them, and other involved parties, like search engines. I’m not sure I’d refer to myself as king, but more like a force of nature: embrace me, and ride the wave of success, or fight me and get caught in a rip current.


**Here are some bonus AI image generation outtakes:

A cartoon owl with a dart poking its eye.

A cartoon owl holding a dart and standing on a dartboard.