Many of you may already be familiar with the book The Dragonfly Effect written by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. While the book focuses on illustrating social media can be used for social good, of course, I was reading it through my own lens of search and content marketing. The broad concepts seem to apply quite well.
The authors point out that after the age of 30, many of us no longer value money as much as we do happiness. This is a key point that marketers can keep in mind as they are developing their content strategies in particular. Does your product make people happy? Does it make you happy? Sharing those positive feelings can be contagious and create a ripple effect.
Similarly, Aaker and Smith say that humans have three basic needs:

  • Feeling competent.
  • Having autonomy.
  • Relatedness to others.

This explains a lot about the power of social media and why people spend hours on Facebook and Twitter. From a content perspective, you can think about whether or not your product or services tap into any of these feelings and share via your company’s blog. Maybe you have work to do after thinking about this, and admitting that can also humanize a company and open up new dialogue with loyal customers or prospects.
As for the dragonfly metaphor, it’s the only insect that can move in any direction when it uses all four wings together. Aaker and Smith label each wing to describe the elements needed for a successful social strategy:

  1. Focus
  2. Grab Attention
  3. Engage Others
  4. Take Action

Dragonfly Effect
For the rest of this post, I am going to share some of the insights on the first wing labeled “focus” because I found some helpful insights in this portion of the book. It’s a great starting place for your content marketing and search efforts.
This concept is simple enough but it’s harder to practice in real life with so many channels the speed at which business operates. Focusing on one, measurable goal is necessary to ensure the success of your marketing efforts, according to the authors, and in a world that values the ability to multitask, this can seem almost impossible at times.
One way marketers do this is by creating distinct campaigns. This can be helpful to create laser-sharp focus and ensure that you’re telling a cohesive story.  With any campaign, setting goals is a must.

Set goals using HATCH

The authors use the acronym HATCH to cover goal-setting tactics: humanistic, actionable, testable, clarity and happiness.

Humanistic
Focusing on your audience is an important part of any marketing strategy. Get to know what your audience likes and what keeps them up at night. You can create personas to keep in mind as you develop new content. Keeping an eye on your analytics on a regular basis (weekly at least) is a good way to see what content is the most popular.
Also, think about how they might resist your product or services.  You can bridge that gap by writing in an approachable manner. Share your experiences and values and discover you have mutual goals. Don’t be afraid to share your views, although do put careful thought into how controversial your employer will allow you to be.
Putting customers first will give you a new vantage point and lead to insights that you can’t see from your daily view, which may very well be in the weeds.
Actionable
Aaker and Smith suggest setting micro-goals so that you can wrap your brain around a longer-term strategy. Asking your marketing team to take on a massive project may make them feel frustrated and incompetent instead of empowered.
Microgoals and microconversions make it easier to achieve long-term visions, so take that into account when you are planning your content and search strategies.
Testable
Select metrics that will help you monitor what is working in your content and search strategies. These don’t have to be complicated, but will enable you to do some testing and abandon as needed without wasting a lot of time in areas that don’t bring results.
You can also use surveys to get feedback from your customers and this will also tie back to the first “H” in HATCH – humanistic.
Oh, and don’t forget to celebrate success when you have it.
celebrate
Clarity
Having clarity in your content and search goals will help keep you focused and improve your chances of being successful. Together, this will generate momentum.
One of the examples that they shared in the book is related to dieting. People are more successful at losing and keeping weight off if they focus on changing one bad habit at a time. So, they don’t focus on losing 50 pounds, but they do say, “This week, I am going to walk 5 miles every day.”
That mentality can and should be applied to your search and content efforts. You are not going to suddenly rank No. 1 on Google overnight. It takes systematic, repeated efforts to make an impact, so don’t get discouraged and remain clear on what you’re goals are without being unrealistic.
Happiness
Write content that is meaningful to you AND your audience. If you are writing something that makes you happy, that can be pretty obvious. Try to find ways to inject your personality into your content, and strike a balance between professional and your Tumblr posts.
If your product makes you or your customers happy, find ways to share that through your content marketing efforts and make it findable my monitoring analytics and using language that you think your audience will be searching for. Having data to support those gut instincts is always nice, too.
Have you read The Dragonfly Effect? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments. Please leave one below and share this story if you found it helpful.