Monday, August 31, 2009

How You Can Own a Word in People’s Minds AND on Google

If you google the word “nametag,” it points to me first.

If you google the word “approachability,” it (also) points to me first.

This is not an accident.

In fact, I’ve spent every single day of the past seven years assuring that everything I do contributes to my company’s OWNERSHIP of those two words. (Check out my tag cloud gallery on Wordle!)

So, they’re mine. Forever. And YOU can’t have them. Neener-neener-neener!

Sorry to be so infantile. It’s just that Word Ownership is absolutely ESSENTIAL to your success in the marketing world. Because it’s not about marketshare – it’s about mindshare. And today I’d like to share seven strategies for making sure the net worth of your One-Word Equity skyrockets.

1. RESEARCH it. Spend some time perusing the websites of the ten most successful people in your industry. Ask yourself: What word do they own? How are they making that clear? What word could YOU own that’s better and more specific and more memorable? Another suggestion is to email twenty of your best customers and ask them, “What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of me?” Look for trends in their answers. Are you listening to the right people?

2. RECOGNIZE it. It’s not like you have to open a dictionary and just pick some random word to own. You already ARE a word. You just need to enhance and articulate your ownership of it. Ask yourself these questions:

o After meeting you, what is the one word that people will never think about the same way again?
o What is the one word you have published more thoughts about than anyone else?
o What word do you have to google to get your name to come up as the first ten hits?
o What’s the one word you are perceived as knowing more about than anyone else on the planet?
o When friends or family members introduce you to new people, what’s the one word guaranteed to be included in that conversation?
o When people see or hear your name, what is the first word that comes to mind?

3. EXPLORE it.. Imagine for a second that you’re starting a non-profit organization that builds community events for retired engineers. And maybe the ONE word that symbolizes what you’re all about is PARABOLA. Cool. So, here’s what you do next:

o Look it up in the dictionary.
o Do some serious wordsmithing.
o Google the word.
o Find out if there are books written ABOUT the word.
o Spend some timing writing your immediate reactions when you see that word.

Remember: “Owning” the word, means knowing everything ABOUT that word. And here’s the best part: If a potential customer says, “Parabola? Where’d you come up with THAT company name?” And YOU say, “Well, parabola comes from the Greek word “parabolicus” which means “application,” which is exactly the type of value we deliver to our customers….” Whoa. Unique, unexpected AND unforgettable! How much do you know about YOUR word?

4. RATE It. A lot of my clients tell me that they DO own a word, which is awesome. The only problem is when they say something like, “Well, my word is Passion” or “I own the word Integrity.” Ehhh. OK. Maybe you DO own that word. My question is: Do your customers think your word relevant, marketable, unexpected and cool?

Odds are, if your word some vague platitude, some trite term or some overused cliché, it’s NOT. Your word needs to move people’s eyebrows. This involuntary indicator of interest, intrigue and curiosity is the best instant barometer of your marketing. It means that your word possesses stopping power. Because the effectiveness of a message isn’t necessarily dependent on its longevity, but rather its ability to evoke emotion in the moment. Is your word making people stop in their tracks?

5. REGISTER it. The odds of registering are highly unlikely, unless you want to fork over ten grand. So, the first thing you should do is mess around with a few different permutations of the domain. For example, if was taken, what about or or

Remember: When you own the domain, you own the idea. I suggest surrounding your domain by purchasing as many variations, permutations, misspellings, and connected domain names as possible. They’re only like ten bucks each, right? Isn’t your brand worth investing $1000 in domain names if that secures your position in the marketplace AND people’s minds?

6. RECORD It. That mean write articles … that means post blogs and tweets … that means do interviews … that means post tweets ... that means publish your philosophy … that means put that word EVERYWHERE on your website.

Basically, you need to punch people in the face. You can’t count on your customers to connect the dots for you. In order to win the battle against the Attention Economy, it’s almost like you need to grab hold of people by their shirt collars and say, “Listen to me! Right here! OK, yes, you. This is exactly what I want you to do…”

Remember: Complexity generates contemplation. And contemplation kills sales because a confused mind never buys. Have you recorded your word EVERYWHERE, so there’s no question in people’s minds that it’s yours?

7. RE-LEARN It. If you want to new customers, new opportunities and, even the MEDIA to come to YOU – because you’re the Thought Leader, because you OWN that word – you have to be a student of it. You can’t just up and decide that you own the word parabola, register a few domain names, smear it all over your site, write a few articles about and then quit.

Here’s the secret: You HAVE to commit yourself to a life-long learning plan based around that word. Get Google Alerts on that word. Check Amazon for new books written about that word weekly. Continually explore and write about the various dimensions OF that word.

Word ownership is a continuous process. If you don’t dedicate yourself to enhancing your mastery and practicing that word everyday, someone else will steal it from you. What new thing did you learn about your word this week?

REMEMBER: One-Word Equity is the secret to becoming That Guy.

Own yours today.

What word would people have to search on Google to get your name first?

For the list called, "101 Ways to Create a Powerful Web Presence," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Need to build your Thought Leadership Platform?

Perhaps my monthly (or yearly) coaching program would help.

Rent Scott's Brain today!