Man bites dog! Do you care? New survival insight: read more...

There! Am I into your mind?

If corporate communicators expect the company's products or service, or its marketing or business perspective, to compete in what Al Ries and Jack Trout considered the battle for mind space, they must be search-engine wise.

By now, you know SEO. It means picking up the proven words, rather as the soldier picks up the proven weapon in a ground-gaining physical sense, to gain an advantage in the sense of mind-space positioning.

Search engine experts—"optimizers"—will tell you what words score best, what exact phrasing will scoot your message toward the top of the online lists of news that they—your stakeholders and perspective stakeholders or the putative distributors of your perspective—see when they google ("Google" with a capital initial letter having become, alas, the new "Kleenex" or "Xerox" of protected words). If you don't make screen one (or for the truly serious or leisurely viewer, screen two), forget about it. If your message is not up there competing with the other messages pumped by online search engines, you are whistling into the wind of social conversation. Competitors score.

Writing to be read is nothing new. Those who remember Strunk and White know all about clear thought, short sentences, main point first. We former newspaper reporters got that. We tried to write grabbers—compelling short sentence. "Man bites dog" was a great lede. It was red meat headline material. On the airwaves, attention grabbers kick started radio and television news. The online update of this is a simple two-step: (1) pick the sticky words that connect you to the stakeholders, potential believers or advocates that you want to influence; and (2) shove the message-relevant key words into the first line of your online communication. When you put first connective words first, you score.

Corporate communicators are always adapting the first-things-first business performance principle to current contexts. The new model of stakeholder bonding simply acknowledges the speed of connecting toward trust. CCOs engage key words in the first breath of all forms of intended influence. The good news is we know about adapting to reality. We have already cut elevator speeches to twitter length.