The word “metadata” (which means, in simple terms, information about information) has been in the news lately, thanks to the NSA electronically gathering metadata about supposedly-private communications.
Let’s say you placed a phone call to a friend, and talked for 5 minutes. Some of the metadata, in this case, would consist of the time and date of the call, its duration, your physical location when the call was placed, etc.
It’s the descriptive information that surrounds the call itself.
Those word clouds that were all the rage a few years back? Metadata.
Now I’m going to make a claim you’ve probably never heard before. Because it sounds really geeky.
Your metadata is the heart and soul of your marketing.
Your company (or you, as an individual professional) can be summed up by a set of keywords. This metadata – words, short phrases, and metaphors – sums up who you are and what you offer.
Get the metadata right, and you have a shot at getting your marketing message right.
Bad metadata is inaccurate, incomprehensible, or too broad. It doesn’t bring people to you, it sends them away. And the biggest problem is “too broad” – claiming that you are and do so many things, that no-one can figure out what your sweet spot is.
The fact is, people are going to put us in a box. It is up to us to discover and promote the right words that describe our box accurately.
I recently spent over 8 hours with a client digging into their DNA and past track record to bring to the surface the key words and phrases that (accurately) sum up what they offer. At the end of the process, ONE superlative, customer-enlightening word came up that became the clarifying piece of metadata.
Many prior years of attempted marketing messages had not been able to capture the imagery needed to intuitively communicate their unique value proposition. It took the right piece of metadata to crack the code.
You want to own some mental real estate in the minds of others. The right metadata means that you occupy the correct place in their filing system.
First, discover your metadata. Then create your marketing.
(at the end of this post is a suggested exercise for you to do just this)