White Walkers, Dragons and SEO: Your Digital Marketing Team in Westeros
This Sunday, the wildly popular HBO show Game of Thrones returns for its sixth season of dragons, beheadings, politics and White Walkers. If you are a fan of the show — whether you pay for HBO or not — you have probably wondered where you would fit in within George R. R. Martin’s vast and complex world. Perhaps you would be the One True King of Westeros, seeking to reclaim the Iron Throne. Or maybe you see yourself on the other end of the spectrum, as a lowly peasant trying to make a living (and keep your head).
When you think about it, every member of a digital marketing team has a direct parallel in the Game of Thrones universe. From the account managers to interns, every department plays a role in the success of your company — your Westeros.
Account Managers: Hand of the King
The Hand of the King is directly responsible for the king’s wellbeing and happiness. They are close advisors to the king, sometimes making decisions on their behalf. While it may seem glamorous, being the King’s Hand is a huge responsibility. If something within the Seven Kingdom goes wrong, it is often the Hand that takes the heat.
In the same way, account managers work closely with the king — that is, the client — to ensure everything is right in their kingdom. If new content needs to be created, if there is a bug on the website or if a marketing campaign needs to be tweaked, it is the account manager who is responsible. Though it may seem like the most glamorous job on the team, it is the account manager who must often answer for any mistakes made.
SEO Analysts: The Night Watch
On the frontier of the Seven Kingdoms stands The Wall, 300 miles long and 700 feet tall. Made of solid ice, The Wall protects the rest of Westeros from giants, White Walkers and other creatures of the far north. Though many consider such malevolent beings to be all but mythology and old wives’ tales, the Night Watch dutifully stands guard, defending the Seven Kingdoms. In addition to the mythological threats, they also have an ever-watchful eye on intrusions from Wildlings.
SEO analysts have a very similar job. They are the first defense against cyber Wildlings, which take the form of broken pages and spam backlinks. However, they are always on the lookout for their own form of White Walkers: the dreaded Google penalty, action taken against a website for breaking webmaster guidelines. Like the Night Watch, SEO analysts tend to go unnoticed until it is time to go to war against White Walkers.
If there is something to be known in Westeros, you can bet that Varys, aka the Spider, knows about it. He is connected to everything and everyone, with his webs of connections that feed him information. He and his web of informants span across both Westeros and Essos, a massive chain through which rumors and intelligence is spread. This often comes in handy for the king, who can both send and receive information through Varys.
An effective outreach department also has a web of connections through which information is spread. When word needs to get out about something a client is doing, your own Spider knows exactly who needs to hear about it. In addition, they are constantly sending out webs to make new connections, beneficial for future use. Often the mechanism works the other way as well, with “informants” sending useful information back that could be beneficial for the client.
Content: Tyrion Lannister
A close friend and ally with Varys, Tyrion is a master wordsmith. And in a world where he would otherwise be ignored, his intelligence and wit as he communicates seems to be all he has. As he travels with Varys, he is able to get word to those who need to hear it through the Spider’s various connections. Even though Tyrion is often saddled with unpleasant tasks, he does them valiantly and creates something great.
The true sign of a good content department is being able to spin any subject in an interesting way. Sure, you may think certain topics are boring and not worth reading about. But a skilled content department can take that subject and create an engaging blog or page that will attract otherwise uninterested readers. In a world largely dominated by video and interactive media, that is a valuable trait. And how do they reach these kinds of readers? By sharing the content through the outreach department.
Design and Development: Daenerys Targaryen and the Unsullied
Daenerys is one of the many characters in Game of Thrones who believes she has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne. As she marches toward King’s Landing, she utilizes her army of the Unsullied to free slaves and take hold of entire cities. Though she has dragons on her side, she needs her army to go forth and fulfill her vision of a slave-free world. And, because she treats her army well, they would do anything for her.
A design team is usually made of dreamers. They know exactly how they want a page to look, then create it. However, they must have a dedicated team of developers to fully execute the plan. The developers will constantly be on the lookout for bugs, broken pages and other “traitors” that would otherwise undermine the efforts of the designer. In short, both teams need each other to be fully effective.
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