Last week I read a blog post over on Copyblogger that I found terribly troubling. The post, titled, “SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC,” posited that the acronym/phrase SEO is spammy, incomplete, and irritating. What we really should be talking about is “optimizing content for discovery and conversion.” While the article does accurately point out that SEO has expanded beyond traditional organic search optimization tactics to include social media and other new facets of the online world, overall the post reads as an effort to create the “it” buzz phrase or acronym. OC/DC could be the next “Content Marketing” or “Human to Human” (versus Business to Business and Business to Consumer).
It seems to me that back in the “old days” (and I like to think I’m not quite old enough to be able to use that phrase yet) ideas caught fire because they were good and useful. Whoever thought of the ROI acronym, for example, was clearly on to something. Not surprisingly, the acronym and the phrase are still around.
Now, however, it feels as though people are going about things bass ackwards, as we like to say. Marketers, bloggers, and social media gurus are trying to come up with nifty phrases and acronyms that they hope will go “viral,” regardless of whether the message behind that phrase has any meaning whatsoever.
If OC/DC or other new acronyms and phrases were truly effective, you would not need a support system of a very long blog post to explain what the acronym stands for, how you came upon the acronym, and why it is important. Truly good ideas should generally be self-evident to people in your space. If you see something like B2B, you find out quickly it stands for business-to-business and you garner exactly what that meaning is. Such is not the case with OC/DC, sadly enough.
Watching an idea of yours spread rapidly across the online world is certainly a much lusted for dream of many social media practitioners. I would posit, however, that staring into a bowl of alphabet soup to see what catches your initial fancy may not be the best way to do it, nor is emulating names of famous rock bands. Even more to the point, I would suggest that coming up with the catch phrase or the acronym first is putting the cart well ahead of the horse. Come up with an idea first, something that will really help people and businesses move forward. From there, as people talk about your concept, catch phrases and acronyms may even evolve naturally, which can make the legacy of your idea even stronger.
To put it more simply, Ideas > Buzz Words.
First Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/watsonsinelgin/6103921775/ via Creative Commons
Second Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/krisolin/7512001702/ via Creative Commons