April 6, 2015

Tackling Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update With Public Speaking Tactics

By Megan G.

With the imminent rollout of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm, a flurry of articles are being written on how to optimize for mobile.  We touched on the subject last week, highlighting key ways that small business owners can prepare for the Mobilocalypse. 

Today, I’d like to continue that discussion in terms of content.  I recently read an interview with speaker Steve Floyd on Search Engine Journal, in which they discussed some marketing strategies for local businesses.  The SEJ interviewer was impressed with Floyd’s success as a public speaker on content strategy.  This observation got me thinking.

It isn’t too farfetched to equate effective public speaking with marketing strategy, considering that giving a speech is a form of self-marketing.  It’s all about professional presentation and serving your audience (or, in the case of business, your customers). 

A wealth of insight can be gained from studying public speaking tactics in regards to content marketing strategies, especially in this burgeoning mobile market.  Using some classic tactics for public speaking success, we will learn to optimize our mobile content as a talented speaker works her room. 

Remember that not everything is about you

Yes, you are terrified that this new update will ruin your ranking, but pause the self-pity for a moment.  In public speaking, focusing solely on your performance is disastrous.  While inarguably and understandably human, worrying about how you look is a narcissistic and stress-inducing way to present yourself, either to a room of ready listeners or to the unforgiving masses of the Internet.  The same is true of content marketing. 

Successful speakers ask themselves “What do I want my audience to think after my presentation?” Spoiler alert:  the answer is not “Wow, that speaker looked really cool up there.  I wonder where he got his suit.”  As a marketer, you should focus on how you want your customers’ lives to change by using your services or products.  That means streamlining the user experience as much as you can, which can be done with simple tweaks such as implementing a responsive web design and limiting your amount of interstitial pages

For those who don’t know, “interstitial pages” are boxes that pop up on mobile apps asking users to rate their experience or sign up for a newsletter.  If that sounds annoying to you, it is also probably extremely vexing to your users.  Forget the popups, people!


Have an engaging conversation

A boring public speaker sends people to sleep like a bland, broken mobile site drives leads away.  To keep minds from floating off, speakers will ask interesting questions, use helpful visuals, or relay relatable anecdotes.  Mobile SEOs and marketers have their own tactics to keep consumers’ attentions and sales from straying.

Work with your audience

Mobile devices are the Swiss Army knives of the tech world: they are a means of communication, a minicomputer, a camera, and much more.  Being both a phone and a vehicle for Google Search, mobile devices can utilize Click-to-Call CTAs as a distinctly mobile way to engage with customers.  Not only do you get a potential lead to directly call your business, but you can have a friendly representative on the line to provide some stellar customer service.

A/B testing is another creative way to address customers and boost conversions on your mobile site.  See what your mobile users think about your mobile device interface.  Ask if those click-to-call CTAs are actually working for your customers, or find out how you could better update them with company news and special offers.  There’s no better resource than your very own clients. 

Tell powerful stories

Successful speakers have a skill that every marketer should have in the age of content marketing, and that’s storytelling.  This infographic from HubSpot has a treasure trove of tips for public speakers, and one of its most important pieces of advice is to tell stories. 

Stories add authenticity,” as well as wisdom to your persona.  This helps speakers relate to their audience and it can help you.  Check out the video Monty’s Christmas that blew up Facebook newsfeeds this past holiday season.  It’s a Christmas ad from the British department store John Lewis and it reaches unfair levels of adorableness. 

This company managed to warm our hearts while simultaneously marketing their own persona and products.  Telling stories reminds your customers that your business is operated by thoughtful, imaginative humans and not just money-crunching robots.  

Use attention-worthy images

Most people will tell you to use visuals that grab attention.  This is true, especially in advertising.  However, it is important to remember that your mobile users’ time is precious.  Don’t use an image solely because it’s pretty.  Use it because it enhances their experience and understanding of what you can do for them in some way.  Consequently, Monty’s Christmas is a great example of using visuals effectively.    

Infographics are also excellent tools used to combat the problem of wasteful imagery, as well as informative charts, funny pictures or memes, and personal photosGoogle Doodles are fine examples of how images can be entertaining and educational. 

For more on the topic of images, check out our article on how to use stock photos without sacrificing your unique voice.

Consider coaching

Even the most accomplished speakers can benefit from a good coach to keep speaking strategies from becoming stale and outdated.  A small business owner could stay relevant in search through a similar partnership with a marketing company. 

One of the best ways to optimize your web content for mobile is to create a Google AdWords campaign.  AdWords maximizes local search traffic, which is paramount for small business owners to do.  50% of web-users will visit a store the same day they find it on mobile.  One of eGumball, Inc.’s many services includes managing local business’ AdWords accounts.  eGumball can help you find the ideal keywords and phrases for your business, along with a multitude of helpful services tailored to your business strategy. 

While our company does not directly optimize for mobile sites, our job as the Tek Team is to remain in the know with everything in regards to Google.  The rise of the mobile era will certainly be a challenge for all of us, but stay tuned with Tek Shouts! and you will receive all the updates, strategies, and moral support that you will need as a small business owner.  

What do you think of these public speaking tactics?  Have you used any of them in your own marketing work?  Let us know in the comments.


  1. Great article! I like the comparison to public speaking. It makes sense to compare the two because they both rely on similar perceptions from the audience, though they are different forms of communication.

    1. Good afternoon, Jessamyn!

      Even though the goals of public speaking and mobile marketing are different, it is interesting to note how the tactics used by speakers to persuade audiences are similar to the techniques used by marketers to achieve consumer conversions.

      Do you have any other comparisons to draw between speaking and marketing?

      Thanks so much for the comment,

      The Tek Team