In this informational video for Google Partners a Google representative defines the Trusted Digital Media Advisor as; “Someone who can extract meaning from the information clutter and who can steer them (businesses) to competitive advantage”. At this point the Trusted Digital Media Advisor label is being used with the Google Partners program to teach sales skills based on the Adwords platform. However I think it can be and may be intended to become much more.
Google has made no secret of their desire to more fully engage the millions of small businesses in the world. They have been using the “Get Your Business Online” program to help businesses get started with building a web presence for several years now and participation from the business community has been good.
I believe that the concept behind the Trusted Digital Media Advisor label needs to be expanded. I say this because success on the web for businesses goes way beyond just advertising. It is a multifaceted endeavor and Google already has the programs available to pull it off.
Establishing a web presence and then building it into a top performer in search results is not easy. A successful online strategy takes time and is always ongoing. It requires an expertise in many, diverse disciplines.
In the web environment today there are essentially four areas that work together to make your business a success online. All of the required knowledge I mentioned above fits into these four areas.
1: An optimized website and social networks. Job one is to optimize your web presence for your customers. Make it visually appealing, easy to understand and use and readily available from wherever they are on whatever device they are using. The second part of on site optimization is making the site conform to Google best practices for SEO. This makes it easy for search engines to understand what your site is about do that they can show it to the right people at the right place and time.
2: produce great content. Don’t just let your finished web presence sit there. Post new content to your site and social networks on a regular basis. It needs to be top quality content that is relevant to your business and useful to your customers. This content can include text, images and video. all of these types of content need to be individually optimized as well.
3: distribute your content. Your intended clients can’t use your content if they can’t find it. Distribute your website content to your social networks and business listing pages. distribution is a necessary part of the strategy and done properly can yield amazing results. Done poorly it can damage you site’s reputation and performance.
4: Advertising. Adwords let’s you target prospective customers with a laser focus. If most if your customers are at the airport and using mobile devices then you can target your ads to appear only to that group of people in that place. It also allows you to promote via search, Google’s vast display network and on YouTube. You can use your text, image and video assets within advertising or create new assets specifically for this purpose. A great deal of knowledge is required to run a successful Adwords campaign.
Those are the components of a successful online presence. I said that Google already has tools in place that address most of the necessary areas of knowledge covered above. Most of these tools also provide some sort of certification from Google to validate the proficiency of an individual or Agency in each area. Listed below are most of the currently available courses/certifications which I believe a Trusted Digital Media Advisor should be in possession of to truly make the title of Trusted Digital Media Advisor everything that it should be.
Trusted Digital Media Advisor: The Requirements
- The Google Webmaster Academy This is a pretty fundamental course but it could easily be expanded into something more all inclusive to train to Google best Practices in web design.
- Google Developers Web Fundamentals This is a more comprehensive look into web design for the modern Internet and should be a part of the training of a Trusted Digital Media Advisor
- Google SEO The title of this section links to the Google SEO Starter Guide. That is not much of a foundation in this incredibly complex area but better than nothing. I think that all the information you need to at least be aware of the processes involved in SEO is available in various Google courses but it is not yet a single course. However Google does offer this handy checklist for site owners on how to pick an SEO service provider that will actually help your business. An effective Trusted Digital Media Advisor has to be proficient and up to date on SEO.
- Google My Business/Google+ There is not a specific certification for either Local Directories like Google Your Business (formerly Google Places) so the link provided goes to the available help materials. This is another crucial area for local businesses to utilize in promoting their business online so it too should be better developed. This is especially true because Google+ is now so much the glue that holds everything Google together and has so many benefits available when used properly.
- Google Analytics is one of the best free tools available to ue when monitoring your website. It yeilds a host of valuable information on who is coming to your site from where and what browser and device they are using too. This training should be manditory for anyone who aspires to be a Trusted digital Media Advisor.
- Youtube Video is a huge part of the web and an awesome tool to promote your business. But it is a completely different animal than blogging or PPC advertising. Google/Youtube has a training program now on how to be a YouTube Channel Manage and it should also be required training for a Trusted Digital Media Advisor
- Adwords Partners Becoming an Adwords Certified Partner Agency is a program that has been in existence at Google for some time and it embodies what I think needs to be emulated in the other areas listed in this article. To achieve the certification requires extensive study and testing. It also splits the certification into various areas of proficiency (search, display and now video). That is how complex just this one area of a successful online strategy is and shows why such a program needs to be in place for all of these areas as they too are equally complex.
I hope that this article has opened you eyes a bit as a business owner as to the need for a real Trusted Digital Media Advisor program. The world is full of wannabe “experts” with questionable expertise. Seperating them from people who are actually qualified to work on your site and help you develop and run an ongoing digital marketing strategy is not easy right now.
If Google does implement a Trusted Digital Media Advisor training and certification program I think that it would go a long way in their efforts to reach more small businesses. It would make it easy for businesses to find trusted, competent advisors.