Of HitTailing, Beachheading, and my Robot Army

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 06/11/2012

There is always another distraction that seems just as interesting and just as valid as the real work at hand. Once again, forcing myself to start my daily journal entry early enough in the day forces a sort of self-awareness and self-correcting that, I hope and plan, will make my day highly effective and turn it into a story worth telling… via this journal entry, of course. This is all designed to be very meta in that way.

Okay, so the nature of my first distraction is that I’ve added a very friction-free way of publishing on my website in the form of an FAQ, and the temptation to HitTail or Beachhead is immense, as it is a key component of growing my personal online identity, which I believe to be the future of my career. I look at my HitTail reports almost every day, and make a choice between HitTailing and Beachheading. HitTailing is writing to bring in long-tail searches similar but not quite the same as terms on which you’re already bringing in traffic. It’s expanding the net in an outward spiral-pattern.

Beachheading, on the other hand is branching your site into entirely new areas, experimentally publishing small bits on new topics to see if it generates any traffic, and if it does, noting that the topic needs some writing reinforcements. Beachhead is a term that describes military beach landings into new territory, like the Invasion at Normandy, where some troops hold the ground until reinforcements arrive. It’s a great way to branch into new territory, and the same goes for writing. My FAQ is a nice friction-free writing place for both HitTailing and Beachheading, and that’s my distraction, because it feels worthwhile in keeping myself sharp in my field.

Today, it’s beachheading on the term robots, because I have owned Roomba, Scooba, Neato and Mint robot floor cleaners, scrubbers and vacuums. I basically plan on being part of the first generation to benefit from a personal robot army to help with menial tasks around the house, and to teach my daughter Adi to benefit from being the first generation to have robots for menial (and otherwise) tasks around the planet. Thinking 20 years ahead isn’t too soon. And my FAQ helps me branch into these areas without excessive website re-architecting.

The thinking here is that not everything needs to be a blog post or article requiring large amounts of time to write, and sometimes edit. Sometimes, it’s just a quick thought you want to blast out there, but instead of giving the content to Twitter as a 140-character Tweet, or to Tumblr with an article on a something.tumblr.com domain, you keep the traffic and brand-building for yourself by putting it on a custom domain that you can host anywhere you want and take with you wherever you go, as the online landscape evolves. It’s a lot like a blog on a personal domain, but it’s a micro-blog in the sense that FAQ entries don’t make you feel like you have to commit to a big article.

Better-still, all these FAQ answers are undoubtedly related to things going on elsewhere on your site, like real articles or main site navigation pages, in which case, you can break your FAQ up into little categorically related bits, and in my case, use WordPress shortcodes to insert sub-FAQ’s in all the appropriate places, which helps your site in all sorts of ways.

Bottom-line is, this sort of thinking and writing is okay in my daily routine, so long as it fires me up for the work-at-hand, which so happens to be topically related. The process I do manually with HitTailing and Beachheading so happens to be a the very same process that a particular company I’m beginning to consult regarding is trying (or successfully has) automated at an Enterprise-level. The more I personally am engaged in manually doing what they do automatically, the better I will be able to authoritatively speak to the issues. It is the perfect example of what I do for myself out of passion perfectly aligns to what I need to deeply know and consult about for my employer.