What the Apprentice, Dragons Den and SEO have in common


Matt Jones

Digital PR

What have they got in common?

I genuinely love working in SEO; its an ever changing industry that keeps you on your toes and throws different challenges at you every day. However, I’m increasingly becoming aware of the crossover with exciting world of business reality-TV!

Anyone worth their salt will realise that in the marketing world search engine optimisation is a strategic, and ever increasingly important, part of their tactical approach. Thought processes that can go into developing a successful SEO campaign stem from creativity. I think its fair to say that anyone that does work in the said market has a creative streak, whether they know it or not.

So, what exactly do Dragons’ Den and the Apprentice have in common with online marketing? Well, first things first, it is after all, marketing. If you are unfamiliar with the shows, Dragons’ Den pits modest business entrepreneurs to a panel of industry experts seeking investment; and if you haven’t seen the Apprentice then, where have you been!? But its effectively a bunch of people who think of themselves very highly in terms of over-deserved self-worth, who happen to have written an excellent CV (Ricky Martin, a winner on the show, even comparing himself to the Demigod of Thunder; Thor) and now have to pit themselves against each other to leave their already successful business behind to work for Alan Sugar. No sarcasm intended though (cough cough).

This said; each and every time, in both shows effectively, the contestants are given tasks to complete and have to quickly develop a strategy to make sure they get the most successful results. This made me start thinking in terms of outreach – isn’t this what we all aim to do? We’re trying to develop professional relationships in the online world and every time we make contact with someone new we are essentially pitching our ideas, much like the aforementioned Dragons’ Den. Now, content marketing is an exceptional skill that we all are constantly developing but each pitch should be approached differently. You’re not going to be approaching a blogger for a guest post in the same way you would approach a broadsheet newspaper whilst trying to build links through valuable PR. Tonality is the key in this situation; its vital you know what the other person wants; or at least what they think they want. This brings me on to content…

The teams on The Apprentice, or the wannabe businessmen and businesswomen in the Den can go to a pitch; attempt to make their sale and be shot down in flames for one simple thing; their product just isn’t good enough. Does this remind anybody else of the relevance of excellent content? Pitches can be difficult enough when you are thinking on your feet but even if you have managed to build up an online relationship, aspiring to show how relevant, engaging and exciting your content is; to fall at the final hurdle because your product/content just isnt up to scratch feels like a waste of time and effort; for both parties involved. Remember you are building up brand association. I think its fair to say that no business would want to be involved and in a relationship with less than excellent content; and in the post-penguin/panda world bad content will begin to get its comeuppance. Nobody wants to host bad content as it then becomes spam for the sake of SEO purposes. Check over quick human errors as it is not worth a mistake in spelling or grammar for someone to say its just not good enough. Remember Matt Cutts will find you; maybe not now but soon.

In conclusion; the Apprentice and Dragons’ Den both make for great TV, but there are also many things that we in the SEO world can learn from these programmes. So next time you are watching either programme be on the lookout for ways to improve your own outreach approach and content ideas.

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