It is impossible to avoid references to Westeros over the last few years—especially lately, as George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy cycle crawls towards its conclusion in print, and with Season 8 of Game Of Thrones dominating water-cooler discussions everywhere that HBO is carried. Like many fantasy epics, Game Of Thrones can be used to symbolize many different concepts and strategies.
Some have dug into the hidden symbolism behind the house sigils; others have compared Westeros’ vast landscape to various countries and cultures around the Earth. But what on Earth does Westeros have to do with digital marketing?
A lot, it turns out. One can draw many correlations between digital marketing and George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic. We can use the characters and situations in Game Of Thrones to draw parallels with the roles played by SEO team members, making it a lot easier for the layperson to get a grasp on what is happening behind the scenes with search engine optimization.
So let’s dig in, shall we? Winter Is Coming, after all.
What Game Of Thrones Teaches Us About Digital Marketing
Running a business isn’t that different from running a feudal kingdom if you view it from the right perspective. Let’s take a look at how we can use the familiar characters of George R.R. Martin’s world-building to help us master the art of digital marketing.
1. The Iron Throne: CEOs
CEOs are like kings, handing down decrees for the various underlings to execute. One interesting aspect of the kingship in Game of Thrones (and in the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire) is that the effectiveness of the various monarchs who sit on the Iron Throne is less about their personal skill set and more about their ability to find the right people for key roles (Hand of the King, Master of Coin, Master of Whispers, and so on).
It is the same with CEOs in business. They provide the vision, focus, and direction for the company; but their success truly lies in recruiting the best possible team of leaders and then providing them with the resources necessary to succeed. The CEO of a successful online marketing company works hard to hire the best people and to give them the resources to deliver optimal results for your business.
2. The Hand Of The King: Account Managers
The Hand Of The King is directly responsible for ensuring the business of the king’s realm is fulfilled according to his wishes. They work closely with the king, sometimes even making decisions in their stead.
Account managers work directly with the clients to ensure that the business plan is followed and that the company meets the needs of the client. They don’t manage the daily running of the account; their responsibility is to understand the needs of the client, determine how to meet those needs, and generate positive brand perception.
Image source: Marie Claire
3. The Night Watch: SEO Analysts
The Night Watch is the first line of defence between the Seven Kingdoms and White Walkers, giants, and Wildlings.
SEO analysts are the knights of the Wall, standing guard against the greatest threat to a webpage’s digital reputation — Google algorithm updates. They understand search engine behaviour, how to remove obstacles to indexing formulas, add relevance to targeted keywords, and increase the number of backlinks to improve a site’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Also, like the Night Watch, SEO analysts tend to go unnoticed until you need them. When you do, you’ll be glad they’re there!
Image source: Express
4. Master of Whispers: Social Media Marketing
Varys (a.k.a. The Spider) is the Master of Whispers in Westeros when our story opens. He knows everything that’s happening in Westeros. When something happens, Varys is the first to know about it. The Spider has agents across all of Westeros and Essos, being able to both send and receive messages.
We almost don’t have to make a metaphor for The Spider’s connection to social media marketers. Social media marketing offers an unparalleled ability to reach your audience on an individual basis. Social media marketers always build new relationships, trying to intersect your brand with the personal brands of the average person.
Social media marketers also monitor the web to keep an eye on your brand’s reputation. They’ll diligently track your company’s social media mentions. When bad news hits, they act. Brand reputation has never been more critical than it is 2019. It’s essential that negative feedback is handled as quickly as possible before damage can spread.
Image source: BoingBoing
5. Master of Coin: Content Marketing
Content is the nuts-and-bolts of search engine optimization. It is what drives eyes to your website, and what converts passive readers to paying customers. It is the coin of the realm for SEO. The most dedicated Master of Coin during the run of the show is Tyrion Lannister.
Tyrion has a way with words and people. His understanding of local customs and universal human motivations helps him to win people over everywhere he goes. Tyrion’s also a master storyteller and one that knows how to tailor his message to his audience to have the greatest possibility of eliciting the desired response. And Tyrion’s desired response is to improve the lives of the people in the realm.
Content marketing teams are also masters of language and psychology. Content marketers need to know what makes your audience tick to package their content in a way that’s appealing and that converts a reader into a customer. They understand the philosophy and raison d’être of your business, and how to faithfully carry that purpose to your audience. And their goal is to help make your business as successful as possible.
Image source: Bustle
Most importantly, digital marketing and Game Of Thrones are both journeys. They don’t just happen overnight. There are 73 episodes of Game Of Thrones, and nearly 4,000 minutes of epic fantasy TV to get lost in. Search Engine Optimization is also a journey to bring people from a casual reader to customer to client to brand supporter — and the payoff is worth it.