At SES San Jose 2009, I've been asked to make a solo presentation to kick of the Search and Community Track. The title of the session is "How to Optimize for Search & Engage the Community."
I've been working on my presentation, but it lacked a compelling case study that illustrated how a community organization had used search engine optimization and YouTube video to generate measurable results. I had planned to show examples of videos created by Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Monty Python, and Blendtec, but plans have a way of changing.
Then, I got involved with the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), a national non-profit community advocacy and homeownership organization headquartered in Boston.
NACA is organizing a series of Save the Dream events to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, restructure home loans, and reduce mortgage rates. They have already held events in Columbia, SC, Stamford, CT, and Washington, DC. And NACA plans to hold more Save the Dream events in Cleveland, OH, July 17 - 20 at the Wolstein Center; Chicago, IL, July 24 - 27 at McCormick Place; and St. Louis, MO, July 31 - August 3 at Chaifetz Arena.
Although I don't have my case study wrapped up just yet, I do see one in the making. And it offers lots of lessons to search engine marketers, YouTube directors and entrepreneurs about how to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community.
For example, we issued an optimized press release yesterday announcing that NACA CEO Bruce Marks and Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) will hold a joint press conference on Monday, July 6, at the Wolstein Center at 11:30 am to discuss the upcoming Save the Dream event in Cleveland. You can get the gist of the news at NACA and Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (Oh-11) Announce Same Day Solution for Homeowners with Unaffordable Mortgage.
But we also embedded a documentary video created by DigiNovations of Concord, MA, in the optimized press release. It provides background on NACA's Save the Dream program, which has helped homeowners across America restructure and renegotiate home mortgages and home loans they can no longer afford.
Now, the press conference hasn't even been held yet -- and the Save the Dream event in Cleveland is still two weeks away. But I was stunned yesterday when one Twitter user near Memphis, TN, said "this is fantastic news" but she couldn't afford to wait, had called NACA and was "on hold" waiting to talk with someone.
I initially tweeted back that NACA will have over 500 staff and volunteers at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, including over 250 counselors providing counseling from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. from Friday July 17 through Monday July 20. Then, I realized that this information wasn't helpful today, this minute, now. So, I sent her a direct tweet with the cell phone number of the person I was working with at NACA -- in case she needed it.
I got a direct tweet back saying, "Thanks for the info... my process is well underway - so I'm all set (I hope!)"
So, something extraordinary is happening. And as I prepare for my presentation at SES San Jose 2009, I hope you won't mind if I share the story as it unfolds. That's one of the lessons I've already learned: You can't plan a search campaign and expect the community to wait to respond when you are ready -- especially if you are offering an answer to the huge subprime and predatory lending industry.
This is bigger than a case study. This is people's homes.