"…Journalists and PR professionals, the influence brokers of traditional
media, have lost a huge degree of influence on the web in large part
because they don’t link to anything. While traditional media brands are
still powerful channels on the web, they are losing influence everyday
to the link-driven web network — journalists and PR professionals can
no longer depend on controlling these former monopoly channels to exert
~The New Influentials (PSFK)
Good point. It's true.
Now think about what happens after the click. After someone has used Google to search for something and clicked on a high ranking link thinking, it had the relevant content they were looking for. Instead, they find themselves on a site loaded with links and "keywords" offering no value whatsoever. Turns out that the only reason the site exists is not to provide value, or content, or information—but in fact to show up in the search engines. It was carefully engineered for that sole purpose.
It's how some marketers will choose to combat the power of the link. They'll fight fire with artificially produced flames. Of course what they don't realize is that they are doing exactly what their marketing forefathers have taught them.
They are fooling the "customer".
Or are they? What happened to tried and true marketing techniques? We began to resent them. Avoid them. Tolaerate them—but just barely. Marketing became noise and so we bought DVR's and iPods to tune it out. So the marketers shouted, became more clever, put marketing in places we never expected.
And some, though not all really only care about what happens before the click. If you click—they've done their job. Or have they? What happens after the click is just as important as what happens before. Maybe even more. It's an opportunity to inform, inspire, engage, and enable. In the best case scenarios—it can bring a brand to life and take relationships to the next level.
Or, it can cause suspicion, mistrust and frustration. All because the metric of the click meant more than anything else. So yes, there are ways to compete with the "new influentials". There are tricks, gimmicks, shortcuts and clever work-arounds. You can measure the success of it all. What's harder to measure is the long term impact it has on your reputation—especially if you underestimated how resourceful your customers can really be.
What happens after the click can be a moment of truth for any business. It's an opportunity to do something something most others don't—to do something meaningful. Or you can take the easy way out—and just be happy they clicked. A short term strategy if I ever heard one.