A company or brand Web strategy should include considerations for how people will search, share, and involve through the content. In addition to integrating a corporate site with social outposts, it should also be integrated withing itself by layering: community building with editorial impact, and marketing.
- 1/3 editorial impact - using what the Poetae Novae called labor limae, make the content efficient while still effective; put usefulness front and center without overwhelming, and take the point of view of the customer, what they think, want (or worry) about. Content that educates, entertains, and empowers
- 1/3 community building - working on what in social media we have come to refer to as conversation, engagement, building relationships and connections; thinking about ways to answer common inbound questions creatively, allowing comments on blogs are two examples
- 1/3 marketing principles - making room for valuable calls to action, the bread and butter of why we buy and how we sell; competitive comparisons, offers, and compelling reasons to ask for more information with a sales rep
I have this skit I do in the part of my workshop where I talk about content.
It's your brand hatching, your brand on content, then people on content. It comes from the Web presence of the future, something I wrote a good four years ago here. You can see the images here.
Each of the five complete rewrites and redesigns of a corporate Website I worked on during my career on the client side was both exciting and challenging for a variety of reasons.
The content varied depending on the industry -- risk management consulting, financial services, Web technology, chemical products with a heavy dose of regulatory guidelines.
They required learning the business cycle, language, and context of the corresponding industry -- and of the people most likely to want to hire those products and services to do the jobs they needed done.
Speaking clearly about the organization and what its products and services offered customers, as well as the customer' voices themselves in support and evidence of our work.
The project is exponentially complex when the organization has a complex service or product taxonomy and different lines of business with complementary, yet distinct needs. When the product mix is highly technical and lives in a context that changes constantly, you better have a plan to refresh that content frequently.
Taking the point of view of the organization, you are writing the content as a marketing conversation. You work from a few personas, or representations of the readers and customers you want to attract, who they are, the job they're looking to do specifically.
The structure of the page(s) is generally build around three simple questions:
- why you are here -- based upon what the customer wants to do
- what job are you looking to hire this company/product/service to do -- entertain, solve, empower
- how the job we do connects with the job you need/want done -- this talks to the service (or product) and how it is delivered, through education, information, interaction
Many Web sites are still organized around a company's capabilities. Many presentations and proposals revolve around what a company (or agency) does and how it does it. It is about what the company does as long as it is in relationship to what your customer wants and needs.
With social media, and layering in the community building functionality, you now have the ability to do much more. Many a corporate budget is still allocated to search -- organic and paid.
Google is now drawing content and sharing together, search and social. Yet not all the action is on just search and share. There is a third area of opportunity where community building and editorial impact meet -- involve.
If you have a great product, then the customer wants to play with it, learn about what it does, how it does what it does. In the case of an iMac, your customer may be content to just look at it, at how it's built, for example.
When that is the case, you put the sex appeal front and center, it is what the customer wants. How many of you work at Apple? How many other products have such draw that people actually go to the stores to see and interact with the product in person?
Build a Bear is one such store. How many others? There are a few. Why I love working with products -- here's what it looks like, here's the job it does. Many of us are in the services industry. How do you involve there?
The Web site of the future may be organized completely in thirds without needing to separate them in a blog, a forum, a customer idea space, and the corporate brochure-ware. Part editorial, part community, and part marketing weaved through the site.
People on content search, share, and involve. Are you building for that?
[edited from Archives]