Superfund clean-up site.
Site of a crime.
Site of an accident.
Your web site.
Let’s face it. “Site” is an unfortunate word to describe what, in today’s world, is going to give people the first impression of your company, non-profit or agency.
In this context, you don’t need a web site. You need a web presence. Anything less leaves money on the table.
Why do we speak with such conviction about this? Because our own web presence fails to deliver! Pretty funny admission from a company that produces web presences as a communications strategy!
But, this is our Sy Sperling “Hair Club for Men” moment, where we admit that we’re not just owners of the business, but we’re clients, too!
We’ve neglected our own web presence for years and I know that that’s cost us in new businesses opportunities. But, when you’re busy building content-rich web presences for others, like this one, that can happen.
Our own web presence is something that we’re working on, though, and since we’ll follow our own advice, here are just a few tips that we’ll follow to make a web presence, and that you might want to keep in mind, too:
Invest In A Tailored Design
We believe we’re unique, and we’ll want our web presence to reflect that uniqueness. Wouldn’t you want the same for your own web presence? Crafted the right way, an investment into a well designed, distinctive content-rich web presence is an investment that will provide you with ROI for years.
Tell Your Story
Try to stretch yourself a bit, in this regard. People are inspired by a good story. Be honest, be authentic. Chances are, if you’ve read this post from the beginning, you’re going to remember us acknowledging our own lack of an inspiring web presence by comparing ourselves to Hair Club for Men’s founder, Sy Sperling!
If you can be inspiring, informative, compelling, educational, entertaining in telling your story through your web presence, you will be remembered, and you will be “found” by those searching for what you offer.
Think, Plan and Act Like A Publisher
One of the priorities when creating a web presence that is going to generate awareness, leads, etc., is the development of a content strategy. The content should be planned not only with an eye toward who the key audiences will be, but how that content will help your organization achieve specific, strategic desired outcomes
This means planning a content mix that, depending upon the organization, may include editorial content, information resources, educational content, entertaining content, user-generated content and so on. The content should be planned ahead – like a magazine plans months ahead of a publication date – so that you develop a content input cycle of daily, weekly, monthly and annual content updates. This could range from blog posts (daily) to a high end video production (annual).
Extend the Experience
Depending upon your organization, and its products, service or cause, new media storytelling can be used to “extend the experience” of your organization through your web presence. Is someone in your organization an undisputed “expert” in your field? Then extend the experience of learning from them through articles, blogs or podcasts. There are myriad ways to extend the unique experience of your organization through your own web presence.
One of our own fascinating experiences in “extending the experience” was telling the story about organ donation and transplants, at Gift of a Lifetime. The Transplant Journey web documentary is comprehensive in the way it tells the story of both the organ donor and transplant recipient sides of this story. It’s an experience of human drama that unfolds everyday in hospitals around the country.
Be The Definitive Resource
Like some of the other headings in this post, I plan to delve deeper into this one in a separate post. This is a key concept for creating successful, content -rich web presences.
Becoming a definitive resource means providing the kinds of content that not only inspires, but provides useful, facutal information and context.
An example of this in practice, in the Gift of a Lifetime project, is the addition of an interactive human body to help provide informative context to the story that unfolds in the Transplant Journey. Not only do you have the experience of following the stories, but you can learn how and why organs fail, and why they need to be transplanted.
By adhering to these concepts when planning your web “site” development, whether starting from scratch or re-doing an existing site, you will reward yourself and your clients with a “presence” that will be not only useful, but memorable.