Just in the last 2 weeks, I’ve been asked to create or install several new web platforms for my clients – new microsites, new forums, new blogs, new slideshows, videos… even database search engines! However, the trouble with these requests are that most of them don’t have a content strategy to start off with.
You see, web platforms like these are just… platforms. Platforms are useless without content. Having more blogs and forums for your web visitors to collaborate and connect and discuss is useful only when you HAVE sufficient visitors in the first place. Slideshows and videos are useful only when you have something to say, an experience to relate, or a story to tell. Content is and will always be king.
Follow the WHY -> WHO -> WHAT -> HOW method in your web assets creation strategy.
First and most importantly, WHY do you want to create a new web asset in the first place? Examine this. Will this really bring more profits to your company bottom line… or are you doing this because “XYZ company has it?”
You need to know WHO you are targeting. As they always say, targeting everyone is equivalent to targeting no one. Go niche. Identify the “ideal visitor”. Describe him with as much detail as possible. What does he do? Where does he live? When does he surf the net and end up on your site?
Now that you have identified the WHO, you will decide WHAT kind of content appeals to him. Does he prefer videos, or text? How-to guides, or conceptual articles? Does he like to interact with others, or is he more of reader? What content can you present to him so he will take action?
The HOW phase is only where the web platforms come in. If there is minimal need for interaction between visitors, don’t use a forum. If you want feedback and comments, use a blog. And if you just need a plain old information page with an enquiry form that emails you, a simple 3 page website can do the job faster, without fuzzing over plugins that don’t work or pulling your hair out over incompatibility issues.
… plus it’ll cost you cheaper.
Remember, technology is a tool. It is a means to an end. Listen and follow Stephen Covey’s principles – Begin with the end in mind.
Know your WHYs, WHOs and WHATs… and the HOWs becomes much easier for you to implement.