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.
Great post Kian Ann! Often the most fundamental questions are not asked at the outset of design. The who, what, where, why and how approach is a great way to ensure that you are actually going to get what you want out of your project. Less is more, only when you capture the “less” you need!
Simple post but gives insight. I agree with most of the parts except the last – Begin with the end in mind.
because most of the time we are looking at developing an idea and how to improve on it. It is not necessary to think of ending an idea, the concept and direction is more important.
Web Assets also depreciate in value. The problem is that content ages, and alot of maintenance is needed.
User generated content was hot where users generated the content themselves, however everyone is vying for that same content.
The main asset is a thriving community. Unfortunately, this is a very fluid asset with eyeballs moving with the wind. Community management is a skill.
Hey Harro! How have you been? Long time no catch up.
Its so true what you say about “eyeballs moving with the wind”. Goodness knows how long the Facebook and Twitter heat will last, and what the next “big thing” would be.
I feel though, that some content has a longer shelf life then others – remember reading some articles about the need to have both “newsy” content and “timeless” articles.