Tag Archives: content management

The first rule of online marketing

Never, ever, ever, never, ever, EVER, I mean EVER “throw something online just so I can say I have a web site.”

EVER.

Your web site is your face to the world. Do you really want just anything up there, just because it’s the thing to have? Even if you haven’t thought it through, or researched your options?

These are things I ponder while still awake after Social Media Camp has ended for another year, and have just spent a couple of hours re-jigging a dear friend’s web presence. It’s something every presenter at the conference left unsaid, because we all thought it didn’t need to be said. But it does – oh indeed it does need to be said: the first rule of online marketing …

It’s better to have no web site at all, than a bad web site.

“Something” is NOT better than nothing.

Truth is, you don’t have “nothing” just because you don’t have a web site. A web site and a social media presence are just tools – many presenters the past two days said that, including closing keynote presenter CC Chapman.

You DO have your professional and personal reputation, built over years (even decades) of hard work and hard-won experience. You DO have a solid network of contacts.

A hastily thrown-up web site that doesn’t reflect your strengths can drag down that reputation within a nanosecond of a prospective client laying eyes on it. A bad web site is a vortex of lost opportunities.

Let’s say your reputation is a highly-tuned Ducati humming along at optimum speed, able to take any corner with grace. You are a rider, but not a mechanic. Something goes wrong with your Ducati’s engine. Do you try and get back on the road with chewing gum, twine and a piece of duct tape you picked up at Canadian Tire? No, you might wreck that expensive gear, costing thousands of dollars and time lost. Your precious moto is worth trusting to a professional who understands what makes that distinctive Ducati hum.

If you have “something, anything” online right now that is not portraying the best of who you are (i.e. has not been edited or polished by someone who knows their way around a content management system) then your best bet is to take it down before any further damage can be done. Then call a professional who can get your reputation back hugging the curves again.

 

 

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Tipped bus

Things I love about content management planning

Tipped bus

Photo Credit: Lap Fung Chan on Flickr

Short version: Plans are necessary. Plans don’t work out. It sucks sometimes. Embrace the suck.

This morning I’m editing copy for the BCcampus corporate web site (that’s where I work, in case you didn’t know). Before I started I referred back to the communications plan and the associated content management plan I wrote last fall. I had to laugh after I almost got sucked in to revising those plans to match current reality.

Things have changed. Our tactics have changed. Our minds have changed. We’ve learned some things about our users. What we set out to do isn’t quite working so we’re doing something different.

What hasn’t changed is our vision for all of our published materials: “Our stakeholders will see our publications and think: ‘This is from BCcampus, therefore I will find something new, exciting and relevant to my work in higher education.'”

That put me in mind of something I saw on Seth Godin’s blog a while back:

There’s nothing wrong with having a plan

Plans are great.

But missions are better. Missions survive when plans fail, and plans almost always fail.

So no, I’m not rewriting the content management plan. Truth be told, it’s working out quite wonderfully for the most part:

  • We have a calendar of topics for posts.
  • We have writers assigned to research and create them.
  • Each person we talk to in the post-secondary system suggest ideas for new posts.
  • Lots of people are reading and finding the information useful.
  • We have tons of work to do to make the site better. That is a good sign that we’re listening and we’re committed to doing something worthwhile.

Just because things are not exactly as we foresaw them four months ago doesn’t mean we’ve failed. It just means we are rolling with the flow, and keeping our focus on the mission. That’s what I love about our content management plan: it’s vitally important that we have it, so that when we have to break it we know why. Being a creative worker in a knowledge economy means cultivating a high tolerance for ambiguity. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

If you’re interested, I’ll be talking more in-depth about my experience with content management on a tight budget at Social Media Camp in Victoria in May.

Addendum: I need to credit and send a big hug to my former boss, now provider of services, Rena Kendall-Craden at KendallWood for teaching me the fun to be had in “embracing the suck.”

 

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