Q: We need to develop our existing web site as it is really terrible! I have been tasked to do this by the end of February. I'm new to the company and have also been tasked to develop a multi-media brochure for the web site and for handing out on CD's at events and for using in presentations.
Our current web site is designed badly and has no flow. It is visually great in some places but looks like it was thrown together with no clear objective. There is no interaction. To be honest it looks like a designer with good Photoshop skills has tried his hand at coding a web site.
The corporate image for the company has been done but we wanted to do something more with multi-media. Not to go silly but our new brochure is going out on 100% recycled paper and a CD. On the CD we wanted to put a lot more information and have been things about a film / media experience.
I'd welcome guidelines or pointers around this (Hope you get the idea)
Marketing & IT Director
A: Having looked at the video and multimedia elements, in this third part of your marketing package we'll look at the website requirement
Remember our web aims from part 1 of this Q&A
We decided you could develop your website as:
> An industry hub, the knowledge centre for your industry, the go-to place.
> A focus for public engagement in the UK towns and cities where your company is actively involved in projects.
> A useful platform where real community and environmental issues can be openly seen and frankly discussed
In practical terms this translates as designing your site as:
> A major interaction centre, using web forums as a soapbox/discussion/nexus between the public, pressure groups, planners and anyone with an interest in a dialogue.
> A repository of information for the industry, demonstrating your company's knowledge, experience and leadership
> A local project information point, and support tool
If you take this approach you'll be well on the way to becoming the go-to place for your section of the construction industry.
Promoting Content Development
Content is king. A marketing website that takes itself seriously can never have enough web pages.
Yet many companies have trouble developing and sustaining content for their web sites. Once the initial rush is over they simply run out of ideas.
Nonetheless endless fresh content is vital if visitors are to return, and high Google rankings obtained.
Initially, four content areas are available:
> Case Studies
> Audio interviews with experts
> Existing brochure copy
This Q&A is an example of regularly developed web content
Forums are self generating. So long as forums are publicised in communities, and replies are always given so no post is left unattended, then the forums will grow and grow.
And as they grow, your company reputation will increase, as will their Google standing.
However this can take a year. It is longer term, but worth it in the end as the resulting high rankings and reputation cannot be bought any other way.
The secret of forums is not have too many at first. Have only as many as necessary and let them become full. Then split them like garden bulbs.
Where case studies exist they can immediately be co-opted as web copy, providing a valuable library source from day 1, helping to establish the credibility and importance of the site.
Occasionally a "secret or two" gets leaked this way, but the overall credibility gained from Thought Leadership is usually worth the trade.
And thought leadership plays well in London.
While it is difficult or impossible to get experts (company directors, managers, VIPs and others) to write web pages, it is possible to audio interview them on topics of interest and get an opinion.
These opinions are then written up by an audio typist, and converted into web page copy.
At a stroke, the shortage of web page copy is overcome.
(Perhaps some of these pages could be themed as a Wiki, involving others on a larger knowledge project?)
Between the forums, case studies and expert opinions, a steady regular source of content can be found, and with it, the assurance that the site will grow to dominate the industry online.
Everywhere you work, whether in London and Home Counties, or West Midlands, the North or Scotland, is a source of valuable interview material. See where we've worked. Get the idea?
Existing Brochure Copy
This is the copy that will form the backbone of the site on Day One.
For example the Group brochure is full of information, news and articles that will readily transfer to the web.
For a full-on marketing website there's a lot more involved, but nonetheless the pointers given here will make a big positive contribution towards developing your site as the hub of the industry, and an essential component of your marketing package.
© Studio Rossiter