Although they are loathe to admit it, most companies websites are “lost worlds”.
Meaning: They are hardly visited. They are un-loved. They provide little useful information.
Net, net: They are of little or no value to anyone.
How does this happen and what does it have to do with digital PR?
Let’s take the questions in order:
1. It happens because companies get caught up in the aesthetics of their sites and give short shrift to the strategy, or lack of it, that should be their driving force.
Just the other day, I talked to the partners of a five-year old law firm that is struggling in the current economic environment. When I asked them about their sweet spot in terms of expertise, they waxed poetic about their exceptional experience in representing businesses entangled with government agencies. A perfect place to be through all economic cycles, especially in times like these.
And then, seated in their conference room, we reviewed their website together. This window to their world said not a word about their government expertise. Why? Thinking of all the clients they could serve through the broadest possible shotgun approach, they were fearful of being pigeon-holed into a limited practice segment.
End result: they created a plain vanilla, cookie-cutter site that completely omitted their sweet spot and made them appear like a zillion other law firms. Worse yet, like so many other firms and companies in all industries, they actually camouflaged their greatest asset.
2. And now for the PR fallout. As PR professionals, we all recognize the need to hone in on our clients’ unique expertise or whatever comes close to unique. And then we go to the media with the story, the case examples, the Op Ed’s. And if we do our jobs well, the media is intrigued and even before they talk to us, they zip right over to the client’s URL.
Here is where the message we seed the media with and the message on the site, must be in tandem. One and the same. In fact, the site must reinforce and make our media message bullet proof. It must provide:
* A philosophy that relates to the core expertise
* Testimonials demonstrating that the company can deliver on its promise.
* Documents that expand on the key message.
* Ideas on how the company’s expertise can be applied in the real world.
There is a hand and glove, a fusion, a marriage, between a company’s PR and its website that right now is often an awful disconnect.
One that leaves the planet forbidden and the press pitch sucked into a black hole.
Courtesy of Mark Stevens’ blog DIGITAL PR.