We’ve* recently had several very small organisations request proposals for content-heavy and multi-media rich online solutions. When I say small, we’re talking 2 to 3 people teams who are already stretched in getting their core admin and management tasks done. There seems to be the assumption that an amazing website that features video, audio, podcasts, blogs, news, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networking buttons, (yes, it’s a long list, and they’re asking for all of it) will somehow make things easier. Who’s going to produce, moderate, manage and maintain all that content?
Granted, multi-media enhanced websites can be amazing, and well-placed social-sharing buttons can be an absolute boon but, whilst we certainly do want to win the work, even in pitching for it, my alarm bells are ringing. It’s not to say that a small organisation can’t have a happy marriage with a big-content website. I do know of a project (with podcasts, downloads, videos, Twitter and a load of copy content) that manages really well with a team of just 2, and sometimes 4, (obviously dedicated) staff. I suppose some of my job, as a content strategist, is making sure that the chemistry is there to make the ‘marriage’ work and being really honest if it’s not.
For a recent pitch, I drafted the following section, specifically to address the multi-media content dilemma, and gave it the title, “Excellent content makes for an excellent website”. Whilst this section might not stay quite as it’s written for the proposal and whilst it will probably be extended upon, I thought it might be interesting to share.
I do wonder, how y’all out there are pitching for these ‘small-company-wants-big-media’ jobs? We can’t be the only ones finding them.
I sure think it can’t be a case of promising the world then either back-peddling during production or building something which (fingers crossed) the poor things will be able to maintain?
So here’s the section:
Excellent content makes for an excellent website
Digital technology advances and content hosting/sharing websites such as Vimeo, YouTube, iTunes, Libsyn (the list goes on) are providing increasing opportunities for the relatively easy and cost-effective presentation of multi-media content. To take advantage of the tendency for online users to gather around and spread word about these websites, more and more organisations are looking to present their core offerings in combination with these forms.
At the same time, web users are growing increasingly used to engaging with a broad content offering, whether it be audio, video, supporting documents, or the ability to instantly share what they’ve found through social networking sites.
If successfully done, multi-media sites can encourage users back and, in doing so, increase the possibility of impulse purchasing. However, when the core offering of an organisation is not audio and visual media production, development of a multi-media website must be carefully considered.
It is here that a content strategy is enormously valuable in making sure that the content fulfils the business objectives of the organisation and speaks to its audience. It is also of primary importance that content maintenance needs of the website matches the available resources and skills of the organisation: The most incredible multi-media site can fall flat if it’s content is not professionally produced (depending on the organisations context and brand) and regularly updated, shared, or commented on.
… It looks a little spare sitting out here but works quite well in the context of a proposal. I expect that, judging by the number of organisations that want to get in on the multi-media game, I might be pulling this one out a fair bit. It’s a piece to be perfected. Comments welcome.
* The royal ‘we’ being Exploded View and I. I regularly team up with them on projects.