" IO ~ input output .. comms .. the interface between the internal and the external "

The aim of this article is to introduce ideas and a framework for promoting a business on the internet.

- Step One -

Aligning your internal resources with your external visibility, beyond looking pretty

Now that you have an impressive looking website, what's next? A shopfront, and somehow communicating your offers to your clients perhaps. Or maybe getting your clients do your selling for you.

So, what to do? A great place to start is to have a systematic look around and see how you compare to others. Countless businesses thrive online, but many more drop the ball all over the field. If you look at any considerable corporate entity, they have a lot of bases covered. To name a few, maintaining a website, youtube, facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram, pintrest, EDM, print, TV, experiential, etc. A good mix of any of these requires a coordinated and intentional strategy with scheduling, people resources, budgets, targets and measurable outcomes. Like with any good investment the main game of having insight is to know if something is working and do more of it, and know if something is not working and do less of it -- these produce cumulative benefits that add up over time.

A good checklist should give you a better insight about your digital presence and capabilities. There are no right or wrong answers to what makes an ultimate list, but rather everyone makes their own respective decisions about what mix works best for them. What is carried forward is like a radar time series that should be monitored to avoid getting blindsided by your contemporaries or competitors, and to spot opportunities such as low hanging fruit that can leverage significant favourable outcomes. Ideally your resulting reports should have snapshots corresponding to financial periods (quarterly or monthly) so you end up with a dataset that enables you to compare apples to apples, and show you how you're going.

Said that, make no mistake about pure benefits because all of these activities come at a cost -- they consumes time and a portion of your limited resources. It would be wise to come in with realistic expectations.

Here is what to look at.

Your segmented Digital content and activity health-check:

  • content: comprehensive site, brochure site (scrolling one pager, landing page / micro site / fb), blog, ecommerce, community (FAQ, forum, wiki)
  • url: domain, campaign urls, shorteners, qr codes
  • reporting: google analytics for every engagement
  • resource links: footer, contact, social glyphs, sitemap
  • integrate: web properties crosslinks, tested (even for all embedded content, that may look fine on internal workstations), user experience (eg number of clicks from A to B), analog behaviour (eg impression timing and placement, site speed, assets developed and installed preemptively)
  • cross platform: tested for ios/android on phones, tablets, TVs; menus, mouse overs, layout weighing
  • user feedback: via internal testers, external, anecdotal bad experiences where users leave frustrated
  • SEO audit of web presence and organic material, maps, reviews, images
  • buy adwords, test and scan for random user experiences and externals/brands/etc
  • monitor search results, be like a user, try to find your own stuff like you don't know where it is
  • create searchable terms (beware of generic terms), test all terms for pre existing associations
  • weekly/monthly/quarterly reporting
  • use a robust mail list service provider like mailchimp
  • monthly / weekly / daily EDMs (choose a schedule, monitor user feedback and engagement), design (short / medium / not too long)
  • analytics, include 1px website elements and campaign links
Social / Communities
  • go where the people are, segment your netizen basins
  • allow them to follow you, provide nominal content and branding, don't break the goodwill with spam
  • scheduled content: facebook, instagram, twitter, tumbler, pintrest, linkedin, youtube, blog, community, etc
  • monitor/engage community comments timely (immediately or no later than same business day turnaround)
  • monitor what's trending, insert into trending campaigns
  • analog social (consider and monitor endorsements, reviews, tv, paper)
  • new product clips, regular entity updates
  • design for fast and efficient video production
  • mic up, edit for minimum time
  • record and post all external engagement, edit for weighted representation
  • video or it didn't happen
  • report views changes and comments (youtube is a social)
  • monitor and manage spam, yours and that of others
  • log and manage unintended consequences for teaching moments
  • build a learning log
  • test all why-not ideas
  • stunt to buzz
  • engage artists (different from industry creatives)
  • test markets
  • insert campaign linkage
  • buy presence
  • write and submit editorials to print reader communities
  • insert campaign linkage
Media Release
  • have canned material for copy, print and AV
  • this is so that you don't have to scramble when you are asked for comment
  • online media friendly assets
Local Presence
  • high availability experience samples (on the street, on the beach, lead generating channels, etc)
  • be visible in the CBD, permanent or temporary population basins (festivals), slow traffic (malls)
  • consider barriers (shipping costs, price consistency across channels)
  • consider non cannibalising product lines, consistency and fairness
Fandom Engagement
  • exceed expectations
  • merchandise
  • free stuff / free digital stuff
  • commissioned art
  • competitions (different for different demography)
  • consider lead generating demographics and goodwill
  • show your community giving portfolio, list sponsored causes and events
  • list management/advisers showing common values
  • celebrity endorsements via common values
  • build management team's external status via giving guest talks (timely idea talking points)
  • target experts (profession classes, societies, clubs)
  • design for scalability, aim for rapid growth, manage runout consequences
  • design for modularity, for handover, for rapid module shutdown when needed
  • design all activities to be measurable by analytics
  • brand concept for target demographics, and emergent demographics (target gatekeepers)
  • modular campaign components, with cookie cutter for iterative deployments
  • temporal scripted story episodes (this is a big one, for entity narrative, seasons/episodes)
  • build celebrity / personality of internal characters into the script
  • build story via personalities like a tv show near reality, not fake but dramatized/comedic
  • integrate to leverage network and time presence (this is a weird one, big picture)
  • pipeline to develop, test and debug all activity before release
  • monitor diffusion speed (organic to network), know where you are (analytics intelligence)
  • partner with non competing entities for cross promotion campaigns (micro spin-offs, appearances)
  • design a lifecycle, decide which shipwreck graveyard the campaign goes to and how the record will impact you, and what is to be learned and what DNA to transfer to the next iteration
  • talent wants to get in and get out, steal willing talent, understand the value of intangibles and deferred tangibles
  • recruit non obvious interested talent via test projects
  • shed talent via temporary projects
  • curate internal culture, collective mind agents and brand personalities (this is a hard one, no crystal ball so consider the founders intentions or curated company self perception, benefits and consequences are cumulative and hard to change later)

- Step Two -

" Ok. So now that we know where we stand. Where do we go from here? "

 continue ...