The Beginnings of a Plan

Each day people have a great many articles to read. Whether it is for personal or professional consumption, the sources of information are virtually unlimited. Since there is so much information competing for our eyeballs, it is crucial for content providers to produce that information in a manner which is easy to find, read and digest.

The organization of content

Content is one of the most important resources a company has. When shared online, this content helps define a company’s message. Web sites are fundamentally about sharing information; their goal is to deliver the right message to the right person in the right way. This is of premiere importance. Without careful organization or attention to usability, content becomes irrelevant and without a solid media plan, companies lose their ability to be discovered by a potential client. It would be nice to believe that every company has a carefully thought out plan but a quick tour of internet will reveal otherwise.

Before you begin

The following are important issues that should be defined before venturing online:

  1. The company’s business: e.g. current business model, core competencies, strengths, weaknesses, points of differentiation, unmet needs, etc.
  2. Reason for going online: e.g. how will it better your business, improve your customer’s experience, integrate with your overall strategy, etc.
  3. Your competition: e.g. who are the existing and potential competitors, does a competitor currently provide the internet experience you seek, what are they doing to provide increased awareness and loyalty, etc.
  4. Business goals: e.g. short, mid and long term, barriers to reaching these goals, growth and exit strategies, etc.
  5. Marketing goals: e.g. what market do you need to fulfill, existing and potential partners, previous brand awareness efforts such as advertising, direct marketing, banner advertising, internal and external marketing plan for the site, etc.
  6. Your audience: e.g. who is your core audience broken into demographics, psychographics (opinions and attitudes, etc.), geographics and behaviors, key messages to be delivered to each segment, what information would you like from them, etc.
  7. Site content: e.g. does it already exist, what is the tone, what are the colours, sounds and typography of the brand, is there collateral material, an internal style guide, etc.
  8. People resources: e.g. who will be responsible for the production and maintenance of the site, will there be a need for outsourcing, etc.
  9. Engineering and technology: e.g. is this requirement internal or external, what are the foreseeable security issues, are there statistics that need to be collected, hardware and software purchases, amount of bandwidth, etc.

Of course this is a basic list and there are a number of questions under each point. Nevertheless, this is a good start for most companies to consider and at the very least, should help a company deliver a consistent message to its employees and vendors, from planning stage to launch.