An open letter based on dialogue with an agency we did some volunteer work for recently…
So! You registered a domain and directed traffic to a WordPress or Wix (wherever) website. Perhaps you’ve even built Facebook pages and are thinking about Twitter.
You’ve established a toe-hold in the process… consider these thoughts as you pursue development of your Web Presence.
If you’re an NGO/NPO — you’ll always need to design from the perspective of Succession Planning. If you use personal tools, it will be clumsy to transition to the next volunteer or director. Generic identities built upon email forwards and list management tools online like MailChimp.com or EventBrite.com are indispensable.
For an NGO / NPO – the identity of the franchise drives development of all of the web properties and this branding needs to be consistent across all aspects of internet tools. NOT those of the leader — their personal style and character evaporate after they leave.
Facebook will require a bit of fitting before implementation and small bit of effort to connect, and then some instruction on publication / use. There are some “agency” best practices operating for NGO/NPO — that helps answer the successor issue. We shouldn’t be using personal page login credentials but be posting as the Page. — I know, confusing.
Learning the fundamentals of page and post attributes and using the media library, the CMS, and other page content / menu processes will require effort.
Content generation and refinement for the Static pages is not urgent, but it’s critical — long run. If your English isn’t excellent, you’ll want to find a good, fast copy editor.
If you’re considering a Twitter feed, same subset of issues as Facebook.
A weekly rhythm of posting should begin just prior to site “Launch”
In all these cases and others, the site needs to reflect your vision.
So, these Items require an investment of time. Put in the hours that will result in a significantly disruptive change for you – something people will notice and be moved to follow. Bear in mind, you’re moving from never operating a web presence to launching a really good one.
So what, in a nutshell, do you intend to accomplish with your site? Begin with that clearly in view, and you’ll move the ball forward.
I know your schedule is cramped. And as site owner, the initiative to push ahead / timeline is yours to manage. A consultant can help!
Launch: At some point you’ll want to consider what kind of a “Launch” you want.
“soft launch” is normal — just go live (toggle out of sandbox mode) and circulate email.
But also, your launch could be optimized into a full-blown media blitz, with count-down clock culminating in cocktail hour and live event push with a tight focus on snagging followers / subscribers in the moment. These can be really fun and generate buzz.
Embed an EventBrite widget sell tickets to fundraise — the app can be used to manage your email contacts list and capture new ones.
A couple of months is a good planning horizon.
By the way, your launch method can be a combination / some measure of both.
Email campaigns – there is a whole range of list management and contact / relationship tools you should begin to incorporate – principally owing to your diligent consideration of successor planning in the NGO/NPO space. Your personal contacts can’t be readily “handed off” — and retain any sense of history. This is an area you should find some time to address. A consultant can help.
Conversely, it’s worth mentioning – by realizing these simple facts – that you haven’t spent a great deal of money, and very few even know you’ve begun. Therefore, if the bubble of work required to satisfactorily accomplish an attractive / professional presence isn’t feasible — you’re not harmed so much if you just let things go.
But you could be harmed if your site is launched and is full of errors (text, for instance – nothing is more off-putting to contributors and sponsors than poor use of English.)
In some cases – consultants are asked to use their experience / awareness of your context and best practices in your space to set things up. Then folks live with it for a few seasons. A consult can be responsive to your needs and will / can continue to do so if you feed content to them, and help iterate improvements so that your vision is reflected.
We strongly suggest you find an intern / volunteer that can assume some or all of the content creation and maintenance aspects. Now is an excellent time to appoint that person into the role. Who within your membership has a son or daughter in HS or fresh out of college?
If for some reason clients can identify a legitimate reason the enterprise tools can’t work, or be extended… we’ll start looking at self-hosted or other combinations of services.
Well, in June Google announced that premium features will be added to basic accounts. These new features go into effect in a few days.
This is the text of the “go live” announcement we received this morning:
As we announced on June 16, the advanced capabilities and admin controls known as Google+ premium features will become standard for our existing business, government, and education customers. This change will take place the week of July 23.
After the change, these controls and capabilities will no longer be called premium features. The premium features setting will also be removed from the Admin console.
If you use Hangouts on Air (HOA), you might’ve noticed that enabling premium features disables HOA. To continue using HOA, just do one of the following:
Before July 23, proactively enable premium features for your domain, then re-enable HOA.
After premium features become the new default, enable HOA. Visit the Google Apps Help Center to learn more about Google+ premium features.
The fees are minimal. $5/mo per account to start. Amazing, right?
Okay but here’s something you should consider – Google is advancing the end-to-end messaging security thing. Right now if you communicate within Google’s servers, your email is secure. Our understanding is that it’s transparent — but message encryption/decryption is already in place. That’s a big thing.
So if your enterprise is hosted at GHS, you’re starting from secure. That’s step one.
Please think about making a small donation to “New Approach Oregon” (use this link or see the widget in the side bar at right.)
We support reforms that are aimed at regulation over criminalization.
We support policies aimed at treatment and recovery over those that drive incarceration.
We simply have to stop damaging families and lives.
Not users ourselves, but as devoted libertarian thinkers (notice the small “L”?) — we want government to tax and regulate — to cease wasting public treasure in the War on Drugs. (Which we feel to be the biggest failed domestic policy — well — ever.)
Decriminalize pot and demilitarize our police.
Please don’t hesitate to ask us why we take this position.
Read with interest an article published on how Social Media has affected collaboration among Software Developer communities.
It’s being called the “Agile Age.”
What’s interesting to me is that it’s been my experience that the methods used by developers and engineers eventually percolate down to the rest of us. For instance, in the 80’s as an engineer myself, I was utterly dependent on BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) for support. And then BBS’s showed up in all sorts of places — Gardening communities, Radio Controlled Model Airplane nuts, every area of interest had one.
And I can see some of this happening again in Social Media– as a consultant, I’m ever more aware that my work depends upon diverse resources, near-instant responses and all of this across a variety of appliances (from desktops to tablets and phones.)
Social Media and Responsive webs are making this all possible.
GoFiberUtah.org is advancing a new form of Information Highway Utility. I’ll call it an IUC for Internet Utility Company.
In this example GoFiberUtah.Org is the precursor agency that is doing the precursor plumbing and politics that will birth a Public / Private partnership, creating an IUC that will extend “Fiber to the Home” – and of course – businesses in their service area.
Visionary, to an extent. This has happened before in different scenarios but this is the first instance that get’s close to a workable, scalable, sustainable implementation.
A fascinating component of the service proposal will be that “Basic” Access will be provided by the IUC to each “Address” in the network for free.
Trust. It’s a huge issue. I posted earlier in this site about an emerging sense that new forms of ID are going to be needed. I’m writing again to encourage others with dialogue I’ve had recently with clients and others trying to get a handle on which direction they need to be drifting in their personal Tech.
First let me reiterate: As the Internet continues to “grow up” I expect many more (millions) corporate professionals will find themselves in private practice. What we’ve done for the past 20 years, while not so important perhaps at the DOW or NASDAQ level — probably remains critical at the small and medium business level. And so we consult from home offices.
In the face of huge obstacles — security and configuration difficulties to start with — but basic configuration and management of an ever-changing herd of appliances — great confusion and huge headaches lurk. How do we stay ahead of the curve.
The answer is simple. Follow the leader. And if it’s not in the Cloud fuggedaboudit.
Google Hosted services has a solution for every enterprise network question you need to answer. Chrome and Android are the OS’s to seriously consider. Apple is great if you want a home base station / mothership computing appliance.
Amazon Web Services has a solution for every hosting and E-commerce issue you might face. Including payments processing.
Banks are easy to select. Throw your finances in with your favorite credit union.
Business Financials? Quickbooks online.
Customer Relationship Management? Salesforce.com
Email and list management? MailChimp.com
The two basic principles you need to adopt for success as you begin “Drinking the Leaders Kool-aid”
Avoid, at all costs, reinventing the wheel.
Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
If you’re holding on to MS Office and Outlook? Perhaps an XP desktop?!! Suck it up. for $350 you can be sitting at the head of the class with all of your stuff online, backed up, available all of the time from anywhere. AND!! It’s free or nearly free to do.
Postponing compensation as results are generated. Is this the infamous “Test drive” or “Try before you buy?” Perhaps.
I’ve been observing a process (organization to remain unnamed) at an affiliation of experts “starting up” their brand. The question of compensation models emerged, and has taken a rather long time to craft into a page they published online.
They call it Value-Based Compensation. I wonder if it’s wise? I’ll admit this could be “disruptive” in their space, but is it really the business model they plan to retain?
We used to call the collaborative pay-upon-success approach — “Process Co-Ownership” — stakeholders, each having an interest. Success based on the performance of the partners attaining “milestones”.
Our discovery? That too much time (value) was hemorrhaged trying to plan and document — then — agree on progress assessments. Relationships dissolved owing to … many factors. As a recourse, we fell back on T&M engagements and ignored opportunities of this kind with great prejudice.
If you try this — avoid the perception of being “too hungry.” It’s downside risk of these kinds of agreements, honestly.
And there are two aspects that you’d be wise to evaluate:
Why is the client willing to engage thus? Are they looking an “agent of blame” (as contrast to an ‘agent of change’) — will it be more convenient for them to fail, than to succeed?
Why am I willing to engage thus? Inking a deal MUST bear some tangible value of some kind and it must manifest immediately…
Call this the “present-value’ of future work, payments differed. It’s a similar concept to the financial computation, except that the value balloon is at the front.
If you’re engaged in co-successful projects, at the point of ink — require permission to:
Add the client to your client lists
Make press releases, announcements with pictures
Obligate client principles to say good things about the engagement — script these in advance — the where’s and when’s.
Be sure that those good things are public…
Get them in written form, publish them as testimonials.
Do all of that UPFRONT.
These are a hedge against lack of attention, and diluted involvement issues — reputations needed be invested.
Create Present Value for your business — And then manage the engagement to cash payments later.
You’ll need to balance events like this with paying gigs. Continue to prefer T&M clients that cover your current bills until the bigger ships can come in.
Sometimes those ships may not, but your PR will remain.
Three very focused concrete suggestions. Some related guidelines.
1.) Research sites and pages that feature content of interest to the network you want to build. It could “Cat blogging” … or a very serious consulting niche.
2.) Mine the posts at those websites, on Facebook, Twitter, G+. Find others that have posted that share your sentiments, interests — they have done so commensurate with people you’d want to have an actual relationship with.
Be very thoughtful and discrete.
Would you meet them in crossing at the Denver Airport?
Notes on Mining contacts.
Do so at a deliberate, intentional — even slow — pace. After you’ve made the rounds in those social channels (takes some weeks to accomplish)
Keep notes (links to sites and pages, etc. — comments about them to your self.)
… start over
Interact, interact, interact. Contribute.
Follow some other threads …
Eventually a few minutes per week is plenty.
3.) If you can’t otherwise connect (#2) — leverage LinkedIn. Search for customers. — here’s an angle …
“Hi, I’m doing a piece / series on (XYZ) for my blog. You came on my radar as a result of (ABC.) I’d like to get your opinions on (MNO) … can I meet you on a Google Hangout for 15 minutes? When’s good for you.”
Don’t forget to actually produce those posts and share them back with credit and kudos to that interviewee. Don’t drop that ball.
It’s not the number of followers you have, but the nature of the relationships. A few active and satisfied contacts in your network will engender the site visits and new relationships you need.
It all hinges on regularly posting and following, commenting — but not obsessively. Strategically, and concretely building wisdom and essentially a searchable knowledge base into your “Web Presence” –with an underpinning of historically interesting chronology.
At the end of the day, success might be resonate something like this notion — even in the midst of the busiest week, your spirit needs the little bit of time you spend following, commenting elsewhere and creatively posting to your blog, prospecting for “interviews” — being that expert resource.
The secret sauce — the element that is in fact “Disruptive” — is near at hand.