Short-term Objectives

ML Jan 29, 2006

OK, I’m effectively done the first of the two spider spotting projects, and I think I’m going to not do the second one today. The first project has given me the structure for stepping through all my log files and extracting what I need for the second project, so there is no urgency. No data is being lost.

Where there is urgency is getting the HitTail site a little more ready for prime time. Not that it will be a compete app, or even make a lot of sense to people right away. But it can no longer look like a work in progress. Thanks to the popularized “clean” Google main homepage look, it’s quite easy to make a site look finished when it’s not even close.

That’s what I’m going to do this weekend. But I need to guide the precious fleeting focus time left with a plan. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule principle, because it’s really got to be applied here. What are some of your objectives?

Create the template files from the CMS system, so you can wrap any of your ASP files in the rest of the site’s look. I do something like use Server Side Includes (SSI), but I don’t physically break the master templates into header and footer files. I find it more powerful to keep template files in one piece, and just mark them up with content begin and end tags.

Put the first babystep tutorial onto the HitTail site. You went through all this effort to produce the first one. So, you need to plug it in. Also, add the spider spotter application and cross-link it with the tutorial. I should also think about cross-linking with blog posts. I have sort of a structure going here:

– Thought-work
– Baby-step Tutorial
– The Application

Too many words. Can I abbreviate it?

– Thoughts
– Baby-steps
– The App

They each have a strong, distinct identity. That’s good. I don’t think this is something that will really last once HitTail starts to go mainstream, because it’s a little two tech-geeky. I’m not recommending with HitTail that the average marketing person go through these tutorials. But whenever a Marketing person wants to give their group a competitive advantage, I would like to provide him/her with a convenient link to forward to their Tech.

OK, another objective of HitTail is actually to find prospective clients for Connors Communications. As the world is getting more technical, many public relations firms are getting left in the dust. They’ve been able to catch onto blogging in great part, because blogging software is just so simple. But that’s not enough. You need to know how to give your clients cutting-edge advice regarding their corporate blogging strategies. Now consider, that this site started getting spider visits within days of being created, and a search engine submit never even occurred. Why? Because I planted the blog on the same domain as the main site, transferring Google juice to the “main” corporate site. And the blog search hits are still valuable from a sales standpoint, because the blog is wrapped in the main site’s navigation. You are always presented with the company’s encapsulated message (logo, tagline, etc.), and are one click away from the main homepage.

This is not always the direction you want to go, but how many PR firms can speak to these issues with authority? What’s more important, search engine optimization or having a corporate blog? What is the relationship between the two? Should the blog be on the main corporate site, or its own separate domain and entity? How can search optimization be done without risking future banning? What can we do if we’ve committed to a particular Web technology infrastructure that prevents us from performing search optimization?

So, that secondary objective is generating new prospective client opportunity for Connors, and my goal for today is to have an easily-applied template look, and to activate the sales lead acquisition and management system. Such a system worked like gangbusters for me in the past, because it was a unique and differentiated product. But now, I’m in the PR industry. So, HitTail will be Connors’ unique and differentiated product that you have to sign up to get. But it won’t be done in a week, so I will need some simple explanation of what HitTail is—enough to entice volunteering contact info. And there should be two different ways to capture contact data:

1. Email-only, which is just enough to do some sort of follow-up.
2. Full contact info, necessary for more thorough follow-up.

I want to make a very strong value proposition and teaser to get people to sign up. But I also want to start putting the right sort of content here (and on the Connors site) to draw in promising prospective clients. For a little bit of time, the HitTail site is going to be a little bit of a playground. I want a way to mention all the various industries who could benefit by using HitTail. I also need to talk about a lot of marketing principles and how they apply in the evolving online landscape.

I should really nail down what the main navigational elements are, because that’s going to inform, guide and influence the rest of the development of the site. It also will have an implied version of the site’s value proposition.

– SEO Best Practices

OK, I’m saying that HitTail is a better way. So, why not…

– SEO Good Practices
– SEO Best Practices

Is it an SEO site? Yes, for now. But it will also be a public relations site. And I want to keep the message VERY simple.

– Why Sign Up?
– SEO Best Practices
– PR
– Blog

Then, there are the items beneath the surface of the iceberg (more on that philosophy later). Those include…

– Emerging markets, industries and technologies
– The Baby-step tutorials
– Marketing principles, traditional and new
– Geek issues, like watching spider activities

So, the to-do list reads like this…

1. Adjust the navigational links.
2. Create the template pages.
3. Put place-holder pages in for each link.
4. Turn the main homepage into an email address collector.
5. Make the email response page offer to start sales lead process.

Issues to keep in mind
– I’m going to want to plug in the first babystep tutorial.
– I want the main homepage to feature the latest thing: tutorial, blog post, etc.
– I need to make it compatible with lead management on the Connors side.

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