What’s the Point of Having a Website?
As our family traveled down an Irish country road this summer, I hankered for some traditional music. So, I flipped on the car radio, and my heart almost leapt for joy through the windshield, as the airwaves popped with talk about website marketing and personal branding.
“What’s the point of having your own website?” asked interviewer Richard Curran.
In an insightful interview (The Branded Individual), branding experts Jenny Taaffee of iZest, and UCD lecturer John Fanning explain with crystal clarity why well-known individuals need websites, even if they already have a huge social media following. Their answers (hint: to serve your business goals) hit pay dirt for the non-famous too.
“I think there’s a couple of things that are important for people now – high profile people who have been very reliant on social media over the last number of years,” says Taaffee. “Control is one of them. If you’re relying on your profile being dictated by Facebook or Twitter, and now Snapchat… you lose a little bit of control…. Those mediums control you in a lot of cases. What we’re saying to high profile people is, maybe you need to take a little bit of control back, yourselves. You need to be thinking about what you want to be communicating, and it’s very much with a long term commercial and a very strong business perspective.”
Using a Website’s Biggest Business Asset — Control
This point bears repeating: Building your own website — which you shape with your brand — puts two golden geese in your backyard:
- Direct power over your message
- Power to pursue your long-term business goals
These two benefits alone may allow you to pursue the personal and financial goals you value most.
But wait, there’s more.
Here’s the deeper question – What does pursuing your long term business perspective look like on your website? Are you selling advertising? Getting paid for endorsements or promotions? Offering products and services? The interviewer, evidently burned by experience, put it this way: What’s the point of having a website, if nothing interesting is going on there?
“What if the content is the most boring inane stuff imaginable?” Curran argues. He pretends to read a mundane celebrity post about going to a restaurant, ordering a steak, complaining it wasn’t hot enough…
“It’s about showing an interesting insight,” Taaffee interjects.
The Website Marketing Mission: Be Interesting
The website’s job is not to just sit there and be ordinary. Fans of celebrities want to know what the high-profile person’s life is really like. Social media can’t do this in depth, Taaffee says, the way a website can.
Consider the website as the playground for being interesting to your audience, so they do business with you.
For the well-known, personal branding rewards those who care about who you are, while promoting certain business goals. This idea of being interesting is key to the rest of us who want a business website to work.
Why do we need to be professional about brand management — that is, the business of being interesting?
Consider branding as the process of knowing what to be interesting about. It means:
- Knowing what you stand for
- Being aware of what excites your fans, prospects and clients (for your audience engagement recipes)
- Choosing what values you want to project
- Aligning yourself with brands you’re comfortable with
- Having very strategic content plans
- Deciding what you want people to think and feel in connection with you
- Guiding people openly toward actions you want them to take
Knowing these things in advance makes leveraging your website easier. It helps you shape your message, offerings, and streamline action to deliver on them.
How to Be Profitably Interesting
The need for personal branding — to manage the attention you can garner professionally — is likely to grow, says Smurfit Business School speaker and author John Fanning. Providing helpful knowledge about yourself is becoming more and more important in today’s “gig economy.”
“If you have a job for life, you don’t have to be constantly portraying who you are, because everybody knows,” says Fanning. “But in the gig economy, where you’re going from one project to another, you need to get famous.”
What excites you and your tribe to talk about? What insights do you and your prospects care to know? What experiences do they actively seek — on the radio or elsewhere? What will you choose to avoid?
Managing your website and content marketing with these insights gives you the power to become interesting profitably.
Your website — which embodies your brand, content strategy, blogging and social media work — allows your purpose, growing focus and effort to bear fruit.
Whether you care about Irish music, web marketing, or something else, your marketing success depends on how good you are at sending signals that thrill those who dance to your tune. When you know what makes listener’s heart skip a beat, you have the key ingredient to take your website from something that’s just sitting there to a hub that’s compelling to your crowd and good for your work.
Make Your Next Move
Make your social feed a little more interesting with a like, plus or tweet!
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