To Those Who Abandon Their Own Storefronts

My 7th Grade English Teacher : If you want to understand something, teach it. If you want to know something, write about it.

They asked me to write a column; a series of articles to show how storytelling could help companies explain their products and services to customers. I thought, I’m just simply going to “re-tell” everyone what they already know. What’s so profound about explaining information about your product, and getting it out there for people to see? What I found instead, was how so many companies get it wrong. Poorly written websites, which never get to the meat of what consumers want to know: How does your product work, how much will it save me, why is yours better and how will yours change my life?

They missed it time after time after time. It was truly frustrating to see that they had dropped a grand on the design of their website, and failed to fill it with content… kind of like being all dolled up and no place to go.
Worse – were blogs that haven’t been updated for at least 6 months. HELLO! Is anyone home? Are you still in business? You see, websites, are like the old fashioned store front. If they don’t see anyone in the window, even if you have an open sign, people are going to think you’re out to lunch…
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It all seemed so obvious to me. Such a simple way to fix things. Just start writing.
Then, I found an even worse phenomenon. Businesses who think Facebook serves as their home page! Why not? They have a few fans, their fans are on Facebook all the time – let’s just post there, and ABANDON OUR OWN WEBSITES!
I was horrified. But it’s a pretty common practice nowadays. I’ve got news for you folks… You don’t’ own Facebook. You don’t own those fans (FB won’t even give you their email addresses) and you don’t control when, or even IF your fans see your updates. Facebook can pull the rug out from under you at any moment. I think it’s a moot point to bring up the fact that Facebook only appeals to one small segment of your demographic… but why beat a dead horse?
But these businesses DO OWN WEBSITES. And they have invested in them. So wouldn’t a better strategy be to post to your blog, bring it back to life, and then post an update about that to FB? And then, Pinterest, and Instagram, and so on and so on? Let your fancy website have some content that people can actually learn about your product?

So, I started writing about this… again and again and again. Trying to explain what appears to be the obvious. But the best part, is being called in to help. People call me up and ask me to come in and help them figure this out. I’m like the specialist. But, even they’re not reading the stuff… or maybe it’s like a bedtime story, and they want to hear it over and over and over again… So I tell them once again… publish stories on your own website… show them what makes you special.

In a word, I’m very busy these days… and I do enjoy this.

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