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#6: Think of Your Website as a Watering Hole

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 16, 2009
Websites take a lot of time to maintain. For a consulting practice, how important is that my site be more than just describe my services?

What constitutes an effective website has evolved over time. A decade ago, a website that was, as you described, an electronic brochure, was good enough. A set of static pages with your experience, qualifications, approach to consulting and a list of clients might do the trick. As both technology and website user sophistication increased, the standard for what a good consultant's site looked like also increased. People have come to expect knowledge generators like consultants to provide a fresh set of content. Maybe you aren't expected to provide a steady stream of content like large consulting firms, but your services are expected to evolve along with business and management.

Take some of the biggest news stories or trends in your industry. How would a prospective client know that you are on top of these issues? What new services have you developed that are different from those of your competitors? What content are you providing, for free, that is client-oriented? What mechanisms are you creating that continuously engage clients? Would clients in your industry consider your site one of many substitutable information sources or would they think of it as the equivalent of a "watering hole" to which they would regularly return, expecting useful content relevant to their emerging needs?

Tip: Talk to your current clients about what they need as managers to stay ahead of their competition. Managers generally appreciate content in any of three areas, (1) tips on how to improve some process aspect of their operations, (2) trends in the industry, and (3) your opinion or insights about organizations like theirs. The first is what your consulting service is about, and is best provided as a custom service, although case studies of your prior projects are a great way to get the message across that you can solve their problems. The second and third examples are best provided by a regular blog or newsletter expressing your unique insights into the industry. Whatever you do, keep your site fresh to keep up with the industry.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  knowledge assets  marketing  prospect  website 

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Mary Adams CMC says...
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009
It's easier than ever to build a website using platforms built for blogging (such as WordPress).

Here's what has worked for me: Initially, I committed to myself to post something new on the blog once a week. The posts are on the blog and also populate pages that have the five key themes/subjects that I write about. Over time, I have picked up the pace and post much more frequently now. And I have a website rich in content:

Folks can subscribe to the posts via RSS or email. I also send out an email newsletter that is a digest of the best of that month's posts. It only takes a little time each week and I get a big return on the content.
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