Is Your Company Ready for Web 2.0?

Can you really master Web 2.0 if you haven’t gotten the fundamentals of Web 1.0? Here are 6 steps picked up at the Web 2.0 Expo this week in NYC that will help bring your brand up to par before Web 3.0 approaches.

I’m at O’Reily’s Web 2.0 Expo this week in NYC and there are a lot of ideas being tossed around in the industry. Web 2.0 as a keyword is almost old news. The idea that we’ve brought desktop applications onto the web was the foundation for Web 2.0.

Web 3.0 is upon us with the evolving of online applications and the popularity of social media.

The question facing the publishing industry is this: have we even mastered 1.0? Many publishers are still using static websites, loading all of their content behind membership websites, and trying to bring their brand online the same way they’re used to working in print.

This just isn’t how the web is evolving. If you think that your magazine or newsletter content is better than what’s already on the web, then you’re wrong. There are blogs and social networks that are making more money than you in the online space by offering free content.

This is a huge problem! After all, who has more content than publishers? Publishers have decades of content sitting on shelves and entire staffs dedicated to writing new content.

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

Here are 6 steps I’ve picked up at the Web 2.0 Expo in NYC that will help bring your brand into 1.0, maybe even 2.0 before Web 3.0 approaches:

1. Unleash your content: Your website is not an online magazine, it is an Internet hub. It should offer your users more than what they can get in print. If you’re only offering them what they already have, then there is no benefit to visiting your website. Publishing web-only content gives you that extra hook that will keep users coming back.

2. Take advantage of print: Unlike blogs and social networks, you have extra platforms to spread the word on. At the end of your articles, you should be driving traffic back to your website with polls about the article, more pictures, and extra information. Take out ads in your magazine or newsletter that tell your readers that they can get more by visiting your website.

3. Establish your true credibility: Your print publication, by definition, has more credibility than any online blog. TMZ.com should not be getting more traffic than US Magazine or OK! Magazine (according to Compete). People.com has taken incredible efforts to sustain an up-to-date and blog-reader friendly content schedule that is web-only content. In the last year, their traffic has skyrocketed 187% percent and they now get more than 15 million visitors per month, as compared to popular celebrity blogs TMZ (4M) and Perez Hilton (1.5M).

4. SEO is no longer an option: To talk about People again, they have 12,246 keywords that are driving traffic to People.com (according to Compete). That’s 4x the amount either TMZ or Perez Hilton have. Do you see the correlation? They’ve done this by building tag pages for celebrity names and using these tags/keywords in every article. This is applicable for every type of website. Define your keyword universe and don’t ignore it. Choose at least one keyword for every article you write and use it in the title, tags, meta description, and throughout your article content.

5. Listen to your customers: This is not just a Web 2.0 concept and it’s silly to think so. Every time I come to a new media conference, every speaker says the same thing about having control of your brand. What do they say? That you don’t have control at all. People on the web have control of your brand. They can choose to complain about it in blogs, forums and other public outlets, or they can choose to evangelize about it in those same places. The only way to gain back this supposed control is to engage your audience. When someone blogs about your product, follow up with them. When someone posts a thread in a forum about a bad experience they had with you, follow up with them. Follow up and follow up some more to turn negative feedback into positive feedback. On the same note, follow up with your brand evangelists too.

6. Create a community around your product: Implement user-generated product reviews on your website (ie. FineWoodworking.com), ask users to vote on your magazine covers and article content (ie. MotherEarthNews.com), invite readers to test out your recipes before you publish them (ie. America’s Test Kitchen). This is still 1.0 because most of this can be done through your existing email newsletter. Mother Earth News and America’s Test Kitchen both engage their community with the methods above all through email.

Most of all, be prepared for change. It’s a scary word, but if you want to succeed online, it’s not even an option. Many publishing companies are falling through the cracks, some are closing the books and calling it a loss.

If you’re prepared to fight, we’d love to see you at the Mequoda Summit . We’re bringing you dozens of case studies, along with tried and true strategies, that will bring your company into the next phase of online publishing.

You’ll leave the conference with a new zest for success and will learn how to build, organize and maximize your online publishing business in every area of design, content management, staffing, metrics, SEO and more. This really is a must-attend event. See you there?

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.

More notes and quotes from the Web 2.0 Expo (and still more to be added so stay tuned):

A (Mostly) Free SEO Toolbox

7 Ways to Get Ranked in Google

Web 2.0 Supply & Demand Metrics

Is Web 2.0 Worth It?

Customer Service is the New Marketing

Why is SEO Important?

7 Reasons Why Search Engines Are Your Friends

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