Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Forgotten roses: lost content

An effective PR strategy requires leveraging social media to drive visits to richer content: blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. Create great content, and you give a human identity to an otherwise faceless business or organization.

But, the content must be rich and active. And, if you once used Alta Vista for online search, you know that, like early roses, nothing online is forever.

Recently I revisited my list of links to blogs and other websites that carry content I’d created. To be certain the URLs were accurate, I clicked each link. More than a few articles – mostly posts I’d written for company blogs – had been vaporized.

Broken links? Worse. After digging, I discovered the hosting service that managed the blogs had folded. The client company (the one with their name on the website) hadn’t restored its missing content, or explained where it had gone. With the hosting service’s servers inoperative, a large chunk of their blog content – the “real people” stories that gave the organization a human identity – was indefinitely marooned, somewhere in cyberspace.

Is this a tragedy? Blogs and podcasts aren’t the raison-d’ĂȘtre of most websites. But, your Tweets and Facebook posts live on and on, guiding them to the payoff: your content. When followers reach a dead-headed page that doesn’t deliver promised content, their opinion of the company quickly sours. They go elsewhere.

If you’re responsible for shepherding your organization’s web content, safeguarding that content should be a priority. And maintaining relationships with your followers is essential. You owe them some explanation or apology for the broken links. And you should indicate if any steps are underway to restore the missing content.