What is my Web site, and who is it for?!

(Jeff Herrity:) My previous post mentioned that I have been in the ‘marketing and communication strategy’ area for over 15 years and I have worked with MANY clients during that time. John is the first Writer that I am working with and it’s very much a learning process for me as well as him.  I just bring a different perspective. I won’t just think about what shelf John and his books will be on in the bookstore (or Kindle).

shapingBut, on that note, I’m no longer in the industry. I’m in art school to become a teacher and sculptor. John writes books and spends years working on them while I make things out of mud that never take more than a month, and if it breaks in the process or I don’t like it, I can give it away to someone that WILL like it and put it on a shelf or something. I also don’t much care about grammar or run-on sentences. For a writer, the written word is EVERYTHING and they will rarely give you something they do not like or that isn’t FULLY FINISHED. Fin. The End. Capital ‘T’ Capital ‘E’.

“Here’s this paragraph I worked on, hope you like it.” Is NOT something you will ever hear a writer say. Ever. So, how can a writer ever be satisfied with a site that represents something they have spent so much time on that may never be ‘complete’?

Which brings me to something that I have been thinking about for many weeks and gets back to the whole ‘web’ presence and marketing that writers are supposed to do for their unpublished works in order to get an agent, and publisher, and devoted following. Does this make sense?? Is a web site necessary?

John and many other unpublished authors struggle with this concept every day. What does a web site for a writer look like? As you are reading Talking the Walk, notice that the easiest solution to get to know a writer is a blog. Writers write. Their blog entries are probably more polished than you would think. (Trust me, John almost had a nervous breakdown when I told him he had to write something EVERY day.)

What kind of site is necessary?

My answer is that there are really two solutions. The word and the visual. The blog site represents the word while the ‘branded’ site represents the visual – the shiny box.

Organizations I have worked with in the past always struggle with something similar – the main Organization site and smaller sites that represent program areas. ALWAYS the main Organization site is the entry point with links to pages or sections within that represent different areas that may have a different look and feel, appealing to different audiences. The writer has to decide the entry point for the specific audience. Readers and Agents, etc.

I believe it is OK for a writer to have different sites for different audiences. One audience may convert into another and that process should be seamless. For John, we have been working on this blog and will be tweaking its look and feel over the next month or so as we get more hits and referrals and content, etc. It’s truly a living ‘document’ for people that already know him and want to participate in this adventure.

BUT, we are also working on his main branded site which is more for people that do not know him and who we want to show a full picture of who John is and what he has done. The main site will be his personalized URL when it is up and running, and will be the main URL listed on any communication. Keep in mind that it links to the blog which will evolve over time and have a similar look, but still be standalone.

There will always be some overlap in content, and that is fine. Consider the overlap as the bridge between a stranger and a friend.

Later, I’ll discuss what content you need on each site and why….

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Filed under Getting Published, Marketing You and Your Work

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