Like many business owners and executives, my friend Mike doesn’t understand social media. He also doesn’t understand the power of the web much more than to say the web is powerful. “I should have a website,” he thought a few years back. He didn’t want to ask for help or spend any money on it and got what he paid for. A few months later, he asked me to help him put up something that, “looked better than what I’ve got.”

Cardinal Chiropractic Newsletter Thumb - March 2007I responded by telling him he’d be much better off if he tried to use the web, not just put a picture of his business on it. “Why don’t I at least put up PDFs of your patient forms for people to download?” I offered. (He’s a chiropractor.) “At least you can then say you USE the Internet for something.”

You would have thought I revolutionized chiropractic medicine. He’s had people compliment him for not making them sit around filling out paperwork for hours since they printed the forms out at home.

(I know. I should have charged him thousands of dollars for that. I’m too nice. My website help is one of those legacy favors for a friend I’ve can’t shake … not that I want to, Mike.)

His old website had a mission statement-type placeholder on the front page with listings of both his hours and his location. The only other front page content was links to PDFs of his patient forms. He had an “Ask the Doctor” contact form, an “About Us” page and a newsletter page where you could download the PDFs of his monthly newsletter.

Due the recent sale of one of his two practices, the site needed some revising so Mike called me and asked if I could tweak it a bit. “Sure,” I said, “But only if you’ll let me do something that will improve its use.” He agreed, even if he didn’t understand my explanation of what I wanted to do. What I did can serve as a simple step for businesses, small and large, to toe the waters of social media without having to invest lots of resources or even change the way they currently operate.

What’s The Big Idea?

Well it isn’t big really. It’s not even all that innovative. But it’s simple and not enough business owners out there realize how powerful it can be. Mike has long sent a monthly newsletter to his patients. It’s nothing flashy, but he or one of his medical assistants puts together four or five little stories to paste into a template, print, fold, stamp and send each month. Some people might see this as a low investment return marketing or customer relations tactic. I see it as something different: content.

Mike has content. Those four or five stories a month can be copied and pasted into a web page just as easily as they can a newsletter template in Microsoft Publisher. So, I rebuilt Mike’s website using WordPress, picked a theme that kept his red and black color scheme (This is Louisville, remember?) and my friend’s website is now dynamic, content-rich and easy to update.

(Yes, I’m on him about forwarding on the last few months newsletters. The site is behind, but it’s built.)

He can send the newsletter the same way he always has, but then take each story and publish it as a new item on the site each week through the month. With 4-5 stories, he’ll have a weekly website update that will alert search engines to re-crawl, ping other directories and improve your current efforts (read: lack thereof) in search engine optimization and marketing. Or he could continue to push the cover story as monthly content with a link to the full PDF. Yes, the updates (and benefits) are less, but with managed and now syndicated (I love RSS!) content, his website will be more used and useful.

Of course, I’m not going to explain to Mike that he now has a blog. A) That will scare him a bit and B) WordPress doesn’t make it a blog. His site is still just a chiropractor’s website. It uses a popular blogging engine to manage its content, but the updates are still his monthly newsletter and little more than that.

Does your business have a newsletter? Do you have a dynamic and content-rich website with RSS syndication and continual search engine notification of fresh content?

Well, you could.

Other Posts You’ll Find Interesting:

  1. Creating Content For Your Website
  2. Four Easy Ways To Create Innovative Content With Interactivity
  3. Over Half Of B2B Marketers Don’t Embrace Corporate Blogging
  4. Syndication Secrets: Are You Interested?
  5. Newsletter No-Nos

IMAGE: Mike’s newsletter cover from March of last year.

[tags]company newsletter, newsletter, newsletters, website content, content generation, web content, content syndication, website design[/tags]

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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