Congratulations to Monroe County Water Authority for winning the Government / Community category of the 2013 RBJ Best of the Web competition. Working for the Authority's communications firm Metrix Marketing, we provided user interface design while ITX handled the programming. Our creative team led by Senior Designer Jim Mattiucci enjoyed tackling the website design challenge.
The site is content-rich, notably in the area of customer education. Featured content also includes the "Kids Water Fun" section.
Our thanks go out to John Riley, Metrix Marketing's CEO and Creative Director, for including us on the team. Congratulations!
Well, turns out we didn’t win the prize this year. But it was enjoyable to view many other award-level websites that are aesthetically beautiful and, more importantly, clearly operating as valuable business assets.
During each category’s build-up, it was interesting to hear about the enhancements the finalists have planned for their websites in 2012. The three things I noticed most are:
Introduction of video (or creation of more video)
Addition of a mobile version
Lead management, order processing and other forms of user input
The first two speak to how audiences are using the web. The third speaks to what website owners want to achieve with their web properties. This is exciting to me because it’s a reminder that we’re truly in a new era of web publishing where user needs and organizational expectations for tangible business-relevant return are both paramount.
What are some of the enhancements you have planned for your web presence in 2012 and beyond? Is it a focus on your content strategy and ongoing content creation? Perhaps it's the establishment or formalization of web lead management? Some combination? Something completely different? I’d love read your thoughts.
Well done, Best of the Web finalists in and around Rochester. We have every reason to be proud of the websites, applications and content that represent our corner of the online universe.
Business people who have figured out Twitter’s power know that it’s an amazing tool for intelligence gathering, trend spotting, networking and business development. Its usefulness is easily under-realized and if you think Twitter is mainly for chatting, think again.
Let’s say you need to find an expert on solar energy for an article you’re working on. You can search people’s bios on Twitter using Google. You would construct a search string to look for bios that contain solar energy. Within a few seconds you’d have a list of people from all over the world that have something to do with solar energy. Then, it’s just a matter of following the ones that look promising and reaching out to them via Twitter. Within an hour you could be on the phone with an expert getting the info you need.
In addition, by searching for solar energy trends on Twitter you will find all kinds of discussions, news stories, articles and published research, which would be valuable to your article. You could use Google and search for relevant web sites, but Twitter provides you with real-time conversations—not just indexed content. That’s powerful.
Twitter & Journalism
This kind of power and time relevancy makes Twitter a must-use tool for journalists and publications. It’s like having your very own police scanner except you can tune-in to any topic you’re interested in.
Remember when a reporter had to move heaven and earth to ‘get the scoop’ on a story? Or how hard they had to work to find and cultivate sources? All these things can be done so easily using Twitter that it’s a no-brainer. Savvy journalists use it to follow important people, trendsetters and insiders, find experts, watch trending topics and get the jump on their competition.
I was poking around over the weekend to find local journalists using Twitter because I wanted to start cultivating relationships with the local press, something every small business owner needs to do. What I found amazed me.
I started at the RBJ. There’s nothing on their web site about Twitter. I had to really dig around the net to find their main account which is a feed of stories. Okay, but I want to connect with reporters, not receive a feed of headlines.
I searched Twitter to find ‘rochester business journal’ or ‘rbj’ in users’ bios and found one relevant hit: editor and vice president Paul Ericson. Wow! A guy at the top, this is a good sign, I thought. When I clicked through to his Twitter page I found that he had only one tweet and it was from January of this year. He had two followers and followed two users, one being his employer. That’s it. One staffer with a four-month old tweet. Not savvy.
The Democrat & Chronicle has fully embraced Twitter. They’ve even got a page on their web site that lists everyone on their staff with a Twitter account. It’s quite impressive. After following some of their reporters and staff, it’s clear that they use it actively. I’m amazed at how well they engage the community. That has to pay dividends for a business that makes its living reporting local news.
I’m no print media expert. But, I’ve been involved in business development, networking and research for decades. It seems obvious that if your job involves connecting with people, finding information and developing content, like a newspaper must do every day, you need to be using tools like Twitter. If you’re not you can expect to be left behind. It’s that simple.
Really, it's no surprise to us. Financial Institutions is a great company to work with. The many years working together—designing annual reports or redesigning their corporate identity—have been filled with great collaboration and respect. Congratulations!