The Importance of a Good Website: Taking Advantage of the Biggest Audience

From the archives of The Influential Executive, 8/2008

The Importance of a Good Website: Taking Advantage of the Biggest Audience

By Tom Daly

Do you remember the days before Al Gore invented the Internet? I do. I had to actually call people up on the phone and request a speech to be sent to me. Nowadays, I either have them e-mailed to me or I take advantage of the internet and go to different corporate websites and pull the speech myself. You would think that all corporate communicators would take advantage of the internet, but they don’t. The internet is the single biggest audience that a CEO could ever communicate to. If I read a blurb in The New York Times about a speech, the first thing I do is go to that company’s website to see if it’s available online. This way I can read it and see if it’s appropriate for reprinting. If I can’t find it on the website I have to call the communications department, find whom to talk to, and wait to have it e-mailed to me. I give this one shot. If I am not successful, I’ll find a corporate site that makes it easy to access the speeches.

This is the 21st century. There is more information out there than could ever be digested. By making speeches easily accessible you are giving people who are interested the ability to help you and themselves at the same time. It might not be someone like me who wants to republish the whole speech; it might be a reporter who wants a series of quotes for a story. Either way it will get your executive some valuable exposure. You or your executive might be concerned with bad publicity, well if you took the proper foresight and wrote a good speech.

Over the years of searching for speeches I have observed characteristics of good corporate communication websites:

  • Have direct links
    If you have an executive’s speeches on the site, make sure you have a link that says so. Don’t bury them with press releases and other pages to go through.
  • Make sure the link is easily located
    In most cases, the executive speeches link can’t be on the home page. However, you should be able to make it accessible on the next page. Put the executive speeches button on the “about us” or “corporate com-munications” page.
  • Use a common file type
    Don’t use a file that doesn’t have an association on all PC and Mac platforms.
  • At every opportunity have audio and/or video posted
    Audio and video come in handy for two reasons: They can be used as a learning tool for future speaking engagements, and they can be samples to send other possible venues to see easily.

It is the responsibility of communication executives to help their CEOs by staying on top of trends and taking full advantage of and properly using the technology available.

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