In 2005, I started this blog and at the same time, I started posting our Golden Web Reviews.
They are presented via a blog. I like the format for sharing and storing them which makes them easy to find, sort, and distribute (by RSS feed into readers and email) but it really isn't a true blog because it isn't a conversation, it's just our information without feedback.
The title of this post is part of my answer to my friend, Wendy Nemitz, principal of Ingenuity Marketing, when she said last week that our Golden Web Reviews are a pretty risky approach to marketing our website expertise and asked she me about making the choice to publicly critique the web presentations of CPA firms.
She's right. It's counter-intuitive to call attention to, as I say on the Golden Web Review page, "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of firms that are probably on my desirable future client list.
Truly, I contemplated for a long time whether, and how, I would go about publishing reviews of firm's websites. Not just the logistics but the approach. PC? Nice? Brutal? Who would I review? Who would I avoid?
What I told Wendy (and the rest of the Minnesota AAM Chapter to whom I had the pleasure of presenting on blogs and social media) was that, ultimately, I figured firms would benefit from and appreciate that someone was willing to say 'the Emperor has no clothes' and bring attention to the fact that few accounting firm websites are effective--if we were to talk also about WHY.
It's been a sound strategy for us. More than I anticipated. The Golden Web Reviews do get a lot of traffic which surprises me because we don't have many posted, and we've been going a loooonnnggg time between posting new ones (look for some news ones soon though, they are in the works!).
Much to my surprise, several firms we reviewed actually thanked us for the advice, ideas, praises for the "dos," and even the publicity. Two of the marketers said our "don'ts" validated their arguments which they had obviously lost with their partners. I never expected that sort of response. It is really cool. Some have redone their sites and incorporated our suggestions.
I confess I didn't know, back in early 2005, that a core element of social media would be authenticity and so the frankness of the approach was just right for the way in which the web was moving. We got lucky in that respect.
Marketers know that marketing isn't all science. Some is just plain ol' trial and error.
This was experimental for me. But it felt right. Being honest is something I feel very comfortable with, and being critical in a fair and diplomatic way is something I'm glad to work continuously to get better at.
So, I'm wondering, as you read this, what are your thoughts on any or all of these things:
- How do you feel about trying something even if you don't "know" it will work? Do you ever do it? Has it worked? If not, what have you learned?
- Do you think we should open up comments on the Golden Web Reviews and make them more of a conversation--a real blog? Or just leave it the way it is?
- Should we change the way we do our Golden Web Reviews? If so, what should we change?
I really appreciate any thoughts readers have about these topics. Thanks for considering sharing your answers.