Friday, April 18, 2008

How does the world know about your new services?

Sometimes when I meet with digitization companies, I ask that question. Some send out press releases. Others attend trade shows. A few belong to industry associations. But the reality is that none get the word out in a way that really does them justice. I have to be walking on the right path in order to trip over their information.

One of the discussion questions I gave my graduate students this spring was to try to locate digitization vendors in their region. I asked that the spend just a few minutes doing Internet searches, then report what they found. All of them had a difficult time and it didn't matter what location they were in. So if finding them is difficult, then knowing what is "new" with a vendor will be even more difficult unless I know where to look (and I'm willing to look there).

So what's the solution? That's the million dollar question. I think digitization companies could do a better job of using the Internet to their advantage. Most likely do a great job of placing content on their web sites, but what about placing content on other web sites? Can you -- dear digitization company -- use YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites to your advantage (perhaps just with informational stuff)? You might find that your customers or visitors (at trade shows) are posting photos, for example, of your products. I bet, though, that the quality isn't that great, so do some of your own and get them out in a photo sharing service.

BTW if you haven't searched for your company name in Flickr and YouTube (for example), I would suggest you do that. You might be a bit surprised by what you will find!

You might think of Twitter as being a strange tool to use, but you can use it to disseminate pointers to press releases and announcements. The White House and Congress are doing this, so why not you?

Even creating RSS feeds can be useful.

Putting the information on various "roads" where I -- and others -- can stumble across it isn't difficult. Companies just need set aside a little time to do it.

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