Graphic: Metro Denver’s website is built to shuttle people to meaningful content, wherever it might be.

While every marketer seems to be immersed in Web 2.0 these days, let’s not overlook the changing role of the organization’s website in this marketing mix. If you’re not re-thinking the role of your traditional website, you should be!

Websites began as digital receptacles for traditional print content and slowly evolved to be more interactive and useful. The social web is changing all that … radically. Today, there are thousands of places to store and promote company content, and not all of it is going to be generated by friends. That’s why a new core strategy must be to populate the social web with as much accurate and useful content as possible. In my classes, I refer to this as an organization’s “information eco-system,” and it must be systematically maintained, monitored and nurtured.

Your website is no longer just a “destination.” In this environment, the company website becomes a content engine and quarterback, efficiently directing people throughout the eco-system to the news, information and applications they need to meet their needs, wherever it might be.

In research I’ve been conducting on the use of social media among economic development organizations, I came across a terrific case study in Metro Denver. Denver has methodically populated its information eco-system with rich and meaningful content, including a top-notch blog. Search the social web, and it will inevitably lead you to content that guides you back to the website, which is organized into user-friendly buckets of information. Need to go back out to the ecosystem? Links to social media connections are right on Denver’s landing page. This is a brilliant example of putting customer needs at the forefront of strategy, execution and design.

As you hurtle onto the social web, don’t leave your website behind or your social media presence will be sub-optimized!

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