AEC Marketer as Webmaster

The term webmaster isn’t very commonplace in the A/E world anymore. In fact, I rarely hear it tossed around at all, even when talking shop with people outside of the industry.

Though they do still exist, the role of the webmaster as someone to “keep the website running and make content updates” seems to have fallen by the wayside. The immersion of easy to use Content Management Systems, especially open source ones, is one major reason for sure – but I would say more important is the increased focus that marketers must have on knowing the ins and outs of the web. This has really relegated the traditional webmaster role to that of just one task of an IT person or network admin.

Let’s face it, the plates of marketers are getting LOADED these days. Proposal writing, business development expectations, collateral, branding, graphic design (often), the list goes on and on. And now it’s a must for marketers to know their way around the web.

Even if your firm isn’t active in social media, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to field questions about it. What about SEO…have you ever been asked by senior team members why your website doesn’t show up at the top of their Google search results? (Perhaps it’s better to say how many times.) If there’s an update to be posted for a project description, does it go to the IT department or straight to your team?

Congratulations marketers! You are now the definition of a webmaster, on top of about a dozen other things. Embrace it. Become best friends with your IT team so you can understand the environment in which your most powerful marketing tool is hosted. Finally, be sure to do everything in your power to drive traffic through your website with your other marketing efforts in a targeted, specific way. It’s likely the most measurable line item in your marketing budget.

You Talkin’ To Me?

I was lucky enough to be the guest moderator today for the AECSM Tweetchat. It really was a fantastic group, including some of the best AEC social media folks around!

The session today was all about “Content Leadership” and there was conversation about what the heck that means, who does it and what types of “content” firms in the A/E industry find useful.

Sometime around the middle of the chat there was an interesting divide into two conversations.
1. Content leadership in the A/E industry with regards to content marketing – i.e. writing for our clients.
2. Content leadership in the A/E industry FOR the A/E industry – i.e. writing for other architects and peers.

I’ve been thinking on this one all night long and realized it not only made people take away very different things from the Tweetchat, but it also represents a HUGE difference in the approach of architecture firms that actively market and those that don’t.

Who are we talking to?

In every page of your website, every brochure, every press release, every email, every…EVERYTHING, it’s a must to consider your audience first. I strongly believe that the ability or inability to focus on clients first (or industry) in your content is what separates firms in a philosophical way.

As a small firm in the first years, is the principal
A. creating an umbrella to practice for themselves or
B. actually intending to grow a firm?

When writing a project description for your new Higher Ed project, are you writing about
A. the Golden Ratio and cascading structures or
B. the way your new student center works at peak hours on campus?

As a religious architect, are you more focused on
A. the Pritzker Prize or
B. the Faith and Form Church Architecture awards?

Do you care more about the opinions of your
A. peers (AKA your competitors) or
B. your clients?

The answers aren’t all mutually exclusive, but if your firm isn’t answering B at least some of the time then you’re definitely missing out on the idea of “content leadership” and how to build reputation with your target clients.

Special thanks to Taryn Erickson for allowing me to host the #AECSM chat today!