Show, don’t tell: of blogs and splash pages

You may have noticed something a little different about the Black Dog page. It’s the landing spot for my business, but it’s also a blog. The blog isn’t hanging off a link – it’s the center of attention.

I’m not the first person to do this, but it’s extremely rare. I heard some reservations from people I asked to advise me, too. Landing pages are supposed to tell the visitor right away what you do. Landing pages can’t be cluttered. Never put your opinions up front. All sound advice from a traditional perspective. And it may turn out that this is a bad idea.

However, if the Black Dog brand is about innovation and unconventional, and if it’s going to have things like online PR and social media marketing as a centerpiece, it makes sense that I should show, not tell. If my best selling point is my ability to deliver strong strategic insight across a wide range of business and marketing-related topics, doesn’t it make sense to put that capability on display where a site visitor can’t possibly miss it?

That’s the theory, and no, it’s not right for everybody. But it’s right for some businesses and organizations. For example:

Whythawk Ratings is a development firm in Cape Town, South Africa that specializes in “bottom-of-the-pyramid” investment. (I’m not an expert here, but this seems related distantly to the microcredit programs that won a Nobel for Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus.) My co-conspirator at Scholars & Rogues, Gavin Chait, is a principal analyst for Whythawk, and frankly their success hinges on the ability to communicate an unconventional and somewhat complex story. What they do isn’t as simple to explain as “ladies clothing,” “camping supplies,” or even “CRM software developer.” So it makes sense that they put the running conversation, which talks about success cases, principles and market and regulatory issues that impact the economic health of Africa, right up front. They need that conversation to drive engagement, and it’s not as effective if you have to click a couple times to find it. Very smart, very appropriate.

If you asked, a vast majority of C-Suite types would tell you that they think strategically and “out of the box” about who they are and what they have to do to connect with the audience in a world where the signal:noise ratio gets worse with each passing day.

But do they show you?

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