How Many Stakeholders Does Your Site Have?

Jan 11th

Each site has unique goals, audiences, and desired actions from each audience. By creating content and ideas that are formatted around filling the needs of the various stakeholders you lower your risk profile and increase your profit potential.

Common Stakeholders in Every Site:

  • content creators

  • customers
  • suppliers
  • site members
  • bloggers
  • mainstream media
  • topical experts
  • other high authority link sources or publicity sources
  • search engines

Content creators: Those who format your content and ideas can make or break your site. Small changes in formatting or packaging can be the difference between being one of billions of web pages and being an industry standard resource. Publish a few well received link baits on a site that is generally geared toward conversion and suddenly you have an authoritative top ranked site that converts like crazy.

Customers: Every site aims to sell something... products, services, market position, a way of thinking, etc. Customers can also do your marketing for you if they firmly believe in your product or service, but that doesn't typically happen until AFTER you have customers. A site that does not convert customers is without purpose, but you also have to address many other audiences to be able to afford market exposure to potential customers.

Suppliers: As you gain exposure you have leverage over suppliers. The more they need you the better your prices will be. This is the reason you can get a gallon jar of pickles at Wal Mart for $3. Given that many types of online marketing are highly measurable and profits may be driven off of thin margins, having a thicker margin than newer competitors creates a strong barrier to entry.

Site Members: People who believe in your value proposition or enjoying your website may help recruit others to participate on your site, may provide feedback on how to make your site or business more streamlined or better, and may help create content that you can leverage for profit. Site members may also advocate your way of thinking or your community in other communities they participate in.

Bloggers: To many of us it is our source of power, a sense of empathy, or perhaps a large chunk of our personal identity. Bloggers like to hear the sound of their keyboard clicking, and the first guy with the story gets the links. Many more people write blogs than there are stories to spread or critical thinkers. Get covered by a market leading blogger and get dozens of links.

Mainstream Media: As more and more people create information there is more information than there is time to consume it, thus many of us use trusted guides / brands / companies to act as news gatherers or proxies for the value of something. Sites which are mentioned in the media tend to be trusted more by many other authoritative sources.

Topical Experts: Each industry also has topical experts who speak for their industry. Many of them will have big egos. You can reach them a variety of ways, but interviewing them or letting them participate early in your idea is an easier way to reach them than to try to sell them on how great your are.

Other High Authority Link Sources or Publicity Sources: People in related fields, fields deeply tied to the web, people tied to traditional power sources or human rights, and other offline authorities can also shape how people act online.

Search Engines: Search engines are distributed ad networks which need to scrape content to show ads against. They prefer to feel that they are in control, and like to use bloggers, media, and other authorities as proxies for the value and trustworthiness of content from a particular source.

Google's Parallel Stories

Google is exceptional at telling different stories to and about different groups of people, and leveraging each group for profit.

For example, Google sells its technology to the media as being uniquely democratic, largely because we are trained that democracy is a word which is an estimation for things that are good. Yet when Google goes to court over their index they will state that their index is a subset of the web and is not designed to be a reflection of the web. Two unique stories for two different audiences.

Search marketing is the most effective type of advertising in the world. SEOs are scum who are at fault when our search technology does not work. Two unique stories for two different audiences.

Content and ads should be clearly separated. If you merge them you are being deceptive. Unless of course you are using AdSense to monetize your site. Two unique stories for two different audiences.

Google also is great at making their marketing look like content. For example, if they want to get young kids indoctrinated on using their software, system, and services what better way could they do it than to package it as being for education?

Topical Experts:

Topical experts become known as experts not only because they know their stuff well, but also because they are good at addressing the needs of many stakeholders. Look how well Danny Sullivan addresses so many audiences.

What Audiences do You Reach?

You do not get to be a market maker without being a market manipulator. It is hard to manipulate markets unless you come up with creative ways to meet the needs of and leverage profit from many stakeholders. What key audiences does your site and competing sites have? Do you address all of them? If not, what could you do to address them?

Published: January 11, 2007

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Comments

January 11, 2007 - 9:05am

Some good ideas there. However, each goal will lead to a different mix of the amount of attention you can pay to each of the stakeholder.

For example, if you have a product-selling site, it'd be hard to appeal to bloggers and increase conversions. Either make it look like real content, or convert like crazy. Maybe more info on your example of link bait content + converting site might help, though.

Of course, you'd rather befriend everyone, but sometimes you just can't do that.

Patrick
January 11, 2007 - 1:51pm

reminds me of Bill Cosby: "I don't know what the key to success is, but trying to make everyone happy is the key to failure" or something along those lines ;-).

January 11, 2007 - 8:31pm

I do not think you have to make everyone happy, but it helps to be aware of potential stakeholders in your project, and try to appease as many of them as you can without distracting yourself away from your core business model and goals.

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