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Online Revisionism to Save Money, Redeem Yourself & Be a Non-Idiot

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Content Management SystemsOnline MarketingShameless Self-PromotionWordPress Plugins

Big news: online revisionism can have a positive effect on your business or personal life! Read a true-life story of online marketing efficiency and redemption.

For Workbox and me, two doses of online revisionism helped me (1) create a bit of really inexpensive marketing, and (2) look like a non-idiot sooner rather than later. Some will argue that I still do not look like a non-idiot, but that’s a separate issue and only tangentially related to this blog post.

1. Online Revisionism for Cheap Marketing

I mean updating and reusing old marketing assets, like a video.

A little history: eight years ago, I taught a class on website basics at the San Francisco Small Business Administration. The SBA must have thought I was enough of a hambone to appear in a video that promoted the SBA, so they got a pro videographer to volunteer (I think it was Doug Wolens of http://i-maginemedia.com), I created a script, then Doug shot and edited it. In the process, Doug added images of websites – two were Workbox clients, one was not – to highlight the points made in the script. So, I got this free, cool, little video to use for marketing purposes.

Years later, I got around to adding the video to my corporate blog. I wasn’t happy that the video highlighted companies that were no longer (or never were) active clients, but I didn’t know enough about video editing to do anything about it, and, frankly, it didn’t seem that important. It was accurate when it was made and I figured most folks would neither notice or nor care.

More recently, I looked at the video for the first time in quite a while, and decided it was time to pay someone to do some online video revisionism for Workbox.

The first website shown in the old video, the amazing Amy Reece’s http://www.leadereview.com, was used to highlight the “tell your story quickly” theme. Workbox did build this website and it did its job in the video at the time, and, amazingly, Amy is still using this website to run her business (this website is at least eight years old, requires almost no technical maintenance and is built on an .ASP platform – it just works)! However, I wanted to highlight a more recent website and promote the work we’ve been doing in the biotech and pharmaceutical markets.

So, I chose http://www.macrogenics.com to replace it, and focused on their product pipeline. If you’re not in the biotech/pharma industry or market, a company’s pipeline might not mean much to you, but, believe me, it’s critical – it tells customers, partners, investors and potential employees a whole lot.

Pipelines are so important in that industry, I wrote two blog posts about it. The first is about pipelines in general and the second is about a WordPress plugin we created:

> WordPress for Biotech & Pharma: It’s All About the Pipeline

> Pharmaceutical Pipeline Plugin for WordPress

The video’s second theme is “stay up-to-date.” Unfortunately, the law firm website we chose to highlight this theme no longer exists, and the firm itself (Tomlinson, Zisko, Morosoli & Mazer) is closed. Fortunately, I’m still in touch with several of the attorneys from that firm (in particular the brilliant and tech-savvy Rick Horning at http://www.snrdenton.com).

I replaced the old law firm website with the Life Sciences Foundation website (http://www.lifesciencesfoundation.org) for a few reasons. First, they do a good job of staying up-to-date with interesting content. Second, their content is related to the life sciences/biotech/pharma industry, so that matched my goals, too. Finally, we’re rather proud of it (the extremely talented Gregoire Vion did the design – http://www.grgwr.com – and we built it with a kick-ass PHP/MySQL CMS).

For this site we also created a groovy timeline scroller built on HTML 5, and gave away the specs and script in a blog post, so I wanted to promote that, as well:

> Scrolling Timeline in HTML 5 – Mac, Win, IOS, Android

Finally, a website Workbox did not build was highlighting the third (and last) theme in the video, which is “collect contact information.” The website was for a company called Fluidance. Its URL redirects to http://josieadele.com, and more specifically http://josieadele.com/category/collections/fluidance. I don’t remember meeting Josie, but her work is lovely.

http://mcdill.com (McDill Associates’ marketing website) replaces Fluidance because … well, I just like the way it looks. They’re awesome, the site design is awesome (they created the design, Workbox built it on WordPress). ‘Nuff said.

The old video was edited by a provider I found on Elance (his name is Cagatay A. and his URL is https://www.elance.com/s/cakturk/). I’m delighted with the work and, although I won’t mention the price, it was less than a nice dinner here in SF.

Here’s the new video: http://youtu.be/fNhx3OqCdew

Here’s the old video: http://youtu.be/_GmrogzSsVk

… they’re only 1 minute, 13 seconds long …

I hope you have some old assets lying around that can be updated this easily and inexpensively, and that this post might inspire you to dig them up – online revisionism can be good for biz.

2. Online Revisionism: Look Like a Non-Idiot by Using a 301 Redirect

After I uploaded the new video to YouTube, I created a little blog post to promote it, and immediately Tweeted, LinkedIn’d and Facebooked the post. Unfortunately, I misspelled “timeless” in the blog’s title (“timless”).

If you know WordPress, you know that the post’s URL included the misspelling, too. So, I had 2 errors to correct – the post title and the URL. Ugh.

The solution was to edit the post title and URL while simultaneously adding a 301 redirect to the new URL. Fortunately, with Workbox’s handy versioning feature for WordPress, I could easily create and preview the edits and keep the old post live, while Gleb edited the .htaccess file. Once he was done with the 301 redirect, I published the edits.

Here’s our blog post on the WordPress preview feature: http://www.workbox.com/wp-pages-versioning-drafts-revisions/

Idiot URL: http://www.workbox.com/timless-tips-3-things-your-website-must-do-updated/ (note: “timless”; now redirects)

Non-Idiot URL: http://www.workbox.com/timeless-tips-3-things-your-website-must-do-updated/

Bonus: we made the change before Google or the Wayback Machine cached the error! Speedy revisionism rules!

However, although I’m in favor of online revisionism, I have to admit that Workbox is in fact “timless.” We have no Tims, Timothies, Timofeis or Dmitrys at Workbox (which, when you consider the prevalence of the name Dmitry in Russia, is surprising – especially given the fact that we had five at one time many years ago).

And whether my three tips are “timeless” or not, only you and the future can determine. A little online revisionism did, however, save me some money and, I hope, make me look like more of a non-idiot. But, like all online marketing, that judgment is in the viewer’s eyes.

Happy online marketing!

Eric Weidner