This morning it was announced that two powerhoues of television entertainment, Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (“30Something” and “My So Called Life”) are creating a web only entertainment program.Â Â You can read about itÂ here. This isn’t anything new really. Companies have been doing it for years already. Fireside Entertainment, a company I work with, has a series currenting running on LMN.tv called “Inspector Mom” that’s been on for nearly a year. No, the big story here is two-pronged.
First, the website that will be airing the content is Myspace. It’s not connected to a television network or movie studio. It has no other connections to entertainment other than being a social networking website. So content that’s going directly to Myspace for its premiere is a first.
Second, in that article it states “In a new wrinkle, the show also will have its own social networking site called quarterlife.com.
‘Sending viewers in a loop back and forth from episode to the site could help build an audience,’ Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff said.”
This isn’t new either. Programs in recent history have shown that having a gathering place for fans can have an incredible impact on programming. The fans of the show “Jericho” have successfully brought their show back from cancellation after having a place to gather, discuss the program and create a viable battle plan. And the fans of the show “Farscape” have recently received news that their program is going back into production for original webisodes four years after the program was cancelled.Â What’s new here is the idea that they are going to send viewers to a website partnered with the show. Another social networking site which could be seen as competition for Myspace and a website created specifically with the fans in mind.
Too often a website is an afterthought when it should be the first thing that people are discussing. And it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. Products and services run the same way in this process. I explainÂ it this way. Picture a clothesline. That’s your website.Â Now ‘hang’ the rest of your marketing and promotion off of theÂ ‘clothesline’.Â Â Busines cards, pamphlets, fliers, coupons, leaflets, promotions, giveaways….all of your promotion should refer back to your website and your website should support all of that promotion.Â
No matter what you’re selling, a website should be the clearinghouse for your clients and your ‘fans’ to come and find out more about the product. Rather than an afterthought, the website should be the core component of your marketing and promotion. If you keep this in mind, you’ll have a better understanding of what belongs in your website, how you want it to perform for you and, on top of that, you’ll be further ahead than the people out there who still see websites as something ‘extra’ that they can live without.