Friday, 25 January 2008

The killer widget

No, don't get excited; I don't have one for you.

But we quite often talk about coming up with some killer widgets which is about as useful as people asking you to come up with "something that will go viral". Well, yes, that's a great idea!

The trouble is that we're starting from a point of view of having loads of feeds and stuff sitting around on our websites that could be widgetised so half our work is already done.

But frankly, who wants to put our "latest HR news" or "latest jobs in electronics" feed on their blog or website? This is the trouble for non-sexy B2B publishing.

Forbes has widgets and so does CNET but they are all basically content that was already there and don't deliver much more than an RSS feed would/does. And they sure aren't sexy. I don't think any of them will prove to be the Killer Widgets.

Here's where I am with my thinking on widgets:

1. The easy stuff first

The easy stuff is the stuff we already have to hand (e.g. news feeds). I wonder if for these we should maybe be chasing intranets, not the Internet. The intranet for a road haulage company would probably find a latest news widget a useful addition to their intranet; a blogging trucker less so. Unless your brand is VERY cool in addition to being VERY reliable (which all of ours are, of course).

2. Customise the widget to the widget hoster

So, if you have a social media element such as forums and photos, create a widget that lets them show off their latest forum or blog posts or photos, or top rated photos or whatever. In other words, let people use it to show off their stuff, not yours.

3. Add value to the widget hoster's site

For example, by offering some kind of interactivity to their users to make their site stickier and more engaging.

4. Provide some quid pro quo

Find some way in which their hosting of your widget gives them something backfrom your site. Maybe the widget results in a link from your site or their blog in your blogroll or gets them included in some kind of social competition. Something that gives them their attention.

Reading that back, it's clear that I'm just thinking aloud. Sorry. Ignore this post.

I'm sure my colleague Piers will come up with some better ideas...

1 comment:

markcrail said...

Obviously I'm disappointed that you don't think people will want a "latest hr news" widget...
But as an alternative, I think calculators are good -- for HR it's things like a maternity pay calculator or redundancy pay-off calculator, with the calculator results adding in links to relevant content back on the parent RBI website. Don't know other markets well enough - um, fuel costs calculator for Motor Transport? It's nice to think in terms of fun stuff if we want to get other people to put our widgets on their sites, but some more serious usable ones are important in terms of brand values etc.