Jekyll and Hyde Content Marketing: Bad Website & Wonderful Blog

doctor jekyll and mister hyde Simply Combine the Two Online Personalities to Get a Very Happy Ending

The frightening story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde wove the tale of a saintly doctor whose alter ego was an evil murderer. Sadly, there was no happy ending.

In a parallel but more modern context, I found a company that suffers from a similarly split online personality.

If you first meet the good half—the blog, you will want to spend more time getting to know them. But, if you first meet the bad half—the website, you’re likely to head off as fast as you can.

The company in question has a website with very little content. At the same time, it has an excellent but completely separate blog, that lives, like Dr. Jekyll, under a different name.

By integrating the two separate content components, this company could deliver compelling content that immediately engaged visitors. The result: a happy ending.

A Company Website That’s Starving for Content

As you can see in the illustration below,  the homepage has almost no content. The minimal information offered is all text without a single image to enhance its appeal. And, the reverse type makes even that small amount of text relatively difficult to read.

business performance consulting website

Here’s the total amount of information that the company conveys on its homepage:

Business Performance Consulting, LLC, provides structure and feedback to business leaders, teams and managers in their efforts to design in and improve business performance.

The text is vague, but, does say more or less what the company does for its clients. However, it would be impossible to differentiate that description from dozens of other comparable companies.

Even interior pages are similarly sparse and not much more helpful. None of them has more than 100 words.

On the Other Hand: The Company Blog Delivers Content Customers Care About

Just like the good Dr. Jekyll, BPC’s blog has a completely different personality and name, "Manager by Design."  It provides the kind of content that all of us should be emulating. The bold tagline promises quite a bit, "pioneering the field of management design."  But, the blogger and owner, Walter Oelwein, delivers on the promise by providing a rich compendium of relevant content that benefits both managers and employees.

What this blog might lack in terms of an elaborate layout or fancy design is more than balanced by its substantive value.  Its content engenders trust among potential clients who need exactly the expertise that his blog posts illustrate so well.

The welcome page delivers exactly the kind of descriptive information that would have made his primary website immediately engaging:

Welcome to the Manager by Design blog.  This blog was created to help team managers improve in their ability to run teams.  I’m talking about all sorts of managers, in any industry and at any level.  This includes those just starting out as managers and those who have been doing it for years.  I have seen too many managers struggle to run teams well. I have seen too many managers “freestyle” their way through the management tasks, and ignore others entirely.

Being a manager is tough, and managers develop their practices mostly through ad-hoc means.  Management practices, whether good or bad, tend to be by accident rather than by design.  It’s time this changes and we develop a new field I’m pioneering, “Management Design.”  The idea is that we can create and develop great managers by design rather than by accident.

I love those two paragraphs. Mr. Oerlein says it colloquially and well. This is the kind of guy that I would trust to help me solve tough management issues. His sincerity shines through.

The Bottom Line: Integrating Your Blog and Your Website Benefits You and Your Visitors.

Although this may be an extreme case of a split website and blog personality, you can see how  powerful the company website would have been if it fully integrated the Manager by Design blog content to bring it front and center on the company site.

Fortunately, because of tools like WordPress, that kind of integration today is both easy and inexpensive. If your organization is suffering from a similar Jekyll and Hyde personality split between your blog and your website, integrating the two will lead to a happy ending for your business.

Read more about integrating your blog and website.


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6 Comments

  1. Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Great post.

    On the split personality, I don’t think it’s uncommon for company websites to evolve into this problem. They have a static website, or even a CMS-powered one. One day they decide to blog, and the quickest and easiest way to do it is to employ WordPress (or Typepad or EE or whatever) in a separate folder to get up and running. This low barrier to entry, as you rightly point out, comes with a cost. The blog up and runs in a great direction, but leaves the primary website behind.

    Finally, it sounds like this company, through its blog, also did a great job of ‘owning’ a category. I’m not a management guru, but it sounds like this writer went out and established the phrase ‘management design’ and now owns it.

    Well done.

  2. Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Hi Newt,

    Thanks for the excellent endorsement of my blog! I’m happy to hear you find it “wonderful” and that it delivers on the premise of providing “a rich compendium of relevant content.” I hope that you and your readers decide to subscribe to http://www.managerbydesign.com in the near future to engage more on the topic of people and team management skills.

    I enjoyed your thoughtful critique of my website/blog strategy. Your examination describes exactly what I set out to do – have on the one hand a robust, ever-growing, content-rich blog branded “Manager by Design” and on the other hand have a to-the-point, (overly) easy to read website the describes my consulting services and a drop-dead easy way to get a hold of me if you’re interested in engaging with my consulting services. This was in cognizance that not everyone likes tons of content, and many people just want to get to the point about the services offered.

    You describe the strategy as Jekyll/Hyde; I prefer to think of it as yin-yang.

    I agree that my strategy is different from the commonly held notion that the website and blog should be integrated under one brand. My strategy was in response to many websites I’ve noticed that conflate the description of services with the robust blog content, often muddying both in the process. For me, I hope that people notice the blog first (which is why I’m happy you’ve called the blog “wonderful” in the title of your article), the consulting business second. This is consciously different from other website strategies that put the business first and the blog second.

    One aspect of your critique was incorrect – you say that none of my pages have more than 100 words. This is not true – I provide an “in-depth” .pdf that goes into great detail about the services for those who want to learn more: http://www.businessperformanceconsulting.com/Business%20Performance%20Consulting%20In-Depth.pdf

    Your omission indicates that this link to the .pdf wasn’t visible enough to readers – despite the consciously austere design — so I have updated the link to be more prominent. Thanks for the feedback!

    I look forward to hearing what your readers have to say, and thanks again for the great endorsement of the Manager by Design blog!

  3. Newt Barrett
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Walter,
    I’m glad you liked the positive side of my critique and took the negative with such equanimity.
    I do think that you would have a much strong web presence by integrating the two sides of your web strategy.
    Also, on your web page I still think that you don’t bring your services front and center. You could communicate more and more precisely without overwhelming the visitor.
    Even if you don’t want to integrate the blog and website, take a look at one site I liked a lot that provides content in a measured way: http://contentmarketingtoday.com/2008/12/05/5-lessons-to-learn-from-a-world-class-small-business-website/

  4. Posted September 27, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi Newt,

    I took a look at the article you link to, in which you feature the kind of website that you prefer over the approach I took, and I’m still not sure what your critique of my website is, as I believe my website + blog strategy seems to adhere to the tenets you cite in the article you linked to above.

    I would have thought that you would think my approach to content marketing was a classic approach – get people interested in my content by finding, reading and subscribing to my blog (again – thanks for the kind words about the blog), and now that you’re interested in who I am and how I think, here’s what I do and here’s how to get a hold of me.

    In the article, the first lesson you cite is the following:

    Enable your Web visitors to understand precisely how you can help them within a few seconds of their arrival on your site

    I believe that my website draws from this lesson and really takes it to heart by removing anything that would be considered clutter and potentially draw away from the message of what I do and how I can help my clients. In the website you cite as a best practice, you compliment the “clear statement” at the top. My website strives for similar clarity, but takes the step of not having other content that could get in the way of this message. Is that wrong to take this lesson to its logical conclusion?

    Are you advocating that on the front page of a consultant’s website one should have robust content + bio + company purpose + demonstration of the customer challenges? I could imagine a potential customer getting confused with this much content (or just glossing over it), which is what I experienced when researching other consultants’ websites when I developing mine, and I consciously didn’t want to make this mistake.

    In looking at the subsequent lessons you provide– demonstrate you understand the customer, provide relevant content, have a simple and logical interface, and highlight what who you are and what you do – I feel that these are also achieved well when visiting my blog + website, and navigating between the two or understanding their different purposes is not that difficult.

    I agree that I attempt to achieve these things differently than the example you provide – by not putting all the content on one page as your article cites as a best practice — but instead I approach it via an easy and rapid click-through of the key info that I want to convey. Is this wrong that I approach it this way? Is the site + blog that difficult to navigate or hard to understand?

    I’d like you to reconsider my website and look at it from the perspective of a classic content marketing approach, as I believe it is achieving what a content marketer strives to do – build trust and interest via content, and then provide access to value-add products and services.

    Thanks again for providing the focus on my blog and website, as it is something I considered very carefully when I put them together. In re-examining my site+blog, as your critique has required I do, I’m still confident I took the right approach.

  5. Newt Barrett
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Walter,
    Thanks for taking so much time to think about and comment on the article.
    Just a few quick thoughts and then a wrap up:
    -By maintaining two locations, you make your visitors take more actions than ideal to get at info.
    -By forcing visitors to click for substantive info beyond your brief homepage statement, you are also asking for extra effort. I think you could easily have included all or most of the ‘About’ and ‘Method’ info on the home page without creating clutter.
    -Your blog creates a clear, unique brand, ‘management design,’ but that name or what it means doesn’t appear on your website homepage.
    -You force visitors to take an extra step to go to your blog when they click on your ‘Blog’ link. Extra steps tend to put visitors off.
    Wrap up: Sometimes, great minds don’t think alike. I guess that’s what’s happening here.
    All the best.

  6. Posted September 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Newt,

    Here are my final thoughts on the topic.

    Your critique of the “Mr. Hyde” website stems from it being different from other Content Marketing concepts, in that the “My Hyde” website is sparse on content (and even has reverse type), asks users to click to see different content objects (instead of seeing it on one page), and that its austere design and different branding contrasts sharply with the robust “wonderful” blog. By giving it the “Mr. Hyde” tag, you assert that these differences are also bad. [In looking at this critique, I still have a hard time understanding how a sparse, austere website design is somehow a “Mr. Hyde”, who represents vulgarity and excess in the original novel.]

    My strategy was consciously intentional to differentiate from other websites in the same genre – and judging by your a) noticing the approach; b) strong response to the design I chose and; c) ability to articulate the strategy of a robust blog/sparse website in your critique – I have largely succeeded at making that differentiation. The main point of your article is to say that my approach is different than other approaches, and to that I fully agree.

    What I don’t agree with is that it is necessarily a bad approach as your Jekyll/Hyde analogy asserts. I’m even more comfortable with my approach after your critique and feedback, because it still meets the tenets you cite in the other article, albeit in an unexpected way. This would indicate to me that it is an innovative approach rather than a wrong approach. I am aware of the risks in taking an unusual approach, and I’m willing to accept them, which includes getting critiqued.

    In the future, I would only ask that when you find an unexpected approach, you first look at it as a potential innovation in your field, rather than asserting that it is wrong because it is different from the current standard.

    Thanks again for the kind words about the blog, and thanks for again for taking the time to examine my website/blog concept in such detail. I look forward to learning more about Content Marketing from your site, and I hope that your readers subscribe to http://www.managerbydesign.com for twice-weekly articles on the topic of People and Team Management. (They needn’t visit the Business Performance Consulting website to enjoy the Manager by Design blog.)

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