Hammerkit Master Class: What is a web format?
A web format is a package of materials that allows a new web service to be localized, redesigned and rolled out according to a pre-defined formula.
The obvious thought is that a web format is just a site template that we copy. If that were true, we would all be using web sites that work like that. In actual fact, to make a format you need a lot more. It must encompass the sales and marketing, design, production and maintenance phases of the solution lifecycle. Here is the list of the things we design and produce when we make a format:
- a product design: what it is and what it does
- a web site template: how the functionality is packaged
- a format bible: how we made it and make it again and again
- a business case: what the business benefits are for a client
- a range of examples: what it can look like
- a financial case: how much a PR agency can make from it
- a FAQ and support statement: how we support the agency and client
- a commercialization plan: how we licence and sell the format
- a 2-sheet and 4-slide sales pack: support materials for account teams
- client reviews: what the clients think of the solution
- delivered repeats: what the real delivered cases look like in live action
We are not going to into all of these in detail here, but suffice to say that you need to broaden the thinking beyond just making web sites to make repeatable digital solutions a reality.
How do we know this? We worked with a range of producers and borrowed ideas from an industry that has been making formats successfully for decades – TV. We are all familiar with formats like Pop Idol, X-Factor, Who Wants to be a Millionaire – but we are probably less conscious of just how much TV is format-driven. The commercial reality is that format TV far outstrips ready-made TV in the profitability stakes and we believe that the Internet industry is heading in a similar direction.
There are lots of potential examples of great web formats for the PR industry, from corporate communications and mobile sites to social media integrations. This means lots of potential for completely new sources of revenue and profit.
If you would like to learn more about how we make web formats and repeatable solutions send me an email or connect with me on Twitter @msorsaleslie