Widgets are mini-applications that allow marketers to set their content free beyond their own domain. Partners, bloggers, mobile users and other online publishers can easily re-use whatever content you have widgetized by copying and pasting a string of code and putting it on their site.
So what kind of content should be widgetized? The possibilities are endless, here are a few examples (or ideas) that I've come across:
- Live Discussions - Cisco created a widget to show live discussions (right column of page) that are happening in the Networking Professionals forum.
- Social Bookmarking - HP, IBM and Sun created widget to remind visitors to bookmark certain pages on their website.
- Blog Widget - If you have a corporate blog, promote it on your website. Use a widget to show titles of your most recent blog posts to engage visitors in a discussion with fresh content. Although I see these on blogs to promote their recent posts I haven't come across a corporate website that uses it to promote their own blog. Although I wouldn't be surprised if it's out there.
- Security Updates - Infex has a widget that shows the number of infected PCs -- what other security updates can be widgetized? Or maybe the question is better asked as: what security updates can't be widgetized?
- Widgetize your Webcasts - I haven't seen this done yet but why not create a widget for your webcasts for partners, bloggers or even publishers to embed your content on their sites.
- Google Earth -Google breaks through the innovation doors again with it's newest version of Google Earth. Dell is using this Web 2.0 application as a way of analyzing customer data to see who and where customers are -- additional layers of business analytics can be layered on top.
- Video - Whether it's a commercial, an interview, or a video data sheet, Cisco is leveraging the YouTube platform to take full advantage of video and allowing any other interested party to repurpose their content.
Creating a widget is easy with help from Clearspring, Widgetbox or MuseStorm – but of course most B2B companies will likely create custom widgets. What's not so easy is widget analytics. Your best bet according to an interview with Lawrence Coburn, author of the Sexy Widget blog is to, "get a rough idea of how many times your widget has gotten picked up by doing backline searches on Google, Yahoo, or Technorati using the “site:” qualifier to isolate the big widget aggregators like MySpace. Inbound traffic from widgets can be measured by checking your log files."