‘Content design’ sounds like a very fancy way of talking about the words, video and pictures you plonk onto your website. The sort of things that consultants say to make their jobs sound more complicated.
Yet it’s handy to make it sound a bit more pompous - because too many companies pay more attention to the design of their website and the logo, than they do to the words within it (aside from the biographies of top management which always get pored over).
Too often the content is just dragged over from previous iterations of the website. Old wine in new bottles, and all that.
Yet the words, pictures and video are the bits that will linger most consciously with your customers and clients - so whether you are refreshing or creating a new website, it’s important to take as much time to design the content around user requirements, as you do on the ‘look and feel’.
You have to plan your content in ways which go beyond building a content factory of news and press releases and create a coherent range of content which gives your users what they need to understand your organisation and access your services.
To do that, you have to think differently - to learn to think about yourself from the point of view of your customers, rather than from your own standpoint. You may be surprised how little interest people have in the thoughts of your CEO on how his golf trip reminded him of something which seemed important at the time. Corporate news and thought leadership can both be important parts of the mix, but when your website is full of pictures of your chairperson and not your products, then there’s a problem.
To get it right, you need to do some content diagnostics. You might not be surprised to learn that we can help with that.
We can work with you on a content design programme, structured into different categories, each of which are designed to provide significant improvements. That programme would be bespoke, but the process to get there is pretty well established:
This is in two stages - an initial discursive review with you as the client - and the real ‘under-the-bonnet’ work.
Talking with you
This is the bit where you chip in. And we listen, honest. We undertake an overview of your website to identify good practice, issues and potential improvements. Then we’ll sit down with you to discuss and establish:
- What are your objectives for your website? Do you want to sell directly from it? Establish a brand? Explain a service?
- Who are your target customers or clients? Properly segmented… don’t even think about saying ‘everyone’, or ‘anyone that will pay us’. You’re going to have to do better than that.
- What are the benefits to the client or customer? This can come across as quite ephemeral if you are selling, for example, ‘experiences’ to customers but case studies really help to show your client enjoyed it. Or, if it’s B2B, you can show the direct uplift to the client.
- Establish the scope of the project - who is mapping out the content, who is writing it, taking the photos, doing the video, creating the infographics, and so on.
Talking about you
The scope of the project would need to establish what content is included. We’re assuming the website is the core of it, but it might also include brochures, reports, social media, call centre scripts and other content channels - all of which would need to align to the required audience. And then, we would need to:
- Undertake a detailed document review of any existing user data, look at any editorial tone or content guidelines, look at any research you might have (on the assumption that commissioning more is ‘a bit much’), look at your marketing activity plans and look at your existing website information architecture and taxonomy.
- Review and map all your public-facing content - your website, email, social, PDFs, video, images, brochures and so on.
- We would also establish client profiles through any existing client information you have, or develop new user profiles/personas if we needed to - though it’s not always the best use of your or our time. If there’s not enough information on your customers because you’ve never paid too much attention, then we might take that extra step.
- Understand the ideal user journey (from your customer’s perspective) and map out what user journeys are currently being made, from your site analytics and search and social media data. We’d want to know how people are finding your site (which might mean that your search engine optimisation [SEO] or social media need attention) and what they do when they get there. Is there data from phone, email and any chat function you might have on your website? Those queries might unearth, for example, the things your customers are looking for but can’t find on your site because they are not signposted properly.
After that, you’ll get a report with (most likely) a list of recommendations. What it isn’t is a shopping list of things we’d want you to buy from us, but it will be a realistic set of ideas of ways you can ensure that the content you have is doing the job you want it to do. Yes, it might inspire thoughts about delivering SEO or social media better or creating content on a more regular basis, but, while we think we’re pretty good at that sort of thing, you’re free to shop elsewhere for it, and we definitely won’t get all salesy-pushy about it. Life’s too short.
Feel free to chat to us about what we might do for you and your content. The dog don’t bite.