By Affiliate Ida Cheinman, Principal and Creative Director of Substance151
In the online world, content rules. Simply because people today still primarily go online for one thing: information – and information = content.
Your audiences go online looking for content about you (and your competition) that will help them make informed business decisions. Yet most businesses prioritize just about everything else related to their websites above content.
So, if content is king for the customer, why doesn’t content planning get the attention it deserves?
First, let’s clear up a common misconception that information or content = text. Content actually includes copy, images, downloads, links, resources, sound, multimedia and more:
Content = any element that imparts information
Content considerations and planning should lead your website strategy and development process – rather than being an afterthought. In fact, the structure, design and functionality of your website are merely vehicles through which to deliver content to your audiences.
What’s more is that the increasing complexity of web systems, the introduction of new digital channels and user-generated content have made most of the tried and true approaches to content development inadequate. In order to attract and retain the interest of your target audiences and turn online visitors into raving fans, your content must be fresh, relevant and engaging – and achieving this requires more planning than ever before.
Here are the new rules for creating impactful content:
- Understand your audiences’ online habits. How do they prefer to receive and process information? What are their expectations and preferences for different forms of content delivery?
- Understand what your audiences are seeking. Prioritize and clarify your messages and study what compels your online visitors to action. Why did they come? What’s important to them? Are they busy and impatient? Are they analytical and looking to connect at the deepest level?
- Tell a good story. Create an emotional bond between your brand and your online audiences. What will make your site visitors feel understood and inspired? How will you invite them to play an active role in creating a rewarding online experience? Remember, it’s the humans who need to find your story appealing, don’t create content with only Google robots in mind.
- Keep it fresh and they will come. More importantly, they will come back. Building lasting relationships with your audiences – online and off – takes time. To keep online visitors engaged, employ an integrated digital strategy using e-newsletters, blogs and social networks that help you keep content fresh and enable your information to go viral and increase repeat visits.
Developing and leveraging compelling content is reliant on serious planning. Learn how Substance151’s strategically based creative process helps clients achieve results that rule.