Time to rethink your website?
So how often does the ‘we need to look at our website’ question come around? Every two years? Imagine a world where Facebook or any other social media platform only reviewed its offering every two years – of course such platforms are being reviewed and improved continuously. Yet when it comes to one of your biggest communication assets you’re happy to leave it in an incarnation that was probably dated by the time it was relaunched two years ago!
If you think of your website as an engagement channel rather than a broadcast channel it surely makes sense to monitor the interactions with your audiences and adapt and improve as you go. If you genuinely want engaged customers, or if you’re a professional body, engaged members, then everything you present on your website should be to that end – building a relationship with your audiences to your mutual benefit.
What distinguishes you is both your unique selling proposition and your unique value proposition and it’s down to your content to deliver on both. This means any rethink of your website should start with your content. We have developed a Content Strategy Framework that gets you to consider all the right questions in the right sequence that will deliver on sustainable, productive engagement.
This framework is used for matching the appropriate audiences to the right content for both new content and the audit of existing content. As the framework demonstrates, the starting point is not the content but the alignment between your organisation’s objectives and the target audiences’ goals and aspirations.
Personas and segmentation
The most effective way to segment audiences and capture their essence in personas is to engage with representatives in focus groups and 1-2-1 interviews. This can be the most costly part of any research phase but one, if managed and conducted effectively, that creates the outputs on which a content strategy can be based with confidence. A universal survey of all your stakeholders can underpin these personal insights to provide the quantitative data to back up the qualitative. The construction of the focus groups, interviews and survey is done is such a way that they can be readily presented in a persona format that is based on the Content Strategy Framework.
Engagement and metrics
Measuring the effectiveness of engagement can be confused with measuring interactions. Engagement implies long-lasting relationships, which do not necessarily follow on from momentary interactions. Building and sustaining meaningful engagement both for your organisation and your customers or members requires a clear understanding of their motivations and aspirations. This means any metrics have to be actionable on the part of your organisation and joined-up if they are to be useful.
Processes and governance
A sustainable content strategy requires robust governance. This includes recommendations on the evaluation of proposals for new content and the development of material for publication in new formats (text, graphic, video or print). It also provides the infrastructure for the inhouse digital, publishing and comms teams, as well as those customers or members creating content, to own the new strategy and prove ROI. Above all ownership, policies and management have to come together and be communicated effectively.
So that should be your starting point. Sort your content strategy out and all else will follow – including the information architecture and navigation. But most importantly it will provide you with the framework to manage your website and ensure what it offers engages your audiences continuously.