Written by Katie
The power of content on your website
Businesses need to communicate with a broad range of audiences through their website. A one size fits all approach to content creation and digital design is usually not enough to ensure each disparate audience takes action.
In this article we outline how you can produce content in different formats to feed your ongoing marketing and communications efforts. What an investor is interested in and how they consume content on your website is very different to a prospective graduate employee, supplier, or new client. Therefore, how can your one website cater for all these different audiences and the distinct information they consume?
Create personas to focus your content
It’s good practice to identify all your potential audiences and create a ‘persona’ for each group to help guide your content. Establish a semi-fictional person that embodies the characteristics, needs, challenges, and media consumption for each group. By thinking of your groups as real people, you can better design solutions for their needs.
You may instinctively be able to create personas based on your experiences or other departments may already be using them to communicate or design products and services for customers. However, you may find it enlightening to interview a small selection of each user base to uncover a deeper understanding of their needs. Often personas are not considered for user groups outside of clients and consumers; don’t forget about new talent, investors, journalists, employees, and regulatory bodies.
Defined personas which specifically reference how they like to consume content will aid conversations with digital and user experience designers to create digital environments that make your content easily digestible.
However, beware not to create unnecessary siloes. People can fall into more than one persona, move from one to another or be a total outlier and not be represented at all. So, be sure to use these as a guide to help you focus on what’s important rather than taking personas too literally.
Create content with your audience in mind
Once you have clearly defined audience personas map them out with the problem your website is solving for them and the desired outcome you want from their visit. Then you can begin to create content that will lead them to your optimal end goal. The personas will help you consider the best type of content for each of your audience groups.
What content works for different types of users?
A great piece of marketing or communications content can be presented in many formats so that it can work for multiple users with different learning styles. Here is an overview of some of the different types of content formats and who they engage well online.
The world's bandwidth is mostly video (80% according to Cisco!) and growing. With video production costs declining thanks to the rise in advancements in technology, there’s less of a barrier for businesses to produce video content. Video content works well on corporate and careers sites to tell your people’s stories. It’s great to repurpose shorter edits on social channels too to drive traffic to your site.
Consider how you house your video content though. Uploading heavy video files to your CMS can impact your site’s load speed although you will have greater control over what the video looks like and how it interacts with the design of your site.
Alternatively, you can easily embed via YouTube, Vimeo or similar which has advantages if you want to build a following on those channels. However, you will be stuck with their interfaces and be careful to check whether you are showing ads or related videos at the end of a video when using Youtube. Our preference? Vimeo hands down. It gives you a lot of control to customise the experience for your audience.
Always consider creating a transcript and transcoding the voiceovers of your video content as this is a goldmine for SEO while also making your video content more accessible. It takes a bit more time upfront but is worth the effort.
PDF downloads are still a great option for longer form or heavily designed and stylised content. They work well as lead magnets for marketers who gate thought leadership or research to gain new contact details of potential customers.
If your websites often isn't designed with dense reports and heavy content in mind, then a PDF can offer a lot more flexibility. For example, we still see high engagement rates of PDFs with investors who will download information from annual reports to consume later. They’re also great for training materials or employee handbooks.
The written word is far from dead. Articles and blog pages are great for users that want to deep dive into a specific topic. Longer form articles are important for search engine optimisation to help drive the right kind of traffic to your site. By capping word count to under 1,000 you will avoid a lot of scrolling unless your site is built with an editorial eye from the outset.
That said, longer articles are still important if you are tackling more in-depth subject matters, especially if it’s created with a particular audience in mind. Thorough, long form articles really support SEO. They can be kept up to date and rebooted to stay relevant and aid future communications. You can always break up longer articles with imagery, stats, and quotes to keep your users reading down the page.
And don’t forget to recommend additional articles or pages and give a clear call to action to ensure your users take another step rather than losing them to the next Google search.
Infographics will synthesise dense information into visuals that are easily consumed. You may use infographics to explain complex information in a more appealing way. They could accompany a longer PDF report, be animated or turned into an interactive component to create a more engaging experience.
Infographics can be highly shareable so create content that can be tailored and used across your various digital estates and social channels.
Consider how infographics will be built and managed within your CMS from the outset, especially if you know you will have a lot of complex or data heavy content on your site. Work with your digital designers to build a flexible layout to allow for infographic style presentations. However, embedding JPGs can be a solid solution so long as they are accompanied with accessible content too.
These are just a few formats you can use to present your ongoing marketing content for your various audiences. Work with your digital specialists to understand how these can all sit in harmony within your website. Experiment with different content styles to see what works for each audience group. You can track downloads, views, scroll depth and much more via analytics software to ensure your content is having the desired impact.
At Pepper Digital, we specialise in supporting clients to make sense of content heavy sites. We do this by focusing on the end user, streamlining the content creation process, and creating sites which allow for a wide range of formats simultaneously. We would love to discuss your content and digital design challenges, get in touch.