“I need water. Has anyone seen the water?”
A local supermarket rearranged its inventory overnight. Customers traded reports the next day as we pushed our shopping carts, calling out items spotted on the aisles we’d traveled. Meats and produce were untouched, but almost everything else was repositioned, with some items so randomly placed I still glance up, months later, at signs overhead to find them.
As user experience design builds intuitive interfaces, content strategy creates a smooth connection between your messages and your audience. The approach is as unique as your business, data and goals, but at its core, content strategy makes it easier for visitors to find the information they want without feeling lost.
The best directions are unnecessary. You can rev up your SEO, increase click-through rates for your ads and launch a landing page with a winning Call To Action (CTA) for your latest email campaign, but a confusing website will bounce visitors back to search engines and other resources. A web developer can create future-flexible architecture, and a content strategist can help you select and arrange your information to encourage engagement.
Channels require care and feeding. If you’re ready to take your messages beyond your website and into social media, for example, consider how you will keep that content fresh. You might use tools to update multiple channels, or you could decide to hire a “Twitter sitter/Facebook nanny” by searching for a social media specialist to serve as an advisor, to handle all your updates or to regularly supplement your content as an administrator.
Sleek design + relevant, organized data = sticky website. The human mind loves to seek and find, and even in small transactions we’re chasing a win, a mental chime: “ding!” Use your website and other channels to spotlight your story as well as offering visitors a rewarding, brightly-lit path – a journey they can customize based on the needs they have at that moment. Balance options with simplicity, and choose educational signals over raw pitches and other noise.
Ask. Like the textbooks and gear your kids drop just inside your front door or the piles they build elsewhere in the house, anyone can overlook the disorganization others might call “a mess.” It’s just harder to see the stuff we own. Questionnaires are popular tools, but sometimes there’s no substitute for asking someone to sit down and run through a few basic queries while you watch them navigate at a distance.
Meanwhile, I need to visit the supermarket and ask where they’re hiding those little boxes of raisins…
Candace Schilling, publicist, offers PR Communication and Training to spiritual teachers and faith-based communities. For more inspiration as well as tips about marketing and strategic communication, check out her articles or find Candace on LinkedIn.