Basics: What Your Content Does
Typically, as our team begins a project, I bring client attention and focus to their content. Regardless of how well structured their current web site might be, or if this a completely new project, content must be the focal point for client engagement. It strikes me that organizations would prefer to focus on beautiful, modern design, a very fast website, and all of these tools for engagement and methods for measuring user interaction. However, they often come up short on the area they are most responsible for: providing the user with GREAT content - which means it is usually more than engaging.
Content is everything a user can utilize to learn more about your organization. Whether it is product based, educational in nature, or your purpose is lead capture and conversion - content will serve as the guiding light and method for assisting in your user's navigation and decision process. It is our observation that content should be willing to serve your message as a brand, but work in a manner that it will relate to what users might already know about you or add to their knowledge in general. The key thought here is that the internet does one thing better than all other prior resources have done for a culture of consumption - provide education and information.
Your content is your education platform, as well as support resource for many other jobs.The biggest asset you have in the modern era is the technology available to your organization, but that hinges on how you implement it. There isn't much of an excuse at this point to not leverage your online medium. Even SMBs are turning to online resources more and more, creating more digital products than your basic website. If you are a major organization and you don't have a robust platform at this point, you are likely watching competitors pull ahead.
An example I cite for prospective partners draws from an experience with a client from another point in my career, an organization that sought to dominate an industry many don't realize exists - used cooking oil collection services. They provided a variety of other cleaning, collection based services, but their methodology for adopting digital as their primary medium was something both simple and precise with the purpose of owning used cooking oil. They wanted customer management to become centralized, acting as a source of new business opportunities, but especially as a tool for managing communication and information for their plethora of existing customers. This company worked progressively using standardized digital tactics to corner their industry, and funnel further opportunity into their channels, all while adding additional tools and technology as they went.
Other companies would be wise to emulate this, if not take it further still, and find ways to innovate with these common methodologies within their own vertices. However, the foundation for these tactics is always built on content. The aforementioned content was the result of the better part of two years spent mapping out, developing, and delivering higher quality content than their competitors. Setting themselves apart in the industry and defining their own sets of best practices as they went.
Good content is fostered through a series of steps and methodologies we employ at Eightfold - all of which function to create a complete whole:
- Copy & Imagery that relay the messaging of your organization in a complete way - but also speaks to the community at large.
- Design that melds your content together in the most ideal way, so that the user can find what they want and turn that purposful initiative into something they can then use for a decision pathway.
- Technology (read: "code") concurrent with these two aspects - copy & design - serving users a cohesive experience, functional engagement and interactions, and is built ot the most modern and universal standards (which aren't always in sync).
These things can be difficult to achieve, because they are redefined with each organization. If you aren't giving users clean and clear front - the content with which they engage - the design and development portions will fail to meet their objectives.