Give your target audiences useful information in a way they can easily find and digest.
— Melissa & The Line 58 Team
So how do you engage your audience? At Line 58, we've found that the answer is to give them compelling and useful information in a way they can easily find and digest. Sound simple? It can be—once you do the work to get there.
Ask The Right Questions
When our team begins developing content for a website, I often ask myself a few questions. These questions, cribbed from a content strategy message board, help me think about the big picture before I get fished in to details. Mark Baker, creator of the blog Every Page is Page One, outlined the list of questions below, and it really stuck with me.
In order to create targeted content, you need to figure out:
- What audience you want.
- Where that audience is now, and what is attracting them.
- What content you need to attract them to your site.
- What behaviors you want them to perform when they visit your site.
- How to measure an increase in those behaviors.
Once you've figured those things out, then you:
- Implement the content you think will attract that audience and measure to see if the desired behaviors increase.
Although these things may seem obvious, they're pretty complex! Web projects can suffer when things get going fast and furious and content isn't made thoughtfully.
Use the Right Tools
At Line 58, we draw on an evolving kit of workshops and tools to help us answer these important questions that in turn lead to compelling content for our clients. For any given project, the mix may contain creation or development of the following:
- Brand Foundations - a set of internally-facing statements that identify a brand's unique personality, affiliation, and position—creating these statements is always our first step in brand strategy and their purpose is to guides all further brand development
- Messaging Matrix - a tiered document that defines, organizes, and prioritizes a brand's key messages
- Brand Personas - a descriptive set of personality attributes for core audiences such as demographics, pain points, and desires
- Content Audit - an evaluation of content on a pre-existing website that will inform the migration / creation process for the new website
- Key Words - transaction-based, information-based, and branded words created via an exercise done to identify topics that genuinely describe the business, services, solutions, offerings, etc. They are also very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Content Models - representations of the structure of content on website pages
- Page Briefs - outlines of the target audience, goals, and key points of a given page
- Analytics and Reporting - measurement and evaluation of performance
The list goes on, but hopefully you get the idea – keeping it simple isn't so easy! It takes a lot of work, brain power, time, and organization.
Hire a Writer
We also employ the use of copywriters on our projects, because—and I can't stress this enough—good writing matters. We rely on them to work with us to create content that tells the story in a unified voice, consistently highlights the differences that are meaningful to a particular audience, and gets people to take actions that lead to results.
We rely on writers to work with us to create content that tells the story in a unified voice, consistently highlights the differences that are meaningful to a particular audience, and gets people to take actions that lead to results.
— Melissa Barry, Studio Manager, Line 58
With Google's ever-changing algorithm (it is updated some 500-600 times a year!) making old practices like keyword stuffing that tried to game the system obsolete, the best strategy continues to be solid content.
(As a personal aside, I also find it helps to take notes in a cool notebook.)