Read this and you’ll become 10% smarter.
Ok, that’s probably not true – but at least I have your attention.
We hear over and over again in our industry that “people don’t read online anymore, they scan.” I don’t fully believe that. People read when they’re interested and the content is relevant to them. Think about a mother researching what’s causing her child’s cough, a family looking into different universities for their high school student, a person searching for a new car and wanting to learn as much as possible. Your users are online reading, but they are reading the sites that give them the most information in an easy, digestible way and ignoring the ones that don’t. Capture your user’s attention and they’ll take the time to read, absorb and potentially read more.
People visiting your site could be there for a variety of reasons depending on what you provide. Maybe it’s to make a purchase, register for a service, get information they need or simply are looking to be inspired or entertained. Regardless, they have chosen to come to YOUR site, so how are you going to give them the very best experience?
I am not a professional writer, but I am in the user experience industry so it’s my business to understand people and the way they experience all things digital. Coming up with fresh, engaging content is complex for any organization or company trying to capture an audience on their website. So how do you succeed?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself when creating content is how do you want your audience to feel when they read it? What is the takeaway you want to provide? Is it empowerment, knowledge, humor? The list goes on and it’s up to you to decide your intention based on your brand and business goals. This is a relevant part of the content development process that needs to be thought out.
Another item to note when shaping your content is that your users don’t necessarily care about your internal organization or politics. Just because something is important to your coworkers inside the walls of your office doesn’t necessarily mean it’s relevant to your users and content presented as such could appear distracting or confusing. Shape your content to engage your audience, not your executives. It will make a difference. Your users have a finite amount of time to search/browse/read and it’s your job to make the most of that brief time.
The content you present needs to create some sort of emotional response to get them coming back or moving toward the actions you intended. Making your content as useful, current and compelling as possible could do just that. It’s a balancing act of business goals versus user needs that when met, offers great reward with user satisfaction.