All organizations that I talk with confide in me that they wish that their web content was more compelling and useful. They want their content to tell a story and to use data to show that their activists and donors are making a real impact on the ground.
Developing good content is challenging for all organizations. It takes planning and patience, staff resources, research, and a big commitment. But most importantly it requires an internal cultural and communications shift within the organization in terms of how all staff (from the Executive Director on down) thinks about producing good web content that web visitors and your activists and donors actually give a hoot to read or skim.
Former nptechie, Jonathon Colman, who is now a Content Strategist and Information Architect for REI, recently did a great presentation called Why Your Content Sucks. Colman says “content is not a feature, it’s an experience,” a concept that has also been discussed by Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic. While your organization maybe muddling along dressing up bad content, it doesn't fool anyone, says Colman.
10 Ways to Identify If Your Web Content Sucks
Colman asks organizations to think about the following when analyzing the quality of your own web content.
- You treat web content as another commodity instead of as a mission-organizational business asset.
- You publish as much content as possible instead of curating meaningful content that will resonate with your activists, donors, and other target audiences.
- You don’t plan, edit, or schedule your content so you are not relevant or ready for an opportunity or a crisis.
- You planned but failed to get content support, instead of building your base.
- Your content is useless, unusable, and inconsistent instead of being clear and complete.
- You design first, then plug in the content later, instead of designing from the content out.
- Your content is dictated based on how your platform works, instead of your content shaping your platform.
- Your content lacks structure so it’s neither responsive, adaptive, and can’t be reused.
- You don’t use metadata to describe your content so it can’t be found without Google, because your on-site navigation and search don’t work.
- You don’t think beyond the page so you’re content isn’t portable to new social and new media platforms.
Does this sound familiar? How do you get a better content strategy? Check out our follow up post on Frogloop later this week, where we will share some practical tips to get your web content into better shape. And be sure to also check out Colman's presentation below.