It’s easy to get overwhelmed when creating content for your website, especially if the work that you do is highly specialized or very technical. I get it. You’re passionate about your work and the impact that you have on your community. Unfortunately, you don’t know where to start when it comes to sharing what you know.
If you share too much, you risk alienating the very people you’re hoping to attract. If you share you share too little, you risk losing your status as a valuable resource and frustrating your web visitors by not giving them the details they need.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll show you how creating effective website content can be broken down into three steps.
- Step 1: Deciding what information you need to share and what you don’t
- Step 2: Organizing your web content to reflect the way people read online
- Step 3: Writing in a conversational style that promotes reading comprehension and increases engagement
This post focuses on the first step: deciding what information you need to share with your audience and what you don’t. Here are a few easy tips to help you get started.
Schedule time to brainstorm
One great way to reduce your anxiety about creating content for your website is to get all the ideas that are taking up space in your head and writing them all down. You might be surprised to discover that what felt like a long, endless list is far more manageable once you see them all laid out before you.
Action Step: Block off 15 minutes to do a quick mind dump of everything that relates to the particular piece of content you need to create. Setting a short time limit is critical. Otherwise, you might find yourself over-thinking the process and increasing your self of overwhelm.
Here are some tools you can use:
- Pen and paper is great. I particularly like to use oversized art paper. The extra room comes in handy and the unlined paper encourages free-form thinking.
- Mind-mapping tools like Scapple make it easy to organize your thoughts with fun looking graphics.
Identify the key audience you need to reach
Most businesses create communications for more than just one audience type. Examples of audiences might include: clients, employees, sales personnel, board members, press, activists, public officials, industry groups, and so forth.
Action Step: Create a short list of the primary audiences you need to reach with your content and then rank in priority order.
Pick the top 2 to 3 things your target audience needs to know
Information is not created equal.
Once you’ve decided what you want or need to communicate to your audience, organize your key points in hierarchical order and eliminate what isn’t absolutely essential.
This step is critical. Generally speaking, online visitors are not interested in wading through densely worded paragraphs of complex, poorly presented information.
Action Step: The more your narrow your focus, the easier it will be to figure out what to write. Ask yourself what your audience can do (or needs to do) with the content you provide. Once you know their likely next steps, you can work your way backwards to decide what they will most want to know.
For example, let’s say that you specialize in developing custom websites for independent architectural firms and interior designers. After speaking at a few events around town, you decide that you want to create a web page to showcase your experience as an engaging public speaker. While the rest of your website is designed to attract your main target audience of architects and interior designers, your target audience for this particular page will be event planners or program coordinators.
As such, it makes sense to include:
- A short bio
- Full resolution photos
- Video clips of you speaking
- List of topics you can cover
Set a word count limit
Brevity is a powerful motivator.
If you know that you only have 50 or 200 words to get your point across you’ll figure out what you really need to say, and then say it.
Think about it. How long does it take to say: “I love you” or “Will you marry me?”
And yet those short little sentences change entire lives.
So go ahead and mince your words. Then let me know how it goes.