Content, content, wherefore art thou, content?
So we’ve just peeked over the last 14 years of being in business, and the one thing that still comes back to haunt us - especially with web projects - is lack of consideration for the old bugbear - content!
Just to put it out there, I started designing and building online brands and websites 16 years ago, way before I even picked up a DSLR or created a content team at burningred. The challenge and buzz of piecing together someone's information and presentation of themselves is something that fascinated me and I'm still passionate about it. Learning the code and software was just a mere means to an end to get the job done, and brands presented - all smart and proper like.
So, content. It’s the most powerful thing you can have.
Think about it - your website can look flashy, but if it's littered with mismatched, hotch-potch ‘make do’ text, messages and imagery, then it's not going to perform as well as it should.
Also, high on your list of priorities is to think, how will other people see and share this content? Photos, screenshots, links etc - you have no control over any of it. But you do if you invest wisely.
Recently, we've changed tack and are approaching all websites with an element of content creation and extraction.
So, I’ve put together my top 7 reasons as to why investing in content, whether from the outset of a project and/or from in the middle of any established brand, needs to be high on your agenda.
Stock images suck, especially for your hero image!
Yes it’s true, most visitors to your website can spot a fake, stock image a mile off. I used the f-word. Fake. What you need to convey is authenticity - essentially being you. If people don’t buy into you, then more often than not, when you meet face to face, this isn’t going to work either.
There are a few good sites out there, which we do admittedly use (usually for elements rather than people), but if you are using stock images of people - 20 press ups, right now! There are only so many perfectly-teethed Americans and staged handshakes any one person can handle... Let’s just stop there!
Make the hero, be the hero
Above - adidas showing strong content and brand form, as you'd expect
Hero images are great for your website. They can typically include 3 or 4 big slides with a bit of text on.
Why do I think these are great? Well - looking at the screen as the entirety - it works like a billboard does and sets the tone for your entire brand, there and then.
Imagery, colours, message, text, typography, logo - (see how small your logo is compared to the images on the page - this isn't by accident!) - this is your brand in action, and images do paint a thousand words.
Share the hero
You’ve taken that time to create a fantabulous hero image set - it doesn’t need to live on your website. Remember what I said about investment - well, here it is - re-use these images. Don’t get them created at web size - get them huuuuugggggeeee - so you can use these things wherever you want: exhibition graphics, business cards, flyers, posters, e-flyers etc...
It’s the journey, share the ride
Making this stuff takes time and effort by you, not just the art director or design agency. You are obviously doing this for a reason. The top one should be to essentially humanise your brand, business or organisation. People power businesses and this is the secret sauce here.
Use the creation stages to interview, explore, ask questions, film stuff - people are intrinsically nosey. It's a fact (well, on our website at least) that the people page is the second most visited page - but that's because we are sexy! (or is it...).
Use the videos, blogs whatever, to help add extra value to your brand. Some of the studio's most successful imagery has been the ‘fly on the wall’ style shooting at the end of official shoots. These make their way to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles.
This stuff can feed your social campaigns for weeks and even months.
Oooooh… Now, I’m not saying we’re perfect - we’ve had our lapses - but how quickly have you potentially judged a potential business partner / subcontractor by bad grammar on their website? For me, it’s daily.
Within a second, if I have spotted typos, grammatical errors, they aren't the people I want to deal with (sorry, I’ve said it - but it's true). When you are so close to something, you need an extra pair of eyes to check what you have done. An editor of a magazine doesn't let any old bit of text hit the front page without it being tweaked - that's their job.
Investing in the right kind of content (and the right people to write & proofread it) means your brand is presented clearly without mistakes, typos, or misplaced apostrophes. Otherwise, you risk projecting the wrong image - or being subject to a vigilante on a mission.
Wood, trees, audience, chop … whaaaaaat?!!
We know you are passionate about your business, we know that you know your eggs from your beans but, this doesn't necessarily mean you know how to talk to a potential buyer / visitor to your website or business. Being close means you get stuck thinking and talking like a professional and forgetting that a lot of people don’t use the same words you do to describe things.
Investing in content can mean it'll become a collaborative effort between you and someone else - with the marketing support of another team in tow, you'll no longer 'struggle to see the woods through the trees'.
Video, is it king?
Video is a phenomenal medium. You know that little FPS (frames per second) that accompanies your camera? That literally means that in 1 second, you have taken essentially 25 shots (more with iPhone 30/60)! So, if you choose video, all of a sudden you can not only use and share the most popular medium on the web, but repurpose it into hundreds of snaps for social. It is the gift that can keep on giving.
So, there we have it - my brain-dump of why you should invest in content. It’s from the heart - it's what I’ve learnt, and it's what I've seen work for people.
Don’t let content spook you & get in the way. Invest in content and it will live longer than any new flashy design!
Want to talk about making great content for your brand?
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