Planning content creation
Effective content fits the purpose, meets your audience‘s needs and achieves your communications objectives. In other words, it is about getting the right message across to the right people in the right form. A marketing or communications plan will set this out. Typically it should include the following:
Before you start to put your content together, it is important to build a profile of your target audience. At topLevel, the customer Insights, UX team, and marketing team will be able to brief you on the audience segmentation and visitor objectives for the website for a particular campaign. Some of this information will have been derived using one of the following methods:
- Examine traffic patterns.
This can provide visitor demographics (who your visitors are) and what they are doing on your site. It can be useful to know how long people spend on your site, which pages attract the most traffic and what links are clicked on.
- Read visitor comments and customer feedback.
This will tell you why people visit and what they want, need and expect.
- Conduct interviews, surveys, or user testing.
Qualitative research techniques are more time–consuming but can provide a more complete picture. These methods are especially useful when you don‘t have content in place and want to define a potential audience or when you want to sense check suggested copy with the identified user group.
In addition, the following questions may help clarify, in your mind, who you are writing for.
- Who specifically will want to read your content?
- Who do you want to read your content?
- What questions or problems does your audience have and how can you provide them with information or solutions?
- What level of expertise does your audience have on the topic (e.g. novice, expert or somewhere in between)?
- What matters to your audience and how can your content add value?
- What are your audience‘s social and cultural values?
- What are the various demographics of your audience?
- What words would your audience use in the subject matter being presented?
Structure your content around the needs of your target audience. Possible methods include:
- Consider questions a user may have about a topic.
Determine logical order of questions and have content follow that sequence.
- Consider what problems users face. Develop content that provides a solution to these problems.
- Consider the steps a user has to take. For example, develop series of content that focuses on a user going through a process of buying a product, hunting for job and so forth.
Key themes and messages
At top–level, key messages are the basic facts we want to communicate and the way in which we want people to think about our company. When communicating about a topic, think of the related key message and use it to ensure your words are on track with what you are trying to accomplish.
- Understand any business and marketing objectives.
What are the main goals that we want the users to achieve (e.g. purchase a product, or sign up to a newsletter)?
- Adhere to site content standards and any additional guidelines.
In addition, you should define a key message for each web page, which will form the core of your information. Key messages should be tailored your target audience.
- Agree your key messages.
Discuss and define your most important messages with colleagues. Communicate your most important messages early in the copy. Ensure your messages are clear and memorable for your reader.
- Support key messages with facts and examples.
Ensure you search for information and stories to support your claims. Include examples that readers can relate to. Verify the accuracy of all information, facts and data very carefully.
- Identify keywords.
These keywords may be used in the copy but also will drive SEO metadata creation and assignment – please refer to the Aviva Search Engine Optimisation Policy for more information. Use same keywords across all media/communication channels to deliver a consistent message online and offline.
Delivery channel and usage
Content may be dynamic or static. Dynamic content will be updated or changed regularly (even if only once per year).
- For example, blog posts may be used for event promotion or commentary on current events
Static content is likely to only be produced once.
- For example, training material or guidelines that are likely to be printed off.
Refer to Aviva Brand Guidelines for more information about style and tone of voice.
Relevant and up–to–date content
It is important to be aware of any external business factors (for example, industry and competitor trend and events or incidents) and internal business factors (such as new product launch and campaigns) that affect your content.
- Co–ordinate your content development with a publishing schedule.
This will help you to create content that supports Aviva‘s corporate communications strategy.
Your copy may form part of planned and regular editorial content. This type of content might require a seasonal or monthly emphasis. Alternatively, it may be topical editorial content that is prompted by events or new products.
For consistency across all channels, ensure you:
- Integrate online content with offline events.
- Ensure offline marketing campaigns are mirrored online.
- Co–ordinate with any major industry events.
Even if there is no big news or event, there may be a new angle to pursue that can help continue the conversation with the user and win their engagement.