Connect the dots: Six tools to keep you connected with your online audience

Brian Liu BL
How does your audience connect with your website?

When it comes to website design and content, it is crucial to understand how your community connects with your website.

So important, in fact, that prior to undertaking any website build we conduct an in-depth research and discovery – giving us a sneak peek into how your website is used, and ensuring that your website will have the functionality and structure tailored to your user’s needs.

But no matter how perfect the functionality and structure might be – your content is just as vital. SEO and promotion will bring users to your website, but once they arrive it is the content that will determine whether they stay... After all, you can create the perfect pathway, but what use is it if it leads the user nowhere? This content needs to be kept up to date, relevant and written for your identified audience.

Ultimately, it is the content which communicates and builds a relationship with the audience.

To help you optimise your content, we’ve put together a series of activities and tools that may help to get you on your way.

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To conduct these activities, it is important to gather staff and consumers covering different spectrums of the business. These participants will have a strong understanding of the business KPI from various perspectives, or needs from a consumer point of view of what the website should encompass.

Activity 1: Audience Brainstorming

The objective of this activity is to define the key audience of the website. Doing so, will eventually guide content authors to the needs and goals of the key consumer of the website content.

Together with the participants, brainstorm the potential consumers of the website, and list them down.

Activity 2: Audience segmentation and prioritisation

With the key audiences identified, the next step is to investigate if any of the audience listed share commonalities to be categorised into groups. This translates to the requirement of similar content, eliminating redundant duplicates.

After forming the groups, prioritise your audience types to align with the business objective as a group. To come to a common consensus, we like to play a game called ‘Divide the dollar’.

Divide the dollar works in the following way:

1. Every participant is given 10 Adelphian dollars (legitimate content currency)

2. Participants attribute dollars in any way they like to who they think the most important audience type is

3. The only rule is:

You must spend all your Adelphian dollars

You cannot give more than 3 Adelphian dollars per audience type

Through this, a clear audience hierarchy has been created based on “value” of importance against each audience type. Consequently, this guides the prioritisation of what content should be created based on the audience’s priorities produced. The next few activities will show you how.

Activity 3: Audience intent

Now that you understand who your audiences are, start thinking about the key reasons they come to the website. To help you formulate these key reasonings, let’s create user stories for each of the key audience type/group.

To create user stories:

1. Put yourself in the mind of your audience type

2. Ask yourself:

Who are they?

What do they need?

What is their objective for visiting the site?

3. Create user stories statements in the format of: I need xxxx content so that I can xxxx

4. Identify what content is required to enable your audience type to meet their objectives

User stories need to reflect the reasons why they are going to the website – clarifying the audience’s goals, which is essential to keep in mind when creating content for them.

Activity 4: Content categorisation

To categorise the content, we use a traffic light system to funnel the content into 3 groups:

Green– verified that existing content is valid and ready to use to match the objective of the user stories

Amber– content is partially ready, but needs to be updated to suit the needs identified from the user stories

Red– identified content required from user stories that does not yet exist

Through this exercise, the key discovery is the amber and red groups; content which needs updating, or not yet created.

Activity 5: Gap analysis

Gap analysis compares the content identified from user stories with the existing content. The objective is to identify whether there are any gaps in the existing content, or understanding of the user stories.

To conduct gap analysis, it encompasses 2 primary questions:

Are there gaps in the content identified from the user stories?

Is there existing content not captured on the user stories activity, which is important and needs to be considered?

Conversely, are there gaps in the existing content based on the user stories?

Were there any existing content unnecessary for any of the user stories? If so, should it be removed?

This is a critical step during content creation or audit, to ensure the spectrum of content is all valid, enables user to meet their objectives, and not filled with redundancy.

Activity 6: Content creation or audit

So far, activity 1 – 5 has helped you identify key audiences, audience segments, audience hierarchy, audience intent, content that needs updating or missing, and gaps in content extracted from user stories, or redundancy in existing content.

With these, you should have a clear idea on what audience you need to prioritise, and respectively what content should be created to help your audience meet their objectives for visiting the website.

Alternatively, this should help you gauge whether the website content is matching the outcome produced from these activities. If not, what needs to be changed to ensure its aligned with the business objective?

We hope you found these tools and activities beneficial to help optimise your website content. Just remember

Content is a means of communicating and building a relationship with an audience.

By Adelphi Digital’s Brian Liu, Technical Developer

This article was originally a workshop hosted by Adelphi Digital. Don't miss out on our next workshop, subscribe now.

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