Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at a meeting of the Web Content Mavens, a DC networking group focused on web content from many different perspectives. This particular event was a casual overview of web specialties. The discussion revolved around our various web-related job titles, what they mean in real life, and how they integrate with the tasks of the (mostly) content managers and online editors in the audience. The panel talked about everything from user experience and information architecture to social media and communications planning.
The funny thing is, talking about all of our specialties eventually brought us around to a fundamental truth about the online world: As fancy as organizations are now getting, and as many bells and whistles as they are adding to their repetoir, great content is and always will be the core of a great web presence.
Take a website like World Wildlife Foundation (not an Amplify client – I just like their site!). During a time when there are so many issues at play in environmetal news, they manage to promote all of their work and still produce important and well-written content about the Gulf oil spill. Their readers get immediate access to:
- up-to-date news about the oil spill
- information about how they can help WWF take action
- first-hand accounts from organization representatives reporting from the front lines
The updates are timely, and the first person narratives capture the situation in a way that is different from other sources. You can also get great – and somewhat different, for a different audience – information from their Facebook page.
So besides having an attractive site that allows people to find all the things they’re looking for, it’s really their well-written, thoughtfully considered content that sets them apart. In the advocacy world, this is the most basic, crucial thing for you to get right. And all the other stuff – from search engine optimization to Twitter feeds and everything in between – need to be an extension of your great content in order to be truly meaningful.
When I say that content is basic, however, I don’t at all mean that it’s easy. Understanding your audience and finding your voice can be the most difficult things in the world to do, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s why when Amplify’s clients come to us for special projects – ad campaigns, advocacy microsites, social media, videos, etc. – we very often ask them to take a step back with us and first consider what’s already on their site.
By the way, hooray for meetups like the Web Content Mavens for keeping the important stuff in the spotlight.