2. Why should writers be part of a Web team?
The Web is fundamentally a medium about communication (and functionality too).
- Basic sites only communicate TO an audience.
- Sophisticated sites communicate WITH an audience.
- As communicators, writers are accustomed to putting themselves in the reader’s shoes.
- A website is likely to have content developed in various parts of the organization – which means it will probably differ in tone and may offer contradictory messages.
Someone needs to serve as a central point for the content.
3. How can writers can add value to the process of creating a website?
- Ask questions to pin down the site’s goals.
- Develop personas — short descriptions of particular readers, either real or imagined — that each represent an audience segment.
- Work with IT to understand the site’s technology, to ensure that it is serving the business goals and will be usable for internal content owners.
- Set voice-and-tone guidelines for the entire site, and model those guidelines through sample content, or complete launch content for the site.
4. Why aren’t writers always included in the process, and how can we change that?
- All too often, Web projects start in IT. The Web is no more about technology than TV is. (TV viewers don’t know or care what kind of cameras, filming techniques or videotape they use, and neither do visitors to your website. The only thing that matters to visitors is the quality of the experience.)
- Businesses think they understand their customers’ needs and don’t need to delve further.
- Businesses don’t know the value that a writer can bring.
- Writers don’t demonstrate what they could offer, rather just do what they’re asked to do.
Writers, here’s how to change this.
- Assume that you will be and should be included in the process from the beginning.
- Know how to describe and show the value of what you can offer.
- Speak business: show an ROI both for a usable website overall and for your services in particular. For example: “Every time one our customers downloads an instruction booklet instead of calling our customer service center and then having us send it to them, we save $18. We estimate that we will get 300 downloads a month on our site, saving us $64,800 annually.”
Content Company can help your organization
- develop a content strategy
- use your in-house communicators more effectively to create and maintain your Web content
- train in-house communicators in how to write for the Web
If you are interested in any of these services, contact us.