Make a new start – with radically fresh content

A number of new, wonderful and unexpected things have happened in my life recently – and these events have offered meIMAG0744 powerful ways to tackle change and challenge myself into new ways of thinking.

Inevitably, they’ve also got me thinking about digital content.

Is your content evolving or stagnating?

Whatever stage you’ve reached with your content, it can pay dividends to analyse at it from a fresh angle.

Your digital content may be:

  • just what you want
  • not quite hitting the mark
  • old and tired
  • new but uninspiring
  • lacking in some way
  • getting the job done
  • none of the above
  • or just plain ok

Regardless of which label suits your content, remember that content is a living, breathing canvas and whether it’s hitting the mark right now or not, it should never be left to stagnate. 

It has to evolve to meet changing customer tastes.

3 ways to shake up your content today

There are times when yet more content evolution – in the form of small tweaks and gradual adjustments here and there simply won’t do any more, and something much more radical is required.

1)   Red line your content

During my time a a dictionary and magazine editor, we used red ink to score out copy that had to be cut because it was wrong, was no longer needed or didn’t fit.  Using the same approach, go through your content and red line everything that falls into any of these categories. 

To take it a stage further, remove entire pages or screens of content, if they are not delivering any value (e.g. little or no web traffic). 

The red line approach also works well if you have a lot of padding – content that adds nothing.  Remove all the padding and keep what’s left – but only if it adds any value.

2)   Consolidate your content

As you go through your content, you will probably find areas where you’ve duplicated information or covered ideas that would fit better under different sections or on different screens or pages. 

Draw up a structure map of your content to help you group together similar or identical topics.  Re-name your pages or screens and then revise the new groupings.  Change the headings and sub headings to fit the new topics. 

This is a useful exercise to do on a regular basis, especially if you have a lot of content – or you have a lot of different websites or blogs based on similar themes. 

Road test your changes with some of your customers to make sure that your changes make sense to them.

3)   Ditch the lot and start again

This is the most radical of all the steps, but is sometimes the best approach – and can be the most cost-effective use of your time. 

This approach works well if your core products or services are changing, or you’re looking at a completely new target market. 

It can also work well if you’re working on a new design and/or optimizing your site in some way – e.g. for smartphones or other mobile devices. 

Do it now while you’re fired up – and make copies of the original files before you change or delete them. 

Posted by DEBBIE THOMAS  7 August 2015