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Humans Not Zombies: Identity-Based Content Strategy for More Engaging Websites

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What content mistakes do organizations make on their websites that cause them to look like zombies? The living dead are mindless, indistinguishable, and confused—similar to bad websites. The best organizations and websites are more like empathetic humans and less like self-absorbed zombies. Using real-world good and bad examples from the higher ed and nonprofit worlds, we’ll discuss how to humanize the content on our websites.

Sharing new research and field-tested advice, we’ll cover:

- why identity (and not brand) should be the focus for universities and nonprofits
- the high-level ideas of identity-based content strategy
- the nitty-gritty details (and great value!) of page-level content strategy and how to do it
- how to avoid deadly mistakes that make you look inhuman

Published in: Marketing
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Humans Not Zombies: Identity-Based Content Strategy for More Engaging Websites

  1. 1. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Humans Not Identity-Based Content Strategy for More Engaging Websites Melissa Eggleston UX/Content Strategist melissa@melissaegg.com @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Zombies:
  2. 2. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  3. 3. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf AGENDA ①  Use identity for your high-level content strategy ②  Dig into details in your page-level content strategy ③  Recognize and avoid common zombie traits
  4. 4. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf About Me •  UX Specialist / Content Strategist •  UX Researcher for Lenovo (part-time) •  1st writing on the web in 1996 about soccer •  Hula hoops > zombies •  The Zombie Business Cure
  5. 5. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Organizations who have lost their way communicate like zombies.
  6. 6. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf 1 Identity
  7. 7. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf 1.  Zombie examples 2.  Brand 3.  Core values
  8. 8. @melissa_egg • #eduiconfPhoto courtesy of the US Army, Creative Commons License 2.0
  9. 9. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
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  11. 11. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Who is this guy anyway? Everyone
  12. 12. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  13. 13. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf TIGER DIDN’T NEED HELP WITH HIS BRANDING.
  14. 14. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Blank Slide @TwitterHandle • #CMWorld
  15. 15. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf@TwitterHandle • #CMWorld “Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for [the product]…”
  16. 16. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  17. 17. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Who is this organization selling fancy yoga pants? Everyone
  18. 18. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  19. 19. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
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  22. 22. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Organizational identity is the way an organization views itself and how it would like others to view it. It’s an organization’s distinctive character. It’s what makes you – YOU!
  23. 23. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Identity
  24. 24. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Brand
  25. 25. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Brand is what you portray to the public. Identity is who you actually are. Denise Haviland Executive Director, Marketing & Strategic Communication, Duke University
  26. 26. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Brand
  27. 27. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Problematic Brand
  28. 28. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Identity
  29. 29. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf YOUR VALUES ARE COMING OUT ANYWAY.
  30. 30. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  31. 31. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  32. 32. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf The Success of Charles Schwab •  Served customers for more than 40 years •  Valued in the market at close to $51 billion •  Entrusted with $2.62 trillion of people’s money •  Won 5 Gallup Great Workplace Awards •  Sailed through the 2008 financial crisis unscathed
  33. 33. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf JONATHAN CRAIG Chief Marketing Officer Charles Schwab
  34. 34. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Be remarkably repetitive so that everyone has a clear sense of who you are, what you stand for and what you do. Jonathan Craig Chief Marketing Officer, Charles Schwab
  35. 35. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf q  Are you aware of your organization’s core values? q  Are these values easily remembered? q  Do you use them in your communication? q  Are you proud of what your organization stands for and who it is? q  Do you think your organization is heading the right direction in terms of what it is becoming? Health Checkup
  36. 36. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Photo courtesy of Paul Hudson on Flicker Creative Commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/ QUICK & DIRTY
  37. 37. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf 2 Page Level Content Strategy
  38. 38. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf 1.  Plan for the page 2.  Meaningful markers 3.  Important items 1st
  39. 39. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  40. 40. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Meaningful Markers •  Get the most out of headings •  Choose descriptive words your users know •  Make (descriptive) links, titles, and headlines work for you
  41. 41. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  42. 42. @melissa_egg • #eduiconfSource: www.cs.duke.edu/education/graduate
  43. 43. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  44. 44. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Writing Better Headlines •  Is the headline accurate? •  How easy is it to parse? •  Could it benefit from a number? •  Are all the words necessary? Source: www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsgathering-storytelling/ 140675/10-questions-to-help-you-write-better-headlines/
  45. 45. @melissa_egg • #eduiconfSource: Nielsen Norman Group Report
  46. 46. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Inverted pyramid
  47. 47. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Important Items First •  Front load words, especially in headlines •  Avoid welcome statements and fluff •  Give evidence and statistics to support the assertions you make
  48. 48. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Our Richmond-based organization works to help young adults find meaningful service- learning experiences. We help young adults find meaningful service-learning experiences. Young adults gain meaningful service- learning experiences with our help.
  49. 49. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  50. 50. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  51. 51. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  52. 52. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  53. 53. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf 3 Common Zombie Traits to Avoid
  54. 54. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf 1.  Confusing 2.  Haphazard 3.  Indistinguishable
  55. 55. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  56. 56. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  57. 57. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  58. 58. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  59. 59. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  60. 60. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  61. 61. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  62. 62. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Haphazard Zombies... •  Have typos •  Have broken links •  Look disheveled visually •  Have catch-all pages with no plan
  63. 63. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf ZOMBIES ALL LOOK THE SAME.
  64. 64. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf JULIE LELLIS Associate Professor Elon University
  65. 65. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf “We’re helpful!”
  66. 66. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf
  67. 67. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Find Your Differences By: •  Asking leaders of programs/departments •  Asking students in programs/departments •  Talking to those who just recently made the decision to become a part of your organization •  Talking to those who have been in your organization <18 months - “What surprised you?”
  68. 68. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf Identity
  69. 69. @melissa_egg • #eduiconf BE YOUR BEST SELF! DON’T BE A ZOMBIE. melissa@melissaegg.com Melissa Eggleston UX/Content Strategist

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