person editing copy

In Part I of our content makeover series, we talked about the importance of writing persuasively by keeping your target audience in mind as you craft your content. In Part II, we're exploring the write-for-your-audience theme a bit deeper.  

As you are considering your organization's website, it is quite helpful to continuously ask yourself , "Do I care?". The "I" in the subject of that sentence is, of course, your site visitor. If you review your web content through the lens of your potential customers (or members, or students, or whoever makes up your target audience), I think you'll find your resulting website both harder-working and more involving. 

One of the best places to start this content review process is in the obligatory "About Us" section. This is where so many of us forget that our sites are marketing tools for external audiences. Do yourself a favor and save the self-congratulations for your organization's intranet. If you must include milestones and company history items, make sure there is something in it for the site visitor. Here is an example of a company history excerpt, courtesy of a random google search:

Following significant growth, the company moves its Hong Kong office into a new 55,000 square foot office in Southern China and expands its U.S. headquarters to 155,000 square feet.

Now this isn't a company I know so I'm projecting here, but it seems to me it wouldn't be too difficult to find a customer benefit in there. Plus, I'm not sure that most visitors care about things like square footage. Here is one way to expand on the above, turning around to a customer POV:

Following significant growth after introduction of new product lines, the company has expanded both overseas operations and U.S. warehousing capacity. That translates to lower prices and fewer out-of-stocks on many of its most popular items.

Better? Let's take it a step further. We like to think of web content as a conversation, so let's see what happens if we make it more personal, more specific and even more customer-centric:

Your overwhelming response to our new product line enabled us to expand both our overseas operations and our domestic warehousing capacity. That translates to 10% price cuts and guaranteed stock on your 20 most-ordered items – that's higher margins for you and peace of mind for your end users.

What do you think? With a little objectivity, most of us can start to rethink how we serve up our content. In the next installment of our content makeover series, we'll talk about visual and design aspects of your web presence.