In a perpetual race, advertisers continue to enrich formats, interfaces and online media to capture their audiences. But technological progress does not guarantee the quality of communication. A book has just been released to help advertisers design a real web content strategy…

The Internet has definitely carved out a place for itself in the home, and the internet user has tamed the media. He even made it his own: anyone can have their website and produce content. In 2007, eMarketer projected that the number of Internet content creators would exceed 300 million, against 350 million consumers of this content, in 2011. This means that, for advertisers, it is no longer just a question of putting a beautiful, functional website online. To ensure their presence and credibility, and to reach their targets, they must also have a real media plan and – above all – have something interesting, timely and useful to communicate.

Variety of formats, users and uses

Forced to evolve with the pace of the web, advertisers are therefore beginning to develop new modes of online presence. In a perpetual, unrestrained race, they continue to enrich the formats, interfaces, media, networks and tools to capture their audiences. With one objective: to cut the grass under the foot of the competition, to get out of the peloton.

However, although technology can help improve communication, it does not guarantee its success. In other words, advertisers may vary, multiply the modes of presence, they must also, more than ever, think about the information they feed these channels.

Beyond editorial production: a global strategy

A book has just been released (the first in French) which helps them to go beyond the simple mode of editorial production to enter into an ethics of content governance. Because, whatever the format, the form and the support of predilection of our contemporaries: desktop screen, microcomputer, Smartphone, iPad, etc., the reader now oscillates constantly between hypo and hyperplay. He has also become a reader-actor, who wants to be able to compare, consume, reuse, recommend, distribute and transform, at any time and wherever he is, the content he receives, produces, disseminates, aggregates. This is to say if the consumer has fully acquired, as for him, that he governs the age of information.

And this only confirms the need for advertisers to maintain, cultivate, care for their online presence, provide consumers with quality content, and sincere, useful, timely communication, beyond and in – from the multitude of systems, functionalities, trends and modes.

Hypermedia, between infobesity and anorexia

It must be said that the Internet has (always had?) Everything to offer an optimal service: the windows are open 24 hours a day, and visitors are supposed to easily find what they are looking for and to be able to perform, with a few clicks, tasks which, apart from the virtual, are time-consuming, costly and laborious. All internet users dream of this Web. However, in reality, we are still far from the mark.

In question ? General infobesity, precisely. Or its opposite, I would say: that is, a certain persistent tendency of an anorexic web. Hear platforms where real value-added service is lacking, real qualified information for target audiences, customer-oriented selling logic. In short, websites that still completely miss their mission of communication, information, conversion.

Evil is – still still – housed, in large part, at the level of content. Content is to the Internet what the heart is to the body. Whether in the depth of the pages, on an RSS feed, in front of or behind a hypertext link, whether they are visible or not (I am thinking of tags and other alt texts, for example), these are the words that give life to web pages. Without words, websites would only be inert bodies. These are the words that create the relationship, build communication, make conversation. Doesn’t it say that the Web is conversation?

Use value, usefulness and opportunity

It is high time that advertisers profoundly modify their paradigms of Web 1.0 and definitively integrate the constraints and challenges of media 2.0, what do I say about hypermedia, media of all media, amalgam of formats and tools always more socializing. Admittedly, they are increasingly aware of the need to professionalize the production of content: aggregation, syndication, metadata, referencing, interactivity, mobile communication, etc. And they finally understand the crucial role of content in customer satisfaction and conversion. Just yesterday, they wondered how to keep susceptible and fickle internet users on their site. And after looking for solutions in design, technology and then ergonomics, they convince themselves that value-added content contributes, above all, to retaining the demanding visitor.

There remains – and the task is sometimes immense – to determine what is value-added content. This raises another question for advertisers: to reach their targets, they must offer unique, personalized, timely and credible user value.

Web content strategy?

Yes, advertisers need a real online content strategy: a plan to ensure they produce the right information, in the right place, in the right way, at the right time. With good audiences, of course.

Because at a time when raw material, data has become overabundant, volatile, but permanent, when the media themselves are evolving in a meteoric way, and when the reader has become a mediator, it becomes perilous or even unconscious for advertisers of ” consider the production of web content outside of a wider path, which precedes creation proper and goes far beyond putting online.

They cannot do without establishing order in the multifaceted mass of their professional data and developing procedures, standards and charters to control the content in all its states and at all times of its life cycle.

And ultimately, by focusing on a rationalization of their content, by implementing a real content strategy, they will make sure to improve and rationalize:

  • the editorial chain: writing, editing, correction, validation, posting, interview;
  • tools, formats and technologies;
  • the variation and reuse of their content;
  • production, editing, publication costs;
  • quality, relevance and editorial consistency;
  • user experience and conversion potential.

The first work in French

The book “Web Content Strategy, Revenge of the Editorial, was intended to be practical and useful. This is why his table of contents follows the life stages of a content. There are 4 parts, each with background, recommendations and examples.

  • Audit – Channels and conversations – Content inventory – Editorial benchmark – User typology – Positioning audit
  • Strategy – Editorial workflow – Editorial line – Editorial formats – User-created content – Performance indicators – Information organization – Editorial referencing
  • Creation and publication – Online writing – Hypertext & Forms – Indexing & Findability – Content management systems – Readability – Writing for mobile
  • Interview – Publication calendar – Editorial & ergonomic charter – Results & reporting – Training

The book, published in the Alambic editions, is prefaced by Amélie Boucher, specialist in interface ergonomics (read her preface on my blog). It is on sale on Amazon, where you have a 5% discount!