Overhauling your website content? Hire someone for that.
You have been tasked with updating your organization's website content. You are a good writer, know the organization well, and you may be thinking that you can fit in a bit of writing for the website into your day to day responsibilities.
You aren’t alone. Writing for the web is a task that is often severely underestimated in terms of the level of effort required to complete the task and what is required to have quality content. Unless messaging and marketing is already a part of your job responsibilities, writing and gathering content for your website will likely get placed on the back-burner of priorities causing stress, anxiety, and content that falls short for your users.
Our suggestion: Hire someone for your web content needs.
“I just need to take the time to sit down and write it”
“I have a good start with the old/existing content we have”
“I’ll just copy and paste what we have from the old website”
If you have ever been responsible for writing web copy you may have thought any one (or all three) of these sentiments. Writing in general is a task many of us seem to think will flow from our fingertips if we just make the time. The reality is that writing, especially for the web, takes thoughtful planning and (you guessed it!) TIME. So, you try your best to squeeze it in, or you put it off until it gets to the point where you just have to GET IT DONE, one way or another. This often results in lack luster content that needs more work and attention to get it to a place that will keep your users coming back to your website. If you think your slick web design will do all the heavy lifting, you are mistaken. Content is the key reason users visit your website and keep coming back. If it doesn’t speak to them, they will seek information elsewhere.
Pretty quickly we start to see that it isn’t just about making the time to sit and write but also taking the time to craft your content strategy. It’s about knowing your audience, understanding their needs and motivations, and writing and displaying content in an intuitive, user friendly way. So even if you do find the time to write, what about the planning? Furthermore, if you work for a larger organization where you are coordinating content from various departments and writers, you may be responsible for project managing the entire process...on top of your day to day responsibilities.
We aren’t here to say it can’t be done. But from personal experience with clients who consistently air on the side of tackling content themselves in an effort to save money, they often fall short. This means a lot of wasted time, frustration, and sometimes spending more money than if a vendor was hired from the start.
Hire someone for your content needs. If you are worried about your budget, hire someone to help guide you through the process, or even project manage it for you. Content is your vendors primary job and focus and won’t get bogged down with a million other pressing tasks. They are able to plan and implement content strategy and writing in a timely fashion. Whether you hire them just to help plan your strategy, having the assistance will go a long way and you’ll thank yourself down the road when your web content is making a positive impact for your company. Below are a few things a vendor can lend a hand for your content needs:
Your content vendor will work with you to determine who your users are, what are their needs and motivations for visiting your site, and help you craft a content strategy tailored to maximize your users experience with your website and organization. This strategy will also take into consideration your internal process for drafting and updating content over time, what that workflow looks like for your staff and organization, content standards for consistency of tone and voice, and anything else that may impact your content over time once their job is done and you are maintaining your website.
For large organizations that may have various staff contributing content, having your vendor project manage content collection, writing, and implementation is nearly priceless. Your vendor will help acclimate your staff to the updated content strategy, provide templates to help contributors initially draft their content, and set deadlines to keep the process moving along. Since content is their primary job and focus, you won't have to worry about x,y, or z falling through the cracks or holding up your website launch while you take care of your primary job functions.
Like we mentioned in the beginning, writing can be a daunting task. The content housed on your website is often your users first engagement point with your organization which makes writing for the web that much more important. In general, we will always suggest hiring someone to work with you to initially draft your content - it will save you from a lot of fret and worry. You may still want to do the writing yourself, after all you are the expert in what you do, but having your vendor on standby can be a godsend when it's the eleventh hour and you’re still staring at a blank screen and blinking cursor.
The content users encounter on your website is their first or primary engagement point with your organization and should be a high quality reflection of the good work you do every day. It should be a beneficial channel of providing information and resources to your users, and they in turn should be able to easily and effectively take advantage of those offerings. If your website content needs a refresh and you are feeling the pressure, talk to someone about how they might be able to support you.