3 Key Steps to Make Your Business More Efficient and More Profitable

The Covid-19 pandemic has arguably imposed more challenges to the way companies have done business than any other single event in living memory, if not longer. Whilst the external pressures on a business have increased, many enterprises are still handicapping themselves by not building-in even the most basic system efficiencies. By effectively managing and prioritizing your business’ inputs, most particularly the labor-hours of you and your senior team, you can release greater outputs and ultimately revenue.

Related: Manage Your Company More Efficiently with This 22-Course Project Management Training

Here are three key principles for optimising efficiency, to release your business from self-imposed constraints, in 2021.

1. You are not a manager, you are a leader

Leadership and Management are both the same, right? Wrong, couldn’t be more wrong – stop it! Warren Bennis, Professor of Business Administration and an Organisational Consultant is quoted as an opening: “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it

Even this simple change of mindset will release you from one of the most pervasive inefficiencies in business. If you see yourself as a manager you are strategically no better than a caretaker, taking what you have and merely preserving it. Entrepreneurship rests on the foundation of leadership: identifying a business’s strengths and weaknesses, implementing positive change whilst taking others on the journey with you. Use the ‘Plan’ ‘Do’ ‘See’ ‘Act’ system. Develop an efficientcy idea, trial it, review and then roll it out for system-wide effectiveness

True leadership has a compounding effect on efficiency. If you identify yourself as a leader you will improve your business through efficiencies. If you teach your team that they are leaders too, then they will identify efficiencies upon efficiencies at every level in your business.

Related: 10 Awesome Tips for Being a Better Leader

2. Get lean

Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System which gave rise to ‘Lean’ working said when asked about Lean thinking: “All we are doing is looking at the timeline, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the timeline by reducing the non-value adding wastes”

The key question here is ‘What are the things you are doing that people won’t pay for, and why are you still doing them?’. (1) Identify what your client wants, (2) identify what workflows are required to bring about the client’s goals and (3) automate the ‘system pull’ so that (1) naturally flows, without bottlenecks, from (2). Waste can arise from a range of sources including over-processing, unnecessary motion of goods and staff, and simple erroneous thinking within system design. Cut it out, because no one is paying you for it, but be careful not to inadvertently devalue your brand by dehumanizing your process

Related: How to Apply Lean Principles to Your Startup’s Productivity and Time Management

3. Invest in real business efficiency review

Kevin Zhang, the eCommerce entrepreneur behind HEMPX clothing brand and the Branded Niche eCommerce (‘BNE’) approach, has a unique way to ensure business efficiency is at the heart of his business. Every month, Kevin spends one-week logging everything that he did that week, hour by hour, and then closely examines any inefficiencies. Kevin looks at his schedule and determines which activities are high value-add and which can be automated through hiring new talent.

The difference between a successful start-up and a scaled-up business is the development of systems to build growth on the foundation of a verified concept. The University of Oxford identifies scalable infrastructure as one of the three key requirements for a business to move to the next level, alongside strong leadership and appropriate marketing. This includes IT systems and production or manufacturing systems, as well as office space and workforce arrangements. If a business owner is spending all of their time in the weeds of their business rather than constantly thinking about growth, then, of course, their business is not going to grow.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

A focus and commitment to removing inefficiency is like removing shackles from a business’s potential. It requires courageous leadership, and ability to identify what your client needs and supply that in the most streamlined fashion, and a willingness to stop and take stock to ensure you are using your time effectively to guide your business in the right direction.

By: Samuel leach / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Director of Samuel & Co Trading

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TakingTheBiz

In this revision tutorial for A level Business students we examine how to improve the efficiency of a business by improving its labour productivity. Efficiency and labour productivity are topics on the new A level Business specifications for Edexcel, AQA and OCR. TakingTheBiz is a channel dedicated to A level Business revision. See more of our videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/TakingTheBiz…​ Stay in touch with TakingTheBiz via social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TakingTheBiz/​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TakingTheBiz​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/takingthebiz/

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How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process, Culture, and Strategy

It seems like every business is struggling with the concept of transformation. Large incumbents are trying to keep pace with digital upstarts., and even digital native companies born as disruptors know that they need to transform. Take Uber: at only eight years old, it’s already upended the business model of taxis. Now it’s trying to move from a software platform to a robotics lab to build self-driving cars.

And while the number of initiatives that fall under the umbrella of “transformation” is so broad that it can seem meaningless, this breadth is actually one of the defining characteristic that differentiates transformation from ordinary change. A transformation is a whole portfolio of change initiatives that together form an integrated program.

And so a transformation is a system of systems, all made up of the most complex system of all — people. For this reason, organizational transformation is uniquely suited to the analysis, prediction, and experimental research approach of the people analytics field.

People analytics — defined as the use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits to make business decisions — helps to replace decision making based on anecdotal experience, hierarchy and risk avoidance with higher-quality decisions based on data analysis, prediction, and experimental research. In working with several dozen Fortune 500 companies with Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics division, we’ve observed companies using people analytics in three main ways to help understand and drive their transformation efforts.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

So instead of starting with discovery conversations, people analytics data was used to baseline the time spent on the process in every country, and to map the networks of the people involved. They discovered that one country was 16% percent more efficient than the average of the rest of the countries: they got the same results in 71 fewer person-hours per month and with 40 fewer people involved each month.

The people analytics team was surprised — as was finance team in that country, which had no reason to benchmark themselves against other countries and had no idea that they were such a bright spot. The transformation office approached the country finance leaders with their findings and made them partners in process improvement for the rest of the subsidiaries.

It’s unlikely the CPG company would have been able to recognize and replicate these bright spots if they had undertaken transformation with a top-down approach. And, perhaps more importantly, it involved and engaged the people on the ground who had unwittingly discovered a better way of doing things.

In bottoms-up cultural transformation initiatives, the how things are done is equally or more important than what is done. Feedback loops and other methods of data-driven storytelling are our favorite way that people analytics makes culture transformation happen. Often times, facts can change the conversation from tired head-nodding to curiosity. One people analytics team in an engineering company was struggling to help develop the company’s managers, for example. Managers often perpetuated a “sink or swim” culture that didn’t fit the company’s aspirations to be an inclusive, humane workplace.

The data analysis found that teams whose managers spent at least 16 minutes of one-on-one time with each direct per week had 30% percent more engaged direct reports than the average manager, who spent just 9 minutes per week with directs. When they brought that data-driven story to the front lines, suddenly a platitude was transformed into a useful benchmark that got the attention of managers. In this way, data storytelling is a lightweight way to build trust among stakeholders and bring behavioral science to culture transformation.

Top-down strategic transformation is often made necessary by market and technology factors outside the company, but here people analytics is a critical factor for execution. A people analytics team can serve as an instrument panel of sorts to track resources, boundaries, capacity, time use, networks, skill sets, performance, and mindsets that can help pinpoint where change is possible and can measure what happens when you try it.

One people analytics team at a financial services company was trying to help the CEO manage growth while he worked to instill a new culture in which departments would be asked to run leaner and more competitive in the market – “scrappy” and “hungry” were terms that often came up. As the transformation accelerated, teams were asked to do more with less, generate more data, and make decisions faster. Amid this, department leaders began to hear anecdotes about burnout and change fatigue and questioned whether the pace was sustainable.

To address this, the people analytics team provided their CEO with a dashboard showing the number of hours that knowledge workers were active for in different teams. When an entire team is over-utilized, he knows they can’t handle more change, while under- or unevenly utilized teams might be more receptive. He can also slice the dashboard by tenure, to learn whether recent hires have been effectively onboarded before approving new hire requests to absorb extra work.

As organizations increasingly look to data to help them in their transformation efforts, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean having more data or better charts. It’s about mastering the organizational muscle of using data to make better decisions; to hypothesize, experiment, measure and adapt. It’s not easy. But through careful collection and analysis of the right data, a major transformation can be a little less daunting – and hopefully a little more successful.

By: Chantrelle Nielsen & Natalie McCullough

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AIHR – Academy to Innovate HR

What is People Analytics and how is it different from HR Analytics, Workforce Analytics, or Talent Analytics? What has made it so popular all of a sudden and why should you be excited about it? What is the ROI of People Analytics? These are the questions that will be answered in this video!

For more, related information, check out our HR analytics + digital human resources management courses and certification programs: 🎓 Learn everything you need to drive data-driven decision-making in HR (certificate program) 💥 https://bit.ly/3c6UQN8 🎓 Get the skills you need to use technology to make HR more effective (certificate program) 💻 https://bit.ly/2VjsdGm Have a greater strategic impact with data as an HR Business Partner 🎯 https://bit.ly/2vZou6a

Can’t decide? You can access all our courses and certificate programs with our full academy license 👩‍🎓 https://bit.ly/2w4k9P1 👋👋 P.S. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest HR Analytics developments! https://www.linkedin.com/school/aihr/

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5 Reasons Why Your Clients Don’t Read Your Agency’s Reports

Establishing the business value of your SEO performance as an agency is part of client relationship building. It’s also what keeps the churn rate low and the referral rate high.

Yet, when it comes to reporting, why is it that some things get lost in translation?

Picture this – an SEO agency just managed a massive win for their automotive client, a 5% visibility improvement on both desktop and mobile for their highly competitive keywords list in the last month. From the content-driven campaign, over 25 links were built as well for one of the client’s main money pages.

But all of these insights are compiled in a fully automated report that gets sent to the client, together with all the technical tasks and other actions, without being highlighted in particular.

How can the agency make sure the client understands the ROI delivered for their business? Maybe the team is relying on the monthly meeting, but the client postpones that too.

Reporting is a critical activity for an SEO agency – one that supports effective communication and retention. And it can be tedious or strenuous work.

At times, clients don’t react as expected – but doesn’t have to be so.

Let’s dive deeper into reasons why reports sometimes fail to accomplish their objective and what do to about it, to make the best of your reporting process.

Here’s Why Clients Don’t Read Your Reports

Clients Have Different Expectations

One reason why clients won’t read reports can be the implicit expectation to see certain metrics included there or to receive them at a certain date. Or it can be that they don’t understand the specifics of your SEO activities, so they let it slide.

Keeping your clients close from day 0 is mandatory for communications to work. That means setting the right expectations regarding the agency workflows and what’s expected of the client’s team from the onboarding phase.

Reporting is a huge chunk of that so be sure to take into account the following questions and clarify them in the first month:

  • Why do we report?
  • When do we report?
  • How do we go about reporting?
  • What data goes in and where do we get that information?
  • Who is responsible for this client’s reports?
  • When should we escalate an issue? When do we make recommendations?
  • What’s the frequency of our reporting and meetings?

After negotiating all those aspects above in the agency-client alignment meeting, you can create an agency internal dashboard that includes your clients’ portfolio, the account managers responsible for each client report, monthly statuses, and due dates. That way you have an overview of your reporting process at all times.

Confusing, Long, or Unbalanced Reports

Whether it’s a fully automated 70 pages report containing every single SEO action the agency’s done or a document with inconsistent branding and copy-pasted data from various tools – it’s not an actionable document that a client can easily read and understand.

You need to have the end goal in mind: the client reading and getting how your work is helping the business. If the client doesn’t engage with your report, it’s a missed opportunity for both showcasing results and gathering feedback.

To avoid these situations, once more think about the main KPIs and SEO objectives you’ve agreed upon:

  • Do they have a keyword list they’re particular about?
  • Are they an ecommerce client wanting to increase the conversion rate?
  • Is it a lead generation campaign?

Having clarified the expectations and business objectives, that’s what you’ll report on monthly while explaining how your SEO intervention directly impacted their KPIs and business results.

To settle inconsistencies, you can create an agency template with a focus on these key insights and your agency’s brand and unique voice:

  • Think about highlighting the most important trends and victories on KPIs like non-brand organic traffic and Visibility trends.
  • Areas of focus and keyword groups.
  • Content performance.
  • Competitors’ insights.
  • Major updates that affected the campaign (if applicable).
  • Technical insights and recommendations.
  • SEO opportunities.

Then, you’ll have a good foundation that you can go on personalizing for each client.

After all, as each SEO campaign has its particularities, you need to make sure you report on the client’s specific requests.

Too Much Data, Not Enough Explanations

Apart from long or unbalanced documents, another reason for clients skipping on reading the monthly reports can be data-heavy documents, with lists upon lists of keywords and complex graphics that aren’t self-explanatory for a non-SEO specialist.

Sometimes you might work with in-house SEO professionals, but most of the time it will be a stakeholder that is interested in reaching their business goals, so they need to talk business. And even if you’re the extension of the in-house SEO and digital marketing team, they still need to justify the ROI of collaborating with your agency.

In the end, highlighting how you influenced marketing leads and sales is much more important than going into the nitty-gritty of rankings and traffic.

Want more time to focus on what matters? Then think about ways to automate data gathering.

Instead of spending multiple hours in your SEO tools, copying charts, making screenshots, and searching for the most relevant insights, optimize for time and integrate these actions into your daily routines.

For instance, with a reporting module like SEOmonitor’s, you get an assistant in the form of a Google Slides add-on that surfaces the critical insights from your campaign – that you can insert with a click. Those insights are transformed into visually appealing slides, within your predesignated agency template.

You get to focus on what matters – explaining the metrics behind your actions, how the strategy evolved, and what’s next for the client’s business.

Inconsistent Reporting Frequency

Was it supposed to be monthly? Or did you agree on a custom period?

Not getting the timing right and in alignment with your client can be another reason why reports pile up in the unread file.

Having a set frequency, which is usually month by month, helps both from a process point of view and as a ground for calibration with the client’s team.

To make sure you send your reports on time, you can use a project management tool or, again, your internal agency dashboard. Having a support system with nudges and alerts, via email, Slack or something else, keeps you on schedule.

Don’t forget to set your notifications beforehand for preparation – compounding the insights and creating the document itself. Also, you may think about the roles involved in the reporting process from the start, so you coordinate with all the team members in due time.

Unmet Expectations

There may be unmet expectations on both sides: your team made some important SEO recommendations that the client hasn’t implemented, the client expected to see a different outcome.

Returning full circle to the crucial part of alignment and expectations setting, there’s also one final aspect to take into account: communicating why it’s important to receive the report beforehand and read it.

It can work as agenda-setting for the last step in the reporting process – presenting it.

It’s also in the monthly meeting or call that you get to clarify, explain, and make recommendations while presenting the journey so far.

It can even be an opportunity to recalibrate the relationship with a silent client. It’s not the unread report per se that needs solving, but the way you both communicate.

Maybe it’s time to rehash what you both agreed during onboarding or maybe it’s time for a new approach that benefits both sides.

All in all, having the same foundation for this discussion raises its efficiency. You and the client can now focus on campaign fine-tuning and strategic talk because you know where you’re standing, the questions that need urgent answers, and can infer the next steps.

Ways to Optimize Your Reporting Process

Creating an efficient reporting process for your agency is important because, to a certain degree, reporting is retention.

Being able to articulate how your monthly activities and SEO interventions are improving business results will not only be beneficial for your client’s trust, but also for their continued collaboration.

In brief, here are the main things to consider when designing that reporting process:

  • Establishing the rules of reporting and clearly communicating them to the client in the onboarding phase.
  • Having a set internal process for how you approach reporting and its strategic objective.
  • Create a visually appealing monthly report to use across the agency, that showcases your approach and the most relevant SEO insights: SEO actions, visibility status, keyword groups, and their performance, competitors insights, SEO issues and opportunities, and next steps.
  • Automating data gathering so you have time to focus on what matters: strategy, tactics, and explaining what happened in order to translate SEO interventions to business results.
  • Creating a transparent process and gathering feedback. Your reports and meetings are a great opportunity to take the pulse of your clients and find out what you can optimize. For the sake of transparency, you should offer your clients the context to give you feedback and ask burning questions.

Our team at SEOmonitor researched this process through and through, and after gathering insights from SEO agencies, designed a reporting module that takes into account all the aspects above, so you don’t have to struggle.

You get:

  • An overview of your reports’ status at the portfolio level.
  • The status of a client’s report at each stage of the process (Due, Overdue, Submitted, In Progress), in your account manager dashboard.
  • A builder that leverages your campaign data from SEOmonitor into Google Slides – our smart assistant pulls the most relevant insights from each campaign that you can click and insert in your agency template in seconds. Plus, we’ll generate visually consistent graphs and charts that are easy to follow.
  • A feedback tracker for each monthly report that highlights engagement data: the most engaged slides, the most liked slides, and the client’s overall satisfaction, collected at the best possible moment – just after reading your report.
  • Reporting doesn’t have to be a painful or time-consuming experience for your team. And it can be significant for supporting client communications.

By: SEOMonitor

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Ryan Stewart 32.6K subscribers Download report (free): https://theblueprint.training/extend-… It’s much easier to keep your current clients than to sign new ones. This video talks about tips you can use to re-sign your clients at the end of their agreements. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 💥 LEARN to scale your agency ► http://bit.ly/2MntKos 💥 Let me MANAGE your marketing ► http://bit.ly/2MhTQJi 💥 Get hourly CONSULTING from me ► http://bit.ly/2MiXRNJ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 🗣 CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/ryan.was.here/ Facebook ► https://facebook.com/hellowebris Twitter ► https://twitter.com/ryanwashere FREE FB Group ► https://www.facebook.com/groups/digit… ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 👂CHECK OUT MY PODCAST Spotify ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-spotify Apple ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-a-marketer Google ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-google Stitcher ► http://bit.ly/mind-of-marketer-stitcher ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 👋 ABOUT ME: My name is Ryan Stewart, I’m on online entrepreneur and marketer. I used to work a job I hated for a company I didn’t believe in, until I stumbled upon “SEO”. Flash forward 10 years later and I’ve built, grown and scaled almost a dozen 7 figure businesses. It’s my goal in life to free you from the old mindset and institutions in place. If you follow my Channel you’ll learn valuable marketing, business and technical skills that will help you build your own online businesses.

What Does Your Content Say About Your Company Culture

It’s more important than ever before to build a positive and inspiring company culture. The culture of your organization affects the talent you attract, how engaged your employees are at work, and also the customers who choose your brand over others.

Your company culture is a reflection of your core brand values and mission. And those values can be an important factor in the decision-making process when someone chooses to spend their money or do business with you.

According to a 2020 survey of consumer behavior, over 70% said it was important that companies they bought from aligned with their values.There are many factors that go into your company culture. It’s important to mold the working environment and the sort of business you do around the type of culture you want to cultivate.

But have you considered how the content you are publishing affects how your company culture is perceived?

Quick Takeaways

  • Expressing your true company culture is critical for attracting the right talent and the right customers.
  • The content you publish can be a valuable way to demonstrate your brand culture.
  • Get your brand values and mission statement set in stone to create a solid base for all your content marketing efforts.

Why Your Content Is a Reflection of Your Culture

Have a think about the brands you regularly consume content from and how the content has a unique personality that affects how you would describe the brand.

For example, take a look at this tweet from smoothie company Innocent Drinks:

Even if you’d never heard of the company before, you’d probably start forming an impression of their company culture just from seeing this small piece of content.

Some things that spring to mind include:

  • Young and fun
  • Friendly
  • Caring about the environment

A quick look at the Innocent Drinks page shows that this first impression aligns pretty closely with the brand’s stated values.

How about another example?

Social media automation tool Buffer actually dedicates a whole section of its blog to the importance of “open” culture.

You can see that Buffer values transparency, sustainability, and work-life balance from their blog articles on subjects including calculating the carbon footprint of remote work, moving to a four-day workweek, and why their transparent email policy stopped working.

Buffer is a brand that really understands the importance of content marketing and makes the effort to ensure that all content reflects its core values:

  • Default to transparency
  • Cultivate positivity
  • Show gratitude
  • Practice reflection
  • Improve consistently
  • Act beyond yourself

Does Your Content Promote Your Company Culture?

Take a look through some of your existing content online with fresh eyes. Does it really reflect your brand and values? If your content was all someone had to go on, would they have an accurate picture of what it might be like to work for your company?

Some brands naturally do a great job of creating values-focused content. The ones that do succeed not only because they have a talented team of marketers and content creators working for them, but also because they have a clear idea of the company culture they want to cultivate and promote.

So if you don’t yet have a clear handle on how to describe your company culture, or you’re waiting for it to develop organically, you must focus on building a positive culture first.

Your people are one of the cornerstones of your company culture so make sure they’re involved. Getting together to officially nail down your brand values or mission statement can be a great starting point for an official company culture to flourish.

But when it comes to brand culture, actions matter more than words. There’s no point in claiming you have an open and honest culture and care about the environment if this isn’t true.

Developing your true company culture will take some time, but it can be helped along by working with people who share your values.

Hiring the right people is essential, of course. But marketing to the right audience is equally as important. If you can create content that attracts an audience that shares your brand values, you’ll be well on the way to success.

Creating Content Around Your Culture

Once you’ve put the hard work into building a great brand culture, you can use your content to show off what a great company you are.

If you’ve come up with a list of official brand values, this can be a great way to get started with your content plan, as you can make sure any new content you create falls into one of these “buckets”.

Make sure to take advantage of content to tell the story of your brand. When working through your content strategy, it’s natural to want to make sure that each piece of content is fulfilling a specific purpose and aligning with the customer journey.

But not all content has to or should funnel a potential customer toward a sale. Your content should also work to build your brand slowly but consistently with each piece you produce.

Great authors don’t have to work to market their books. People eagerly anticipate them and buy them automatically because they know they like their style and subjects.

If you approach your marketing content in the same way romance novelists tackle their books, you’re sure to be well on the road to building a dedicated audience that is interested in what you have to say.

Activating your employees to create their own content is another fail-safe way of creating authentic, engaging content.

Nobody knows your company and its culture better than your employees. Utilizing their knowledge, expertise, and passion is often the most effective way to tell the world about your company culture.

At the very least, make sure your employees are involved in your content process, whether that’s by brainstorming ideas for content topics or sharing your content on their own social media accounts.

Ready to Tell the Story of Your Brand Culture?

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today–and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

By Michael Brenner

Marketing Insider Group

The Marketing Insider Group provides content marketing workshops and content development services. Scale your content and start showing Content Marketing ROI today. Free Consultation

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What kind of corporate culture is your organization emblematic of? Let us know in the comments, and hit that like button, too. Subscribe to Eye on Tech for more videos covering the latest in business technology, including security, networking, AI, DevOps, enterprise strategy, storage, devices and more: https://www.youtube.com/EyeOnTech Stay up to date on the latest HR software news: https://searchHRsoftware.techtarget.com/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/@TTBusinessTech Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TechTargetBu… #CorporateCulture #EmployeeRetention #EyeonTech

How To Help Your Clients With Website Content Strategy

For small and medium-sized organizations, content is usually the trickiest part of putting together a website. That often results in it being the one thing web designers are left waiting for when trying to finish off a project. Even if the overall design and functionality are a go, a lack of content halts progress.

Over the years, I’ve found myself asking why this is such a challenge. But after seeing it time and again, a few things have become clear.

First, clients are generally not content creators. Most don’t sit there and write on a daily basis. Therefore, they don’t necessarily know what to say. Or, even if they have some talking points, they might struggle in articulating them.

Then there is also the obstacle of time. People who are busy running their business or non-profit may simply have trouble finding a few hours to concentrate on writing. Content strategy takes a back seat to other tasks.

This presents an opportunity for web designers to come in and save the day. With a little help, we can get the processes of creating and organizing content moving in the right direction.

Focus on the Most Important Details

If you’re redesigning or completely rebuilding an existing website, some of the hard work may be done for you. You can look to that content for clues regarding what’s important.

Even if that existing content is messy, it can still be useful. Search out the key selling points and discuss them with your client. Present them as a means to achieve their goals for the project.

Each organization will have their own unique message to share. An eCommerce shop, for example, may want to talk about their attention to detail when it comes to customer service. Meanwhile, a medical practice will want to concentrate on their expert staff and specialties. This type of information can prove vital in content creation.

The goal is to help your client to narrow their focus. Having a better understanding of the task at hand can provide them with confidence. They’ll be better positioned to produce compelling content.

Provide Visual Guidance

Another way to help clients develop a successful content strategy is through visualization. We do this by providing templates or prototypes that outline the various sections of a page.

This offers an immediate form of guidance that your client can reference when writing. They’ll have a better idea as to the desired length of content, along with how to make it easy to digest. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the process.

Of course, they may not exactly stick to the standards you’ve set. But that’s not the point. It’s more about getting them to think in terms of how that content will be seen by users. Even if they’re not initially thrilled with the mockup, you can work together on finding the right balance.

Another side benefit is that this trains clients to take a more consistent approach. In practice, this means that although the content may change from page to page, the format doesn’t. Users won’t be treated to succinct descriptions on the Services page while being expected to read a meandering, 20-paragraph opus on the About Us page.

By providing visual guidance, clients can simply fill in the blanks. It’s more efficient and less stressful.

Promote Common Sense and Ease-of-Use

When it comes to organizing content, things can get out of hand in a hurry. And they often become extreme.

Some clients may insist on cramming a massive amount of information onto a single page. Others could be just the opposite, with secondary pages that contain no more than a sentence or two. Neither of these strategies is likely to be a hit with users.

Thankfully, a little education can go a long way. When discussing content organization, focus on these fundamental questions:

  • How easy is it for users to navigate?
  • Is all the content on a particular page truly relevant?
  • What is the overall point of the content, and, is it obvious to the user?
  • Should a long page be split up into multiple sub-pages?
  • Are we missing any key information?
  • What’s best for SEO?

By asking these questions, you have the opportunity to fill your clients in on the finer points of a user-first approach. The answers should lead everyone in the right direction.

Write It Yourself

There are certain clients who may never become comfortable with writing and organizing content. Or they may just be unlikely to get around to doing the work. This is not only fine, but it’s also an opportunity for web designers.

By offering to write the content yourself, you will take some pressure off your clients – not to mention make some extra money. It could be a win-win situation.

You may find clients who are very happy to delegate this responsibility and pay you for it. In addition, it allows them to act in more of an editorial role. They can review what you’ve done and then collaborate with you to make the content the best it can be.

However, your work will likely be better received if you put in that initial research. As mentioned above, have a discussion about the most important messaging points. This will ensure a smoother process and better end result.

A Proactive Approach to Content Strategy

As with other areas of web design, being proactive with content is often key to a successful project. Keep in mind that your clients are most likely looking to you for some guidance. Therefore, your expertise and leadership may be just what they need to move forward with confidence.

And, just maybe, it means you won’t have to wait around nearly as long for that content to arrive.

By: Eric Karkovack

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The Digital Project Manager

How to get website content from clients without a headache? This is an age-old question that a lot of DPMs in our community are asking. Today, Alexa and I break down the approach we use to get the right files, on time, in the right format, when we manage website projects. Related Resources: When you’re done with this video, make sure you check out these related resources: Podcast: How To Get Website Content From Clients (With James Rose From Content Snare) https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… Podcast: How To Project Manage A Corporate Website Build (With Rich Butkevic) https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… Article: Deliver Your Next Website Project On Time With These 5 Tricks https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… DPM Membership: https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/ Follow us on social: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedigitalpr… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedigitalpm/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/1809… Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedigitalpm

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