Writing good web content

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good web contentWhat catches our attention on the web? A good picture or headline grabs attention, and then it’s down to the quality of the copy to keep the reader interested. So good web content really matters!

The rule of Charles Dickens still applies, but now it has to be applied with 21st century speed. Great Expectations was written to captivate the reader each week; captivate them enough to buy the next issue of ‘All Year Round’ in which it was serialised. Dickens was looking for sales and many of us writing for the web are also looking to achieve sales, ultimately.

This chart from Convince & Convert in the US is great for showing how we should approach writing content for our clients, but I think the balance isn’t quite right. Surely capturing and maintaining the audience’s interest is far more important than any other factor?

Download our good web content guide here.

 

12 tips for successful staff engagement

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For some campaigns, an effective internal communication campaign can be more important that the external one. What factors should you take into account when developing a strategy? Here’s a checklist of factors to take into account.

1. Give advance warning of what you’re planning to do. Produce notices & send emails flagging up what is happening, change or update them, or issue new ones at regular intervals. People quickly become immune to a poster, and people can miss emails or forget so remind them at regular intervals

2. Make a time timetable and stick to it. Nothing is more demotivating than putting things back. Everyone understands that other things have to become a priority, but nevertheless it still saps morale a little bit when an event or agreed activity doesn’t take place. Routine postponements are corrosive e.g. delayed appraisals or meetings.

3. Don’t over promise. Don’t instigate something you can’t deliver on. Find out if you can deliver by checking on all the people involved in each stage ie. due diligence/ site recce / time and motion study. E.g. could you make a meeting every Friday or is that a bad time because there’s a weekly report to submit and Thursday would be better? Could you collect all your green waste in that bin or is it too far to walk and would slow down the production line?

4. Make your communication as visual as possible and use a variety of communication methods to communicate the same point. Not everyone takes in information from written communication – a lot of people don’t actually – so if possible use a photo or graphic to communicate a message. Do not rely on just saying the same thing in slightly different ways (e.g. several emails). Try a picture, or make video of the MD talking about the plan, or publish a video once a month.

5. For big change try to organise an event which demonstrates or encapsulates that change in a physical way. Kinaesthetic learning is a great way to really make people feel the change – engage. E.g. if you’re setting new targets, have a sports day and include shooting at targets. If you have to reorganise the office, have a game of musical chairs. It’s cheesy but memorable.

6. Consider guerrilla tactics and humour. To engage people you have to get them to notice and respond or react. Surprise them with a notice in an odd place, or a teaser campaign (this if you’re planning a big staff engagement event)

7. Check language barriers. In factories and manufacturing plants English may not be the mother tongue of many staff. Having a translator – and this might be another employee – could be important especially if communicating safety issues such as new working practices.

8. Watch out for cultural differences. Again might be factories or places in ethnic areas but watch out for events at special times e.g. Ramadan when Muslims are very tired during the day.

9. Set clear targets and explain them. They might be crazy or really hard to achieve and a little bit depressing, but at least try to explain the rationale and bring people along with you. E.g. we need to achieve zero food waste to landfill as food rotting in landfill creates methane which is a green house gas twenty times more powerful than CO2.

10. Feedback information regularly. Have a central notice board, or a regular email bulletin, or staff newsletter (e.g. Mail Chimp you can then see who has clicked through etc) and tell people what has happened. If nothing has happened tell them that!

11. Share success E.g. If you want academic staff to come forward with more ideas for PR, circulate the coverage when it is achieved with a note from the VC .

12. Offer rewards and deliver on them scrupulously. E.g. if you promise to achieve zero waste to landfill, and you will give all staff a days outing if the site achieves that target, then you must deliver your promise!

Five ways to prepare the perfect PR photograph

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You know the saying – “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well this is never more true than within the media industry. In the battle to make your content stand out from the crowd, it is essential to have punchy, engaging and high quality imagery that illustrates the copy and can be maximised across the media; on websites, social media, newsletters and in print.

To help guide you through this process we have listed our top five tips for the perfect photo:

  1. Reflecting the content – if you’ve got a great story or product to shout about, then make sure your image reflects this. A good way to ensure you’re hitting the nail on the head is to look at the article’s headline, then make sure your image encapsulate this.
  1. Captioning – for the sake of the both PRs and journalists it’s important that you caption the photograph with a few well chosen words that explain what is happening or lists the names of the people who are featured.
  1. Quality – in a world where the majority of people have either a smartphone or a digital camera, there is no excuse for fuzzy, poor quality images. A sleek, crisp image will make your organisation look far more professional and will be particularly important if you want your story to be published in print media.
  1. Size matters – high-resolution images are often very large, so its important to make sure that the actual size of the image file is no more than 1MB. Many journalist’s systems reject emails that contain extremely large attachments, so by making sure your image is a 1MB or below, you will ensure that it will reach the intended recipient.
  1. Permissions – for any photos that are going to be used publically or commercially, it is important that permissions are gained from your subjects. The easiest way to do this is to prepare consent forms that can be filled out in person, or alternatively make sure to record names and email addresses so that they can be contacted and their responses seen in black and white.