When it comes to prioritising work effort for the coming year, content is a top priority for communication departments. Compared to last year where content was already considered important, this year has seen an increase in demand.
Creating content designed for corporate websites can prove difficult, however providing the right content is a different, and harder, task. Depending on your audience and the business nature, the content required on corporate websites will differ. Making sure you know and understand your target groups’ needs and combining that with what you would like them to know and achieve is key. Use your core narrative, develop your own best stories, and present them in the right channel; while falling into accordance with your content strategy.
There are multiple ways for a communication department to understand their target groups’ needs. Research such as Webranking by Comprend, and website statistics are basic tools to know what information and content stakeholders are looking for. To further understand what triggers the target groups, it is necessary to dig deeper into their minds. Methods go in and out of style, but the utilisation of user profiles have seen a big rise since last year’s Web Management survey - 30% to 42% this year. The benefits of working with user profiles such as personas, target group profiles, and user behaviour needs are many. Amongst other benefits, the most outstanding example is that profiles can act as a source of inspiration for new ideas and develop a deeper understanding of user behaviours. But primarily, through creating and implementing user profiles, the content you create will be on point and in the right place; therefore, fulfilling stakeholder demands in the process.
When it comes to tracking and testing stakeholder's experience, result have increased since last year’s survey, through user testing and heat/scroll maps. Sitting down with actual users of corporate website can provide a great deal of information. Through asking key questions such - if the users find certain functions, what they use those functions for, what they like and don’t like, what they understand and don’t understand - you can get a detailed information about their behaviours and assess what areas of your corporate website needs more input regarding UX. Preferably, the user session should be saved for later reference through screen capture and recorded audio file, to provide a future referral point.
Combining user testing with a heat or scroll map, e.g. HotJar, you can further analyse the patterns within a user’s mind. Heat and scroll maps shows you where the users have clicked and scrolled on your website, through the creation of a heat maps on screen dumps of your website. Combining the qualitative approach of user testing with the quantitative approach of HotJar, or applications like Google Analytics, you will formulate a deep and broad picture of the demands and expectations of users.
Using pictures to create context within a block of text has been considered standard since the birth of the newspaper. However, video has also become a mainstay on the web due to communication departments aiming to make their content richer through video and create a more interactive connection with viewers. According to this year's respondents, videos were a top content-related activity for a corporate website. Keep in mind though, as powerful and helpful as video sources can be to highlight information for certain target groups, it is not the answer to everything.
Source: Comprend’s Web Management Survey 2018
Following the trends seen from the 2017 Web Management survey, investor relations and sustainability are two areas that have been prioritised; seeing as the highest ranked target groups for corporate websites are job seekers, analysts, shareholders, journalists and investors. Looking at the results from Webranking 2017-2018, this is a welcome focus from the stakeholder’s point of view. Investor relations, and especially sustainability, are two areas where many companies could improve in meeting stakeholder demands. There are different ways of fulfilling user requirements in regards to content. A focus area for the coming year is providing corporate stories about the company.
Let’s delve into the how and why of corporate storytelling.
Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
- Indian proverb
People have been telling stories forever. It is a way for us to connect with the world around us. A way to understand ourselves, others and life in general. Corporate storytelling can help companies illustrate their strategy and, if done properly, increase their trustworthiness.
Stories bring companies to life and gives them soul, flesh and bone. Data and information can tell a lot about a company and their business. But if a story is added to otherwise complex data and information, companies can engage their audience and create a more coherent and complete picture of themselves.
Two obstacles companies have when it comes to digital communication are:
How can you deal with these obstacles when reaching out to peers, stakeholders and possible employees through digital communication? A great way to create a corporate narrative is to find ways for others to connect with your company’s values. If a you are passionate about something, create a story around that and show what you do for other people, the environment or your employees. First when you start with taking responsibility in different ways you can start conveying your company’s values.
With stories, we can manage our cultural heritage and define who we and others are. Our culture is built and carried by stories.
Companies who create a business narrative can enhance their digital communication. make them stand out and be genuine in a world full of information, doubt, criticism and fake news.
By Timmy Fredriksson & Alicia Mollbrink