May 2022

Guide - Hitting the mark with good content online

A dartboard graphically abstracted, using some of the corporate design colours of HENKELHIEDL , but with a classic black centre.

What makes good content? What preparation is needed for the creation and which website-specific requirements must be considered for online formats?

In general, good content is tailored to the goals and target groups of the respective institution, and it is also visually and comprehensibly presented.

What else good content should do:

  • It offers insights into an offer or an organisation
  • It reaches the right people
  • It is appealing/exciting
  • It is therefore remembered
  • It is clicked, liked, shared
  • It is gladly called upon again
  • It works sometimes for a short time, sometimes for a long time

What is good online content?

Content that is used for online formats has to fulfil further specific criteria in addition to the requirements listed above. It must be adapted to the format of a website, the concept and design. If a certain selection of modules has been defined for a page, text and images must be tailored to these modules in terms of content and appearance. In addition, this content must also be technically prepared in such a way that it meets the requirements of a website.

This includes, among other things:

  • SEO (search engine optimisation)
  • Accessibility
  • Adjustment of the headings
  • Allocation of copyrights and alt tags
  • Link text creation
  • File labelling

Phases of content creation

In order to meet the requirements listed above, good planning and a structured approach are needed. An overarching strategy is needed to ensure that the communication reaches the desired target group effectively.

1. Lay the foundations

Who is involved in this phase: Agency and communication office

Before starting to create content, it is important to make some basic decisions and to create a strategy according to which the content will be aligned. In this phase, it must be defined which target groups are to be addressed and what is to be achieved and conveyed with the content. 

It is also important to think about the organisational component of content creation and ask yourself the following questions: What resources do I have available? Which roles are needed and how should the roles be allocated? By when do certain steps have to be completed? Do I need editorial conferences or shoulder-to-shoulder meetings?

It is also important to establish certain formal and content-related rules before creating the content, for example how the target groups are to be addressed or what tone of voice is to be used in general.

2. What should be communicated?

Who is involved in this phase: Communication office

After the foundations have been laid, this phase of content creation is about defining what information is needed and collecting material accordingly. Following the research, it is necessary to select which content is relevant for the content creation and should be used. 

3. Content creation

Who is involved in this phase: Communication office and technical department

The next step is the actual content creation. The topics are passed on to the relevant departments, which create the necessary texts and take care of the selection of images.

A correction loop or any reconciliations and shoulder looks should be taken into account at this stage.

4. Installation of the content

Who is involved in this phase: Online editors 

The content created is now entered into the website, the modules are compiled and the text blocks are adapted to the format of the website.

5. The finishing touches

Who is involved in this phase? Online editors and specialist departments

In the last phase, the previously mentioned requirements for online content come into play. In addition to entering text and images, SEO-relevant content must be filled in, image rights and ALT tags entered, link and intro texts defined and accessibility observed. 

When editing this content, it often happens that content has to be revised or requested again. Therefore, enough time should be planned for this phase to allow for any correction loops and to ensure that the content meets the technical requirements.

A classification

Depending on the size of the website, the planned content output and the available resources, the phases listed above may be more or less detailed. In addition, depending on the project, there are special requirements that need to be taken into account. These phases therefore serve as a guide and must be adapted to the resources and processes of the respective company.

This is another reason why it is important to weigh up at an early stage which resources are available for content creation and to develop a corresponding plan. The general rule is: learning by doing. 

The letter

When creating (online) texts, there are a few more general aspects to consider that ensure the content is targeted and effectively captured by readers.

It is important to note that there is no right or wrong per se in many of these points; rather, it is a matter of creating a uniform linguistic image, committing to certain rules and implementing them uniformly.

  • Tonality: Establishing and using a consistent language that reflects the values of the company and appeals to the target groups. 
  • Gendering + addressing the reader: Establish a rule / form that is used uniformly.
  • Targeted language: Texts should be written in a targeted way for the intended audience. 
  • Comprehensible language: Short sentences and simple language ensure that all readers understand the text.
  • Consistent formatting: Which inverted commas are used? Are punctuation marks used at the end of bullet points? Are abbreviations used? 

To clarify in advance

Based on the above, before the actual work begins, we recommend the following steps:

  • Clarification of the distribution of roles: Which roles are needed? Who takes on which role?
  • Determining the timetables: Which work step must be done by when?
  • Determining the processes: Are editorial conferences, shoulder reviews or other forms of quality assurance needed?
  • Clarification of the translations: How is the content translated into other languages?
  • Determination, how exactly is the issue of accessibility to be ensured?
  • Establishing linguistic rules (gendering, tonality...)

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