Archive for November 2010
Like most content webmasters, I typically post content or send out emails, then carefully study the resulting analytics, tweaking and making adjustments as time allows. Analytics are a great source of data on visitors, time on page, etc., however they cannot measure user comprehension or engagement.
This case study, posted on Slide Share by Colleen Jones, principle at Content Science, is her experience with the re-design of the CDC website. She provides insight on how her company used testing and client research to assess and improve the level of usability of the CDC website for 4 distinct audiences, not just in terms of locating information, but improving the level of user comprehension and motivation to act on the information.
These three key metrics for a technically complex website make a lot of sense; I was particularly interested in how face-to-face surveys were used for testing and re-testing content. Face-to-face can be misleading if the sample size is too small, yet the most effective in determining those abstract concepts of comprehension and motivation.
This is the Slide Share Link to this presentation: Testing Content: Early, Often, & Well
Colleen has other excellent content design presentations as well, it’s definitely worth a visit to her Slide Share Author page: http://www.slideshare.net/leenjones
Link to Slide Share: http://www.slideshare.net/
I really thought Brad Phillips was spot-on in his blog post, 7 Things to Do When The Media Gets It Wrong, because we need to recognize that reporters have a daunting and time-sensitive job.
As in all interpersonal communications, talking things over is typically the most constructive approach. Not communicating with media is at the end of the list, when all attempts to fix the problem have been unsuccessful.
I am a great believer in corporate transparency and story telling. I have found that the best way to prevent mistakes is to always supply a backgrounder with all of my releases so the reporter has all the necessary facts to write the story.
Having said that, there are situations when organizations should not communicate with media.* They are so critical to my job that I keep them posted to my computer:
- Employees have not yet been notified about a specific issue
- Employee, client or patient privacy is never breached for any reason
- A disaster or emergency has occurred and next-of-kin have not been notified
- Sensitive competitive information would be divulged
- Security legislation would be breached
- Union negotiations are underway and an information blackout is in effect
- Legal counsel has advised against communications
What are some other situations?
I also keep former TV reporter Gerard Braud’s ”Don’t Talk To The Media; 29 Secrets You Need to Know,” on my desk because he reminds the reader how difficult the task of reporting is and how little time they have to build their stories.
Reporters and organizations both bear the responsibility to disclose the truth, making getting it right a two-way street.
Links for this post:
*Paraphrased from IABC literature – IABC: http://www.iabc.com/
Gerard Braud: http://www.donttalktothemedia.com/
I just finished a lengthy analysis for a total communications strategic plan this week that revealed that the people who are the true champions of brand differentiation and driver for future sales is the joint Aftermarket/Field Service/Construction staff.
Sure, I could ruminate about the IMC program, and yes, it provides brand recognition and awareness, but the true brand differentiator is service. New capital sales always gets the attention, but it is the people who keep the equipment running after-hours and weekends, through regular maintenance and sudden failures, that set the stage for the final customer experience and truly define the brand.*
Great job, you guys! Where would we be without you?
* “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.” Seth’s Blog – define: Brand http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/define-brand.html