Blog Post

Digital content and user needs (webinar recording)

By: Marco Campana
January 31, 2021

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is an organization I've been following for some time that puts out amazing information, resources, and sharing for nonprofit and charitable organizations in Scotland. Their information and advice is relevant for organizations anywhere in the world.

They also show leadership in their collaboration with other nonprofit sector organizations. The webinar below is one in a series of digital skills webinars/workshops that aim to build sector knowledge around best digital practices, raise awareness of digital tools and ultimately help increase impact with digital. I'll be sharing them all here in the near future.

Not more content. Smarter content.

In this Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) webinar they bring together Sarah Richards from Content Design London to talk about basic rules we should all be following in content design and Simon Kaplan from Citizens Advice who shares the fundamental principles that underpin the their content strategy.

From an SCVO article summarizing the webinar:

Sarah Richards defined the term ‘content design’ in the early days of GOV.UK. She talked with passion about the basic rules we should all be following.

Be clear about why you are publishing. You should have a content strategy and be clear about the user needs you are meeting. This doesn’t need to be huge, just one side of A4 might do it.   

Only publish when you can add something. The NHS provides health information. There is no need for your organisation to duplicate this. This great piece on communicating clearly gives more detail.

Define what success means. It is too easy to think that publishing equals success. You need to be digging deeper. For example, if you have short FAQs then success might be a high bounce rate. You would expect people to get the information they need in less than 20 seconds, and then leave.

Simon Kaplan is Head of Content for Citizens Advice.

He explained that they provide tactical advice. Every piece of content is designed to help a user do something. They have been working at pace to respond to the crisis. He shared practical tips about how citizens advice use data to understand needs and success.

Use data and iterate. Citizens advice have updated their main coronavirus page over 100 times since early March.  They use a range of tools to help understand what users are searching for, and how they are engaging with the content. Free tools for charities include google analytics, google trends and hotjar.

Signpost with meaning. If someone else is producing content, and you need to signpost to it then provide a useful link. Do not just give a ‘find out more’ that takes you to a homepage.

Share what you are learning. Citizens advice are open about what they learn, and how they make content decisions. They publish on a medium blog, which has loads of useful posts, including ‘why we removed the most visited advice page on our website’.

If you missed the call you can catch up via our DigiListen podcast – it is well worth 40 minutes of your time.

If you are new to content design these great resources will get you started:

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