May 27, 2015

Guess What? Industry Trends Point to Content

Last week, I attended Confab Central in Minneapolis, the main conference for content strategists nationwide. About 650 people came to hear the latest trends in content strategy and content management.

And it's clear from the presentations that content is more important than ever. Considering that GOVTalks: Content is coming up next week, this is perfect timing for you to attend and learn what you should be doing with your content:

1. Less is more.

We've been preaching this for some time, and it's been known that web users scan instead of read, but now studies are backing it up with real numbers. When Columbia College reduced the number of their web pages from 36,000 to 944, web inquiries from students increased an amazing 82%.

2. Manage what you have.

There's nothing worse than outdated, inaccurate content, and with trust in government at an all time low, we need practices in place that allow us to continually analyze our content, do some spring cleaning, and keep everything up-to-date.

3. Words, not pictures, but some video.

Studies are now showing that images placed with text not only don't add anything to the meaning of the content, but they can actually take away from it. We've been discouraging the use of the rotating carousels on front pages now, and that's one of the reasons. People want to find what they're looking for quickly, and a stock photo of someone smiling isn't going to help.

However, people are watching short-form videos. Some people are visual learners, and if that visual medium can actually convey information, then it's useful to the end user. These don't have to be slickly produced — 1 to 2 minutes is all you need.

I'll have more findings in my talk next week at GOVTalks: Content. I hope to see you there!

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