The internet of today is a big place with an even bigger audience. You can meet and interact with people in any part of the world, of any age, ethnicity, ability, or creed. It’s time that your website’s content strategy reflects this. How about starting by being more inclusive?
Inclusivity is a hot topic in today’s media, but it’s more than a trend. Here’s how to incorporate it into your content strategy.
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1. Choose Words Carefully
Different descriptors can evoke different connotations in your audience. Sometimes these are positive, sometimes negative. For your content strategy, you want to err on the side of being positive. So avoid adjectives that risk alienating the audience you’re trying to reach.
As a general rule, inclusive efforts today often emphasize the person rather than the characteristic with a person-forward descriptor. Examples include “people of color,” “a person with depression,” and so on.
2. Don’t Make Assumptions
The University of Idaho made their guide to inclusive writing public. A common theme among their guidelines is a simple but powerful instruction: “Ask for their preference.”
People may define themselves in ways you don’t expect, or not define themselves by a given trait at all. Don’t label your users for them, but give them space to label themselves. You can accomplish this in your content strategy by not drawing attention to a given trait (ethnicity, ability, etc) unless it is necessary to the content piece.
3. Understand Your Audience
You’ll need to do your research to understand who your audience is and why. But when you do, the next step is to create personas for various segments of your audience. This will provide a focus for your content strategy. When making these personas, you want to go beyond basic demographics like age, location, and gender. Really get to the heart of what your audience needs and how you can give it to them.
4. Represent Your Audience
This is perhaps the simplest step in your inclusive content strategy and one you’ve already seen before. If you work in a field dominated by men, it can be easy to get caught up in media that only shows men. Being inclusive means doing the work to find other demographics to represent when you can. It means finding and highlighting a woman’s voice from the field, for example.
5. Improve Your Accessibility
Website accessibility is all about creating a good experience for users regardless of their physical capabilities.
There’s a new accessibility guideline in town, making this the perfect time give your website an update. More likely than not, you won’t need a major digital renovation. But there are a few simple steps you can take to improve your website’s accessibility and bring it up to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
But making your website more accessible has its benefits beyond giving a better user experience. These guidelines will score you some points in the SEO department – and that’s on purpose. Search engines are now taking accessibility guidelines into consideration when ranking search results. Want a spot on the front page of a Google search? Time to get your website “up to code.”
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