If you have dropped by our website recently, you will notice that looks different too. These changes come amidst my goals and priorities for 2012. One goal is speed, I want all of my websites to load quickly and get right to the point. Another goal is clarity.
is a function of precise communication, intended to reduce the variation in how people interpret a piece of content.
In 2011, there was far too much variation in my content and messaging. The result was a lack of clarity in what my blog is about and what my company is about.
The Implications of Lacking Focus
For me, the biggest implication from neglecting to provide clarity, was being boxed into a narrowly defined role of what I do; I was understood to be “you help me put up a Facebook page.”
No. A 5th grader these days could help you put up a Facebook page.
I help you understand why to have a Facebook page, what your audience wants, how your audience behaves and the results you can expect to produce from a specific and well conceived set of actions.
There is a huge difference between those two offerings, the one that the prospect believes to be my offering, and the reality of what I actually do. Clearly something was lost in translation.
Who’s Fault Is It?
It’s my fault because the truth is unless I explicitly state what I do, people will interpret my offering based upon preconceived notions formed during previous experiences or their “understanding” of other services utilizing similar keywords and phrases.
Cause, Effect and Solution
In blogging, I am guilty of favoring lengthy explanations over brevity, which is particularly odd given my affinity for Twitter, SMS and IM. Attention spans, especially on the web, are far shorter than in years past.
This decreases readership and interest. Attention is a scarce resource.
Therefore lengthy blog posts and over-explanations are “out.”
This blog has also lacked focus. I’ve been blogging about whatever comes to my mind at the time, often Social Media. This runs counter to the advice I would give a client.
This gives readers a fuzzy picture of what the blog is really all about.
Therefore I have reduced the number of categories to that which are most important.
In business, I am guilty of expecting people to have the same exposure to case studies, best practices and thought leaders as I do. I have assumed that they understand the opportunities and implications of participation and have therefore kept my descriptions of service to headlines without the benefit of explanation.
This leaves potential prospects feeling uncertain about the conversation they are getting into and instead choose to continue their search.
Therefore I have planned to clarify my services with greater detail.
What about you?
It’s the start of 2012. Few points in time inspire planning and change like the turn of the new year. Have you assessed the clarity of the story you are telling? Obviously YOU know what you do, but will a visitor to your site understand that? What about the “voice” of your social engagement outposts? Does the “brand” of your tweets match up to your company brand?
Ultimately your content will only mean what a visitor interprets it to mean so it might be time for you to take a second look.