Beth Motta Design & Marketing

Common Content Pitfalls: Figuring Out What Not To Say

Website Content Development

I’ve been helping organizations translate their goals into webspeak for over a decade and I’ve noticed some patterns. Sometimes the words on the webpage can seem like almost an afterthought, but they’re your best platform to define your business.

Crystallizing your business’s goals, audience and purpose can be particularly polarizing. After an initial brain dump with all the stakeholders around a table, the process of weeding out the unnecessary information usually poses the biggest challenge. Everyone wants their voice to be heard, their two cents included, but what does a potential client REALLY need to know?


Do your homework. Take some time before the initial work session to consider and fill out the project brief provided to you by your content developer or marketing agency. Firms like BMD put a lot of thought into asking the right questions on those forms to ensure your organization is asking itself the tough questions before we’re on the clock, saving you time, and money!

Limit the input. It’s important to allow everyone in your organization to feel heard, but exercise restraint regarding who you literally bring to the table for the research phase of the content development process.

Remember the WIIFY. “What’s In It For You?” (“You” being the website’s target audience, your potential client or member.) The golden standard for all marketing is especially true online where space and attention spans are at a premium.

Keep it relevant. Sometime the truth hurts. Do your clients really care how your firm was founded, or where you used to be located? This history probably matters a lot to you, but that doesn’t mean it belongs on your website. Once you determine the competitive advantages you’ll be highlighting on the site (through your project brief and initial work session!), every piece of content can be held to the same standard. Does it support your competitive advantage? If so, keep it. If not, cut it.

(For example, if your firm’s longevity is a competitive advantage in the marketplace, then the fact you were founded in 1892 IS relevant, so it stays. But the fact that your original headquarters were yellow, does not. So it goes.)

Call in the professionals. Obviously no one knows your business better than you do, so it can be tempting to outsource the design and development on a website and save some money by keeping the content development “in-house.” But professional copywriters and agencies like BMD&M know how to articulate your intentions for an online and mobile audience. They also have an outsider’s impartiality that will help them make the difficult decisions about which parts of your story are essential and which are expendable.

Stay tuned for more common content pitfalls in coming installments!

Ready to get started building your website? Complete BMD&M’s website questionnaire to get the ball rolling.


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Kim Lawrence is the copywriter and marketing strategist at Beth Motta Design & Marketing. She spent over a decade helping brands communicate by crafting quality content back when it was called copy.

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