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Consider the Content, But Don’t Forget the Packaging

In marketing and content promotion, any professional will tell you – almost reflexively – that packaging matters. This is true on two fronts: 1) protection and presentation of the product within; and 2) accessibility to the purchasing consumer. Although you may be picturing a physical box with a product, this also applies to professional services websites and content vehicles, such as blogs and newsletters. Let’s break down the box and see what it can teach us:

Function is Important

At the most basic level, a box needs to transport its contents to its ultimate destination. A professional services content channel is no different. Websites need to offer convenient access (optimized SEO) and unobtrusive viewing experiences.

Keep it Simple, But Inviting

It’s worth pairing great content with a great platform. Clean lines are important and navigability should be optimized. The best websites, blogs and newsletters are designed with posts and pages that flow into each other, with related content discretely placed in the viewer’s line of sight.

Identify the Author/Sender

Corporate branding elements – colors, images, fonts and even layouts – should match across web properties. In addition, logos should be prominent. Blogs that lack these features (think “personal” offerings that have slowly evolved into corporate channels); websites that fail to be consistent (think PDFs with one font and webpages with another); or newsletters that are unpleasant to the consumer and can – consciously or subconsciously – impact your brand position.

Sometimes, You Need a New (or Bigger) Box

As companies expand, so too do their offerings. If you are using the same website platform as you did five years ago, you likely need to update. Navigation, functionality (like integration of social media) and layout have all evolved. And, if you don’t have mobile-optimized websites and blogs, a large swath of traffic may be passing you by.

Repackaging is a Fruitful Process

Building and transitioning to a new website is a long process, and it involves quite a bit of planning. But in moving to a new platform, companies often identify and correct common branding, grammatical and positioning mistakes. For instance, consistent references to a company are put in place (e.g., every time “ABC Firm,” not “ABC” on second mention, or always using “LLP” after the full corporate name) and “content fiefdoms” (e.g., a new practice description written as a project by a principal), where tense and layout differ from main pages, are reworked to mesh with the whole. Companies also often find “deadwood,” words and pages that have little utility and can be removed in the name of streamlining the viewer’s experience.

Professional service companies should think about both content and packaging, as the two go hand-in-hand. Think of the “little blue box” associated with Tiffany’s. It is instantly recognizable and adds real value to the jeweler’s brand. Well-designed, thoughtful websites, newsletters and blogs do the same thing. Packaging matters.

Michael Bond

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