Content is Not About You. Ever.

I’m still focused on Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Great book! Go read it.

On page 101, Michael writes this:

“Unless you are a megacelebrity, readers don’t care about you. Not really. They care about themselves. They want to know what’s in it for them. Your personal stories can be a doorway to that, but in the end, the best posts are about your readers’ needs, fears, problems, or concerns. Always ask, “What’s the takeaway for my reader?”

Cool thought. Now apply it to your library’s website, and not just to blog posts. Think about your library’s About Us page, or a page about a specific library service.

Then, ask these questions:

  • What’s the takeaway for my reader?
  • Is there a clear next step for the reader?
  • Is the question “what do I do next” answered?
  • Is that next step at the top of the page, rather than at the end of a humongous chunk of text?

If your website is like mine, after answering those questions … you have a LOT of rewriting to do. Get busy!

image from Michael Hyatt’s website

Three Questions Every Webpage Should Answer, #2: What do I do Next?

What do I do next?A couple days ago, we looked at the 1st question every webpage should answer: What can I do here? Today, let’s look at the 2nd question I think every webpage needs to answer: What do I do next?

This question is #2 for a reason. Question #1, What can I do here?, is pretty important – that’s the main focus of the page, after all. But once your webpage visitor has done that thing – read that article or filled in that form – they need to know what they can do next? Good webpages direct those next actions.

Here are some examples:

  • When you have finished reading this blog post, you’ll get a list of related blog posts at the end of the article. Those suggestions (created via a WordPress widget) are next actions.
  • In my library’s catalog (catalog.tscpl.org), if you do a search and don’t find anything, you get an Ask a Librarian chat button (assuming we’re open). “Need help? Click the Ask Us button to chat” is a next action.
  • Amazon is the King of Next Actions – each page is full of the “main event” – buying the book. But there are other, alternative next actions there, too – like adding more books to your order.
Take a look at your website, and see if individual pages answer the question “What do I do next?” If not, you are missing out on an easy way to point your customers to your great content, and to keep them on your site longer.