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Create Good Content

Think about your audience and take time to plan your content carefully, before you start editing your webpage.

​​Planning your new content includes thinking about your audience and the purpose of your content, and reviewing and evaluating your existing content to see what's working.

Plan

When you are developing your web content, keep the following in mind:

  • Know your audience – who are you writing for? A new mom, a cancer patient, a health care professional?
  • Use the “what’s in it for me?” lens – what will your readers want and what will they get from your page?
  • Define what readers need – what is their goal in visiting your page? Are they trying to complete a specific task or just learn about a specific topic?
  • Anticipate popular questions – what are frequently asked questions from your audience? What information would your audience be interested in contacting you for?

A good way to remember this is Kudos for KUDA: Know your audience, Use “what’s in it for me?” lens, Define what readers need, and Anticipate popular questions.

Audience, tone & voice

Our main audience is the public and we use a professional, conversational tone and the direct voice.

Before you develop content for your website, you need to know who your audience is.


While there is some content directed to specific groups, the main audience, for the majority of our websites, is the public.


Other important audiences that access our sites are:

  • health-care professionals
  • health authority staff
  • researchers
  • media.
The main audience, for the majority of our websites, is the public.

Strive for a professional, yet understandable conversational tone.


You want to be friendly and informative without overwhelming your audience with medical terminology, technical terms, or copious organization acronyms and abbreviations.


Tone should match your subject matter. A sensitive subject requires a sensitive touch. For example:


The days and weeks following a miscarriage can be very difficult. You may have a range of emotions—numbness, sadness, anger and guilt—over what happened and what could have been.

Whenever possible, use Canadian sources when quoting statements about health. This will preserve our voice as a leading health authority.


Poor

"There is NO risk-free level of secondhand smoke."

—US Surgeon General


Better

"No amount of second-hand smoke is safe. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke take in the same harmful chemicals as smokers."

—Canadian Cancer Society

PHSA is not just a collection of buildings and policies. The organization is made up of people, so it’s good to refer to them with words like “we”, “our” and “us.”


Also, speak to the audience by using the words “you” and “your” instead of “one” or “the patient.” This increases our connection with our readers. For example:


Washing your hands is a great way to help keep you and your family from getting sick. Use lots of soap and warm water, and wash all over your hands. Rinse and dry your hands afterwards. If you are in a hurry, you can use our alcohol rub instead.

Keep content fresh

Review your content regularly, and update links to keep them fresh. Credibility is lost if the content is out of date, or hasn’t been reviewed or updated in the last year.

Change within one business day of change, and review every six months:

  • Forms and documents that affect care
  • Patient processes for accessing care
  • Contact information

Change frequently, and review weekly:

  • News
  • Alerts
  • Time-sensitive announcements

Change as required, and review monthly:

  • Links
 

Don’t include a copyright statement or date on individual web pages. It is assumed that content is copyrighted.


The PHSA copyright statement is in the Terms of Use page that appears in the footer of every PHSA website. You can include a copyright date on a specific document or a quote.

 

We don't recommend saying "Page last updated on xx" on individual web pages. It is assumed that all our content is up to date (especially since most our of sites have been recently launched). Adding this simply makes the page look out of date.

 

Don’t create a page until you can fully populate it with content.


Likewise, don’t say things like “page under construction” or “content to come”. It’s better not to say anything.


Announcing a future publication date (even “shortly” is a kind of publication date) creates a “hostage to fortune” in that you will now have a publicized deadline to meet. If you miss the deadline and don’t update the web text your page will look out of date; if you miss the deadline and do update the web text you will still look disorganized (for missing the deadline).


Disclaimer text

It is not generally necessary to include a standard disclaimer on individual web pages. If you need to include a special disclaimer for your content, do so.

PHSA's Terms of Use page includes a disclaimer and is in the footer of all our sites.

Review

Content review

Some important questions to ask before you start developing new content are:

  • Is your content duplicated somewhere else on the site? Can you link to this place rather than repeat the content?
  • Are there gaps in your content? Are there places where critical information is only in a downloadable document and not on your page?
  • Is your content out of date (or does it contain content that might become out of date if you miss a deadline, such as: "we will be publishing xx in March" or "content to come")?

Content audit

A good way to figure out who your content is for, what it's about and where it goes is to do a step-by-step content audit of your existing content.

How you set up your content audit and the detail you include is up to you. Here's an outline of a basic approach. 

1Write your topics

Write a list of all your content topics.

2Identify your audiences

Identify the main audience for each topic (the two main audiences for PHSA websites are patients and the general public, and health professionals). 

3

Place your content

Refer to the structure of your website and assign each topic to a channel and page

4Write titles

write titles for each page to reflect the topic focus

5Identify links 

Identify cross-references between your pages – places you want to point your visitors to – and decide how to you will present these (ie, as links, as a button, in the main page area or in the right margin). 

Example

The content editor for an audiology department in a hospital audited her content and decided it had four main topics:

  • information about visiting the audiology clinic
  • general health information on hearing problems
  • instructions and a form for doctors to refer a patient to the audiology clinic
  • audiology care paths and clinical guidelines 

She identified the channels for the content by audience, and gave the topics short and descriptive page titles:

  • Our Services > Clinics > Audiology 
  • Health Info > Coping & Support > Hearing Problems 
  • Health Professionals > Referrals > Audiology Referral
  • Health Professionals > Clinical Resources > Audiology

It is okay for two pages to have the same name if they each appear in different channels. The structure of the website (the url, the breadcrumb trail) makes the context clear. 

The editor also created links between the pages, so that the visitor will see related pages and get to them quickly, with one click.

Related links 

On Our Services > Clinics > Audiology these could be:

  • Hearing problems health info
  • Audiology clinical resources

There would also be a mandatory link to Audiology referral.

On Health Info > Coping & Support > Hearing Problems these could be:

  • Audiology clinic
  • Audiology clinical resources

On Health Professionals > Referrals > Audiology Referral these could be:

  • Audiology clinical resources

There would also be a mandatory link to Audiology clinic.

On Health Professionals > Clinical Resources > Audiology these could be:

  • Audiology clinic
  • Audiology referral
  • Hearing problems health info
For a detailed step-by-step discussion of this process, see How to re-organize your content
Evaluate

To evaluate your website content, you can:
  • review the website statistics (email webhelp@phsa.ca for assistance)
  • survey your clients
  • hold focus groups to solicit feedback

Regarding evaluating videos you`ve created, depending on the site you posted it on, for example YouTube, you may be able to see measure or track:

  • the number of times each video has been viewed
  • viewer ratings and comments
  • channel subscribers
  • points in the video when viewership drops off
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SOURCE: Create Good Content ( )
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