My fellow Geonetric peeps know: I’m a die-hard fan of The Beatles. My Iowa license plate is PNYLANE. My desk is littered with the Fab Four.
These four young guys from Liverpool exploded onto the international stage in the early 60s and – armed with a unique sound and flair for fashion – changed the world in a mere decade.
But as I think about how extraordinary my favorite band has been in changing music and pop culture, I thought (nerdily) “How can the Beatles inspire content strategy?”
Have some style, mate
Before they kicked off the British Invasion in their three-piece suits, The Beatles strutted the streets of Liverpool in black leather pants and jackets. By 1966, they were donning psychedelic satin army suits as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They had a style, and they had it together.
Your organization is no different.
It might be time to refine your style guide, or if you’ve never had one, create one to maintain messaging and consistency for your digital brand.
Style guides should clearly outline:
- Spelling and grammar guidelines for your brand
- Voice and tone
- Use of colors, logo, slogans and more
You may want additional details, too, especially if you work within a large team:
- Image selection, sizing, and alt tag guidelines
- SEO requirements or guidelines
- Author formatting guidelines, templates, and approval processes
Users should love you, yeah, yeah, yeah
When The Beatles released their hit single, “She Loves You” in 1963, it was a whole new realm of songwriting for Paul McCartney and John Lennon. “Instead of singing ‘I love you’ again,” Lennon said in an interview, “we’d have a third party.” They weren’t writing about themselves anymore, but for the audience.
When you’re rethinking your user experience, consider how your content speaks to your audience. Are you talking readers or users directly? Remember, we don’t read websites in groups, so speaking to “you” rather than “patients” or “customers” establishes a stronger, more reliable relationship between them and your brand.
If you’re not sure who your audience is, develop a couple user personas that can serve as a guide for you and your staff as you write or edit content and messaging.
All you need is engagement
The Beatles were really good at press conferences. They set the standard for cheekiness in the face of ridiculous questions, like:
Press (to George Harrison): Are you married?
George Harrison: No, I’m George.
Being funny, smart and engaging was the name of the game, and the press ate it up. Even when they weren’t plugged into amps, they kept the people in front of them entertained.
Your digital presence and content should engage. Think about how you can engage with your audience in new ways, outside of conventional marketing. Consider:
- Can a stronger and more dedicated social media presence open up conversations with patients or visitors?
- Are there any newsworthy topics you could use to educate your audience through infographics, animations or videos?
- Do you have opportunities to speak to audiences in a new way or help them solve their problems? Consider user surveys, focus groups or talking to stakeholders.
Shake it up, baby!
In February 1963, the Beatles recorded their first major record Please Please Me, finishing all 14 songs in just under 13 hours. By the session’s end, John Lennon’s voice was nearly gone, with one song to spare. Producer George Martin decided to wrap it up anyway, with Lennon putting what was left of his voice into the last track. Their cover of “Twist and Shout” has since become one of the most revered rock-and-roll performances of all time.
So what does this mean for content strategy and user experience? Don’t be afraid to change things up.
If you’re noticing page visitors dipping or clicks and duration staying low and stagnant, it’s probably time to change up your content or navigation so users find what they want. User surveys and click tracking and more might give you further insight into how your audience is engaging with your website, opening doors for new ideas and approaches.
Stand up for your choices
The band’s producer, George Martin, had a song or two ready for The Beatles to record after they signed a contract. Thanks but no thanks, McCartney and Lennon said. They had their own songs in mind. Impressed with their gusto, Martin sat back and let the two songwriters make history.
When you’re ready to make a change to your content strategy and user experience, you might face some opposition. But standing up for your choices and the direction you need your digital content to go will be an important milestone. Keep in mind:
- Analytics and user data that supports the reason for your choices
- User studies or focus group data, if available
- Competitive analysis in your market of organizations already making better strides
Go out and change the world
Think your idea is outside the box? Good. Not sure you can pull it off on your own? Ask for help. Positive it’s the right direction to go? Explore it.
If there’s one lesson we can all take from the Fab Four, it’s to be fearless. Be bold. Try new things. You might just change the future.