Amid the controlled chaos of a successful web launch are a handful of guiding principles that keep the vision on track, the content on point, and the project on time.
As the dust begins to settle from the recently launched website for Associations Now, we revisit the strategic framework guiding the launch of associationsnow.com and share them with you:
1. We listened to our audience.
Associations Now was already a trusted source of association content—from thought leadership to case studies to practical how-to advice. In readers surveys, focus groups, and informal conversations over the past 18 months, our audience told us they still wanted all that.
But they also said they had less time to read, needed more frequent updates, spent more hours online and in social media, and wanted content to be available in various formats. To meet those needs, we developed a strategy to transform a highly regarded print product into a dynamic, multi-platform information source with the same high level of credibility among readers.
2. We wanted a mobile-friendly experience out the gate.
We employed a responsive design approach because we wanted users to have an experience tailored to the device they were using to access the site. Whether you view the site on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device, the layout will adapt to the screen size and offer an optimized experience.
Here’s a quick look at the site from a desktop, tablet, and mobile perspective:
3. We wanted a balanced mix of content.
With Associations Now, we saw an opportunity to bring new ideas to the brand online — to tell stories that uniquely affect and inform our audience.
Our tools: A mix of content curated from around the web and the associations space; insightful blog posts from our team and the community at large; and efforts to present the magazine’s content and voice to new audiences.
On top of that, we want to emphasize news-writing styles that feel more Web-native — using lots of graphics and quick-hit storytelling. Our goal: To create an experience unlike anything else in the associations world.
4. We wanted to leave space in the design.
Too often sites will be built and features will be added just to fill up white space on a wireframe with boxes of content. We wanted to launch the site with the main essentials, knowing that the content offering may evolve and multiply and we’d need additional shelf space in the design to showcase the new stuff. We know that we’ll be learning from our audience as we go, and a smart digital strategy is an agile one.
5. We know we’ll have to grind it out, every day.
Earning an audience online is not for the faint of heart. In other words, that website ain’t gonna visit itself. We’re planning on fueling the engine with content throughout the day from a roster of contributors in a variety of formats.
Our team will actively take part in existing social channels from a journalism perspective instead of a marketing perspective, acting as a trusted broker of content and ideas to the association community – and listening and sharing other great perspectives offered by other community members in meaningful ways.
This post was written by Andrew Hanelly and Julie Shoop and originally appeared on SocialFish.org.