3 ways councils can improve web content (Guest Post)

Our latest guest post is by Joanna Goodwin who leads the digital projects in Monmouthshire and is chair of Web Group Wales. She is also  an accredited Google partner and is currently completing her masters in digital marketing.

The concept of emotive branding relates to how people feel about your organisation. It is the difference between what you feel when you think of Marks and Spencer stores versus the views that pop into your head when you think about Aldi supermarkets.

Councils typically trigger negative feelings due to decades of negativity and bad word of mouth.

The quality of your web content and the way it is written can affect the way people perceive you. The way people feel about your organisation is the most important part of your brand – more important than colours or a logo.

So here are three quick tips to update your tone of voice and change your audience’s perception:

1. Keep Positive

Avoid using negative phrases. An example can be found on a recent social services post on the Monmouthshire Council blog. We changed the phrase ‘not looking at a person’s disabilities’ into ‘looking at a person’s abilities’.

Another example was given by Roy Tomeij at the Port 80 conference in Newport. Roy shared the following two phrases – both mean the same thing but which one would you choose?

Would you say “90% chance of living” or “10% chance of dying”?

2. Use an active voice

When possible, use the active voice (“Joanna did this”) instead of the passive voice (“this was done”). Active sentences have energy and are more direct which will provide the reader with a more positive experience. Many authors use this to keep readers turning pages!

Sentences written in the active voice are also likely to be shorter than those using the passive voice. Cut unnecessary words to improve your writing!

3. Address the user

Refer to ourselves as ‘we’ and ‘us’. Refer to readers as ‘you’ where appropriate so they feel we’re talking to them personally.

An example is “Monmouthshire County Council will contact you…” should be “We will contact you…”. If they are reading the Monmouthshire County Council website, blog or twitter feed – they already know who we are.

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