Excerpted from a report created for a Content Strategy 2 course at Kent State University.
Current by GE
A content hub
The site (hub.currentbyge.com) is meant to be a content hub, a repository for informational articles about the switch to LED lighting. The goal is to promote Current as a thought leader in the field, and to create and track leads. A content hub can become the canonical place to find critical content on a particular topic all in one place. But, to achieve this, the content needs to be organized, structured, and have a consistent curated message.
The Current by GE site goes part of the way, but falls short of becoming a true hub. The site functions more like a complex series of seblogs that is hard to navigate. It seems to have an attitude of “the more the better.” That’s human nature. That, combined with a lack of content strategy is what kills the site.
“No single manager oversees the content. There’s an attitude of ‘just post it.’ It’s kind of like the Wild West around here. The result is too much content and it’s hard to find things.”
–Digital marketing manager, from a stakeholder interview
Analytics data bears this out. There were few unique page views for s site this large. This usually indicates a lot of content that is R.O.T.—Redundant, Outdated, or Trivial. One consequence of this is that the desirable information is hard to find.
The landing pages, in general, are filled with too many “featured posts” all of seemingly equal value and hard to sort through. Too many featured items means that none of them is actually featured. It was also hard to read the headlines and the featured images did not make it easy to choose a post for reading. It appears that content is being created without a good knowledge of what the audience wants to learn.
Articles do not speak with a clear, consistent editorial voice, and are not organized to make content clear and compelling to readers. Many times key branding messages are not mentioned up front or at all.
They also don’t follow simple HTML rules that create a hierarchy through the use of tags. Meaning can suffer for both humans and search engine bots.
User research. Stakeholders stated that there were no plans to conduct any user research. Yet, most of the issues noted are due to incomplete knowledge of what users need and want, and how they already think about the subject. The result is design driven by assumptions.
Content creators are throwing as much information as they can onto the site, hoping that users will sort through it and find what they want. People don’t work this way. They are more likely to leave the site–it must be organized for them according to the way they expect to see it.
Even a little qualitative audience research could fix or improve this problem. Yes, it’s hard to get more than 30 seconds with busy executives—the stated audience. But interviews with lower down people in each kind of industry, the factory, office, city, and retail store, would produce enough insights to transform the site.