TUESDAY 21 NOV 2023 10:41 AM


How do you transform an audience of inattentive skim-readers into being engaged and informed? Toby Bull, partner and head of digital at Emperor, describes turning 'skimmers' into fully-immersed 'swimmers'

We know digital communications channels are a powerful tool for companies. But they require thought and clarity at every stage of the user journey to empower success.

In developing a content strategy for digital channels, we need to map out the needs of our audiences at each stage. As they progress, we reveal more information, as our users in turn show more interest, and consider who we are, evaluate how we behave and, ultimately, become an employee, investor or ally.  

A real focus has to be on understanding where our audiences start their journeys and how they consume content differently at different stages, based on their intentions. A digital user’s journey rarely starts on the homepage of a website, for example. So, knowing their origin – whether browsing their social feed, or searching google for an answer to a question or opening an email you have sent them, is key.

These first interactions – with whom we call ‘skimmers’ – are bringing awareness and interest to who we are and what we do. The content should be short and bite size in form. Punchy headlines, engaging stats or short film snippets will provide something that leaves a positive first impression. 

All demonstrated by BT Group’s Linkedin post announcing their most recent annual report. 

However, our users’ journey shouldn’t end there. By linking through to web content, we can ensure that our audiences continue on to the consideration and evaluation stages of their journey. What this involves, depends on what they are looking to do. 

Corporate audiences have a wide range of needs. From learning more about a new product and discovering which markets the company operates in, to looking for jobs, understanding whether it’s a responsible business or how well it’s performing.

At this stage of a user’s journey, they become ‘swimmers’ – willing to immerse themselves in our content and spend more time in our world. They might read an article or watch a film to understand us better. 

In BT Group’s Annual Review, they cater for the swimmers through animation, film and engaging stories. All of which eloquently underpins their strategic pillars, such as ‘Building the Strongest Foundations’.

The ideal scenario is that our audiences remain on their digital journey long enough to a stage of conversion or retention. If this is the case, it reflects that they have trust and confidence in a company’s reputation.

At this stage, these ‘divers’ are keen to perhaps apply for a role or analyse performance data. They might be interested in enquiring about becoming a supplier or downloading product information. The content that these audiences are looking for is comprehensive and action orientated.

Derwent’s Responsibility Report provides detailed performance data that demonstrates how they are progressing against their commitment to becoming a net zero carbon business by 2030. The 'Data and Downloads' section of the report provides interactive data charting and downloads for those who want to dive deeper into the content.

At Emperor, we empower our clients to harness the value of digital to communicate better, design better services and, ultimately, do better business. We do this by combining our deep specialist knowledge of the corporate and B2B worlds to craft innovative, creative, and measurably better experiences. 

Through strategic planning and careful consideration of users’ differing driving forces, we can take our audiences on a journey through our digital channels – converting skimmers to swimmers, and into divers where needed – that delivers results.