For many businesses, content is king — and that’s not changing any time soon. According to SEMrush, over 91% of businesses use content marketing in some capacity.
Content-driven organizations gain customers by communicating their brand stories. If your company focuses on engaging its audience with compelling storytelling, your marketing strategy is driven by content. Your website might contain thousands of words of copy or just a few simple landing pages, but your messaging is your business’s most important asset.
Don’t let poor accessibility get in the way of your content. Every business has customers with disabilities, whether or not they write content for those customers: An estimated 1 in 4 American adults lives with some form of disability. Few successful businesses can afford to ignore 25% of their users, and accessible design improves the experience for all customers — regardless of their abilities.
In this article, we’ll look at a few ways that accessibility improvements can benefit a content-driven marketing strategy.
When accessibility is a priority, the user experience improves
At a basic level, the purpose of accessibility is to make the internet a better place for users with disabilities. However, the principles of an accessible mindset are universal: Content should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
Those principles are outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), the international standards for digital accessibility. Many WCAG recommendations enhance the experience for all users:
- WCAG requires websites to have consistent navigation mechanisms. Websites with better navigation help users find the information they need without becoming frustrated or confused.
- WCAG has numerous success criteria for developing forms and other user interface elements. When users can interact with your website without struggling, they’re more likely to become customers — and more likely to advocate for your brand.
- WCAG requires text alternatives for non-text content. Adding image alt tags and video transcripts provides your users with more ways to engage with your site.
- WCAG recommends writing content that can be understood by people with limited reading abilities. Writing clear content keeps your content focused on calls-to-action while also accommodating people with cognitive disabilities and memory-related conditions.
For content-driven companies, the user experience needs to be pleasant and consistent. Websites need to be easily navigable to allow content to take center stage. Your content should be written for a broad audience, and every visitor should have the same access, regardless of how they choose to browse your site.
An accessible approach can help your organization achieve those goals — while expanding your audience to include the 15% of the global population that experiences some form of disability.
Accessible content-driven websites attract more traffic
Content-driven companies need a steady influx of traffic in order to keep growing. Typically, that traffic comes from two channels: organic search and social media.
Accessible websites can attract more visitors from both of these channels. The best practices of search engine optimization (SEO) and social marketing overlap significantly with the best practices of accessibility:
- Adding alternative text to images allows search engines to index your media.
- Search engines pay attention to title tags and subheadings. Writing descriptive titles and subheadings will naturally incorporate relevant keywords — and make your content more scannable for users of all abilities.
- Adding transcripts and captions to videos can expand your social reach, providing users with more ways to enjoy multimedia content.
- Accessible social media posts enjoy higher levels of engagement.
Related: Five Ways to Improve Your SEO with Web Accessibility
Create content for everybody, and your customers will notice
Content marketing is about delivering valuable information in a way that appeals to a broad audience. If your content isn’t useful for folks with disabilities, you’re cutting out a sizable portion of that audience before you make your pitch.
Prioritizing accessibility allows your business to create predictable, operable, and understandable digital marketing tools that are robust enough to function on any platform. You’ll deliver information without distractions, and users will respond: Accessibility encourages people to have more positive experiences with your brand and highlights the key features that differentiate your business from competitors.
To start building more accessible content, review WCAG 2.1 principles and checkpoints or download our Ultimate Guide to Web Accessibility.