Content marketers ignore accessibility at their peril

  • Author: Natalie Collins
  • Date: 27 Jan 2016

Do you want to be a truly brilliant content marketer? There could be one thing holding you back. Media Access Australia's Deputy CEO, Natalie Collins, has the silver bullet!

If content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating content to engage and ultimately drive profitable customer action, then there is one key aspect that should be practiced by all content marketers – create accessible content!

I subscribe to several content marketing newsletters and digital marketing blogs and it appears that content accessibility is the one key aspect missing from their content and their advice. Now, people may think that creating accessible content only benefits people with a disability, but the benefits of applying the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to your content have a much broader reach. Here’s why accessibility is so important to your content marketing strategy.

Extend your reach

Accessible content has a much wider benefit beyond people with a disability.

It is best to think of accessibility as a key pillar to your work. By making your content accessible you're reaching the broadest possible audience.

It is difficult to quantify the size of the audiences below as they are not mutually exclusive. Collectively, it is a formidable audience.

  • People with a disability: People with a disability often use assistive technology to help them access and read content. When web content has been created using accessibility principles, users of assistive technologies can access that web content or documents without issue.
  • Baby boomers and people aged over 65: The older population is more likely to experience early onset disabilities such as vision and hearing loss, dexterity issues and cognitive issues including dementia. Baby boomers are also big adopters of technology, so not making content accessible to them will have huge consequences.
  • People with English as a second language: Making content that is easy to read and has quality captions on videos will immediately make your content more appealing to people where English as their second language.

So how do you make your content accessible?

There are some very easy things you can do to make your content accessible.

Here are 6 top tips to target:

  1. Create structure with headings: Headings and sub-headings give your content structure and are a key way for all users to navigate and skip to the content they want to read.  Begin with the H1 element and nest headings down to the H6 element.
  2. Include document and page titles: It's a simple but important one. Document and page titles help users to distinguish between documents or pages of a website in a browser. A top tip is to include the specific topic first, then the organisational name. Meaningful page titles also help to boost page rankings.
  3. Create meaningful links: Links that contain, 'Read more' and 'Click here' are a particular bugbear of mine. Good web writing principles use meaningful scannable words as links, as they convey the purpose of where the user will be going. They also provide an important benefit for users of assistive technologies who may use shortcuts to just identify the links of a page.
  4. Create alternative text for images: A picture says a thousand words, or so they say. But what if you couldn't see the image very well or not at all? Alternative text is a description of the image and is useful for people who cannot view images or cannot clearly interpret the meaning. Complex diagrams and infographics should also include a long text description to convey more complex images.
  5. Create quality captions for videos: Captions are a huge benefit for people for whom English is their second language, children learning to read and those with a hearing impairment. Creating quality captions and a transcript for videos is integral for ensuring everyone understands your audiovisual content, and they help benefit Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
  6. Don't use jargon: Try to keep your content as free from jargon as possible. Use abbreviations and acronyms sparingly and remember to include the full meaning up front.

Our team has created a tried and true accessible content writing starter kit for all types of digital content.

Feel free to make contact with me if you need help with making your digital content accessible.