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Photo close-up of pencil with a question mark written on paper under pencil.

What should you put in a new or redesigned website?

As a Web Designer, I would say my most difficult task is getting content from our stores. I get it. I don’t like to write either. It’s a challenge finding time to collect your thoughts and put them on paper. I struggle writing these blogs. For some inspiration I went to a meetup in downtown Kansas City. This was a WordPress meetup, which turned out to be a workshop presented by Mike Farag – “Crafting your key message to grow advocates”. What I’m attempting to do in this blog is use some of his core ideas about “Crafting your key message”, but reconfigure them into a tool retailers might use to write content for their websites. Advocates is something that deserves it’s own blog post, so I’m going to skip that for now.

This is a short exercise for your next store meeting that will help jump-start this daunting task of creating content. Website content has very tall orders to fill. Try to think of this quote before starting to write.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek

Many times the “why you do it” is buried within yourself. You may have mentioned “why you do it” at a job interview or put it in your mission statement. It’s not something you have forgotten, it was the first starting step you took or agreed with when you decided to do the job. Getting back to the original “why?” may take some back tracking. Thinking about “what” you do, and “how” often leads to the “why?”.

Ask your store employees to answer these questions below on strips of paper about 8 inches wide and an inch tall. Only write one answer per strip of paper, so each person will have a small pile. Write your answers using only one side of the strip of paper and turn it upside down so the writing is facing down when finished with each answer. Ask everyone to not use their name on any of these strips of paper, but be honest and don’t make anything up.

  1. What are the top 5 tasks you do here at work?
  2. What are some tasks you do that your co-workers don’t, but think they should?
  3. By doing these tasks, what are you trying to accomplish?
  4. ———————————– Collect strips of paper from each person. ——————————————–
  5. On 4 different strips of paper, describe a customer you have talked to on more than 3 different occasions in the past year. Don’t use any names instead use a short description. For example: “Older couple who comes in early morning” or “Mother of three yelling kids”. Don’t worry too much about stereotyping, but no curse words either. Try to balance your customer descriptions with 2 customers you have had good experiences with and 2 customers you had bad experiences with.
  6. Write on one strip of paper, what one of the customers you described asked or told you. For example: “Mother of three yelling kids: dropped ketchup, needed clean up” or “Older couple who comes in early morning: “do we have any more caramel donuts?” Complements are okay too. For example: “Lady who comes in every day: “I just love your selection of meat”
  7. ———- Collect strips of paper from each person. Thank everyone for participating and adjourn the meeting. ———

Now organize the pile of strips on an empty flat surface in front of you.

  1. Group together strips of paper with similarities. Try to make 3 to 4 groups. Try to use ungrouped strips as sub categories under each group that makes sense. Use only 3-4 sub categories for each group.
  2. From your unused strips of paper. Pick 5 strips describing a situation you have experienced. Integrate these into an “About Us”. Expand each strip of paper into a paragraph. Add any extra paragraphs you want to include.
  3. Pick out 3-4 strips and list them out as “Sliders” for the home page.
  4. Send your Webmaster an out line of your groups. Include your “about us” in a separate section. Use reference notes of images you have and don’t have. For example: you have a strip of paper about your large meat selection. In parenthesis put (show images of: chicken, T-bone steaks, brands: Tyson, Johnsonville) or (show images I attached: pict001, pict002)

Most of what you write about will result from this process of remembering single events. These are stories your customers can relate to. Sometimes it can seem over whelming to fill a website with information you think your customers may be interested in. Most likely your day-to-day tasks benefit several customers at one time. I hope this process helps take the spreadsheets and data you stare at every day and turns that information into the real reason why you get up in the morning and do what you do.



Why do I work at AWG? “It’s hard to find a native Kansan who doesn’t have family living in a small town community... and I am no exception. My family tree is full of farmers who have helped put food on our tables for over 100 years. So when I hear of a small town’s only grocery store closing down it hits home. Even though I now live in a big city, I like to know through my work I can help keep small independent grocery stores stay open for future generations to enjoy.” -Sharlyn