About timeliness and shelf life
14th February 2023 | Posted in Website
Back in the bad old days, when all marketing communications were printed, we – the marketing team and the copywriter – always talked about shelf life. You really didn’t want to get stuck with hundreds, if not thousands, of printed brochures or case studies that couldn’t be used because information had become outdated.
Today the game has changed, and there’s really no excuse to be delivering out-of-date messaging to anyone anywhere.
Yet it happens all the time. Take Covid-19. I am constantly surprised at how many websites I visit now where the home page is still displaying the business’ guidelines for operating during the pandemic. Even the biggest companies – especially retailers – are guilty.
This is a bit of a problem because outdated information really can affect your business’ credibility. Your customers may conclude that if you can’t keep up with changing conditions, the other information on the site may be outdated. Perhaps they’ll find something they want to buy only to find it’s discontinued. Or delivery costs have gone up. They may wonder if they can trust you – and would a competitor be a better bet.
Sadly I have a similar beef about some social media. Advertising could sometimes also do with a bit more forward thinking. Just today, for example, I’ve been presented with ads encouraging me to ‘get ready for winter’. Yet we’re already in mid-February in the northern hemisphere.
One of the many questions I ask when I take on a new copywriting project is how long the content needs to stay current. It’s something that isn’t always thought about at planning stage, but we discuss and implement what the client thinks is needed.
The drawback is that there then needs to be someone with an overview of what needs to change and when. That can really only be done by someone who’s either an internal employee or a long-term partner with an understanding of your business and brand. But it is worth doing.