In the previous article in this series, we discussed what a D&I statement is and why having one on your site or blog is important.
For a refresher, a D&I statement is a Diversity and Inclusion statement that your website and company commit to. To take it a step further, we’re going to discuss in this article tips to include diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the actual content throughout your site and planning that content.
DEI and D&I are two very similar, yet different acronyms to illustrate the same idea; to promote diversity and inclusion. DEI takes it another step deeper than the term “D&I” with promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
What is The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
It is extremely important to promote DEI in your content and throughout your site. Not just for financial content, but for all content you produce online.
If you know your audience very well, you know that they are diverse, they want to be represented, respected, and included. They also want to see what they care about included too.
DEI in your content ensures your audience feels safe and seen. But it also ensures that they are exposed to perspectives that are different from their own, challenging their thinking.
4 Tips to Include DEI on Your Site
For ways to include DEI on your website and throughout the content, use these tips to get started.
1. Check for implicit and unconscious bias when writing and editing site content.
When you create content for your site, double-check your thinking and writing for bias.
Everyone has some sort of implicit or unconscious bias. We are all biased.
What’s important is that we examine our assumptions and unlearn our biases. One step to do this is practicing self-awareness and checking ourselves when we might be biased, especially in our content.
For example: When writing about topics like banking, take into consideration the access to banking that your reader has. Does your content fully speak to them and the resources they need or does it only speak to a certain group with more privilege and ease of banking access?
Is it full of jargon or it is easily readable?
These are the types of questions you’ll have to ask yourself as you look at your content. You’ll have to take that time to slow down and be introspective.
This especially includes the content and ideas that we consume because this also has an effect on the content we write.
Take a look at your recent browser history and book choices, is there a variety? Are you reading content from people that look alike, have similar experiences, and might be in an echo chamber? It’s time to switch up your content and open your mind.
2. Consider Accessibility.
Another way that you can promote DEI in your content is by considering accessibility and how that looks with different content mediums. If you create videos, do you include captions? If you record a podcast, do you provide show notes? Your content should be as accessible as possible
You should also regularly audit your content for ADA compliance.
The ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act and was passed in 1990 to prohibit discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life, including the internet.
“Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.” – ADA.gov
There are a variety of requirements for a website to be ADA compliant, including descriptive Alt text on images for screen readers to read to visually impaired users and certain color contrast ratios. This is especially important that you remember to go back to old evergreen content and check it for ADA compliance.
To test your own site for ADA compliance, you can use this resource.
3. Offer different perspectives from different writers in your content.
It is important to have a variety of perspectives and voices in your content. Inviting guest bloggers or freelance writers with a variety of experiences can help you reach your audience in new ways.
A variety of stories and experiences also gives more life to your content while opening your audience’s mind, educating them, allowing them to resonate with something new, have new ideas, and expand their thinking.
You could plan to do content series on certain subjects and do an open call for writers to give both a community aspect to the content while opening a dialogue.
4. Encourage an open dialogue within the content and at the end of articles.
If you want your audience’s full attention, you have to get them to engage. Talk to them in the content and ask questions. Ask them what they think of the topic while also telling them that they don’t have to agree with you.
They could have an experience to share that brings a whole new idea to light that would’ve been missed if a dialogue wasn’t opened.
Online content should never be in an echo chamber. We have to challenge each other to discuss new ideas, disagree, and allow and accept different perspectives.
A great way to do this is to end a blog post with a question while placing a comment section underneath. I would recommend you set up the comment section to be moderated before publishing, to allow for any review of potentially harmful comments.
DEI Is a Long-Term Commitment
To effectively include DEI on your site and in your content, you will have to create a long-term strategy. If you work with a writer or editor, you can work with your team to establish operating procedures in your writing and editing process to account for DEI.
Some ideas for things that could be a part of this operating procedure would be a checklist for ADA items for new blog posts, accessibility checks, bias checks, expanded research for new inclusive content ideas, and other related items.
To get started on creating something like with your internal team, you can use a checklist like this one from Oho.
Your audience will thank you.
Is DEI a commitment you’re going to start making in your content? Let us know how you are including DEI on your site.