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Author: Danny Chadburn

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Conducting a content check-up

In the UK, every vehicle over three years old used on public roads must undergo a test to check it’s roadworthy.

It’s known as the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test and, like death and taxes, it’s inevitable.

You rarely hear any major protests from car owners - the last thing they want is for the various bits of steel, aluminium and electrical wiring to fall apart when they’re travelling at 70mph down the A31.

They understand it’s in their best interests to give their car a thorough check-up every so often - it would be marvellous if every website owner felt the same way, introducing a regular COT (Content Optimisation and Taxonomy) test.

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How to get marketing campaign timing right

When is it a good time to pull off the motorway? Pretty frequently it seems if you look at the packed car parks of Motos and Welcome Breaks across the country.

But how many people actually plan to visit a service station? The reality is that most don’t, ending up there out of necessity - you pull up, do what you need to do and you’re on your way again.

It’s all very convenient, but not really that satisfying.

If you think about your marketing campaign plan as a journey - your content development roadmap getting you from A (the idea) to B (the results), there are the inevitable publishing stops you need to make along the way.

Rather than making these an uninspiring experience like a service station dash, see them as your opportunity to give your audiences (your passengers) something to really remember.

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How to breathe new life into old content

In early 2011 I put together a simple video for a friend's band for a song they made referencing a certain (lonely) dictator.

It was uploaded to YouTube and had been seen by a handful of people; however on December 17 that year the viewing figures suddenly skyrocketed.

The despot in question had died, and I was the unexpected beneficiary of some web traffic.

Something I had long forgotten about was suddenly being watched by thousands of people!

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Four inventive ways to distribute content

Post links on your social media channels, obviously. Put a teaser in your email newsletter, of course. Syndicate it through relevant recommendation platforms, OK then.

There are plenty of standard ways to get people to look at the content you publish and they all have their various merits in terms of generating awareness, traffic and leads.

The problem is that they also have their limitations. To really justify the investment you put into creating content, you want to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible and often that means a bit of lateral thinking.

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The secret of creating reactive content

Being first with a piece of content isn't necessarily a guarantee of victory in the traffic stakes, but in timely situations the sooner you can join the party the better.

When news breaks, and there's a legitimate reason for your brand to share its voice then it's all systems go to collaborate with your PR and marketing teams to produce something that will capture the attention of your audience.

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How to create videos that produce ROI

More than 1bn unique users visit YouTube each month and upwards of 6bn hours of video are watched each month on the site, almost an hour for every person on Earth. 

There are lots of gigantic numbers and impressive looking stats to look at with video content, but to many brands these figures don’t bear much relation to the eyes they’re seeing on their uploads.

Once you take away the cats and fails (and the cat fails), the viewing figures are often far from impressive. It’s not a case of film it and they will watch.

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Wind Farm

How to ensure your content is ready for responsive design

There’s a lot you can control about how people see, perceive and experience your online brand messages.  

But one thing you have very little influence over is where they’ll be when they do so or what device they’ll be using.

I’ve written previously on the importance of basing your content strategy on user scenarios rather than personas; figuring out where your average user is going to be when they come across your website is just as important as working out who they are.

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Personalisation: how do companies find the right balance?

Tapping the Google Play Store icon on my phone earlier this week I was faced with a horrifying sight. Sat staring at me in the ‘Recommended for You’ section was the official Tottenham Hotspur app.

It’s lucky Google isn’t in charge of selecting my Christmas presents. As a man sporting a (tasteful-ish) Arsenal tattoo, I’m on the verge of suing for slander.

The personalisation of the web has taken great strides, with big data helping to draw detailed pictures of who you are based on where you’ve been, but how do companies find the right balance between trying to deliver based on what they know, and what they assume?

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Blogging: chronological is illogical

I worked on a conference talk called Ban the Blog with a colleague about a year ago. It was a purposefully provocative title and an extreme view, but one I believe many businesses and website owners need to heed (yes, I get the irony of writing this on a blog platform, but hopefully you'll see past that minor contradiction).

Blogs can often become a content dumping ground and despite the rising influence of structured content strategies into the broad digital direction, let's start a blog' is still a statement that is regularly touted in planning sessions.

But creating a blog and chronologically presenting what you produce isn’t necessarily the answer to your content needs.

Putting your content in date order may make sense in some instances (and with some CMS platforms it’s your only option), but just because it's your latest, it isn't necessarily your greatest or the most relevant for your audience.

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The cult of content

There are some words in the English language that have huge fluctuations in positive and negative connotations depending on the context in which they're given. For instance, calling someone 'mental' can have a huge number of meanings and implications. 

'Cult' is another of those paradoxical terms. To some it sparks visions of watching DVDs of Monk or Twin Peaks, to others it suggests communes, chanting and tall stories of aliens and an afterlife paradise.

But ultimately, building a cult following for your online content is something the majority of businesses are after, whether they explicitly state it in their mission statement or not. "Creating a pattern of ritual behaviour in connection with specific objects", that's what we're all really doing isn't it?

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What if web ads became opt-in?

Brazil is set to be a busy place over the next few years with a World Cup and an Olympic Games to host. These grand events not only bring with them some of the greatest sportspeople on the planet, they're now synonymous with money via an influx of tourism and a strong scent of advertising dollars.

This need to satisfy the interests of big businesses could be interesting in São Paulo (the world’s seventh largest city) where in 2006 the local government enacted Lei Cidade Limpa, (the Clean City Law) which banished all forms of outdoor advertising.

Imagine if one day, those who control the web decided that advertising was no more: leaderboards, skyscrapers and rollovers, all resigned to the Wayback Machine.

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"Test cricket: struggling to find space in a hyped-up world."

The best article you'll never read

I've noticed a topic trend start to emerge from tech writers and mainstream journalists over recent months.

The Guardian and The Next Web are two of many publications that have featured articles about the overwhelming nature of online content, sharing their suggestions on how to make the incoming bombardment more manageable.

Paul Miller from The Verge has also returned from a self-imposed year-long web hiatus.

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