tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/content-management Latest Content management content from Econsultancy 2018-04-23T14:08:24+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69959 2018-04-23T14:08:24+01:00 2018-04-23T14:08:24+01:00 A beginners' guide to measuring & increasing user attention online Nikki Gilliland <p>With such a huge amount of noise online, it’s pretty much impossible to properly view all of the content from brands you follow. Even if you do view something – would you remember it a day later? I know I wouldn’t be able to recall in detail the last branded-post I interacted with on Facebook or Instagram, which let’s be honest - despite my supposed Like - means it probably didn’t hold my attention all that much.</p> <p>The same goes for advertising or digital publishing.</p> <p>So, how can attention be measured on different channels, and what can it tell us? Let’s discuss.</p> <h3>Website content</h3> <p>For digital publishers, or any brand that puts content on its own website, page views and unique visitors have traditionally been used to measure success. However, these metrics only offer a brief snapshot of how many people are visiting a site – not how many people are actually (or thoroughly) consuming its content. </p> <p>As a result, these metrics are often called ‘vanity metrics’, as they fail to provide marketers with any real measure of the impact content has on a user.</p> <p>In contrast, attention metrics allow publishers to see the bigger picture – i.e. how a user is behaving over the entirety of a session. This can show levels of interest in specific articles or categories, as well as whether it leads to engagement elsewhere on the site.</p> <p>In this case, attention can be measured by dwell time, which indicates the amount of time passed between the moment a user clicks a search result and returns back to the SERPs. Time spent is another – a metric that tells you the amount of time a visitor spends on a page before going anywhere else.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3753/iStock-822697918.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="500"></p> <h3>Digital and display ads</h3> <p>When it comes to measuring the success of ads online, impressions and click-through rates are most commonly used. However, this is quite a large ballpark, telling us how many users are either receiving ads or converting (which in reality, are two opposite ends of the spectrum). </p> <p>So, what about the impact ads are having on users in the middle?</p> <p><a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-154/insights-inspiration/industry-perspectives/viewability-and-audibility-key-to-video-ad-effectiveness/" target="_blank">According to Google</a>, measuring viewability and audibility in conjunction could provide better insight into ad success. This is because users who both see and hear ads tend to experience higher brand awareness, higher ad recall, and higher consideration (than those who only see or only hear ads).</p> <p>Of course, this still doesn’t confirm how long users actually spend viewing ads. Consequently, it’s more effective to tap into the specifics of ad viewability, e.g. time in view, time spent, or video completion.</p> <p>Other technology can help to bring user attention on ads to life. Mouse tracking can measure page movement, as well as tell you when a user hovers over an ad. Eye tracking can delve even deeper, indicating how a user studies various parts of a page, and how long they linger over ads (as well as what parts capture their interest the most).</p> <p>The benefits of this extend to more than just performance measurement, with insight allowing marketers to deliberately take action, and create future campaigns based on the results.</p> <p>When it comes to social ads, another indication of attention can be level of recall – i.e. whether a person is able to remember an ad or is generally more aware of brand after viewing content. </p> <p>Facebook has its own specific metric for this, called ‘Estimated ad recall lift’. Facebook suggests that it is calculated by looking at the number of people the ad reached, how much time people spent with it, as well as the historical relationships between the attention people give ads.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3750/digital_content.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="319"></p> <h3>Social content</h3> <p>On social media, content can easily slip through the net (or feed, so to speak) as well as simply be ignored. As a result, it’s vital that marketers delve deeper into engagement metrics, and give basic Likes or followers a little less weight.</p> <p>Engagement metrics such as comments and shares can offer far more insight into how much attention is being paid. Shares indicate whether a user deems something good enough to recommend, while comments can offer more specific feedback or sentiment about a brand – both positive and negative. In both cases. this level of interaction shows that the user has become invested.</p> <p>Meanwhile, because content can often be shared and not viewed (there are <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/08/08/59-percent-of-you-will-share-this-article-without-even-reading-it/#2de8f53f2a64">well publicised stats</a> to show the proportion of shared links that generate zero clicks), or perhaps viewed in isolation on social media channels, click-throughs are a vital sign of user attention and interest.</p> <p>Lastly, for video content, watch time or completion proves that interest has been held.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3752/like_button.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="449"></p> <h3>How can brands break through the attention barrier?</h3> <p>It’s all well and good to recognise the importance of attention, but how can brands capture it? </p> <p>After all, in a world of breaking news, on-demand content, and constant mobile usage – user attention is shorter than ever before. A Microsoft study found that the average attention span declined from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2015. Rational thinking would suggest it has got even shorter as the amount of content online increases.</p> <p>To finish, here are a few key ways to increase attention on different channels.</p> <h4>Site content:</h4> <ul> <li> <strong>Look at load times.</strong> It appears we’re unable to focus at the best of times, which means anything that delays a user consuming content or getting to a final destination is going to hamper this – and increase bounce rates. Ensure load times are quick and sites are free from bugs.</li> <li> <strong>Do your research.</strong> In order to increase user attention on a website, it’s important to understand why that person has come there in the first place. Look at search interest or social sentiment, and find out what people are talking about (and looking for) in relation to your brand.</li> </ul> <h4>Ads:</h4> <ul> <li> <strong>Target users likely to engage</strong>. If your analytics show that users are failing to pay attention to ads, it could be because you are targeting the wrong audience in the first place. Digging deeper into relevant demographics and other segments could mean that ads are more relevant and therefore successful at generating deep engagement.</li> <li> <strong>Consider opt-in ads.</strong> When confronted with a full-page video ad, most digital users tend to adopt a ‘fight or flight' response, meaning there's a good chance they could abandon a session entirely. In contrast, opt-in ads are <a href="https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/MarketingInsightsNewsletter/Pages/opt-in-video-ads-engage-eight-times-more-than-autoplay-ads.aspx" target="_blank">reported to generate eight times</a> more mental engagement, three-times more time spent with the brand, <em>and</em> a higher brand recall than interstitial ads. So, simply by giving users more control over what they see, you could end up generating far more engagement.</li> </ul> <h4>Social:</h4> <ul> <li> <strong>Make it visual.</strong> Research tell us that visual content is processed 60,000 times faster in the brain compared to text, meaning it grabs the attention in a much more impactful way. Whether it’s imagery or video, making your content visual will help make it stand out in the feed.</li> <li> <strong>Strike up a conversation</strong>. Finally, in order to encourage comments and shares, why not ask? If you ask for interaction, users might be more inclined to volunteer the fact that they’re paying attention. </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/fast-track/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3754/Fast_Track_Marketing_Course_Blog.png" alt="fast track training for beginners" width="615" height="325"></a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69931 2018-04-19T12:00:52+01:00 2018-04-19T12:00:52+01:00 Six examples of brands using a decoupled CMS Richard Jones <p>Here we look at how organisations are using a decoupled content management system (CMS) to free-up their content to do just that.</p> <h3>Why brands and publishers are decoupling their systems</h3> <p>Organisations need to get content to audiences where they’re looking for it, but legacy systems can make it tricky to seamlessly deliver content in real-time, in the right context, to the exploding number of channels and touchpoints. </p> <p>Brands and publishers need to free their content from siloed systems and we are seeing a move towards open, decoupled, API-driven CMSes that allow them more flexibility and to share content quickly at scale.</p> <p>Decoupled CMSes allow content teams to write once, publish anywhere by storing content as structured data components that can be consumed by any device and presented in the right format for their destination using common APIs and repositories.</p> <p>So what are the applications of this? Let’s take a look at six brands that are transforming customer experiences by decoupling their content systems.</p> <h3>KitchenAid</h3> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/3417/kitchenaid-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="239"></p> <p>Leading kitchen appliance manufacturer KitchenAid can deliver recipes to your food processor to match the ingredients you have to hand. It does this by using a decoupled CMS to manage and deliver recipe content to its app, which integrates with the KitchenAid Cook Processor.</p> <p>This is a great example of how API-led, decoupled systems allow organisations to repurpose content for delivery to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.</p> <h3>Arsenal F.C.</h3> <p>Arsenal Football Club (disclaimer: a client of mine at Inviqa) is demonstrating that it understands the fundamental need to play where your audience is. It recently remodelled its content, launching a new, decoupled content hub to expose the club’s rich library of content over multiple channels in the fastest and most efficient way.</p> <p>This new content hub integrates with external APIs and third-party systems to help the Premier League club seamlessly reach more channels, better connect with fans, and enhance the fan experience.</p> <p>As Arsenal's core platform product manager noted, the club needed a content management system (CMS) ‘that would, in time, be delivering content to devices, platforms, and channels that don’t currently exist'. With support for both new and traditional modes of content delivery, the CMS behind its new content hub is based on Drupal 8.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3713/arsenal-cms.png" alt="arsenal website" width="470" height="419"></p> <h3>The Economist</h3> <p>The Economist is one of my favourite examples of a media brand that’s really <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69174-four-brands-pushing-the-boundaries-of-content-strategy/">pushing the boundaries of content delivery</a>.  </p> <p>The Economist has reengineered its core systems to support microservices and APIs. As a result, it’s able to serve real-time content to a wide array of channels using the same core content. </p> <p>It’s an approach that gives the media organisation the agility and freedom to move quickly and test where its content resonates best.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/3418/economist-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="264"></p> <h3>Princess Cruises</h3> <p>Princess Cruises wanted to transform the way its guests access content while onboard its vessels. That’s why the company decided to evolve its popular Princess@Sea mobile application into a fully cross-platform, on-board digital experience platform.</p> <p>Providing each passenger with engaging, multilingual, real-time experiences on the device of their choosing meant that Princess Cruises needed to fully utilise every passenger-facing screen onboard its 17 ships. Getting there would require a means of centrally managing content across all these channels and touchpoints.</p> <p>Powered by a decoupled CMS, the new Princess@Sea platform allows passengers to use whichever device suits them best to send instant messages, and to browse events schedules, itineraries, deck plans, and personalised planners. </p> <p>Content is managed from a central website and is then migrated to unique websites onboard the ships at sea. The organisation has seen a 71% penetration, with 32% of passengers registering for Princess@Sea accounts.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0009/3416/princess_cruises-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="352"></p> <h3>Vodafone</h3> <p>Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecom providers and its sheer size poses challenges when it comes to delivering seamless digital experiences. But with a focus on enabling the multichannel experience of the future, it’s making huge strides here. </p> <p>Vodafone’s CMS provides the backbone for delivering the latest content and product information to its in-store point-of-sale (POS) systems as part of a wider omni-channel strategy. Its in-store screens are no longer a silo for content delivery, but are part of a continuous customer journey that also spans web and mobile, digital campaigns, and in-store signage. Content is managed from a single, decoupled system and can be translated and localised for local markets.</p> <p><a href="https://www.figarodigital.co.uk/video/vodafone-connected-customer-journey-one-channel-one-organisation/%20">Check-out this video</a> to learn more about how they’re redefining the connected customer journey.</p> <h3>NPR</h3> <p>US company NPR (national public radio) is decoupling its systems to take advantage of growing consumer appetite for voice search via voice-activated speakers such as Google Home. </p> <p>Through its <a href="https://one.npr.org/">NPR One audio app</a>, it’s connecting audiences to a stream of news, podcasts, and other content based on what an individual likes. So, by enabling the app on Google Home, users can enjoy personalised content, hands-free.</p> <h3>Decoupling your systems is getting easier </h3> <p>Thanks to the rise in industry standards like REST, JSON API and Graph QL, it’s easier than ever to integrate systems and make use of shared repositories and APIs to get content where it needs to be, in the right format. </p> <p>Remember though that technology is just the mechanism of delivery; your content provides the value. </p> <p>That’s why content modelling needs to be at the centre of everything as you map and understand how you content fits together, and how that content can be broken down into reusable components that serve a breadth of use cases.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69892 2018-03-26T15:00:00+01:00 2018-03-26T15:00:00+01:00 How managing your customer's 'top tasks' can deliver a better experience Chris Rourke <p>In usability tests, we see a recurring problem: people unable to find what they seek due to irrelevant information getting in the way and poorly labeled links.    </p> <h3>The accidental haystack</h3> <p>Piling on more content increases the haystack within which a visitor tries to find their needle - that is, the specific task they came to do.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3174/hay_stack.jpg" alt="Haystack represnting website content" width="500" height="335"></p> <p>Why does this happen? There are a few reasons, including internal pressures to promote certain content.</p> <p>Even allowing everyone to access the content management system, which sounds wonderfully democratic since everyone can publish what they want, often results in trivial or redundant content getting in the way of users performing their tasks. </p> <p>If your key management metric is simply <em>the number of pages on our site</em>, or <em>the number of different pages visited on the site</em>, just adding more content may look like a great success.  If your success metric is <em>the percentage of people able to do what they want to on our site</em>, constantly adding content may well be less successful.   </p> <p>Many also find it easier to add content than to remove it. Indeed, removing things can often be met with resistance: </p> <ul> <li><em>"We've got a team of content writers and they worked really hard creating that. So we must keep it on the site."</em></li> <li><em>"Look, the analytics show that 7 people visited that page last year - we can't let them down."</em></li> <li><em>"Yes, but those pages were Mr. McManager's idea. He's important so better let's not touch it."</em></li> </ul> <p>It's worth considering what a site's content is actually for. After all, a great webpage is not something to simply look at - it's something to do practical things with.</p> <p>Great customer experiences happen when people can easily perform their tasks such as finding information, downloading something, getting in touch, buying something, comparing, deciding and more. Let your customers do these easily and they will come back repeatedly.</p> <h3>All tasks are not created equal</h3> <p>Most sites have so many things that can be done on them it is hard to decide which ones to prioritise. Some things - the 'top tasks' - are very important for many people and add great value to the site and user experience.</p> <p>Typically, there are also many relatively unimportant tasks that add far less value. However, these 'tiny tasks' are often given undue prominence which can lead to competing links and calls to action.</p> <h3><strong>How to discover your users' tasks </strong></h3> <p>Using an approach called top task management helps to identify and focus on what really matters to customers to reduce complexity and improve customer experience. </p> <p>A first step is to perform a <a title="Top Task ID" href="http://www.customercarewords.com/services/customer-top-task-identification/">top tasks identification</a>, an innovative user research method developed by <a href="http://gerrymcgovern.com/">Gerry McGovern</a>.  This is performed over several steps that lead to a poll asking site visitors and other customers to select their most important tasks with the organisation.  </p> <p>Each participant votes on their top five tasks from a randomised list of potential tasks for the site. The data typically shows a pattern of four to six top tasks getting about 25% of the votes, with the remainder extending into a 'long tail' of tiny tasks. An example of this is seen in the results for the European Commission which also <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/ipg/basics/web_rationalisation/top_tasks_en.htm">described in detail</a> their process and results. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3173/27051533798_e9f019e23a_z.jpg" alt="top tasks analysis showing 6 tasks that take 25% of the vote" width="640" height="323"></p> <p>Information such as this helps organisations review their navigation information architecture, re-prioritise their content and ensure that their site supports the users' top tasks. This gives you the best of both worlds: better access to the top tasks and clear signposting to everything else through user-centred navigation.</p> <p>And if some content needs to be removed, you have a solid basis to make those decisions based on the user task priorities.</p> <p>The effects can be significant. Liverpool City Council redesigned its site after identifying their customers' top tasks and reduced the site from 4,000 pages to 700. This delivered a 400% increase in people transacting online and substantially fewer support phone calls. This was a powerful result for a local council needing to save money by making better use of its website. </p> <p>Top task management provides insightful results that can be applied to make a real difference to that very important performance metric – your customers' ability to do what they want on your site.</p> <p>As a customer experience method, top tasks management has proven very useful for redesigning digital services around the users' needs, especially for large, information-heavy sites or intranets supporting lots of tasks for a wide variety of users.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69896 2018-03-23T09:30:00+00:00 2018-03-23T09:30:00+00:00 Shelter Scotland’s chatbot had >4,000 interactions in its first four months, freeing up time for helpline staff Nikki Gilliland <p>Shelter is one charity that has experimented with the technology in the past few years. It first developed ‘Sheldon’ during a hackathon – a bot that would theoretically be able to answer people’s queries about private tenants’ rights in Scotland. On the back of this, the charity has gone on to develop and implement ‘Ask Ailsa’, which is a fully working chatbot created in the same vein.</p> <p>In order to gain a better understanding of Ailsa, as well as the charity’s use of artificial intelligence in general, I spoke with Keith Bartholomew, senior digital officer at Shelter Scotland.</p> <p><em>(N.B. If you're interested in AI and marketing, check out Marketing Week's <a href="http://conferences.marketingweek.com/">Supercharged conference</a> on May 1st.)</em></p> <h3>What’s the purpose of the chatbot?</h3> <p>According to Bartholomew, the purpose of Ailsa is very much rooted in problem-solving rather than fundraising or general awareness. </p> <p>Ailsa was developed to coincide with major changes being introduced to private renting in Scotland, involving a new kind of private tenancy, with new rules around the length of a tenancy, how much notice a tenant had to give, and how a landlord could end a tenancy.</p> <p>While these changes were created to give more rights and better protection to tenants, as well as to easily resolve disputes if things go wrong, Shelter predicted that the changes would inevitably result in confusion for tenants and landlords alike. </p> <p>As a result, Bartholomew says that "the chatbot was developed to answer any questions people may have, and ensure they are aware of the new rules."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3128/Ailsa_1.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="523"></p> <h3>The chatbot currently has very little ‘chat’ – does it matter?</h3> <p>One of the biggest obstacles brands face when creating chatbots is limitations in technology. While NLP (natural language processing) theoretically offers users a richer and more interactive experience - one that mimics human interaction – this often takes a long time to come to fruition (as the bot learns natural speech patterns over time).</p> <p>These kinds of bots can also go awry, either failing to answer basic queries or worse – speaking in offensive language. Microsoft’s Taybot is the most famous example of this.</p> <p>For Shelter Scotland, the chatbot was initially developed to work from a set decision tree of questions.</p> <p>The speed and ease with which the bot could be created was undoubtedly a big motivator, as well as the straightforward nature of user queries in the first place. However, the charity has since decided it is keen to develop the bot further.</p> <p>Bartholomew tells me the bot is "currently in development of stage two, which will introduce natural language programming and allow for a greater number of queries."</p> <p>With recent talk about further new rules for private renting in Scotland, Shelter is clearly intent on pre-empting the next inevitable onslaught of questions.</p> <h3>Why an on-site bot rather than Facebook Messenger?</h3> <p>A lot of brand chatbots have been created through the Facebook Messenger platform. This is largely to do with the technology’s accessibility, but also so that brands can expand their presence on the channel and connect with its mammoth audience. </p> <p>Shelter Scotland decided against this, instead creating the chatbot to be hosted on its standalone website, which would be promoted through very targeted marketing.</p> <p>Bartholomew explains that this decision is also due to the bot’s very niche purpose: "Since it could only answer questions relating to the new private renting rules, we didn't want to open it up Facebook Messenger or to respond to general advice queries."</p> <p>Instead, the bot is integrated into the charity’s ‘New Rules’ microsite.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/3130/Ailsa_2.JPG" alt="" width="490" height="535"></p> <h3>How many people have used Ailsa?</h3> <p>According to Bartholomew, the chatbot has been used 4,380 times since it first launched last October.</p> <p>That’s a fairly impressive amount considering the time-frame – and definitely worthwhile considering that those people would have otherwise contacted the charity’s helpline service.</p> <p>"The chatbot allows people to self-serve and find out the information online, rather than phone our helpline. It has helped a significant number of people get to grips with the legislation changes, without us getting a large volume of calls to our helpline," says Bartholomew.</p> <p>Quite rightly, he reiterates how "advisers are available to respond to more urgent queries" as a result. And from the user’s perspective, it undoubtedly means a better experience – with less friction and a satisfying outcome. </p> <p>Ultimately, this has been the bot’s biggest benefit and the reason why Shelter Scotland would consider AI again in future. The charity is running a hackathon in Edinburgh at the end of March in order to develop further solutions related to the private renting situation in Scotland.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">What problems persist for private renters? Join us to develop practical solutions with <a href="https://twitter.com/ProductForge?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ProductForge</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GenerationRentPF?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GenerationRentPF</a> <a href="https://t.co/SPAhmeijOk">https://t.co/SPAhmeijOk</a> <a href="https://t.co/nRCYIQR3jh">pic.twitter.com/nRCYIQR3jh</a></p> — Shelter Scotland (@shelterscotland) <a href="https://twitter.com/shelterscotland/status/969593685901021189?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 2, 2018</a> </blockquote> <p>I finished by asking Bartholomew whether or not Shelter will look to use AI technology for other purposes in future. He explained that while "there are no immediate plans to, we do hope to use the same technology for other advice-giving opportunities on our website."</p> <p>With users clearly finding value in Ailsa, it’s an example that could be well-worth repeating (and one that other brands keen to develop chatbots could learn from).</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69839-eight-things-your-chatbot-should-never-do" target="_blank">Eight things your chatbot should never do</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69716-why-fashion-and-beauty-brands-are-still-betting-on-chatbots" target="_blank">Why fashion and beauty brands are still betting on chatbots</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3437 2018-03-08T12:28:30+00:00 2018-03-08T12:28:30+00:00 Content Strategy & Editorial Planning <p>Great content sells! It will help build your brand and boost your business.  </p> <p>Our 1-day training course on Content Strategy &amp; Editorial Planning will support you in producing content that attracts, engages and converts your audience.</p> <p><strong>June Booking Offer:</strong> Book our June date and <strong>get 1 week’s free access</strong>  to the Econsultancy platform – the richest online content and insight available to modern marketers today. You’ll benefit from our market-fresh research reports and best practice guides, as well as the latest news and views and blogs. What’s more, you will be guided personally through the platform by one of our consultants to ensure you have access to the content most relevant to you as a modern marketer.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3436 2018-03-08T12:23:25+00:00 2018-03-08T12:23:25+00:00 Content Strategy & Editorial Planning <p>Great content sells! It will help build your brand and boost your business.  </p> <p>Our 1-day training course on Content Strategy &amp; Editorial Planning will support you in producing content that attracts, engages and converts your audience.</p> <p><strong>June Booking Offer:</strong> Book our June date and <strong>get 1 week’s free access</strong>  to the Econsultancy platform – the richest online content and insight available to modern marketers today. You’ll benefit from our market-fresh research reports and best practice guides, as well as the latest news and views and blogs. What’s more, you will be guided personally through the platform by one of our consultants to ensure you have access to the content most relevant to you as a modern marketer.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3435 2018-03-08T12:22:41+00:00 2018-03-08T12:22:41+00:00 Content Strategy & Editorial Planning <p>Great content sells! It will help build your brand and boost your business.  </p> <p>Our 1-day training course on Content Strategy &amp; Editorial Planning will support you in producing content that attracts, engages and converts your audience.</p> <p><strong>June Booking Offer:</strong> Book our June date and <strong>get 1 week’s free access</strong>  to the Econsultancy platform – the richest online content and insight available to modern marketers today. You’ll benefit from our market-fresh research reports and best practice guides, as well as the latest news and views and blogs. What’s more, you will be guided personally through the platform by one of our consultants to ensure you have access to the content most relevant to you as a modern marketer.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3434 2018-03-08T12:18:54+00:00 2018-03-08T12:18:54+00:00 Content Strategy & Editorial Planning <p>Great content sells! It will help build your brand and boost your business.  </p> <p>Our 1-day training course on Content Strategy &amp; Editorial Planning will support you in producing content that attracts, engages and converts your audience.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3433 2018-03-08T12:18:10+00:00 2018-03-08T12:18:10+00:00 Content Strategy & Editorial Planning <p>Great content sells! It will help build your brand and boost your business.  </p> <p>Our 1-day training course on Content Strategy &amp; Editorial Planning will support you in producing content that attracts, engages and converts your audience.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69665 2017-12-14T11:30:00+00:00 2017-12-14T11:30:00+00:00 How to start planning a successful content strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>Interestingly, it seems a lot of marketers are still struggling to get to grips with the planning stage. According to the Content Marketing Institute, just <a href="http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2017_B2B_Research_FINAL.pdf">37%</a> of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy in place, with a lack of concrete preparation reportedly contributing to failure rates.</p> <p>So, what steps should you take to ensure your content marketing strategy is rock solid for 2018? Here’s six tips to set you on the right track.</p> <h3>1. Define your customer persona</h3> <p>While you might think you have a good understanding of your audience, many marketers tend to focus on segments – i.e. factors like gender, age range, or location. However, personas delve much deeper into these key segments, telling us important traits about individuals such as their motivation, what they value in a brand, and why they might stay loyal.  </p> <p>This kind of insight into your audience can be highly valuable when creating a content strategy, helping you to create content that resonates with consumers at various different stages of their journey. Instead of being ‘nice to have’ or a throwaway part of a strategy, creating customer personas should be one of the first and most important foundations.</p> <p>There are multiple ways to research the information needed, including monitoring social media sentiment (which will tell you what an audience is talking about) as well as keyword research and analytics to discover what consumers are searching for and currently enjoying. <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69322-what-are-customer-personas-and-why-are-they-so-important" target="_blank">This article</a> explains further.</p> <p>Empathy maps can also be a usefool tool to identify customer pains and gains, and how content could be used to smooth out the customer journey.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1108/Empathy_map.JPG" alt="" width="500" height="432"></p> <h3>2. Determine what works and what doesn’t</h3> <p>Speaking of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64297-18-useful-google-analytics-custom-reports-segments-and-dashboards-for-seo" target="_blank">Google Analytics</a>, when setting up or updating strategy for the year ahead, it’s also important to go back and look at the successes (or failures) of the previous year. This can sometimes be known as a content audit, but more so when the focus is solely on SEO.</p> <p>Identifying key SEO metrics is certainly one benefit of an audit. This means factors that might be affecting a page's ranking, which could be anything from page speed to copywriting. More broadly, an audit can also highlight important content marketing metrics like the number of social shares or bounce rate.</p> <p>These finding should ideally inform future strategy, for example, in terms of the most-popular topics and where it might be worth repeating content (or changing tack completely).</p> <h3>3. Align format and channel</h3> <p>While video is said to be the most engaging form of content, there’s no definitive answer to the great format debate – it all depends on the brand or product in question. However, the type of content you choose to create should always be aligned with its core aim, as well as the distribution channel.</p> <p>For example, the aim of a B2B brand might be to use content to educate consumers rather than entertain them. In this instance, it might not be wise to distribute content on a platform like Facebook, where the user behaviour is more likely to be aligned with short-form and laid-back video content.</p> <p>Again, it’s helpful to go back to your personas to determine the best content format. Asking questions about your customer - such as where on social do they spend their time, or what are they looking for - will result in higher relevancy and therefore greater impact. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1110/wordpress.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="268"></p> <h3>4. Create an editorial calendar</h3> <p>An <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64587-eight-free-content-calendar-templates-to-help-plan-your-output" target="_blank">editorial calendar</a> is often confused with content strategy itself, as marketers wrongly tend to assume that plotting ideas and publication dates is all that needs to be done. It’s a highly important step, having said that, and one that <em>can</em> improve overall strategy.</p> <p>A calendar should naturally include content ideas and dates, however to generate the most success it should also include detailed information on responsibility (i.e. who creates and owns what) as well as details about distribution (i.e. where the content is published) and finally, what content perhaps needs to be updated or republished.</p> <h3>5. Set KPI's</h3> <p>Another important element of an editorial calendar (and overall strategy) is performance measurement. This means determining and setting up key performance indicators to measure the success of content. A simple example is to measure engagement levels of a blog post by looking at page views or dwell time. </p> <p>As content marketing is often tailored to reach customers at various points in the purchase journey, it’s also important to set KPI's according to where the customer might be at that time. For example, if you are measuring content in terms of engagement, a KPI could be social shares or video views. However, this does not measure success in other areas such as conversion or lead generation, where the KPI would be sales, downloads or sign ups.</p> <p>As well as helping you to track and justify the content you create, setting KPI's can also help to inform future content. By measuring what devices customers are using to access content, for example, you could potentially create or optimise future content with this in mind.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/1109/iStock-673485188.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="381"></p> <h3>6. Collaborate and listen</h3> <p>According to Oracle, 34% of brands admit that silos exist within their organisations, with sales, marketing and customer service teams often working completely independently of each other. When it comes to content marketing, silos can rapidly appear between sub-teams such as SEO, email, and social. </p> <p>This is often because different teams value different metrics, meaning that the over-arching aim of the strategy becomes diluted and eventually lost.</p> <p>So, what’s the answer? Essentially, it is to collaborate as much as possible, and to determine a common denominator (or KPI) based on a combined set of goals. This could be something simple such as producing quality content, or more specific, like creating relevancy for the customer.</p> <p>By ensuring that all teams are aware of and invested in the content strategy, the common goal is much more likely to be reached. </p> <p><em><strong>For more on content strategy, subscribers can download Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide/" target="_blank">Best Practice Guide.</a></strong></em></p>