tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/content-management Latest Content management content from Econsultancy 2016-09-19T15:40:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68301 2016-09-19T15:40:00+01:00 2016-09-19T15:40:00+01:00 Instant messaging: An introduction to the future of communication Blake Cahill <p>For those of you that don’t know – I’ll assume you must have been trapped on a desert island for the past few years – instant messaging (IM) is a catch-all name for a range of different services that primarily provide users with the opportunity to engage in real-time communication.</p> <p>Typically led by text conversation, messengers often also provide a range of additional functionality that varies wildly from provider to provider.</p> <p>This additional functionality has, on some platforms, led to them being considered as full-blown social media networks, on a par with Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.</p> <p>In 2015, mobile phone messaging apps were used by 1.4bn consumers and eMarketer predicts that, by 2018, the number of chat app users worldwide will reach 2bn, representing 80% of smartphone users worldwide.</p> <p>In a nutshell, it’s only a matter of time before everyone and their granny, in practically every country on the planet, are using IM.</p> <h3>So who are the Big Players?</h3> <p><strong>WhatsApp</strong></p> <p>Owned by Zuckerbeg &amp; Co. and with over 1bn users, most of which are tech savvy millennials, WhatsApp is the clear front-runner in the IM community and the only truly global IM service with any significant uptake in all continents around the world.</p> <p>Offering text chat, voice recording, media sharing, group broadcasts and a robust network, you would surely bet your house on this IM giant being the one to pave the way for the future of IM [insert smiley face emoticon].</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/4627/whatsapp-facebook-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="whatsapp" width="300"></p> <p><strong>Facebook Messenger</strong></p> <p>Formed from the online chat function of the social network, Facebook Messenger has made real inroads in the EMEA and US regions with over 800m users.</p> <p>However it’s clear that with certain restrictions in places such as Asia, its move out of these two markets and into the APAC region will be a tough one to tackle. </p> <p><strong>WeChat</strong></p> <p>With 650m users, primarily in the APAC region, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat/">WeChat</a> is, significantly, dominant in the Chinese market offering users the chance to chat in a ‘walkie talkie’ style conversation, as well as other typical features such as group chats and video calls.</p> <p>WeChat is also a social network and an extendable transactional platform. It gives its users the opportunity to shop, talk to brands, order taxis (its ‘Didi Dache’ service is essentially China’s Uber) and read the news.</p> <p>WeChat is also the only social platform 80% of Chinese millennials use every day.</p> <p><em>WePay</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1483/wepay.png" alt="wepay" width="615"></p> <p><strong>kik</strong></p> <p>With over 240m users, kik has its biggest presence in the US with an impressive 42% of US users being between 16-24 years old.</p> <p>It’s a promising start, however kik has seen very little uptake out of the US and it’s still dwarfed by the progress of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for the moment at least.</p> <p><strong>Others?</strong></p> <p>Though there are some exceptions to this global picture – KakaoTalk is the most popular chat app in South Korea, for example, while Line dominates in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan – there’s no doubt that it’s Facebook that’s winning the race so far.</p> <p>And before you say, “but what about Snapchat?!”, though this service is doing some serious business with teens in the UK and USA (over 40% use it), one a global level it’s still early days with only 7% market penetration.</p> <h3>The future of IM</h3> <p>With the landscape of IM changing and its scope reaching all aspects of the user's life, both personal and professional, it’s clear to see that IM offers real opportunities for businesses to get involved – but how will this play out? </p> <p>Firstly, IM is not a place to advertise, it’s a place for marketing. It gives us a powerful new space for brands to change the way consumers think about retail and customer service.</p> <p>The promise of IM is that if offers a near perfect form of personal, intimate, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67767-will-conversational-marketing-become-a-reality-in-2016/">direct link between brands and customers</a>.</p> <p>Facebook Messenger has already started to make real inroads in expanding the capabilities of its own IM platform, recently announcing the introduction of so-called <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">chatbots</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7478/kiksephora-blog-flyer.png" alt="sephora chatbot" width="300"></p> <p>Similar (but arguably less advanced AI) has been prevalent in WeChat and other channels previously, but inclusion in Facebook Messenger is likely to see increased quality of functionality.</p> <p>Chatbots will offer the ability for businesses to create bespoke responses based on natural language input. </p> <p>As the use and complexity of chatbots expand, users will find themselves being able to order goods simply by messaging the brand – as users of WeChat are already doing – receive tailored news updates based around your interest and even control connected smart devices.</p> <p>The future of commerce and customer service could well be a hybrid of IM as it steadily becomes our primary way to interact with companies, buy things, provide service and build loyalty.</p> <p>As the big players (and the many smaller innovators) continue to expand and develop the platforms’ potential, it’s safe to say we’re only at the beginning of what looks to be a long and interesting road.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68236 2016-09-14T11:00:00+01:00 2016-09-14T11:00:00+01:00 Three big problems with marketing automation rules (and how to solve them) Andrew Davies <h3>Is marketing automation delivering?</h3> <p>As marketers, we live in a world where the number of choices that we have to make to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time is increasing exponentially.</p> <p>Marketing has moved from mass advertising where you sent one message to everyone, to segments where messages are sent to a limited number of people, to now having to understand individual <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-the-customer-journey/">customer journeys</a>.</p> <p>Marketing automation has emerged as a supposed panacea to this problem, yet despite years of propaganda from vendors promising the world, many B2B enterprises that have bought <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-automation-best-practices">marketing automation</a> are finding that it is not quite the silver bullet they expected. </p> <p>The Annuitas 2015 B2B Enterprise survey of over 100 B2B enterprise marketers from organizations with annual revenues that exceed $250m revealed that only 2.8% of respondents believed demand generation campaigns achieve their goals.</p> <p>Similarly, Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census-2016/">Email Marketing Industry census</a> surfaced that only 7% of respondents deemed their in-house automated campaigns to be “very successful”. </p> <p>The truth is that even if you avoid marketing automation mistakes (<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67250-seven-avoidable-marketing-automation-mistakes/">such as these</a>), you are still lumbered with the task of using marketing automation rules and decision logic to select and deliver campaign messages.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9143/Screen_Shot_2016-09-14_at_09.19.22.png" alt="marketing automation success" width="615" height="518"></p> <h3>Three big problems with marketing automation rules</h3> <p>At the heart of all marketing automation technology and outputs are the rules used to tell the marketing automation platform which content or message to select and send to which particular contacts in your database.</p> <p>This structure necessarily leads to three big problems for B2B organisations:</p> <p><strong>1) Marketing automation rules cannot cope with complex buyer journeys</strong></p> <p>All marketing automation relies on preset logic (“If this X happens then do Y”, “if X does not happen, then do Z”) and traditional purchase-funnel theory to architect marketing campaigns and trigger communications.</p> <p>The problem is that the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66322-do-companies-understand-the-customer-journey/">B2B buyer journey is much more complex</a> than marketing automation vendors would have you believe. </p> <p><strong>2) Rules cannot adapt to changing contexts</strong></p> <p>The nature of marketing automation rules is that once they have been activated they remain active until you manually deactivate them.</p> <p>This mean that they are not adaptive and they cannot learn from a campaign’s results, only repeat them.</p> <p>Sure, you can create a rule that says: IF [Marketing Automation score] [increases] [+5] THEN [remove from] [LISTNAME] AND [add to] [NEW LISTNAME], but rules cannot cope with the reality that prospects are continually evolving in their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67121-the-lead-data-hierarchy-for-busy-sales-people-savvy-b2b-marketers/">interests and needs</a>, not just their sales stage or marketing automation score. </p> <p><strong>3) Marketing automation rules mean more - not less - staff</strong> </p> <p>As counterintuitive as it sounds, marketing automation often means having to bring on more – not less – staff.</p> <p>As well as a marketing manager, a database manager, a demand gen exec, a content strategist, you will most likely need a marketing technologist who is able to help you get the most out of your new system.</p> <p>All of these people have input into creating the rules that are used and the cost of hiring will ultimately prolong the time it takes to see positive ROI on your marketing automation purchase.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9141/marketing_automation_complexity.jpg" alt="complexity of marketing automation" width="615"></p> <p>As soon as you begin to understand the three big problems with marketing automation rules, it all becomes clear why <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66882-how-to-fix-the-50bn-problem-in-b2b-content-marketing/">60% of content in B2B organisations is wasted </a>and why one of the biggest issues in demand generation is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63400-interest-abandonment-coming-to-a-purchase-funnel-near-you/">interest abandonment.</a></p> <h3>What are the solutions to the marketing automation rules problem? </h3> <p>As the co-founder of a B2B technology company, and having spent the past few years refining our demand generation process, I know just how powerful a good marketing automation system and practice can be - but I am also cognisant of the above problems.</p> <p>This has led us to try the following solutions:</p> <p><strong>Create more rules

</strong></p> <p>It’s true - one way to address the problem of imperfect marketing automation rules is to create more marketing automation rules to try and meet every kind of conceivable customer journey, context or need. </p> <p>However, you can only create so many rules. It is perhaps feasible when an organisation has a limited product portfolio or few content assets, but when you are a high-volume publisher with a wide variety of products and customer types (such as a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67419-how-to-make-content-marketing-easy-for-wealth-asset-managers/">wealth and asset management firm</a>) this is impossible.</p> <p>The problem is that although the number of choices is increasing, the number of rules that we can make (to make the decisions to govern those choices that we can create) is very limited. </p> <p><strong>Hire more people

</strong></p> <p>We can only create so many rules whilst retaining the same number of marketers before the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in.</p> <p>The next option then is to increase the number of rules and increase the number of marketing staff to create and manage these rules.</p> <p>The problem here is that number of available marketers is finite and the number of marketers that one can afford is even more finite, so CMOs that are on a hiring spree will still ultimately be faced with this fundamental gap between the number of choices they need to make and the number of marketing automation rules that their team can can create to make those choices. 

</p> <p><strong>No More Rules - use predictive machine-learning

</strong></p> <p>This leaves us with a third option - eschewing marketing automation rules altogether by turning to predictive, machine-learning technologies that use algorithms to make decisions, rather than rules.</p> <p>Although some marketers may baulk at the idea of turning over marketing decisions to artificial intelligence, it is becoming an<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/"> increasingly common and accepted practice</a>.</p> <p>The benefit of using predictive machine-learning is that it can learn from new information and quickly decide what the next best action is for an optimal outcome.</p> <p>Machine learning is well-suited to environments where CMOs face complex buyer journeys, constantly evolving user profiles and myriad pieces of content that need to be categorised and structured before being served across multiple channels.</p> <p>Better yet, these technologies can be integrated <em>with</em> your marketing automation platform. </p> <p>Rather than relying on restrictive rules-based logic, a ‘no more rules’ approach adapts to the unique signals and interactions of each buyer and automatically decides the best message, content or product to send to them.</p> <p>It’s an approach that saves both the prohibitive operational costs of hiring more staff and time-intensive stress of having to create rules that can govern every scenario in the ever-complex B2B buyer journey.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68235 2016-08-31T11:39:44+01:00 2016-08-31T11:39:44+01:00 A closer look at the National Trust's content strategy Nikki Gilliland <p>But how exactly did the organisation manage such a big overhaul of its content? </p> <p>We recently sat down with Tom Barker, Head of Digital for the National Trust, to hear how his team planned and executed <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/digital-content-strategy/">a winning content strategy</a>.</p> <p>You can read a summary of what he said below, or watch these videos to see what he said in full.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fiN494itqa0?list=PL1-kPkZBw50G5af50RWyZQktGWjOkGxLI&amp;wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IAz4146xkO4?list=PL1-kPkZBw50G5af50RWyZQktGWjOkGxLI&amp;wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Out with the old</h3> <p>The National Trust’s new website launched in November of 2015, but involved months of planning and preparation prior to this.</p> <p>With an old and clunky website consisting of around 50,000 pages, the challenge was finding a way to condense such a large volume of information into a concise and user-friendly amount. </p> <p>Even after stripping out a large portion of the old site, it re-launched with the hefty sum of 9,000 pages. </p> <blockquote> <p>If you think not just about our national cause and the various elements of membership and fundraising, but the sheer number of places we have.</p> <p>So, that’s over 350 properties, 200 more major pieces of outdoor landscape and coastline... it becomes a huge website with lots of content.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Updating the new site</h3> <p>As well as the amount that needed to be included, Tom highlights how the seasonal nature of the Trust requires content to be continuously updated and refreshed. </p> <p>For the launch of its new site, 500 National Trust employees were trained on the content management system to ensure that content would be ready by launch day, as well as updated according to seasonal calendars. </p> <blockquote> <p>We have a distributed marketing model, so for each of the seven regions that the National Trust covers we have a regional digital lead, but also web editors at each of the properties and places.</p> </blockquote> <p>With news featuring heavily on the site, it is imperative that staff are able to update at a property-level as quickly and seamlessly as possible.</p> <h3>How success is measured</h3> <p>With a brand new site, the National Trust now has a far superior analytics set-up. However, despite knowing how it is being used, it is yet to discover who is using it. </p> <p>A new sign-in capability will be added later in the year, and is going to be a big focus in future.</p> <blockquote> <p>Success for me, yes it could be the traditional metrics such as visits to the site and bounce rate etc.</p> <p>But when we are able to see who is using it, we can determine whether the touchpoints match up, which means no longer means having a website or mobile app that exists in silo.</p> </blockquote> <p>For the National Trust, a seamless user experience across all channels is the ultimate sign of success. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68074 2016-07-21T10:57:05+01:00 2016-07-21T10:57:05+01:00 Is content really the solution to lacklustre conversion rates? Steve Borges <p dir="ltr">Those who know me will be well aware of my belief in testing and analysis as the basis for targeted investment in improved retail performance – and the content question should, I believe, get the same treatment.</p> <p dir="ltr">So, I’ve taken a look behind the scenes and dug into the data from some of the UK’s biggest high-street fashion and lifestyle brands – essentially to answer the question:  “Does content really improve conversion?”</p> <p dir="ltr">The answer, as it turns out is “Yes and no”.  But before I expand on that, some context...</p> <h3 dir="ltr">It’s undeniably true that the shift to mobile has hit conversion for most brands.</h3> <p dir="ltr">That is driven by three inter-related trends that are right there in the data.</p> <p dir="ltr">First, there has been a dramatic shift to mobile over the last few years – the data tells us that tablet and mobile use (combined) moved from 40% of all sessions in 2013 to 68% in 2015.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data (aggregated 2013 - 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7096/sessions_by_device-blog-flyer.png" alt="sessions by device" width="470" height="276"> </p> <p dir="ltr">But what’s interesting here is the lack of any real session growth.  Quite simply, people aren’t shopping more because of mobile; they are shopping differently.</p> <p dir="ltr">Then there is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67174-five-best-practice-tips-to-boost-mobile-conversions/">the issue of mobile conversion</a>. In general, conversion on tablet is lower than desktop for most brands and conversion on mobile falls to between 14% and 64% of that achieved on desktop.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data, based on UK sales (anonymous retailers 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7099/conversion_by_device-blog-flyer.png" alt="conversion by device type" width="470" height="236"></p> <p dir="ltr">Once again, the data reveals the impact of those trends.</p> <p dir="ltr">Conversion rates were hit hard in 2014, before recovering in 2015, largely due to the implementation of mobile and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66081-responsive-web-design-15-of-the-best-sites-from-2014/">responsive sites</a> and subsequent optimisation efforts.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data, based on UK sales (anonymous retailers 2013-15)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7100/conversion_over_time-blog-flyer.png" alt="conversion over time" width="470" height="242"> </p> <p dir="ltr">As this relentless shift to mobile continues though, retailers will face an uphill struggle to improve conversion – no surprise then, that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/">conversion rate optimisation</a> (and on mobile in particular) has become a high priority for most brands.</p> <p dir="ltr">So there’s the context; but what does the data tell us about the role of content in that conversion optimisation struggle?</p> <h3>The good news is, there is a positive correlation between content and conversion</h3> <p dir="ltr">Back in 2014, L2 published research that sought to demonstrate a correlation between content quality and conversion.</p> <p dir="ltr">For them, content quality as a measure went beyond <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65656-how-nike-s-merchandising-strategy-can-help-retailers-of-all-types/">merchandising</a> and product presentation to include blogs and microsites, videos and tutorials, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67994-10-ecommerce-ux-treats-on-the-new-oasis-website">user generated content</a> and guided selling tools.</p> <p dir="ltr">I’ll refer to this as “rich content” for ease.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: L2 Inc - Content and Commerce, 2014.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7093/l2_research-blog-flyer.png" alt="L2 research" width="470" height="298"> </p> <p dir="ltr">L2 concluded that improvements in rich content were responsible for 50% of retailers’ conversion improvements and, for every five point increase in content score, conversion increased by 1%. You can read the full report <a href="https://www.l2inc.com/research/content-and-commerce-2014">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Looking at my data, I’ve also been able to demonstrate a correlation between engagement and conversion - <em>Note: We did check that session durations correlated with page-views to rule out site performance /checkout issues.</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data, based on UK sites (anonymous retailers 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7101/session_duration_vs_conversion-blog-flyer.png" alt="session duration vs conversion" width="470" height="233"></p> <p dir="ltr">What’s more, we’ve run a series of A/B tests to really understand the impact of rich content on conversion and AOV. In our most significant test to date, we found that:</p> <ul> <li>Users who interacted with rich-content were 20% more likely to purchase than those who didn’t.</li> <li>AOV was 22% higher for those who interacted with rich content before proceeding to purchase.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Clearly, these are very encouraging results, on closer inspection, they must carry two very important caveats:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Rich content was presented to customers during their journey and within the same session, so it was highly <strong>visible</strong>.</li> <li>It related to the items being purchased, so it was highly <strong>relevant</strong>.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">So the question is how can both of these objectives be achieved on a typical ecommerce website?</p> <p dir="ltr">To understand that we must look at how effective the use of content is currently; crucially, whether it passes the visibility and relevance test – and, in all too many cases, the answer is ‘no’.</p> <p dir="ltr">The truth is traditional content destinations simply do not engage users. For instance, only 25-35% of users see the homepage during their ecommerce journeys, so rich content featured or merchandised here is invisible to the majority of users.</p> <p dir="ltr">In fact, we’ve found that engagement with rich content when it’s featured on the homepage (and category landing pages) is generally very low – conversion rates are actually improved if rich content is relegated or removed from these pages (but the brand people don't like it).</p> <p dir="ltr">But what about blogs, the historical home of rich content on ecommerce sites? Back in 2014 the L2 Research compared blog traffic volumes to that of the sites they support and found that engagement with them is poor.</p> <p dir="ltr">We’ve found that traffic to blogs is significantly lower that to other areas of the site that should be comparable and they suffer from exit rates that are up to three times the site average, even where blogs feature in the main navigation and are merchandised on the homepage.</p> <p dir="ltr">That’s not exactly what we are all trying to achieve and not popular with trading teams.</p> <p dir="ltr">So, if we know that making relevant content visible to users during their journeys to drive engagement and conversion and we can pretty much rule out the homepage, key landing pages and the blog, where should we be looking?</p> <p dir="ltr">Well the answer is in the data; 50% of users now start their ecommerce journeys on a product listings page or product details page - that’s where the opportunities lie.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Source: Biglight benchmark data (aggregated 2015)</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/7091/landing_page_breakdown-blog-flyer.png" alt="landing page breakdown" width="470" height="301"></p> <h3>This all has some fairly big implications for site design and content optimisation</h3> <p dir="ltr">The headline here is that content <strong>can</strong> positively affect conversion and AOV - but blindly throwing money at content without really understanding where it is best used is to trust to luck.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chance dictates that some content will be in the right place, but those fortunate retailers will not know why and will still be wasting time and money on content that barely anyone sees.</p> <p dir="ltr">The solution is two fold.</p> <p dir="ltr">First, retailers need to move away from rich content destinations and content merchandising to create content elements that are featured or “threaded” through the pages that make up the user journey - principally the product listings pages, but also the product details pages.</p> <p dir="ltr">Second, they must test, test and test again with real users and A/B testing tools – then let the data tell them what works, and do more of it. That means looking at every type of content to understand its impact in different contexts:</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1.</strong> Brand heritage content that’s true for ever</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2.</strong> Seasonal content that drives core merchandising messages</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3.</strong> Short term “now” content that creates relevance</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4.</strong> Social validation content - user-curation, ratings and review</p> <p dir="ltr">In short then, content really can be at least part of the solution to lacklustre conversion rates – but only content that is delivered with purpose and focus; content that is both visible and relevant and whose performance is understood and optimised through exhaustive testing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68031 2016-07-19T12:14:01+01:00 2016-07-19T12:14:01+01:00 Answering the key question of content auditing: Where do I start? Michael Hewitt <h3>Existing content</h3> <p>When it comes to investment in content marketing, it isn’t a huge surprise that much of it goes on producing new content, new material and new campaigns.</p> <p>Plenty of marketers will talk at length about how much content they are producing, how packed their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64587-eight-free-content-calendar-templates-to-help-plan-your-output/">editorial calendars </a>are and how they are preparing to launch their “next big campaign”, but what about the content that they already have?</p> <p>Content marketers are focused so heavily on producing new content that meets the evolving needs of both their audiences and the expectations of search engines, that they are neglecting to ensure that their existing content does likewise. </p> <h3>A daunting prospect</h3> <p>The phrase “content audit” conjures up many feelings, and few of them positive. </p> <p>For many, it is a laborious process that involves hours upon hours, days upon days or even weeks upon weeks of manual review, fiddling around in analytics, and identifying gaps in coverage. It’s not, for many, the most enthralling responsibility in the job description.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6721/content-audit.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="300"></p> <p>Even if you do manage to conduct a thorough audit, it can often be difficult to force through changes on key brand pages due to the influence of various stakeholders, compliance issues and various other obstacles.</p> <p>Many also find the results and impact of a content audit difficult to measure, and so decide to focus their efforts elsewhere.</p> <p>But content auditing is something that needs to be a prominent and regular part of not only your content marketing strategy, but your wider digital marketing strategy.</p> <p>Just think about how many search algorithm updates that there may have been, how many new devices have been launched and how many new media platforms have emerged since you last reviewed your content – that could be quite a sobering realisation. </p> <h3>The case for a content audit</h3> <p>The ultimate purpose of any content audit is to understand how your content is performing, how it is delivering for your customers and what value it is providing. </p> <p>There are plenty of both tangible and intangible measurements for successful content, but this doesn’t necessarily confirm that content is useful, relevant or could be considered ‘quality’ by most reasonable measures.</p> <p>You could, for instance, use social shares as a measurement of quality content but, in doing so, it’s likely that you’ll reach conclusions that, whilst they may drive engagement, don’t necessarily drive a commercial return. Providing content that your audiences will engage with is undoubtedly a starting point but, and I hate to break this to you, human beings may not always be the best judges of quality.</p> <p>What your content audit is ultimately about is ensuring that every piece of content on your site is making some form of contribution to improving conversion rates, search visibility, user experience, and relevance.</p> <p>Get it right and you could even start stealing that prized <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66672-semantic-search-the-future-of-search-marketing">Google Knowledge Graph</a> real estate. </p> <h3>The manual approach</h3> <p>If you’re in a position where you are managing a relatively small site with a handful of pages, then manual content auditing might not be such a hardship.</p> <p>Starting with your URL and keywords, you can start to build a picture of where your brand ranks for these key terms, which pages consistently rank for those key terms, and how your competitors perform. </p> <p>It is then down to you to make a human assessment of each of these pages, and you can look at multiple factors to judge <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66971-a-content-manager-s-practical-guide-to-doing-just-enough-seo/">how well optimised your pages are for search</a>, and how they contribute to the user journey. These factors could include URL optimisation, title tags, meta description, ‘H-tag’ optimisation and hierarchy, keyword coverage and word count.</p> <p>You can then add layers of insight from Google Analytics, social monitoring tools and start to understand how these pages contribute to the customer search journey.</p> <p>Are there pages that are haemorrhaging traffic through unusually high exit rates? If so, this page might not adequately serve the customer search query. </p> <p>With only this very top-level and basic approach to content, you can already start to understand just how much time that you're going to have to spend with your head in an Excel spreadsheet, and why many marketers are reluctant to run a manual content audit at any sort of scale.</p> <h3>A scientific approach</h3> <p>But content auditing doesn’t have to be such a daunting prospect, and it is possible to take a more scientific, algorithmic approach to content auditing.</p> <p>At Stickyeyes we use SCOT (<a href="http://www.stickyeyes.com/content-optimisation-tool/">Stickyeyes Content Optimisation Tool</a>), to look at content in the same way that a search engine may look at it, and identify key areas of success and areas for improvement. In short, addressing that critical first hurdle – where to start.</p> <p>The factors we consider include technical elements, such as keyword coverage, meta data and the use of header tags, as well as engagement factors for which there is evidence of a correlation with higher search rankings – factors such as bounce rate, time on page, social engagement and brand awareness for example.</p> <p>For those with sizable websites, this kind of process can be invaluable in understanding just where to focus effort and resource. Here is just one example of a typical output for a printing brand that we ran through the tool. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6722/graph1.jpg" alt="" width="668" height="276"></p> <p>What we can see clearly is that whilst the brand in this example does have some strong content optimisation scores, in excess of 85%, there are a number of revenue-driving keywords for which the domain scores poorly – notably “cheap leaflet printing”, “cheap flyers”, and “cheap flyer printing”.</p> <p>Evidently, this brand has struggled to provide content for search terms with a “cheap” prefix and this therefore provides some direction for their content review.</p> <p>Of course, it may be that the brand sees itself as a quality brand and therefore may not want to specifically target search terms such as “cheap” and “low cost”, but the level of insight provided allows the brand to make that decision.</p> <h3>Identifying the quick wins</h3> <p>Of course, any content appraisal and audit needs to have a degree of human intervention, but what this algorithmic approach does is allow us to automate large parts of the process and using this insight, content managers can start to make some key decisions and prioritise their actions. </p> <p>There are, in this example, a number of pages that score highly and, with a few minor tweaks, can potentially drive further value. These are what we would classify as “quick wins”. </p> <p>Of course, it isn’t simply enough to throw a few keyword-heavy paragraphs into the page in the hope that Google will deem that to be more relevant, but we can now start considering how we can enhance the user experience for these pages and these terms.</p> <p>It may be that we create specific content for these terms, we may change the site structure to make our existing pages more prominent, or we may actually decide to remove certain pages to focus traffic on more valuable pages.</p> <p>What we are essentially trying to do is enhance the user journey rather than hinder it; and there are different ways to do that depending on the circumstances. </p> <p>This process makes it easier to run audits on a more regular basis, allowing you to monitor the success of any changes that you do make, understand the contribution that your new content is making and identify the next key actions for your optimisation strategy. If something appears to be having an adverse effect, this can be identified and rectified very quickly. </p> <h3>The impact on search</h3> <p>We have been using this approach for a number of brands and what we have found is that as we continually work on improving our content scores within SCOT, we have experienced increased visibility within organic search. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6723/graph2.jpg" alt="" width="814" height="336"></p> <p>Of course, what we can’t do is isolate the impact of these content amendments from the various other elements of activity that may have been undertaken to improve search performance, but there is evidence of a strong correlation between the quality of on-page content and search rankings. </p> <p>And it is important to stress that whilst we may be looking to introduce an algorithmic approach to content auditing, this shouldn’t be mistaken as an algorithmic approach towards content creation.</p> <p>What we are trying to do here is to ensure that our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67605-why-content-marketing-isn-t-seo-and-why-seo-isn-t-just-content/">content strategies plug key gaps</a> in what our audiences are looking for, but this shouldn’t turn content creation and optimisation into little more than a box ticking exercise. </p> <p>What matters above all else is that your brand is still providing value to the end user and delivering the best possible experience. Adding a layer of technical competence helps to deliver that user experience, but is also valued by search engines as they look to deliver the most relevant results. </p> <p><a href="http://www.stickyeyes.com/content-optimisation-tool%20">Try the latest version</a> of SCOT for free.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67925 2016-06-22T15:12:00+01:00 2016-06-22T15:12:00+01:00 Social media image guide for brands: June 2016 Andrew Chrysostom <p>It’s always useful to have a reminder, so please use this handy guide to ensure your brand looks spick and span when it comes to posting images.</p> <p>Here are the exact image sizes required by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and, just for laughs, Google+. The sizes are accurate as of June 2016.</p> <p><a href="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6131/size_guide.jpg"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6131/size_guide.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="4996"></a></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67969 2016-06-22T10:39:00+01:00 2016-06-22T10:39:00+01:00 Five ways Emerald Street is delivering irresistible email content Nikki Gilliland <p>But I recently realised that since signing up to Emerald Street, Stylist’s free daily subscription, I have more or less read every single one. </p> <p>For me, it is a welcome distraction on any given day. Here are the reasons why.</p> <h3>Unobtrusive style</h3> <p>Email <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64878-45-words-to-avoid-in-your-email-marketing-subject-lines/">subject lines</a> are often deliberately inflammatory, designed to entice the reader to click at all costs.</p> <p>One thing I like about Emerald Street is that it doesn’t feel the need to use clickbait. </p> <p>More often than not, the subject lines are related to just one feature from the email. Sometimes, they’re incredibly short. Others pose questions or include intriguing quotes – but they’re never outlandish or misleading.</p> <p>Editor Anna Fielding once said that the best thing about her job was that “every day, we get to make 70,000 women stop to take five minutes for themselves. I know how rare that is in modern offices.” - Now with 150,000 subscribers, women are clearly spreading the word.</p> <p>As well as piquing interest in an understated way, Emerald Street succeeds in offering something reliable – a characteristic that is far more valuable than clickbait in the long run. </p> <p>With emails arriving at the same time each day, it also encourages the reader to form a habit.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6214/Emerald_Street_subject_line.PNG" alt="" width="509" height="34"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6220/Emerald_Street_subject_line_2.PNG" alt="" width="509" height="32"></p> <h3>Honest attitude</h3> <p>Emerald Street has built on Stylist’s reputation as a trusted and intelligent voice for women.</p> <p>In line with this, every email includes the ‘Emerald Street promise’ – a section of copy succinctly summing up the company’s attitude towards advertising.  </p> <p>By promising not to promote anything for the sake of it, Emerald Street offers readers trust and authenticity. </p> <p>In today’s market, where it’s common behaviour for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67923-influencer-marketing-is-becoming-a-joke-what-can-brands-do-about-it/">brands to pay influencers</a> and sponsor editorial content, Emerald Street’s promise of transparency is a breath of fresh air. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6215/Emerald_Street_promise.PNG" alt="" width="537" height="227"></p> <h3>Uncluttered design</h3> <p>With one main editorial feature and around four or five other sections, Emerald Street maintains a fairly standard and consistent formula.</p> <p>The email itself is not particularly ground-breaking in terms of design. In fact, it’s quite basic, mainly focusing on the copy and a select few high-quality images.</p> <p>Of course, advertising is included, but with just one or two ads placed on the right-hand side of the template, it is hardly distracting.</p> <p>With visible social buttons and handy ‘forward to a friend’ features, the email also encourages sharing as well as promotes other social media channels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6224/Email_design.PNG" alt="" width="750" height="636"></p> <h3>Relatable tone</h3> <p>One reason I enjoy reading Emerald Street is that it reflects how real women actually speak to each other.</p> <p>Many women’s magazines can be patronising, clichéd or just plain annoying – focusing on shallow topics or subjects that are far removed from the reality of daily life. </p> <p>Instead, Emerald Street focuses on the subjects that women actually care about.</p> <p>Sure, it can be light - about lipsticks or where to go for lunch – but it can also be in-depth, with a lot of content related to important and timely issues.</p> <p>Another feature I often use is 'today's talk' - a selection of links to other interesting online news and content.</p> <p>By also making references to the people who work at the publication itself, Emerald Street demonstrates how a personal and relatable tone is often the most engaging.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6221/Emerald_street_recommendation.PNG" alt="" width="470" height="320"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6222/Recommendation_2.PNG" alt="" width="324" height="386"></p> <h3>Valuable content</h3> <p>As well as enjoying its conversational <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65198-a-simple-tip-for-improving-your-brand-tone-of-voice-guidelines/">tone of voice</a>, I often find myself going back to Emerald Street because it is downright useful.</p> <p>One of my favourite features is ‘Cocktails and Cappuccinos’ – recommendations of places to eat and drink in London.</p> <p>With a comprehensive map that lists all the places ever featured on Emerald Street, it also shows that email content does not have to be disposable. </p> <p>Its recommendations about fashion, food and art are highly accessible and easy to relate to.</p> <p>With Stylist readers lapping up the reviews section, Emerald Street originally began with the intent of producing content that helps people plan their lives.</p> <p>This insight into what the audience wants has undoubtedly played a part in its success.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6218/Cocktails_and_cappucinos.PNG" alt="" width="750" height="573"></p> <p>By providing links along with recommendations, whether for a place to go for dinner or a new book, it encourages the reader to act.</p> <p>As a result, Emerald Street ensures that it will be remembered as the source, in turn giving the reader a reason to click 'read' the next time its email arrives.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/6223/Emerald_Street_map.PNG" alt="" width="780" height="404"></p> <p>A shining example of how to do editorial-style emails - there's a lot to learn from Emerald Street.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67777 2016-04-26T14:29:00+01:00 2016-04-26T14:29:00+01:00 10 things marketers should know about Medium's new publishing platform Ben Davis <h3>1. It might kill the website</h3> <p>Before you tut at my hyperbole, let me qualify it.</p> <p>Medium itself lists one of the main virtues of using its platform as the ability to operate without a tech team.</p> <p>Think of the ease of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65372-the-complete-guide-to-setting-up-and-running-a-wordpress-site/">WordPress</a> but amplified - no need to host anything, no need to tinker with plug-ins - the ease of use of a social network but for longer form publishing.</p> <p>To this end, Medium is integrating support for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know/">Facebook </a><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know/">Instant Articles</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67567-four-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-accelerated-mobile-pages-amp/">Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages</a>.</p> <p><em>Pacific Standard has moved to Medium.</em></p> <p><a href="https://psmag.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4298/Screen_Shot_2016-04-26_at_10.16.11.png" alt="pacific standard" width="615" height="342"></a> </p> <h3>2. It offers discoverability..</h3> <p>It's not just elegance of set-up that makes Medium an improvement on the website for small- and medium-scale publishing.</p> <p>Firstly, Medium's development of greater social context in late 2015 gives publishers a better chance at being discovered.</p> <p>Mentions are used to notify Medium users cited in stories, and a recommendation feature surfaces posts based on who you follow.</p> <p>This level of context augments an already strong integration (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evan_Williams_(Internet_entrepreneur)">for obvious reasons</a>) with Twitter.</p> <p>As Ev Williams puts it</p> <blockquote> <p>...there’s no doubt that something published on Medium has a higher likelihood to find an audience than the same thing published on an untrafficked island on the web.</p> </blockquote> <h3>3. ..and an escape from banner ads</h3> <p>One of the reasons that smaller websites are struggling at the moment, outside of discoverability, is poor UX.</p> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67271-is-there-a-future-for-publishers-and-display-ads/">display ad model</a> is bringing in too little revenue for many whilst also disrupting the reading experience.</p> <p>Medium will offer to ability to develop partnerships with advertisers, without a single banner ad.</p> <h3>4. It looks consistently great</h3> <p>Websites on Medium look great, if a little too consistent.</p> <p>Personally, having looked at a lot of blogs in my time, I don't find the current <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67408-web-design-convergence-what-why-and-does-it-matter/">lack of diversity in design</a> that distressing.</p> <p>All articles have that crisp and readable Medium typography, and home- and category pages are very clear with a simple header menu.</p> <p>Of course, many publishers will bemoan that they can't add more of their personality (i.e. annoying pop-ups) but looking at the sites that have already gone live (there's a list further down this piece), there are many differences in tile layout and of course palette.</p> <p><em>Those People has moved to Medium.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4304/Screen_Shot_2016-04-26_at_10.18.08.png" alt="those people" width="615" height="342"></p> <h3>5. It's a sensible choice for a corporate blog or nonprofit site</h3> <p>Ev Williams <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2015/09/09/mediums-evan-williams-to-publishers-your-website-is-toast/#43cdc0c83830">told Forbes</a> that the "most popular use of the publications feature is a corporate blog or nonprofit site."</p> <p>At the moment, some mid-sized publishers may not feel they know enough about Medium to make the leap.</p> <p>But many corporates with struggling blogs on microsites may feel now is the time to unburden themselves onto a platform, much as Nestle did with Tumblr.</p> <p><a href="https://publishers.medium.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4290/Screen_Shot_2016-04-26_at_08.31.54.png" alt="medium for publishers" width="615" height="334"></a></p> <h3>6. But remember, it's not open source</h3> <p>Of course, Medium is a platform, a walled garden. It's not a WordPress.</p> <p>This excerpt from an <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2015/09/09/mediums-evan-williams-to-publishers-your-website-is-toast/#48a9f4ea3830">Ev Williams interview</a> with Forbes shows exactly what that means:</p> <p><strong>Battelle:</strong> "I’m building a new publication now (Newco). What happens when I work with Medium and I’m working with P&amp;G and they want to show a big picture (ad). Is that cool or not cool?"</p> <p><strong>Williams:</strong> "That’s fine. You can do this today."</p> <p><strong>Battelle:</strong> "Then P&amp;G because they’re really big... they want to put a little bit of tracking code behind that picture so they can avoid showing the ad to someone on Facebook who’s already seen it. And so on... Are you going to say no?"</p> <p><strong>Williams:</strong> "<a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=TBD">TBD</a>. Definitely today you cannot put that on. But we understand the dilemma of you and P&amp;G."</p> <p>This isn't conclusive. Medium will undoubtedly work to help publishers attribute revenue to their Medium sites, but it has ultimate control over how this happens and will no doubt productise its own solutions.</p> <p>We've all been warned of the dangers of a walled garden, but if Medium offers eyeballs, reduced overheads and revenue opportunities, the benefits for many well outweigh the risks.</p> <p><em>Signal vs. Noise has moved to Medium.</em></p> <p><a href="https://m.signalvnoise.com/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4299/Screen_Shot_2016-04-26_at_10.17.43.png" alt="signal vs noise" width="615" height="304"></a> </p> <h3>7. The Medium ad model is native</h3> <p><a href="https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/articles/218475847">Promoted Stories</a> will be the norm for publications on Medium that want to make ad revenue.</p> <p>These are essentially contextual articles written by brand partners (currently Bose, SoFi, Nest, Intel, and Volpi Foods) that will appear amongst publisher posts.</p> <p>Sponsored content will appear, too. For example, <a href="https://medium.com/newco">NewCo Story</a> is currently presented by Adobe.</p> <p><em>A Promoted Story</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4303/Screen_Shot_2016-04-26_at_11.01.41.png" alt="promoted story" width="500"> </p> <h3>8. Paywalls can be implemented</h3> <p>This is in beta and is described as 'member-supported publishing'.</p> <p>Effectively readers will be encouraged to pay a monthly fee and will get some form of exclusive content. The implication is that hard paywalls aren't currently in consideration.</p> <h3>9. Total time reading (TTR) is an important metric</h3> <p>Medium used to talk about this metric as the only one that mattered. In the past months, it has moved away from this stance slightly, as it becomes less of a publisher and more of a platform.</p> <p>However, Medium's advertising info still mentions TTR as a metric that will influence revenue share for publishers:</p> <blockquote> <p>Medium shares Promoted Stories revenue with publishers based on total time reading</p> </blockquote> <p><em>Electric Literature has moved to Medium.</em></p> <p><a href="https://medium.com/electric-literature"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4300/Screen_Shot_2016-04-26_at_10.16.58.png" alt="electric lit" width="615" height="341"></a></p> <h3>10. These sites are live</h3> <p>Since April 5th, 10+ publications have made the switch.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://medium.com/electric-literature">Electric Lit</a></li> <li><a href="https://psmag.com/">Pacific Standard</a></li> <li><a href="https://thebolditalic.com/">The Bold Italic</a></li> <li><a href="https://thebillfold.com/">The Billfold</a></li> <li><a href="https://medium.com/newco">NewCo Shift</a></li> <li><a href="https://blog.twitch.tv/">The Twitch Blog</a></li> <li><a href="https://m.signalvnoise.com/">Signal vs. Noise</a></li> <li><a href="https://thsppl.com/">Those People</a></li> <li><a href="https://features.wearemel.com/">Mel</a></li> <li><a href="https://mondaynote.com/">Monday Note</a></li> <li><a href="https://blog.blcklst.com/">The Black List</a></li> <li> <a href="https://medium.com/film-school-rejects">Film School Rejects</a> </li> </ul> <p>New offshoots of Time Inc. magazines Money and Fortune, The Ringer and many others are following.</p> <p>Sites can be migrated from <a href="https://help.medium.com/hc/en-us/articles/218572107">WordPress to Medium</a> already. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67709 2016-04-07T14:14:50+01:00 2016-04-07T14:14:50+01:00 Three ways to use LinkedIn to support your content marketing strategy David Reilly <p>In this post I'll examine how LinkedIn provides a formidable commercial opportunity for content marketing via three solutions.</p> <p>This information is taken from Econsultancy’s new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/guide-to-linkedin-marketing-solutions/">Guide to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions</a>.</p> <h3>1. Pulse content platform</h3> <p>Pulse is LinkedIn's self-publishing platform which brands can use to post content for their subscribers.</p> <p>This is a valuable platform for publishing long-form content on expert opinion and insights based on your own area of expertise.</p> <p>Content written in Pulse can easily be distributed to other communities such as relevant Groups or your own Company page to maximise distribution and viewers.</p> <p>To find inspiration for content ideas, in the top left-hand corner of Pulse you'll see a tab labelled "Top Posts."</p> <p>This feature prioritises the most popular posts written within your chosen category such as “marketing and advertising” </p> <p>It is also important when you publish a post on Pulse that you label your post at the bottom of the Pulse editor using the appropriate categories such as "SEO" or “digital marketing."</p> <p>These category tags will make it easier for people to find your post.</p> <h3>2. Slideshare</h3> <p>SlideShare was purchased and integrated into LinkedIn’s architecture in 2012 and has made strong progress toward LinkedIn’s goal of making it the largest repository of professional knowledge on the internet.</p> <p>Slideshare users can upload files from PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote or OpenDocument presentations, and slide decks can then be viewed on the site itself.</p> <p>Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals can capture and demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, which in turn helps shape their professional identity.</p> <p>There are two key ways Slideshare can be used to support your content marketing on Linkedin</p> <p><strong>1. Adding presentations to individual profile pages</strong></p> <p><em>SlideShare presentations added to Ashley Friedlein’s page</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3724/linkedin_proofile_page.png" alt="" width="816" height="606"></p> <p><strong>2. Creating your own company page on SlideShare</strong></p> <p><em>Econsultancy's company page on SlideShare</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3726/linkedin_slideshare.png" alt="" width="825" height="605"></p> <p>As with other social networks, content on Slideshare can be 'liked' and shared, allowing the collective ratings to act as marketing collateral for brands and their content. </p> <h3>3. Company Pages</h3> <p>One of the best content marketing opportunities on LinkedIn for your business is setting up your own Company Page. This service is free and relatively easy to use.</p> <p>Through a Company Page you can market your business to the LinkedIn network, telling your own company’s story and giving customers and potential customers a forum to learn about your business, employees and brand(s).</p> <p>LinkedIn’s own research has shown that its users are 50% more likely to purchase from a company which they like and engage with.</p> <p>Company pages are not just the preserve of larger brands, they can be easily resourced by smaller businesses provided there is a consistent content output.</p> <p>This image lays out the key components of a LinkedIn company page. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3730/Screen_Shot_2016-04-07_at_11.06.33.png" alt="" width="700"></p> <p>For marketing purposes, a LinkedIn ‘Company Page’ is an opportunity for you to: </p> <ul> <li>Display your brand vision and mission statement/purpose.</li> <li>Engage with new advocates and followers and update them on relevant activities such as events and digital training. </li> <li>Drive word of mouth at scale. </li> <li>Enable followers to join debates regarding relevant industry news. </li> <li>Use the ‘showcase page’ function to highlight products or services to a specific demographic market. </li> <li>Segment company services into differing local geo-demographic regions. </li> </ul> <p>You can find more best practice tips for successful content marketong on LinkedIn in Econsultancy’s new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/guide-to-linkedin-marketing-solutions/">Guide to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions</a>.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67602 2016-03-09T15:53:00+00:00 2016-03-09T15:53:00+00:00 How do the most popular brands manage blog comment sections? Tamara Littleton <p>In this post I'll look at the different ways that brands curate comments on their blogs.</p> <h3>Free-for-all</h3> <p>Some brands allow anyone to post comments. It can be a great way to welcome new commenters.</p> <p>Many people don’t take the time to leave comments; making them have to jump through hoops to leave a comment does little to encourage these people to contribute.</p> <p>Yet comment sections that allow anyone to post content can suffer from a low quality discourse (especially if no one from the brand takes the time to respond to comments) which again can drive contributors away. </p> <p>Hangtime, the blog of The NBA, allows anyone with an email address to comment on its blogs.</p> <p><strong><em>NBA blog comments</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2802/NBA_comments.png" alt="" width="615" height="388"></p> <p>While some posts attract <a href="http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2016/02/15/morning-shootaround-feb-15-2/#comments">high quality comments</a> – such as discussion about player transfers - others – like its <a href="http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2016/02/07/nba-watches-the-super-bowl/#comments">post-Super Bowl blog</a> – attract more abstract comments, which seem to be more about making noise (like those ubiquitous YouTube “First!” comments) than contributing to a discussion.</p> <p>For brands that want to use their blogs to develop a community of readers, allowing anyone on the internet to swing by and leave a comment probably isn’t the way to go.</p> <p>Where are the mainstays? How does the brand recognise those who consistently post high-quality content? </p> <h3>Keeping it in the family</h3> <p><a href="https://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/alphago-machine-learning-game-go.html#gpluscomments">Google</a> and <a href="http://youtube-global.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-youtube-adblitz-champion-of-2016-is.html#gpluscomments">YouTube</a> use a Google+ plugin for those who want to comment on their blogs. Meanwhile <a href="http://blog.instagram.com/post/139426739882/160216-thedogist#notes">Instagram</a> uses the Tumblr system of reblogs and notes on its official blog.</p> <p>These systems not only help identify who is commenting, but also track sharing across the network, helping to create a sense of community amongst commenters.</p> <p>Obviously not every company has their own plugin to rely on, but for those with multiple brands it is worth considering a universal sign up so that people can comment across all brands they are interested in.</p> <h3>Comment management plug-ins</h3> <p><a href="http://www.bmwblog.com/2016/02/06/daytona-violet-bmw-f80m-m3-european-delivery/#comments">BMW</a> and <a href="http://your.asda.com/news-and-blogs/asda-s-phenomenal-wonky-veg-coming-to-a-store-near-you">ASDA</a> are two of the brands that use hosting service <a>Disqus</a> for their blog comments.</p> <p>Anyone wishing to comment on the brand’s blog has to have a Disqus account – ensuring that they have some sort of online profile (although, it doesn’t guarantee that their comments will be better, or even that they will not choose to use a pseudonym).</p> <p><em><strong>BMW comments using Disqus</strong></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2804/BMW_comments_with_Disqus.png" alt="" width="839" height="538"></p> <p>It’s worth noting that Disqus has found comments posted under pseudonyms tend to be of <a href="https://disqus.com/research/pseudonyms/">higher quality</a> than comments posted anonymously or even comments posted under the person’s real name.  </p> <p>Third-party comment systems can be a great way for the brand to balance the needs of the blog and its readers and commenters.</p> <p>For people who have online pseudonyms that they’ve used for years, the ability to contribute to discussions using their pseudonym is vital, but brands may also wish to have the added control that a comment system like Disqus provides.</p> <h3>Social media plug-ins </h3> <p><a href="http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2016/02/14/romantic-disney-valentines-day-playlist/">Disney</a> uses Facebook to allow comments on its blog. Theoretically, this means that those who comment are over the age of 13 (although there’s no guarantee of this of course). It also allows the brand to see who the person is.</p> <p>The downside is, it excludes those who would rather not use their real names when posting (the plug-in may also list the school or employer that the reader attends – which would be a privacy issue). </p> <h3>Community only</h3> <p>Some brands, like <a href="http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2016/02/18/everything-you-need-to-know-about-paragon-a-ps4-moba-with-a-difference/">PlayStation</a>, restrict comments to community members only. However, there needs to be a pretty compelling reason for people to take that extra step and login to comment.</p> <p>Brands like PlayStation have existing communities, and people may stay logged into the site for other reasons.</p> <p><strong><em>PlayStation blog comments</em></strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2803/Playstation_comments.png" alt="" width="800"></p> <p>For brands just getting into blogging, requiring readers to sign-up or login to comment may not go down well.</p> <p>It is about knowing your readership and what you want to achieve with the community.</p> <h3>No comments allowed</h3> <p>Of course, brands don’t have to allow readers to comment on their blogs, but it gives a forum for people to respond to them, and helps the blog feel more like a community than just a platform for the brand to push out content.</p> <p><a href="http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/02/05/underwater-data-computer-science-for-all-and-the-nfl-of-the-future-weekend-reading-feb-5-edition/">Microsoft</a>, <a href="http://www.nikeblog.com/2016/02/18/nike-roshe-daybreak-pine-green/">Nike</a> and <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/2016/buckle-up-its-time-to-go-racing-with-nascar">Twitter</a> don’t allow comments on their official blogs. While this doesn’t detract from the content posted, it doesn’t give the impression that the brands are particularly interested in dialogue and discussion.</p> <p>For global organisations like these it doesn’t really impact the view of them by consumers, but for smaller brands, the inability to interact and provide commentary could.</p> <p>Of course, allowing comments raises the possibility that people will use the comment section for complaints, questions and – in the case of Twitter – campaigning on issues.</p> <p>If they feel they won’t be able to manage the comment section, they may consider it more prudent to avoid it completely.</p> <h3>Does a brand’s blog need a comment section? </h3> <p>It depends on the brand and what it wants its image to be.</p> <p>A brand can follow a rigorous <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-content-strategy-best-practice-guide/">content plan</a>, posting regular content that adheres to its marketing strategy, but if readers scroll down to see a comment section full of abuse or comments that don’t really pertain to the content, it can detract from their experience of the blog. </p> <p>Comment sections are a great way for brands to include its blog readers. It can result in interesting discussions between readers and it can help brands gain insight into the minds of its audience.</p> <p>But, comment sections require management and moderation. Brands need to ensure that they have the tools, people and processes in place to manage comments before they take the plunge.</p> <p>Brands that do decide to allow comments from readers need to ensure that they choose a system that balances the interests of readers with the need to create a safe space for discussion (for example, the site could allow commenters to use pseudonyms while still needing to log in to comment, therefore being identifiable to the website.</p> <p>Comments need to be moderated and managed to entice people to read below the fold.</p>