content strategy

Observation as part of Digital Strategy

Posted on Updated on

observationOne of the most fascinating aspects of digital communications to me, is that more than ever does observation play a critical role in determining an appropriate strategy.

For those who love people watching, well – this is for you!  Being able to observe and make deductive decisions assist in creating insights that will strongly benefit your overall strategy.

Here are 5 reasons why observation is necessary:

1.  People have behaviours.  These behaviours are usually habitual.  If you are able to tap into a human habit digitally, it means that you have found a way of integrating into a users life if what you put forth provides a value ad or solves a problem for them.

2. Observing allows you to identify a problem that a user may not even know that they have.  People tend to compensate a behaviour when they assume that there is no other way to do something.  When you find what that is, you can create a product/service to fill a void people did not even know that they had.

3. You can better understand how the user actually uses something.  Professions such as Information Architecture and User Expereince come from this.  Understanding how people typically use an app or website means that you can design to make it easy to use or teach a new behaviour.

4. You can make it better.  Apple is famous for this.  Every year people camp out for a new iteration of something that is even just a minimal improvement.

5. Data alone does not provide you enough contex.   Numbers in surveys or reports and analytics are just that.  They are numbers.  In order to be able to find insight and create a compelling story for those numbers having actual context and opportunity to obseve how these number fluctuate and for what reasons means that you can make stronger decisions for a better strategy,

How to Develop a Strong Digital Content Strategy

Posted on Updated on

Credit: Inbound Marketing
Credit: Inbound Marketing

This is what most companies – if not all companies struggle with.  Content strategies can be complex at best, and when you tie in digital content – the level of understanding required takes things to an entirely different level.

Digital content strategies require a different line of thinking than traditional content stratgies – namely and primarly SEO and engagement (think time on site) in real estate that constantly competes for the users attention while encouraging them to go visit other things.

Here are 7 simples steps to take your digital content strategy to the next level:

1.  Know your audience and who you are trying to reach:  from television netowrks, advertisements, magazine content to the web.  Everyone has always known that content is king, but only if it is talking to the right people.  Know who you are speaking too, and who you are trying to reach.  Use analytics, surveys and behavioural tracking to assist in defining who these people are.

2. Define you digital objecties:  Do you need more visitors to your site?  Do you want them to stay longer on your site?  Do you want them to click around on more content on your site?  Do you want them click over to other sites?  Do you want them to comment? Do you need to improve your SEO? Do you want to grow your social following? Do you want to go responsive because your mobile audience is growing?  Moving into ecommerce?  Want to upgrade your technology platform or CMS?   You can’t choose them all, but choose the ones that are most required for your current situation.

3. Ensure that you are properly resourced:  What and who do you need on your team?  If it is a specific CMS/platform, an SEO strategy, community management etc.  you need to make sure that you have the right  people in place to support where you are going  Don’t forget your Information Architects and UX specialists!  Prioritization of information, site layout and taxonomy play a critical role in content strategy for tagging and archiving reasons!

4. Plan your content:   That’s right – the good old editoiral calendar.  Know your dates, themes, company priorities and ensure our site and content managers are prepared.

5. Get geographic: Knowing your audience (point 1) also means knowing where they are.  Region specific content/offers = awesomeness.

6. Think Like a Human Being: Based on your objectives and your audience, remember that you should probably make decisions from the perspective that your audience would appreciate.  What are your CTA’s, are they continuing to ask your audience clearly what to do while at the same time driving to assist in hitting your objectives.

7. Assess content performance: Stay on top of what works for your audience and what doesn’t.  Clean up your content, remove what is old, repurpose content that may be more relevant or previously performed well.  Be the ultimate curator and historian of your own content.

Why Facebook Likes Shouldn’t Be an Organizational Objective

Posted on Updated on

like-us-on-facebook-buttonFacebook likes.   Hmmmmm.  The never ending discussion and debate around Facebook likes is something that I have had on an almost daily basis.

So why should “Facebook Likes” not be an objective?  I mean, it’s measurable, it’s visible, it’s seems like it’s qualitative in nature. So why wouldn’t anyone in marketing or communications charged with the responsibility of growing their social audiences use this as a means of moving forward

To answer this question, let’s look at it from the opposite perspective – Why Facebook Likes Should be an Organizational Objective?

  • More likes = more awareness of my brand
  • More likes = more of an audience that is paying attention to my brand
  • The more likes = more people to communicate with
  • The more people like my brand, the more that will follow
  • It will show up more in peoples timelines making it “go viral”

All of this sounds wonderful.  In theory.

The first issue in all of this, is – what does a Facebook like actually mean to your organization?

When organizations use this as a measurement tool, things such as – “The Forced Like” begin to happen.  What is the forced like?  It’s when an organization creates a Facebook page, with something that seems alluring – usually a contest, or some kind of special content – but the only way that you can gain access to it, is by clicking their “like” button.  Or as we term it – “like” gated.  Again, I beg the question – what does a Facebook like actually mean to your organization?

Communications and marketing people do understand that a truly engaged audience is what really moves a brand.  An engaged audience means that you are delivering something that they both need and want.  The entire premise and “cool factor” about social media… including Facebook… was that you could target your audience.  Even though you might not be reaching everyone, you could finally find the people who were really interested in what you had to offer.  It meant that you were truly delivering real ROI – spending dollars on an audience that could show real return, because they truly have a genuine interest in your brand.

The main opposition that  I have in using Facebook likes as a metric to success stem from 3 main points:

  1. Forcing a like, to gain entry into a contest or to gain access to a coupon or special redemption moves your brand further away from a genuine engaged audience.  Using tactics like this means you will attract an audience who’s main objective is couponing or contesting.  This also means that once the user has acquired what they need, “like” retention will become an issue, because the reality is – they are not that interested in your brand, they were interested in the possibility of winning/getting something for free.
  2. Without defining what a “like” means to your organization, also means that you have no real qualitative measurement.  While it is true, analytics and reporting area usually quantitative in nature – the problem is that when your reporting shows a significant increase in likes and then a decrease, it doesn’t really provide a great story.  However, once you define what it actually means to your organization you can really determine what your Facebook strategy should be in both gaining and retaining likes.
  3. What are you planning on doing with all of the people you’ve acquired?  This is the biggest pitfall with most Facebook like acquisitions.  As with all media – print, broadcast, digital  (blogs, facebook, twitter) – content is king!  This means that having likes as an organizational objective requires a two step process.  What are you going to do to get them, and what are you going to talk about/give them/ engage them once you have them?