Category Archives: Best content strategy posts of the week

Friday #Content Reads: 13.5.16

Here’s a selection of my best content strategy reads over the last week. Enjoy!

Announcing Keyword Explorer: Moz’s New Keyword Research Tool
Interesting new tool from Moz.com. I’m not entirely sure if this does anything over and above a basic understanding of Google’s Keyword Planner but it’s a nice introduction to keyword research if you’ve never done this before.

One month in: Four things The New York Times has learned using Facebook Live
I thought this was a fantastic insight into what NYT has been doing with Facebook Live. P.S, here’s what we’ve been up to on LBC and We The Unicorns…


Internet Video Views Is A 100 Percent Bullshit Metric
The validity of Facebook’s success metric is up for debate again this week. A useful reminder I think, of what makes true video engagement – otherwise we’re all going to end up exploding watermelons.

Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News
I‘m sure you all read this story which resulted in Facebook publishing their editorial guidelines for their Trending module. As someone who has advised on editorial Code of Conducts in the past, I’ve found the whole issue fascinating. It looks like Facebook is recognising the need for more publisher transparency – although I’m sure it would deny it was a publisher.

3 charts that show the very different news audiences for mobile web and apps
Read this to understand the different kind of engagement across mobile web and app.

And lastly, thanks to Classic FM for unearthing this video of Prince this week. I’ve had the tune in my head all week…

Friday #Content Reads: 6.5.16

content video strategy

A list of my most interesting content strategy-related reads this week…

Here’s What Makes The Guardian So Successful On Facebook
A great insight into FB distribution strategy at the Guardian. And if you like that, find out what Buzzed are up to in the video space as well.

Facebook videos live fast, die young
We all knew this right? but still interesting read…
‘While YouTube and Facebook have established themselves as major hubs for mobile video, the lifespan of content on each platform is markedly different. Put in astronomical terms, a Facebook video is a brief supernova, peaking early and then quickly fading out; a YouTube video is more like a cooling star that emits a small flash of light then slowly decays.’

Facebook is going to start showing you pieces people actually read
Time online is back people!

With a scripted daily comedy news show, Mic looks to add a little late night TV to the social video mould 
Interesting to see how Mic is choosing the comedy format to increase reach amongst the millennials. Again, it’s an example of a team that has been given the freedom to experiment.

How to build audiences by engaging your community
Great starter-guide for approaching community journalism in your newsroom.

Netflix Knows Which Pictures You’ll Click On–And Why
Essential reading…
“One of Netflix’s earliest findings was that interest tended to drop off when an image touting a show or movie contained more than three people. It seems that users find it hard to focus when there are too many people, and may not be able to absorb cues about the storyline. This was a surprising insight for Netflix, given that some shows are popular precisely because they have large casts. Orange Is the New Black is a good example of this. “While ensemble casts are fantastic for a huge billboard on the side of a highway, they are too complex at small sizes,” Nelson says. “They are ultimately not as effective at helping our members decide if the title is right for them on smaller screens.”

Friday #Content Reads: 28.04.16

joe haldeman debut novel

Hi Gang! I’ve just spent a delightful couple of weeks restoring my blog after meddling with the database too often. Lesson learnt. Moving forward I’ll aim to curate a list of my most interesting content strategy reads this week.

Here goes….

Your Media Business Will Not Be SavedJoshua Topolsky
Interesting to see how the industry is now revisiting the monetisation vs quality debate…
“So over time, we built up scale in digital to replace user value. We thought we could solve with numbers (the new, seemingly infinite numbers the internet and social media provides) what we couldn’t solve with attention. And with every new set of eyeballs (or clicks, or views) we added, we diminished the merit of what we made. And advertisers asked for more, because those eyes were worth less. And we made more. And it was less valuable.”

Things I learned working on SerialKristen Taylor
Some interesting tips here for how to social your audio and engage your community between episodes. And if you haven’t read about that NPR audio experiment here you are.

What Networks Does BuzzFeed Actually Use? Zack Liscio
Nice infographic here of the Buzzed distribution strategy. Now presented in a million strategy presentations around the world.

2016 guide to free online SEO training courses
I thought this was a really good resource for journalists. From beginner to intermediate level.

Although I do have to admit that my most interesting read has been this bad boy. Probably the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read.

Boom!

forever_war

Content Strategy Links of the Week, November 28

Here’s a roundup of top pages I’ve been reading this week:

Teenagers and tweens watching TV half as much as adults, Ofcom finds 
“Tweens and teens watch just half the amount of live TV as adults each day, and choose to “top-up” viewing by watching clips on services such as YouTube, Vimeo and Vine, according to new research by the UK media regulator.”

It’s not just about print vs. digital media — it’s about culture
Interesting table included here looking at the differences between legacy media and ‘digital-first’. Worth looking at…

This building is an organism for making newspapers
In the Agile world we often talk about how locating people in an office is just as important to product output as knowledge. With that in mind, take a look at this diagram from a 1920s newspaper company.

Digital Publishing: There’s No Place Like Home
Some choice quotes here:
“According to the analysis, a user who visits a news site directly spends, on average, 4 minutes and 36 seconds per visit, while a Facebook user spends just an average of 1 minute 41 seconds on your site. In addition, direct visitors view about five times as many pages per month as Facebook users, and visit the site three times as often.”

“Even though they’re a smaller percentage of overall traffic, app users listen to much more audio,” said Perry. “Mobile users might visit a couple of pages and stay on the site for five minutes, but our app audience seems more willing to listen to a stream for an hour.”

“Despite the reduction in traffic, newspaper homepages harken back to the historic place the front page of a newspaper had in the community. Forgive me for sidestepping into marketing speak, but editors should think of their news organization’s homepage as their ultimate brand statement.”

How are brands driving TV ad viewers online?
“It’s either a case of brands not understanding the importance of driving TV viewers online or they already assume it’s a pointless exercise because viewers disengage as soon as adverts appear.”

How Technology Is Changing Media
An in-depth look at how BuzzFeed is leading the industry’s trends in social, mobile, and video.

 

 

 


Content Strategy Links of the Week, November 20

Why social is key to creating habit-forming news products

“According to Nir Eyal, it’s often fear that encourages a person to return to a product again and again. Boredom drives return visits to YouTube, loneliness encourages people to go to Facebook, uncertainty encourages people to search Google, he says.

So for newspapers, news sites and digital products, perhaps the driver is FOMO, a fear of missing out. People return to find out about the key news events that they don’t want to miss.”

Latest from the NPR social media desk

“1. Everyone’s talking about Serial. Seriously. Vox has gone one step further and built an interactive guide to keep track of who’s who in this character-driven crime story. Brilliant? Yes. A step too far? Maybe. But the resulting audio cards are really user friendly and offer sideways entry points into the story, in addition to making it all easier to follow. Now, just think of other ways we could break down a story that might make it easier to for the
audience to enter and understand.”

Why We Crave Human-Curated Playlists

“Context is key for music, and that is where services like Songza and Beats Music are picking up tips from FM radio. These services are essentially using algorithms to help people discover new playlists, instead of discovering new songs. This allows for a marriage of both technology and human curation.”

This woman is Hearst Magazines’ secret digital weapon

“Sharing content is another key part of the strategy. Other publishers aggregate news from elsewhere or open their sites to outside contributors to increase their publishing volume quickly and at low cost. With all of Hearst’s magazines as well as newspapers to draw from, the publisher has a long way to go before it has to look to outside sources for content. Part of Lewis’ mandate, then, has been getting Hearst to surface stories that can work across brands. Ultimately, the goal is to have 20 percent of a given Hearst site’s content coming from another Hearst property.”

More than 7 in 10 believe radio will not decline, survey finds

“An ageing population and an increasing numbers of retirees could mean increasing popularity. However, the test is to ensure that young people continue to reach out to radio as they grow older.

“To address this challenge, radio must continue to be a place of ‘music discovery’ and must adapt to new ways of enjoying content on the go – and on modern media devices.”

Quartz rethinks the newsroom for the digital age

“We don’t adhere to the preset roles you have in news organizations,” Seward said. “It prevents a myopic view of how stories need to be told. When you have the ability to think about how to tell a story differently, then it leads to more creative ways.”

Why Instagram isn’t (yet) a great platform for news publishers

“So while Instagram currently isn’t the best host for what most publishers are doing right now, as the platform becomes more video focused publishers with expertise in creating narratives in video form will find Instagram’s a more effective way to reach audiences. Until then, though, as Guyatt says, there’s very little purpose to publishing content to a platform on which it does not belong.”

Why podcasts are suddenly “back”

“The money and raw numbers have finally gotten investors to pay attention, and investors have a lot of press influence. But podcasts have never exploded and have never died. The truth is that they’ve grown boringly and steadily for almost a decade, and will likely continue to do so. And that’s great!”

The web is alive and well

“To see the mistake here, just look at the most popular mobile app supposedly leading this turn away from the web: Facebook. A substantial portion of Facebook content offers links to other websites. Tapping them opens a browser within the app, and there you are, on the web. The latest version of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, in fact, brings in-app browsers on par with the company’s own Safari browser in terms of capabilities and performance.”

It’s small touches that can make a difference in New York’s layouts

“Each week, Williams and his designers choose one of the feature articles set to appear in the print magazine, usually the cover story, and brainstorm ways they can add visual design elements that improve the storytelling process. This has become increasingly common at many publications ever since the launch of Snow Fall, the multimedia story project produced by a team of New York Times journalists, designers, videographers, and coders — though when I mentioned Snow Fall, Williams was quick to note that New York’s forays into the medium are much less epic in scale. “It’s possible to build them with each issue and without overwhelming the team,” he said in a phone interview.”

Content Strategy Links of the Week, Oct 24th

The time has cometh. Here’s another roundup of my favourite links from the week covering digital strategy, social media and radio. Enjoy!

18 companies with brilliant digital strategies
Nice overview here by Ben Davis. I’m particularly intrigued by ASOS placing their editorial content (i.e. non commercial content) on their homepage and still driving sales. Obviously, they are still promoting their top offers but they’ve recognised that the homepage can be used more for inspiration and reinforcing key brand messages. Their SEO, CRM activity and search function can do the work of driving ££££.

Obviously, I don’t think I need to mention the GDS but if you haven’t read their service design manifesto you can do so here.

And finally, as a former member of the Lego Club back in the 80s (I got my bronze, silver and gold badges back in the day don’t you know…) I’m a sucker for anything about those plastic bricks. Here’s an interview with their Head of Social Media.

What 12-Year-Olds Do On Social Media – Consumer Reports News
Two things I learnt from this US report. One, don’t dismiss Instagram. Second is wrapped up in this line: “The general rule was that the girls used public settings on their fandom accounts, but strong privacy settings for their personal accounts.” That is very significant if you’re targeting a younger demographic.

Social Proof in the User Experience
I’m a big fan of these reports from Jacob Nielsen’s team and this one drives home the advantages of displaying social proof without smothering the user. Back to the old rule: Keep It Simple.

Bedtime stories: What Metro and BuzzFeed’s stats tell us about mobile readership
Loads of insight here from two well-known publishers. If you agree that ‘mobile is social’ then this quote from Martin Ashplant will particularly ring true:

“I think in terms of the type of content that works well – it’s the intrinsic link between social that works on mobile. We’re finding that so much social activity happens on mobile, well above what we’re seeing on desktop or tablet. It’s about producing something that works on social.”
 
Radio: It’s a love thing
Nice update from  over at Earshot Creative regarding the latest marketing campaign from the Commercial Radio Brand Committee in Australia. Perfectly summarised by a tweet I saw from Matt:

And lastly, we stumbled upon the video below this week and, as a result,  I’ve been listening to those old Metallica tracks all week. Dead jel. I’ve been trying to learn those riffs for years and I still haven’t cracked it. Oh well! 😉

 

Until next week!

Content Strategy Links of the week: September 26th 2014

Ok content strategists, here’s my roundup of the best content strategy links from the last week. Prepare to be amazed.

Ok, well, let’s not over-sell it.

How to make an audio slideshow: My step-by-step advice to students
A great reminder of the power of audio slideshows. We used to see a lot of these doing the rounds about five years ago but they’ve seemed to have dropped off the radar in recent years. Still a compelling story-telling format, especially as we move away from galleries. If you’ve spotted any great recent examples please let me know!

Responsive Website podcast: Virgin America
Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte have published their latest responsive design podcast. Always interesting to hear about all those internal challenges that need to be addressed in order to serve the audience a better experience.

Fifth of all UK newspaper readers only use mobile devices to access content
If you’re a newspaper and don’t have a mobile strategy, then I’d be pretty worried about the data discussed here.

Why YouTube isn’t enough for publishers
Interesting predicament for publishers – on the one hand you need YouTube to extend reach, but on the other you’re never going to command those CPMs you could via your own player. Answer? Do both…

Lessons learned from the redesign of major news sites
Great article by Ashley Nguyen. Had to agree with this particular point:

“Midway through the [redesign] process, we sought to avoid referring to the project as a redesign at all,” Bob Cohn wrote in November 2012 when he served as the  digital editor for The Atlantic. “That seemed to trivialize it, suggesting a facelift or a fresh coat of paint. The goal, we realized, was more strategic than aesthetic.”

The 18 Blogs Every UX Pro Should Follow
Some old favourites here including UX Matters and A List APart… 

One secret to the success of Quartz, BuzzFeed and Gawker: They look at news as a service
Matthew Ingram hits the sweet spot:

“Journalists often seem to believe that  their job is to tell the reader what they think is important or relevant, rather than thinking of journalism as a service that they are providing, one in which the reader’s needs or desires are paramount, rather than the journalistic instincts of the author. Approaching news as a service or — even worse — as a product is seen as somehow beneath them.”

Meanwhile, this is a great opportunity to introduce our #fakesomenoise social media campaign Global’s brand new charity Make Some Noise.

Here’s the latest entry from our Capital FM team, please share and get involved!

Until next week…

Best content strategy links of the week: September 12, 2014

Greetings interweb people!

Like some beautiful burning phoenix rising from the flames I present to you my often-cited but never seen, content strategy links of the week. I’ve been a little preoccupied by a new job recently but no more excuses – let’s get this off the ground again. So here it is, in all it’s glory, repeated every Friday.

(I mean the blog series, not the actual same content.  That would be ridic.)

Next Radio 2014 Highlights
Obviously, I’m going to mention the UK radio industry event that was held in London on Monday first. I’ve written about it here but it’s worth flagging that the presenter videos from the event are now being posed on Next Radio website. Thanks to James Cridland and Matt Deegan for organising the event.

The container model and blended content – a new approach to how we present content on the Guardian
Interesting overview by Nick Haley on the content strategy decisions behind the new responsive Guardian website. Nice notion around ‘blended content’ and how they are using this new modular approach to inspire serendipity and increase dwell times. As Nick himself writes: Blended containers were a vehicle which exposed content to people they may not ordinarily encounter but is interesting to them. The containers both support existing patterns of behaviour and may spur on new patterns.”

Interestingly, when I visited the site it took me a while to realise I wasn’t actually on the Beta version. But then again, that might be me just being thick.

Vertical campfires: our user research walls
I loved this overview of the UX process at GDS from Kate Townsey. Check out the use case scenarios. Notice these are not fully-fleshed personas which have the tendency to drift off into fantasy – this is just enough detail to help the team focus on the user needs.  And notice it’s on a wall, not hidden away on someone’s laptop.

How we built the the new wired.co.uk homepage
Again another open, honest account of a responsive site launch – and I don’t just like this because of the cool parallax formatting (although the responsive ads absolutely rock). I particularly like the question posed by Pete Miller: “…what is the purpose of a website’s own content discovery experience when there are extremely popular purpose-built cross-site content discovery platforms – search engines, social media, content curation apps such as Zite or Flipboard”.

I don’t pretend to have the answer to this either, but worth pondering.

Does journalism still require impartiality?
Great article by Kellie Riordan on the importance of editorial curation to help users identify the best bits of info each day. This has to be balanced, of course, with the fact that people are now posting clips faster to social media than can be identified, verified and curated by journalists.

What has changed in the digital era is not so much the need for impartiality but the method to achieve it. New media prefer transparency and plurality to achieve impartiality, old media achieve it with objective methods. Let’s acknowledge that both methods can lead to quality journalism, or for that matter, to poor journalism.

But it’s also important to recognise what hasn’t changed. Audiences now have access to more information and a variety of different perspectives to form their own conclusions. Do audiences need a journalist to de-code the news or contextualise the facts anymore? I think they still do. This is what hasn’t changed. “

Does The Internet Still Need Comments? Yes, But A Different Kind
Interesting article on a the recent trend of bloggers and publishers removing comments from their articles. It also highlights how users are simply using the comments section to share the article on their friend’s Facebook pages and not commenting at all. In which case, should we really be calling these comments at all?

Responsive Web Design Podcast
No weekly content strategy roundup would be complete without mentioning Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte’s excellent weekly podcast on responsive design. They’ve interviewed some great companies (Capital One, Fidelity, Marriott and The Boston Globe) about their responsive design decisions and it’s compulsive listening. Highly recommended.

And finally, fans of this post will know that I have an eclectic taste in music. I found this the other day and I’m still trying to make sense of it. Good ol’ Brian…

See you next week!