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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Getting Engaged: Content, context, community and sex toys?

If you’ve ever wondered what a ‘Rock Box’ or ‘Squealer’ was, well, tonight was your night at the latest UXPA UK event hosted by Lisa Moore at City University campus.

We heard from there great speakers on the topic of ‘Content, Context and Community’, presented to the mostly UX crowd but with a healthy contingent of content strategists now appearing in the ranks. Kudos to Lisa for getting more of us involved at these events.

First up, Yelp London Director Alex Shebar on ‘Putting the ‘U’ and ‘I’ in Community’. My notes as follows:

  1. Did you know Yelp is the largest local review website in the world? (No I did not know that Alex)

  2. Their strategy is to get people to talk about the local issues and services that are important to them.

  3. Alex flagged early on you need to listen to what people are saying in your area of interest. If you don’t, you are already failing.

  4. Alex pointed to Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising study which indicated that content on your site is less trusted than a random stranger talking about you on social media. Go figure.

  5. The Xbox Elite Tweet Fleet were heralded as a great example of community interaction. Once upon a time no one was responding to gamers in the evening and during weekends – now not proving 24/7 support is unthinkable. Alex flagged them as the first, true ‘responsive brand’.

  6. When building a community, Alex highlighted that quite often managers get scared by negative reviews left on their websites. Alex’s advice was simply: “Get over it. People will say bad things. There will always be haters. The best response is not to delete but to respond.” People trust sites more with mixed reviews.

  7. Alex talked about the Yelp Time Traveller’s ball which Yelp organised last year. He said that Londoners are challenged by having too many options for things to do in London and, as a result, are more likely to stay within the vicinity of their local pub. The fancy dress ball which featured a) free food and b) free booze offered the community to meet learn about local services in their area. It also enabled Yelp to tap into ‘Active Contributors’ which makes up about 2% of their total audience but who generate the majority of the comments.

  8. Alex didn’t advise every band to be on Facebook or Twitter – only if your community used these social networks.

  9. Alex had some advice around using your community for redesign purposes. Generally, he said, try to avoid asking your community if they like a specific design or change. If possible show examples of other sites you may be taking inspiration from. Be broad in your research. However, if a community member or members really hate something you have proposed then be very direct in asking specific questions to find out why they hate it.

Next up: Andrew Marcus, Deputy Head of Communications, Museum of London on ‘Building Community Through Integration’.

  1. Andrew framed his competitive landscape nicely. He does not compete with other museums – he competes for your leisure time which means sports, shopping and your sofa!

  2. The Museum of London’s objectives are to increase their current visitor number of 650k to 1.5million by 2018.

  3. In order to do this, they are trying several methods including engaging with schools and installing collections, but Andrew wanted to focus on their use of video to aid their PR communications.

  4. The aim of these videos was to be fun and informative – to counter the impression that museums are stuffy and po-faced

  5. Their history of the three piece suit video was used to tap into the current drive in male fashion industry


  1. Users who come to their site from a YouTube video stay twice as long and view three times the amount of page views. Hence they see video as a valuable engagement tool.

  2. Expect great things in the year ahead including a Sherlock Holmes exhibition plus a digitalised archive of London’s Oral history…

Dildos, butt plugs? It must be Lovehoney’s Matthew Curry @mattcurry ‘Sexy Content!’

  1. Matt kicked off his session by warning us he was going to talk about lots of rude words. That got everyone’s attention immediately. Cock Locker anyone?

  2. Although Matt was involved with usability testing and general UX practice, his focus tonight was on the content strategy behind the UK’s biggest sex toy provider.

  3. Matt said they invested in video because it was difficult to sell products with static images. People want to actually see these toys in action – well not entirely ‘in action’ – but they are keen to know how much noise these products create, size, etc

  4. It’s these video demos alongside user reviews that can make or break the product

  5. That’s why Matt sends out more than 100 products per week to his pool of product testers, or as he labels them ‘My Orgasm Army.’

  6. Matt also taps into his community to help the media connect with potential subjects, understand product requests media requests (interviews) and product requests, instant bug reporting, policy feedback.

  7. Matt pointed to the value of video bloggers like Trak Gray for reviewing your products

  8. Alex mentioned the RockBox vibrator. This piece of kit was so powerful that it use dot vibrate itself to pieces. This inclusion in this presentation was worth the price of the entry ticket alone.

  9. He mentioned the fact that only 7% of people use site search in Google Analytics and he used it to ‘Searchandise’ – to optimise the journey from site search to basket

  10. He also looked at failed site searches to optimise his content

  11. To generate blog ideas he typed ‘How do i’ into google to generate topics

  12. ‘Bang Dildo! – a term used to indicate if content on their site is too raunchy. Editorial care has to be taken as this could split the audience.

And that’s it folks! Great session by Lisa and nice to be blogging again!

Until next time…

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