On Thursday the 30th May two colleagues and I headed to a room above the Western Front pub for the Brighton Content Strategy Meetup. The three speakers offered up their take on Content Strategy and the lessons that can be learned from traditional media. The talks generated some great debate and gave us some ideas to experiment with at work. Here are my notes, I hope you find them useful.
David Standen – Beyond (@DavidStanden)
Brands as Publishers: How to Put People Before Products
David started by explaining that brands want to “widen the funnel” and raise awareness – they can do this with great content and have been for some time. Think of the Tesco Magazine, it extends the brand into yet another part of its customers’ lives. Brands like to self-publish because it gives them control over what their content sits next to, this is a lot safer than an advert / advertorial which can get placed next to anything in a magazine or newspaper. According to David it is all about “owning the platform”, content providers like Skyword, Contently and Newscred will deliver the copy to your site rather than you having to advertise on someone else’s site. Some examples of brands “doing it well” were mentioned – RedBull, Amex and Google. He also talked about brands becoming broadcasters; Amazon and Xbox live are commissioning original series. He ended with the statement “good content costs money” – I’m not so sure, but I’ll blog about it later.
Rob Mansfield – AgeUK (@robram)
9 things magazines can teach you about content strategy
Some people would tell you that magazines don’t have a place in the modern world, regardless of your opinion on this statement it is important to remember there is lots we can learn from them. After all, magazines were here first and have decades of successful journalism under their belts. Below are Rob’s 9 things we can learn from them:
- Research your reader – think personas but then did deeper. By understanding our audience we can better cater for their content needs.
- Think about the cover – for web we apply these lessons to the homepage. Think about the top left, clever headlines and the use of numbers to draw people in.
- Find your voice – magazines are great at this. From cover to cover a magazine sounds the same, this helps build a relationship with the reader.
- Create regular features – they keep people coming back for more!
- Use pictures properly – nice images should complement the article. This may involve spending money but should not include buying cheesy stock photography.
- Find a new angle – a new way of looking at something avoids blending in with 100s of other sites doing the same thing.
- Get a sense of humour – comedy sells.
- Get a personality – showcase the people who work for you. Content should make people feel rather than just buy.
- Take most feedback with a pinch of salt – listening to everyone would make content production a nightmare!
Adam Tinworth – Content Consultant (@adders)
Your iPad doesn’t care about your content strategy
Adam is sick of hearing MDs say “we should do something about the iPad”, partially out of annoyance because they seem to think they’re being genuinely revolutionary, and partly because he thinks it is the wrong statement. He believes we should instead set out to “do something about the sofa”. People use iPads because they are a comfortable way to browse the internet away from the desk, somewhere comfy like the lounge. They typically have time to do this in the evenings and at weekends. This leads him to suggest that instead of pushing all content to loads of channels we should concentrate on the most appropriate channels. Long form articles take time to read, for this reason reading them on the sofa at the weekend is more likely than at work in the week. He finished his talk with a mention of The Magazine, which publishes exclusively on iPad because it knows this is the best way to serve its target audience.