In Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson offers this definition as a starting point for understanding content strategy:
To unpack this a bit:
Above all, we believe it’s critical for brands to think like publishers, by making serving an audience the primary focus, and by considering all publishers in the topic space, not just direct brand competitors.
Our initial discovery work might include:
This analysis lays the foundation for the core content strategy work: developing an editorial framework that hits the intersection point of audience needs, business goals, and publishing context.
We’ve developed an approach that covers the categories of content the team will publish, how they will bring this content to the audience, how they will manage day-to-day publishing operations, and how they will measure success.
For a program with a well-established strategy, our ongoing work typically focuses on reviewing metrics to understand what is and isn’t working and looking for opportunities to grow. This means standing back from the day-to-day work to consider overarching strategic questions:
If a channel originally launched without a set strategy, there might not be any success measures in place. In these cases, we include some of the same discovery steps as a new channel launch, such as an audit of existing content, an editorial framework, and a strategic approach to metrics.
This fundamental approach also applies to focused, isolated content projects, such as publishing a high volume of content around a particular event or activity, a special report, or a data visualization. As with an ongoing publishing program, PNConnect’s approach is to establish a foundation of insight that defines what success looks like.
By listening closely to business stakeholders and subject matter experts and developing a deep understanding of the target audience and existing content landscape in the space, we establish the standards and mandatories that will position the project for success. In other words, the content strategy work specifies the who and the why as the basis for deciding the what.
Facebook also introduced a few programing guarantees, in order to strengthen trust with app developers, and stepped up the data available to mobile advertisers. Finally, f8 brought news of an expanded communications toolset inside apps to allow for greater interactions between users and developers. Here’s our overview of the key updates.
My life is shoehorned into my smartphone. Most essential is the power cable, since the battery drains quickly. I am old-fashioned and still talk a lot on the phone. My key apps are WeChat, Skype and WhatsApp, with Instagram in close support. I don’t have time for anything else – apart from sneaky 20-minute decompression sessions on Angry Birds.
Everything is within reach – especially the wastepaper basket. It’s my most productive office tool, used as a low-tech filing cabinet. My desk is a spaghetti of wires, devices, two red model 2 CVs (my dream car), a photo of a very happy me with a gorgeous belly dancer, and pictures of my son Caspar.
Silence. I regularly bawl out my coworkers as they play music. We did have a vogue for early-morning Mozart, which sent our IQs rocketing for a while until we fell back to Earth. And I will have patches when I want to rock. But silence in our noisy, hyper-connected world is a true gift.
Here, it’s all about blogs that pop up through research, a lot of client and peer discussion, and taking advantage of great reporting by The Financial Times, The Economist and BBC. I often dip into BBC Trending.
To be honest, my overall media consumption is low. Too much noise. You need head space to promote free thinking and time to liberate those hours when we become creative. We need to innovate to take advantage of our strengths in story-mining and story-making. That necessitates blank spaces away from white noise.
You need a coping strategy to keep it from getting depressing. It’s difficult to focus only on the few big things that matter, and slaying the e-mail dragon is a daily heroic feat. My guiding principles for sanity:
Early morning starts. I estimate that two-thirds of my day has to be free to deal with the regular barrage of curveballs, so I get in ahead of the chaos. Everyone else – who is mad – thinks that I am crazy. But I’m the sane one.
Stop rushing and get there early. Use waiting time as downtime to process stuff subconsciously. Great thoughts will emerge.
Working with bloggers allowed the team both to engage one-on-one and to connect with the bloggers’ networks, spurring organic conversations and spreading awareness about brain health. Prior to the tournament, PN Melbourne used these connections to help generate excitement, addressing tweets to individual participants.
Together, the two events drew more than 120 attendees, generated 389 social media posts, and reached 128,294 people within the week. The tournaments connected attendees with new people (excellent for brain health) and encouraged exciting conversations about improving brain fitness, even after the events ended. Each participant received a gift bag with more information about brain health as a take-home reminder to continue talking about the topic.
During and after the events, even those who were not in attendance joined Instagram and Twitter conversations wanting to learn more about brain health. One conversation highlight was ProBlogger, a key Twitter influencer, joining the online discussion and praising the initiative. The Yelp Elite in Sydney were so inspired by the event that they are now organizing weekly trivia catch-ups. All participants said they hoped the Trivia Tournament would become an annual event.
Craft an in-depth list of everyone who might be a good influencer. Deep familiarity with the industry and the related conversation online will be a huge first step in starting the list. Some possibilities will come to mind immediately, and you can ask a few colleagues as well. Next, tap any internal resources you have — contact lists, past conference attendees, active fans on social media, etc.
When it’s time to cast a wider net, consider where your influencers are likely to congregate online, whether it’s a LinkedIn group, a Twitter hashtag, or somewhere else. As you survey the conversation in those places, the most notable, consistently active participants will quickly stand out.
Several tools are available that can also help surface influencer communities. AllTop, a legacy Guy Kawasaki project, is still useful for identifying notable blogs in various topic areas. On social media channels, Traackr or Twitter-specific LittleBird can identify high-profile users who frequently discuss a certain topic or keyword.
Gather information about your influencers. If you want to consider many factors, it’s helpful to create a spreadsheet based on your initial list. Some potential factors to consider:
Collect email addresses and URLs for profiles and blogs, and keep an open column for notes: a brief description of the influencer and any other useful information.
PNConnect can work with your brand to determine the best methodology for evaluating candidates and to define a process. Often, with so many factors in play, a quantitative approach can be helpful. In those cases, create a formula in your spreadsheet for totaling up a number that roughly represents how much value each individual would have as an influencer. One approach is to start by totaling up the person’s followers on each social network. Then, assign weight to other factors (Klout score, blog activity, etc.) based on your brand’s priorities, and add the resulting figures to your total. Another option is to calculate multiple “scores” for the person — e.g. general influence and brand influence/savvy — and add those up. Either way, if you sort the list according to these ratings, your best candidates will promptly emerge.
Whatever method you use to evaluate candidates, if you’ve defined your goals clearly, your choices should match up to those needs. As you create the shortlist of people to contact, also consider external factors, like the need to diversify. Look for variety in level of influence and notoriety. It’s a good idea to include both high-profile influencers, who might give you a retweet at most, and more modest influencers who might collaborate more extensively. Include several options for users who are highly active on each target social media platform. Once you’ve put together your shortlist, reach out and see who’s open to collaboration. And save the full list of possibilities — you might use it later if you’re looking for more influencers.
For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.
Dave Coustan in Atlanta and Tom Harris in Raleigh wrote this month’s Feature about content strategy, and Mary Gaulke in Winter Haven shared Insights on influencer identification. Chad Hyett and James O’Malley in New York City; Whitney Gonzalez in Winter Haven, Florida; and Chris Thilk in Chicago contributed stories and insights for the Social Networking Stats and Noteworthy News sections. Amanda Wu provided the latest stats, and Tim Walmsley in Dubai showed us his Workflow and provided the photos of his office. Allison Brill and Sarah Parada in Washington, D.C., shared updates and insights on Advertising Trends, and Mandy Griffiths in Melbourne wrote our case study on International Brain Awareness Week.
Tom Harris contributed the photos for our cover and introduction, Facebook provided the f8 Developers Conference image, and the H7N9 image is courtesy of the CDC. Phil Roeder uploaded the Supreme Court image to Flickr, some rights reserved. Some backgrounds courtesy of subtlepatterns.com.
Thanks to Jennifer Laker, Nik Wilets, Peter Schiebel, and Sean O’Shaughnessy from the Platforms team for providing design and development support, and to Josh Hallett, Lauren Sandelin, Mary Gaulke, Dave Coustan and Tom Harris for editorial oversight and proofing.
Top iOS Apps
Blek – Games
Heads Up! – Games
A Dark Room – Games
AfterLight – Photo & Video
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
Sumotori Dreams – Games
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock – Health & Fitness
Plague Inc. – Games
NOAA Hi-Def Radar – Weather
Kick the Buddy – Games
Productivity – Productivity
Minecraft Pocket Edition – Games
The Amazing Spider-Man – Games
Dr Panda’s Toy Cars – Education
The Survival Games – Games
Sumotori Dreams – Games
Blek – Games
A Dark Room – Games
Notability – Productivity
Heads Up! – Games
Top Android and Windows Apps