LIKE event – Content strategies

I have often seen adverts for potentially useful LIKE (London Information & Knowledge Exchange) events without being able to go.  However, last week, I made it to one – the main presentation from the BrilliantNoise digital agency:

The evening mixed presentation about the 6Ps (using the above slides) with participant groups (organised via seating by what food people had ordered in advance – which worked as quite an effective way to get people to mix) thinking about the 6Ps in relation to their work in a way similar to what BrilliantNoise would do with clients in a 2-day workshop.  This was tailored somewhat to the audience, with the presenter not going into specific areas in too much detail, especially items such as taxonomies where she recognized the audience probably held expert level understanding already.  The appendix in the slides is the handout we worked through.

I felt I somewhat took over my group’s conversations and we tended to start our discussions with considering content in terms of my department’s work.  However, we did get a mix of views and others in the group elaborated on their experiences (mostly in law and accountancy firms) in regards to handling training materials and other content via intranets, content management systems, etc.

I found the 6P model a sensible one, recognizing many of its considerations from how I have worked in the past.  Indeed I may articulate these more explicitly when considering ‘Content Strategy’ type work in the future.

The notes I made, to add detail to the above slides, included:

  1. Purpose: Why the content exists, this can match your overall business goal.  [This depends on the purpose of your team and how niche it is in the organization?]
  2. Principles: examples include gov.uk’s “10 Needs” [I think this was talking about these from gov.uk].  Mentioned work with Nokia on their social media strategy, key outcome principle was “consider social opportunity in everything we do”.  Argued these should be high level with support of detailed style guides, etc.  Issue identified in the room was compliance and that getting people to follow principles and processes often proves impossible.  You should also consider how you work in existing company principles, values and other issues.
  3. Platforms: included a mention for wikis, Yammer and Diigo (the latter apparently used by a lot of their clients).  There was discussion in the room around corporate buy in to Microsoft products versus the productivity people have found via use of Web2 tech.  However, whilst the criticism of Office, SharePoint and CMS systems was predictable it was good to hear the point that ‘amplifying’ content is more than just Facebook and Twitter.  It was also acknowledged that content work is too often led by platforms with the tools leading the strategy [same could be said for Learning Management Systems, Authoring Tools, etc].
  4. Processes: these need to be clear, including who needs to be involved at the different stages.  It was argued that this is key for ROI and that you should not view in-house authoring/content as ‘free’.  The group activity again highlighted that, like with principles, whilst things can be clearly set out there remains the tendency for other priorities to overcome work, such as client work meaning people are not available [i.e. “everyone is too busy syndrome”].
  5. People: who is going to be involved, for example, who will be the editors, etc.  Suggestion was that there is no set way of doing things as team roles in relation to content really vary by how the individual business works.  Chief Content Officers are emerging as another c-level acronym, for example, at The Telegraph group.  The logic behind such roles being to encourage people to look beyond traditional editorial duties now that we are working in digital domains.  Challenges were identified in the room, including the silos created by different departments and how to tackle ‘enthusiasm’ where you need to find balance between a free for all of creation by proactive staff against too rigid a structure of control.  Finally, on this point, there was some discussion as to what ‘decency’ means internally with one person in the room telling a story about internal plagiarism of research and how you might need to ensure that recognition of original authorship/research is included in your content policies.
  6. Performance: is not just about page views, ‘likes’ and shares [mention for Forrester’s Engagement Framework (slide 31)].  Research has shown social media sharers often do not read the whole article or even spend much time on the page.  Instead you should try and seek feedback and intervention is key, if something is not being used then you need to think “why?”.  There was a nod here to making people more digitally literate and if content is not being used if there is a need for the author to attend some kind of training.  Benchmarks are difficult, you really need to base them on your hopes and expectations as well as what people have done in the past.

All in all it was an interesting evening [even though I had to leave soon after the main talk finished] and the 6P model is certainly something I will try to keep in mind going forward for making the key considerations, in many areas beyond content too, more explicit.

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