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Taming the Content Beast

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How to make sure the content you create is more effective for your organization and for your members. Talk at the 2017 Interchange Conference for state CPA societies

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Taming the Content Beast

  1. 1. Taming the Content Beast AICPA & CPA/SEA Interchange 2017 Create smart, sustainable strategies for your content
  2. 2. What we’ll cover today •  How content strategy can help your association •  Delivering content to meet the needs of your top-priority audiences •  Identifying your organization’s voice and tone •  Creating a higher “return on content” •  Developing content lifecycles
  3. 3. Your life today… •  “I want my latest video on the home page now” •  I promised the committee that we would make this our top priority on the site •  But we are required to use the real name of the bill: HR432B •  Why don’t our members use the resources on our site?
  4. 4. Better content, better results
  5. 5. What is content? •  Magazine or journal articles •  Session descriptions •  Product details •  Course listings •  Executive biographies •  Press releases •  Newsletters •  Program information •  Membership details •  Advocacy updates •  Etc., etc., etc.
  6. 6. Content takes different forms •  Web pages •  Blog posts •  Infographics •  Images •  PDFs •  Video •  Audio
  7. 7. What is content strategy? The right content To the right person At the right time For the right action
  8. 8. Put another way…. Content strategy is the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.
  9. 9. Three faces
  10. 10. Multiple parts •  A strategic statement tying content to business goals •  Guidelines and policies: Who, what, when, where, why, and how of publishing content •  Defining people, roles, and processes
  11. 11. Audience-centric Business-sensitive Content The ultimate vision
  12. 12. Foundational tenets 1.  Content creators & SMEs have a common understanding of what key audiences want, and how their content helps deliver that. 2.  Content creators & SMEs have a common understanding of the org’s goals and how their content contributes to them. 3.  Content creators & SMEs share their content in a consistent, effective way.
  13. 13. Principles •  The organization creates content that its audiences want •  The organization creates content that helps it meet its goals •  Content has success metrics and is measured against those •  Content that is no longer relevant is no longer available •  Content is promoted, surfaced, and cross-linked based on its topic, not its source •  Content is created in the organization’s voice •  The organization manages content platforms, tools, and channels in a way that ensures their effectiveness
  14. 14. Department Message Audience Department Message Audience Department Message Audience Department Message Audience Old thinking
  15. 15. 14 Silos
  16. 16. Different views of the audience http://www.fastcompany.com/3019930/leadership-now/the-5-blind-men-and-other-myths-of-innovation
  17. 17. 16 http://www.amazon.com/Have-Always-Done-That-Way/dp/184728857X/
  18. 18. Difficulty prioritizing
  19. 19. Diluted impact 18
  20. 20. Lack of understanding of your value
  21. 21. Opportunities 1.  Be the primary source of information 2.  Use your content to draw the right people 3.  Get people to take the action you want them to take •  Must be a win-win •  Without a strategy, it’s just content
  22. 22. Organiza4on: Programs, offerings Audience Messages Audience Audience Audience New thinking
  23. 23. Working together for member satisfaction
  24. 24. Connect with your audience
  25. 25. Who are you talking to? Write for the people who read and use your content
  26. 26. It’s never “everyone”* * and it’s not your leadership, either
  27. 27. What’s going on for them? What do they want?
  28. 28. Novice Nancy •  Accounting clerk in a medium-size public firm •  26 years old, 3 years’ experience •  Learn, connect, network
  29. 29. Student Steve •  College junior, age 20 •  Interest in math and business, member of the state association •  “Doesn’t know what he doesn’t know:” career options, CPA requirements, volunteering, free stuff
  30. 30. B&I Barbara •  42 years old, 15 years’ experience •  Plant controller; worked in public accounting before •  Busy work-life schedule •  Stay up-to-date on news & profession, maintain CPA, network
  31. 31. What do you know about them? •  What are they already experts in? •  What don’t they know now? •  What keeps them up at night? •  How tech-savvy are they? •  What do they read? •  What do they do outside of work?
  32. 32. What are their content needs? Exercise 1 (see your workbook)
  33. 33. What audiences want 1.  Give me benefits, not just information (What’s in it for me?) 2.  Approach me as a person, understanding my life stage and struggles 3.  Give me the freedom to use the site as I want 4.  Make it peer-centric 5.  Simplify! Shorten! Avoid jargon! 6.  Don’t waste my time when I’m trying to find what I need Source: American Medical Association member study
  34. 34. “So what?”
  35. 35. WIIFM?
  36. 36. “Mom test” https://bellegardens.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/a-love-note-to-my-mom-concerning-aprons/
  37. 37. What does it mean to be business sensitive? •  Is created to meet an explicit business goal •  Written in the organization’s voice •  Crafted in partnership between subject matter experts and web presentation experts
  38. 38. Identify your voice and tone
  39. 39. Voice •  Your unique personality •  Values •  “Sounds like you” •  Doesn’t change
  40. 40. Tone •  Emotional attitude •  How you sound in different situations/contexts/settings
  41. 41. voiceandtone.com – Mailchimp’s guide
  42. 42. US Government’s style guide https://content-guide.18f.gov/voice-and-tone/
  43. 43. You can try this at home Exercise 2 (see p. 5 of your workbook)
  44. 44. Set measurable goals
  45. 45. Organizations publish a LOT of content
  46. 46. What don’t we publish?? •  Product data •  Reports •  Press releases •  News stories •  Customer success stories •  Executive bios •  Event information •  Course details •  Policies •  FAQs •  Mission statement •  Job listings
  47. 47. 47https://preservingdtharchives2011.wordpress.com/2011/10
  48. 48. Content is the way our work is manifested in the world
  49. 49. 50
  50. 50. Just because…..
  51. 51. Because the boss said so Because the committee asked us to Because the committee told us to Because we have this program Because we do this thing Because we created the information Because we have no way to say “no” to the request Because we think we have to Because everyone else is
  52. 52. If you don’t know what you’re going for, how will you know whether you’re succeeding?
  53. 53. 54 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsive_hoarding
  54. 54. Return on Content
  55. 55. 3 pieces of information 1.  Goal 2. KPI 3. Measuring & learning
  56. 56. Identifying the Goal Why are we publishing this? 58
  57. 57. Effective content has a goal •  It’s published •  Lots of people look at it
  58. 58. What is a true goal? •  Meets a business goal •  Satisfies a user need •  Ideally, both
  59. 59. 61 Users meet their needs Organization meets its goals Balancing Goals & Needs
  60. 60. 62 Audience focus Organization focus
  61. 61. Audience focus Organization focus
  62. 62. Content goals Each piece of content needs a clear, explicit reason to exist
  63. 63. Content goals Examples: –  Bring in non-dues revenue –  Encourage joining or renewing membership –  Raise awareness and perception of the profession –  Help practitioners care for clients –  Inspire more people to register for an event –  Educate lawmakers about an issue important to the profession
  64. 64. Introducing: the “we we” score To convert a larger share of your visitors, you must focus more on the visitors than on your organization. http://www.customerfocuscalculator.com/
  65. 65. Wrong time to ask “why” The reason is clear here
  66. 66. How will you know it’s successful? •  Reached the audience in the channel that matched their expectations •  The audience took the action you wanted them to take •  They were more satisfied with your organization •  They called customer service less •  They bought more stuff from you •  They talked you up to their colleagues
  67. 67. Turning goals into KPIs 1.  Benchmark where you are now –  Content performance –  Pain points –  Tie back to business 2. What will constitute success? –  Envision the desired goal –  Make it measurable!
  68. 68. Next steps 1. Learn what works 2. Use that information to develop goals 3. Create an editorial calendar and templates for review time, roles, and processes 4. Share all with staff 5. Track/measure and evolve
  69. 69. Define your content lifecycles
  70. 70. Why define? •  Ensure that only current, relevant content remains online •  Improve findability •  Clearer promotion rules and paths •  Easier governance
  71. 71. Start with general rules defining what should stay online: •  Current: Published within the last year •  Relevant: More than XX unique page views •  Evergreen •  Legally required to keep
  72. 72. Adapt from there •  Should news releases go away sooner? •  When should course announcements go away? •  How long should we keep conference session descriptions?
  73. 73. When it’s time to go… •  Sunset à aka, retire/delete/unpublish •  Archive – online – offline •  Technology is your friend here
  74. 74. Internal communications is a key piece of the workflow •  Keep everyone informed when you remove content, to ensure that you’re not breaking links •  Partnerships
  75. 75. Thank you! •  Hilary Marsh •  hilary@contentcompany.biz •  @hilarymarsh •  312-806-7854

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