Conference: November 29 – 30 and Workshops: December 1 Boston Fairmont Copley Plaza Join our highly-respected international experts for a deep dive following our two-day conference. Register and save your seat today! Thursday, December 1: 9:00 – 12:00 Thursday, December, 1: 1:00 – 4:00 Register today to save your seat!
This post originally published on https://gilbane.com
Dear Readers: Hope you had a fantastic summer. We are back from vacation and our new school-year resolution is to publish more bite-sized issues more frequently – tougher curation and quicker delivery to you. Beyond the iPhone is the watch, as the next general purpose personal computer that is. I still think that has always been Apple’s plan, with fitness a […]
This post originally published on https://gilbane.com
Information architect Abby Covert is one of the most distinguished thought leaders in the field of information architecture. Over the past few years, she has introduced and promoted several innovative ideas designed to help us transform “informational messes” into well-structured and useful information. Eager to share her thought-provoking ideas with others, we are pleased to feature her in this recorded webinar, How to Make Sense of Any Mess.
This article highlights a few of Abby’s ideas that, in my opinion, make her work so meaningful and engaging.
One: We all play a role in architecting information
For those who are not familiar with Information Architecture (also referred to as IA), it is the structural design of shared information environments. That’s one technical definition. Abby has a few definitions of her own that provide more clarity:
- How to arrange something to get a specific intention.
- The way we choose to arrange the parts of something to make it understandable as a whole.
Seen from this vantage point, everyone participates in the architecting of information.
Most of us spend our lives in what Abby calls “places of information.” These “places” include conversations, print media, digital communications, organizational meetings, etc. If you think about it, everything is a place of information, and we constantly play an active role in shaping it (receiving, transforming, creating, organizing, and transmitting information).
To avoid contributing to what Abby calls the “mess” of information that plagues the world, upgrading our IA skills can only help us improve what we already do on a daily basis, which is “architecting” information.
Two: Everything we do exists amid a multiplicity of nested architectures
Take a look around and you will see intertwingled architectures of physical and non-tangible structures. Your computer screen presents a 3D architecture that guides and enables action. The room containing your computer offers yet another architectural scheme. So too does your building, your block, your neighborhood, your city, etc.
The same intertwingularity applies to information. The information you create by way of interpretation is data actively transformed through your immense cognitive architecture. It is what Abby calls the “huge map of knowledge” which you carry around in your brain and superimpose over every bit of information you receive.
Navigating these complexities in a collective setting, such as the workplace, can be difficult. As Abby states, “The majority of messes we face are made up of information (and people).” We are all part of a collection of informational ecosystems. Our ability to successfully contribute to these ecosystems demands our awareness of their structure and our skills in navigating or arranging their parts.
Three: There is no such thing as “true” information
One of Abby’s favorite examples is the categorization of vegetables. Are tomatoes, avocados, and squash vegetables or fruit? If you’re a grocer or a shopper, these items are veggies (after all, they’re savory like most other veggies). But if you’re a botanist or a science teacher, of course, they’re “fruit,” as they match all the scientific criteria that qualify them as fruit.
If you ask yourself what the “true” categorization is, Abby will rightly tell you that “there is no such thing as true information… only spin.” In other words, “meaning” is not a universal principle. It is a mode of perception that people have in common or to which they agree. How something works and what it allows us to do is far more important than any “true” meaning devoid of relevant function. With that said, we may all agree that strawberries are berries (even if they are not) and that bananas are not berries (which they are).
Four: Information is not content
Content can produce information, but so can the lack of content. Another of Abby’s favorite examples is a photo of two types of cookies behind a display case. Suppose you wanted to buy a cookie and noticed that there were seven oatmeal raisin cookies but only one chocolate cookie. Why might there be only one chocolate cookie left? Is it more popular? Or did the baker make more oatmeal raisin cookies anticipating that it may sell out? Is the chocolate cookie not as fresh?
In this example, Abby clearly differentiates content from information. Information is the meaning(s) you derive from content or the lack of it. The cookies in the example envelop several potential meanings, some of which may contradict one another. Your interpretation of content or data is what transforms it into information. Your “map of knowledge” intersects and combines with select facets of content upon which you create (rather than “find”) meaning.
Five: Try using alternative ways to categorize something
In a short flip board style video titled What do you mean?, Abby playfully demonstrates how the structure of information can change the meaning of information. Change a term’s categorization according to its different facets, and you change how it is perceived and potentially used.
In an organizational setting, it may be helpful to try categorizing products or services in at least two different ways. For example, Abby states that many businesses categorize products by department. But what if you were to categorize a product by customer persona, task, cost, revenue potential, competitors, or other customer-driven uses? By using alternative forms of categorization, your views and actions toward a given product may change.
In conclusion, this article barely scratches the surface of what Abby has to offer regarding information architecture. Her talks and published materials are very inspiring, thought-provoking, and actionable. Check out Abby’s recent webinar, How to Make Sense of Any Mess.
The post Five Things I Learned about Information Architecture from Abby Covert appeared first on The Content Wrangler.
As we continue to prep for RSuiteUC16, I wanted to dedicate this post to 3 companies who are helping to make it all possible: our sponsors.
For over a decade, organizations around the world have come to rely on MarkLogic to power their innovative information applications. As the world’s experts at integrating data from silos, MarkLogic’s operational and transactional Enterprise NoSQL database platform empowers our customers to build next generation applications on a unified, 360-degree view of their data. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, MarkLogic has offices throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Here's a short video by our CTO, Lisa Bos, about MarkLogic and our long-standing relationship with MarkLogic:
XTM International develops XTM, an award-winning online TMS, available via the cloud or on your own servers. The centrally shared TM, terminology, workflow and translator workbench are all accessed via a browser. XTM is cost effective, easy to use, includes filters for all common file types and is built for collaboration. Our global customers range include some of the world’s largest LSPs and enterprises.
Take a minute to visit these companies on the web and follow them on Twitter. After that, make sure you register for the RSuite User Conference so you can meet these companies in person!
You’re running full-speed ahead with your content bucket full and your heart bursting with the need to share it with the world. But, you may need to hit the breaks for a moment and think about the tools needed to help you move forward in a way that will deliver the best digital experience to your customers. Register now to join us […]
This post originally published on https://gilbane.com
You’re running full-speed ahead with your content bucket full and your heart bursting with the need to share it with the world. But, you may need to hit the breaks for a moment and think about the tools needed to help you move forward in a way that will deliver the best digital experience to your customers. Register now to join us […]
This post originally published on https://gilbane.com
For those attending this month’s RSuite User Conference, I’m excited to announce one of the best perks: free consulting! And not free-consulting-only-if-you-happen-to-grab-the-right-person-at-the-right-time; you can actually get a private, one-on-one, face-to-face session with a knowledgeable RSuite engineer to talk about anything you want (at least from an RSuite perspective.)
If you’re looking for advice, have a feature request, need an answer to a question, etc., this is your chance! You will find a sign-up sheet at the registration table when you check in that morning that will allow you to reserve your meeting time.
- When do these sessions happen? These “Ask an Engineer” meetings are available all day on Thursday, September 22nd, as part of the RSuite User Conference (NOTE: no sessions will be held during Wednesday’s Tech Day event). Registrants will have a variety of options available throughout the course of the day, some during breaks and others concurrently with RSUC group sessions.
- How long do sessions last? Conversations are slated for 30 minutes.
- Can I sign up ahead of time? Sessions can only be scheduled the morning of the event.
- Can I request a specific engineer? Yes. You will be able to choose an engineer and a meeting time based on availability. Because we have a limited number of meeting times available, you should plan to arrive early. Sessions will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
By Karl Montevirgen, special to The Content Wrangler
We think of efficiency as a state toward which all businesses continually strive. And, when efficiency boosting efforts produce dramatic results—say, cost reductions per unit of 94% while simultaneously increasing market expansion by 230%—we take notice. The results of such efforts are nothing short of fantastic. They make us wonder aloud, “How the heck did they do that?”
Stellar results are nothing new to the documentation team at GE Healthcare’s Global Ultrasound division. Over the past 15 years, the team has been hacking away at inefficiencies—knocking them down one at time. If there’s anything we can learn from their experience, it’s that efficiency can be achieved and optimized for maximum benefit given smart choices. The adoption of new processes, effective technologies, and collaborative environments, combined with a spirit of persistence, can yield tremendous benefits.
Snapshot: Fifteen years ago
In 1999, GE Healthcare’s documentation team produced documentation for five globally distributed products in 10 languages. Each product required its own unique set of technical manuals in three formats: digital, print and CD-ROM. The documentation team was comprised of six disparate writing departments producing content for three different global manufacturing centers.
The time required to produce source content—and subsequently, to translate it—added four to six months to the global product launch timeline. The cost to produce and translate this content was estimated at roughly $1,000,000 per manufacturing center—about $0.25 per word.
Snapshot: Present day
Fast forward to today. GE Healthcare’s translation costs have been substantially reduced—roughly $60,000 per manufacturing center, or about $0.008 cost per word. That’s a reduction of 94%! What makes this impressive is that these results were derived from changes made by the team to increase efficiency and productivity—all during a period of rapid business expansion.
How big an expansion? GE Healthcare’s product line grew from five to over 50 products. Translated content expanded from ten to 33 languages. The company added six more global manufacturing centers, each with a medical focus, each bringing new products to market, and each producing related content.
In the face of that expansion, GE Healthcare reduced translation cycle times by one-third—from 16-24 weeks down to six to eight weeks.
We’ll take a look at the decisions—advanced information management methods coupled with appropriate technology—made by the team that led to these significant increases in content production efficiency. But first, let’s take a look at the challenges.
Identifying workflow inefficiencies
Jeannette Eichholz is the leader of Global Ultrasound Documentation for GE Healthcare. Prior to kicking off GE Healthcare’s content production transformation, Jeannette and her team scrutinized the company’s content creation and translation processes, which they found to be highly fragmented, cumbersome, and unnecessarily costly.
The Problems: Silos, Formats, Multiple Channels
- Information was locked up in silos—there was no access to centralized content, preventing writers from working on projects collaboratively.
- Sharing, viewing, and providing comments about—or suggesting changes to—content was difficult and inefficient.
- Content and layout were co-mingled, making it nearly impossible to reuse or repurpose.
- Content formats diverged over time—and among different writing teams—creating additional incongruities.
These challenges were difficult to overcome in part because different products were being developed simultaneously in manufacturing centers around the globe. Products—and thus, product content—were constantly being tweaked up until the product launch date.
As a result, product content—and translations—were always late, delaying time-to-market.
Setting Goals: Faster, Better, Less Expensive
To overcome these challenges, the documentation team established goals aligned with the division’s business imperatives.
- Project cycles had to be shortened to facilitate simultaneous global product launches.
- Quality and compliance with global regulatory requirements had to be ensured.
- Costs had to be controlled.
- Content workflow had to be seamless and highly collaborative.
It became clear to Jeannette and her team that GE’s documentation efforts needed a major overhaul. The first of her key decisions was the introduction of structured content in a standard markup language. This approach allowed writers to focus on creating accurate content while a separate team built style sheets that automatically formatted the content to fit specific output types.
This decision had several important benefits. First, content became much easier to repurpose for use in multiple channels. When the team needed a new output or distribution format, they could quickly build a new style sheet. Second, content became much easier to reuse; simply link to the desired content, even if it was built by another team. Third, the approach was scalable across the entirety of GE Healthcare. So long as everyone adopted the same markup language and techniques, content was unchained from proprietary tooling and file formats, allowing it to move easily between people, machines, and software applications.
The second key decision: Jeannette and her team adopted a component content management system.
Adopting a Component Content Management System
A “component” content management system (or “CCMS”) operates on a much more granular scale than a document-based or web content management system. A CCMS manages components of modular content, typically encoded with XML tags. Writers create thousands or even millions of these modular, topic-based components, and the CCMS handles the rest—preservation of cross-content links, access control, version control and revision history, packaging for translation, assembly for direct output as documentation, or export for distribution to other systems.
Jeannette and her team chose the Astoria CCMS, a component content management system designed to serve companies producing high volumes of content, content with high variability, and high velocity (the 3 V’s). It seemed the right match for a division that was under pressure to regularly produce content for products (new and existing) distributed in multiple languages across highly regulated global markets.
GE Healthcare realized a number of benefits by adopting the Astoria CCMS. Because content components could exist independently and in singular form, they could be single-sourced and automated for reuse and repurposing in multiple formats. Single-sourcing with Astoria also eliminated manual duplication efforts, which in turn eliminated content inconsistencies. When writers made changes to a single component, Astoria automatically propagated the changes across all documents containing that component. It became easy for writers to share, view, and comment on content at a pace that was close to real-time through a single portal and repository. Not only did this speed up the content workflow, it replaced siloed efforts with a collaborative environment.
Adding Translation Memory to the Mix
Jeannette and her team made a third technology decision: incorporate translation memory based on structured content. The effective use of translation memory is often hindered by the format of the source-language content. Jeannette and her team recognized that in moving to a format-neutral markup language for content, they would need to develop a comprehensive translation memory (TM) database based on format-neutral content. GE’s current translation process attests to the success of this adoption: 95% of all translations are done via translation memory (automated reuse) with 5% of the remaining efforts directed toward translating new, unique content.
The Results: Return on Investment
The adoption of the CCMS and TM resulted in a tremendous paradigm shift in processes and roles, in addition to increased return on investment.
All content was globally accessible and shared on-demand; none of the documents were writer-owned which meant that content was openly reviewed on a regular basis.
Six writing silos morphed into a single global writing team that continually expanded. Individual budgets were combined into one shared budget, adding the responsibilities of collaborative budgeting, planning, and developing to the roles of each technical writer.
Teams were able to write and translate continuously up until product launch; all translations were completed at about the same time as the English source content. This allowed for simultaneous product launches across global markets.
No to be overlooked, writers’ jobs expanded as they were able to take on progressively broader roles and more difficult projects. Teams were able to dig deeper into content analysis and metadata strategy; conduct reuse analysis, and develop a formal content-reuse strategy. The writers were afforded the time to look more closely at their tools and technologies, deciding on technology upgrades or acquisitions that would further enhance productivity. They were able to better test and validate the quality of their content with end users. Most importantly, they are now in a position to plan a second phase of development geared toward maximizing their use of automation and intelligent content technologies.
The CCMS paid for itself within the first year of implementation. Translation memory software resulted in a flat-line of costs five years into use. Overall costs were significantly reduced while product-line and global distribution continued to increase and accelerate.
In recognition of these many benefits, GE Healthcare chose Astoria as the platform for its new Service Information Management System (SIMS) initiative, which ties together the contributions of over 200 writers across the company. The Astoria-enabled SIMS platform allows field service technicians to receive maintenance and repair information appropriate to individual skill levels—delivered dynamically on mobile devices. Astoria’s Branch/Merge and Electronic Signature capabilities ensure that only regulatory approved content is delivered to the field.
Rapid change comes with speed bumps
As with any major overhaul, GE Healthcare’s team had its share of challenges. Given the already rapid pace of the working environment, the implementation of change was, in Jeannette’s words, like “trying to change a tire while driving 100 mph.”
Having ventured into previously unexplored territory, the effort toward developing an actionable content strategy, selecting the right software tools and technology vendors, and then making a business case for the overhaul was a difficult task. Having subsequently received buy-in, the process of working with vendors, setting up the Astoria CCMS and the TM, and getting writers to operate in this new environments had its unique—albeit unsurprising—set of challenges and learning curves.
Jeannette offers up this advice for others looking to emulate GE Healthcare’s success.
Follow the 4 Ps:
- “Always have a Plan B” (as things can always go wrong).
- “Create a design that allows Plasticity”
- “Develop a Team whose overriding quality is Persistence.”
- Choose a solution vendor who works like Partner.
In the end, the incremental steps carefully implemented by the GE Healthcare team yielded results that were remarkably exponential.
The post How GE Healthcare Streamlined Content Production and Slashed Expenses appeared first on The Content Wrangler.
Transwhat? That’s what most humans—and nearly all spellcheck programs—ask when they encounter the word, transcreation. In this post, an excerpt from the book Global Content Strategy: A Primer by Val Swisher, we explore the concept of transcreation and why adapting translated content for effectiveness is a necessary part of a successful global content strategy.
Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness
These days, every employee produces content. In addition to the usual suspects–marketing communication writers, technical writers, course developers–software engineers write user guides, technical support engineers write frequently asked questions, and (shall we dare?) VPs of marketing write blog posts. Some of those folks work at your corporate headquarters. Others may work far away at your regional or branch offices. Those people may include sales reps, country-specific marketing communication folks, other engineers, and technical support reps. All those remote people are creating content that makes its way out to your customers and beyond.
“Oh no,” you may say. “They can’t do that. Everything must be sanctioned by headquarters. Legal insists on vetting all customer-facing content.”
Don’t fool yourself. I’ve seen sales groups in the Asia-Pacific region create their own slide presentations. European marketing people create their own datasheets and case studies, even separate technical forums, in other languages, for local markets.
Everyone, everywhere, is creating content. Now. As you read this.
The Good News
If it’s news to you that people throughout your company are creating content, it’s good news. Who understands the needs of a local market better than the people who live there and speak the language, literally and figuratively?
Imagine that you work for a company that has a presence in many countries. Your job is to create marketing campaigns that generate interest, spur emotion, and drive sales. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, maybe. My travels have taught me that emotion does not necessarily translate. Emotions themselves–love, for example–may be universal. Heck, I believe that my dog loves me. She truly loves me. But I digress.
Whether or not you agree that all humans (and canines?) share a basic set of emotions, I think we’d all agree that the expression of emotion varies widely from culture to culture. Values vary. Facial expressions of emotion vary. In September 2011, the American Psychological Association published a study on the perception of facial expressions to indicate emotion. Dr. Rachael Jack found that people from different cultures may perceive facial expressions differently. In her study, Perception of Facial Expressions Differs Across Cultures, she noted that “East Asians and Western Caucasians differ in terms of the features they think constitute an angry face or a happy face.”
What Do Facial Expressions Have To Do With Creating Effective Content For Global Use?
A lot! If something as seemingly innate as a facial expression varies from culture to culture, then the words we use to express emotion may vary even more. After all, we have far more words at our disposal than facial expressions. And a good marketing campaign is all about emotion, isn’t it? Think about the best campaigns you’ve created or experienced. I bet they still evoke emotion, even if the product is long gone.
This reality presents a dilemma. How do you communicate a great, emotion-packed campaign across all the cultures that you need to target? While you might be able to translate the words, the campaign as a whole could be meaningless to someone a world away.
For example, I love the “Got Milk” campaign, which was created by the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board back in 1993. Milk mustaches on celebrities. It was, and continues to be, a popular campaign. When I think about it, I smile. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it’s meaningless in many cultures. One intent of the ad is to make people smile when they think about milk. But because the meaning and emotion don’t translate, the ad fails in some cultures.
Consider the Kentucky Fried Chicken tagline “Finger-Lickin’ Good!” which got translated into Chinese as “Eat Your Fingers Off!”
For dozens of campaigns gone wrong, read The Little Book of Transcreation, by Louise Humphrey, James Bradley, Amy Somers, and Guy Gilpin. It will make you laugh (or cry if you were one of the poor souls involved in the case studies).
To create a global marketing campaign that evokes the desired response in every culture you target, you need to recreate the campaign–the words and the images–or every culture. This process is known as transcreation. Content that is transcreated is created for a particular culture, using the vernacular of that culture, often in a certain locale. Transcreation is more of a content development process than a translation process. Sure, transcreated content retains the brand logo and mark, the corporate colors, and so on. What it doesn’t necessarily keep is the message or expression of sentiment.
There are some great examples of transcreation on the web. Coca-Cola (www.coca-cola.com) has dozens of transcreated sites. Here are a few.
Coca-Cola is impressive in the amount of content they transcreate. They change not only the words but also the visuals and the layout – all to match the predominant culture of the target country. For example, the Japanese and Taiwanese sites have boxy layouts. These cultures are accustomed to seeing advertisements in a box format. Every site is customized.
This is great, isn’t it? They target every culture, every country. Wow!
The Bad News
There is bad news. (You knew it was coming, yes?) The bad news is that people all over the world are creating rogue content and sending it to your customers! Yikes! And you–the central point for all global content–may have no idea. You don’t know who is writing what, for whom, when, and for what purpose. You don’t know if the messaging is on target. You don’t know if the trademarks have been used appropriately. (Insert legal-team tantrum here.) You might know that “those people” are creating content “over there.” But get beyond the loose idea, and the picture gets fuzzy.
In all seriousness, it is a problem when nonsanctioned employees across the world go off and create their own content with no input, guidance, or knowledge from headquarters. It becomes a content management problem and, ultimately, a global content strategy problem. How can you plan your global content strategy if you don’t know about the content itself?
What Is The Solution?
The solution isn’t to mandate that all content come from headquarters. That idea won’t work. You are not going to get customized content to each region, specifically targeted to a local culture, properly localized, translated, or transcreated in time to meet every region’s needs. You can strategize and plan all you like, but it won’t work. No one knows a region as well as the people who live there.
The solution is to reach out to all your locations and involve them in the plan. As you plan your global strategy, take into account the various regions. Include them in your campaigns. Ask them if they plan to create their own content. Get to know your teams around the world. Invite them to share their plans with you. Share your plans with them. Ask how you can support them as you plan the global strategy for a product release, a website upgrade, or a sales campaign. Convince them that they can benefit from your efforts. Once everyone agrees with the plan, you can give them the freedom to use their knowledge of local customs to create targeted, culturally-appropriate material.
Then, make sure that the people creating the content know how to write. An engineer, for example, may lack the skills to write great marketing or sales copy, regardless of his or her native language. If you don’t have native writers located in-country, consider hiring a partner to do the transcreation instead. That way, you get the best writing, created in the language that you need.
Not So Fast!
Before you start adapting translated content for effectiveness, beware. The amount of organization, time, coordination, and, most of all, money required to create and update this type of extensive global presence is enormous. In all likelihood, you will need a separate creative team in each country. As products and campaigns are phased in and out, each team needs to plan and execute in lockstep. Otherwise, the sites look disjointed and unprofessional. The proliferation of visuals and taglines can be overwhelming. And you can only imagine the cost.
So what should a business – let’s say, one that generates less than several billion each year in revenue – do? Here are a few pointers:
- Make your campaigns as universal as possible. This may be difficult to do, given that we just agreed that there is no universal way to evoke emotion. And removing emotion from marketing materials defeats the purpose. But you can still try.
- Before you embark on any transcreation, have an infrastructure in place. By this, I mean a content management system, complete with tags and metadata, so that when you do come out with a new product, all the product images, for example, are stored centrally and can be easily found by all system users.
- Document your workflows and processes. Multiple people will be creating content for the same product at the same time. Reuse where you can. At a minimum, help each content creator know what the others are doing. You’d be amazed at the confusion I’ve seen (or maybe you wouldn’t).
- Prioritize the pieces to be transcreated. I know, sounds obvious. But it’s always worth saying. You might end up transcreating a top-level web page and maybe one level down (the pages that are one click away from the top level). And after that, you might direct people back to your home-language site (for example, English). In that case, make sure that the English pages are understandable to all your readers, including those who have English as a second language. Use simple words and phrases. Keep your sentences short.
- Make sure that all of your content is searchable in the target language. If I’m viewing a Japanese page and want to search for something that happens to be on an English-only page, I still need to be able to search for it in Japanese. Or German. Or Swahili. Recently, I was shopping at a multinational company using their French website. I was interested in returning an item. I could not find any information in French on how to return the item. I tried searching every French term for return that I could think of. Instead, I had to search in English and be directed to the English returns page. Imagine how frustrating this would be for a customer who does not speak English. Tagging your English pages for multilingual search can be a huge task. Start with the most important terms. For example, I think it’s important to be able to return a product and I might not know the word for return in English. Add terms as quickly as you can after that.
What you should not do is take your new, witty, hip branding and assume that you can translate it into Farsi, Arabic, Mandarin, or any other language without evaluating it–the language, the images, the layout, the medium, and everything about it–for cultural appropriateness. You might end up creating one of those disasters that people like me write about.
Transcreation is a content development process in which content is created–and customized–for a particular culture, in a particular language, or for a particular region. Transcreated content is not translated from a source; it is a source. It does not necessarily exist in any other language.
Remember these two main points when adapting translated content:
- Done well, transcreated content evokes the desired emotional response in cases where the original expression of emotion might not translate.
- Employees all over the world are already transcreating content. They just haven’t told you.
While overusing transcreation can create expensive headaches, using it for the right content at the right time can yield excellent results.
The post Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness appeared first on The Content Wrangler.
I do a lot of research and reading on the topic of customer success. As a result, quotes like these often find their way to a sticky-note, my computer desktop, or a post on Slack:
- “When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” (Robert Half)
- “What’s important is the progression from an organization that targets customers to extract value from a customer base to a fully customer-centric firm that excels at delivering value based on a deep understanding of customers’ needs, wants, and desires." (Robert G. Thompson)
- “Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and provide them with what they want. It makes sense.” (Bob Bowman)
Of course, if you have some stake in RSuite, these sessions will be equally or perhaps even more valuable to you. Below are 3 key reasons why YOU can get "stoked" about these customer panels, too.
Note: you may have noticed (as I did) that my quotes above were all by guys named “Robert.” Keeping in the spirit, I decided to organize my key takeaways below based on famous quotes by other guys named Robert! So have some fun as you read and see how well you know these famous Roberts…
Two roads diverged…
Whether you’re ahead, behind, or on the same version of RSuite as the panelists, it won’t take long to see that no two clients use RSuite in the same way. You can take advantage of this fact by getting this sneak peek into how these other organizations prioritize/incorporate new functionality and how they creatively solve many of the same challenges you face. Attending these panels will give you an unprecedented opportunity to collect ideas and really understand how RSuite has made all the difference.
The best laid schemes…
Another common theme in every RSuite implementation is that enterprise software projects don’t always go exactly as planned…and that’s okay. These customer panels will show you, little Mouse, you are not alone! <grin> Whether you are still considering RSuite or are in your nth phase of development, the experience of others in these panels can become your guide – giving you a huge advantage in your next project and helping you to create success more quickly.
Gotta whole lotta love…
Probably the best thing about these sessions is that you get to hear about real results and real NUMBERS and why these customers LOVE RSuite. Baby, I’m not foolin’…this technology is making a huge difference for clients in tangible ways and these sessions will get you pumped about the possibilities.
Join the RSI team and more than 100 publishing executives on Wednesday and Thursday, September 21st and 22nd.
The RSuite User Conference highlights include talks by RSI executives and product leaders, technical lightning rounds, and customer panels. Attendees will also have the ability to schedule one-on-one meetings with members of the RSuite engineering team. You'll have the opportunity to hear from both new and experienced RSuite customers, learn what their goals were when they first began using RSuite and learn what their successes look like today.
You can catch these sessions in the morning and afternoon.
Space is limited.
While preparing for my upcoming session at #RSuiteUC16, it struck me how much fun I’ve been having with technology lately. While I’ve loved pushing RSuite CMS to new limits for a long time now (we started development way back in 2004), today we find ourselves in an exciting place.
We’ve reached a place with both the RSuite technology and our customers where we can really get serious about going beyond basics of content management.
Possible…and now practical
In the past, some features and functionality in CMS may have been possible, but they simply weren’t practical. Customers were busy trying to establish direction, establish infrastructure, and change culture. They didn’t have head space or time for more advanced functionality. And technology integrations and customizations were not always friendly.
As I look around today, everything has gotten easier. The CMS user base (and management) today just seem to “get it” more; they know what they want to achieve and are far more adaptable to change. At the same time, technology – RSuite and other software – has become increasingly “out of the box,” which is simplifying everything. Projects are easier, empowering organizations to leap ahead to those cool new applications that can really change their business.
So that’s the backdrop for my session at #RSuiteUC16. We’re going to get people excited about the possible and practical in a quick look at the future, including:
- Previews of functionality that has been recently completed or is coming soon, like
- Out of the box workflow reporting
- Easier ways for infrequent CMS users to access RSuite
- Browser-based editors that users love
- Content exploration driven by semantic metadata
- A sneak peek at our product roadmap, including improvements to scalability and security.
- An understanding of how we’re setting priorities (and how you can get involved).
What’s really inspirational about events like ours is that they get you to lift your head up. For at least a day, nobody is asking you to put out fires, so you get the precious freedom to actually think about the longer term and where your business is headed. You also get to meet and learn from people like you at other organizations – and share your own lessons learned.
And we get to show you how RSuite can help… <grin>
The Complete Guide to LSI Keywords
Think you know pretty much everything about on-page search engine optimization (SEO) techniques? There are many resources available to teach you how to improve your on-page optimization, but most of them tend to miss an important and lesser-known concept called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). If you haven’t heard of LSI keywords—or don’t know much about them—The Complete Guide to LSI Keywords will help you improve your knowledge. Before you know, LSI keywords will be an integral part of your SEO strategy.
A short note before we dive in. This article won’t discuss topics like off-page SEO, link building or even keyword research. Instead, it is dedicated entirely to LSI keywords. You will learn how to improve your Google rankings by using LSI the correct way.
Let’s dive right in.
Keyword Density: The Predecessor of LSI Keywords
Simply put, keyword density shows the number of times a word appears in your text. It is measured as a percentage. To calculate this percentage, we take the number of times a term occurs on a web page and divide it by the total word count of that page. The bigger the percentage, the higher your chances of ranking better in Google for your selected keywords.
At least that is how it used to be before Panda and Hummingbird. Those were simpler times.
Back in the day, keyword density was the ONLY way in which Google could determine if a particular web page might be relevant. Needless to say, people started taking advantage of this metric pretty quickly. That’s how keyword stuffing was invented.
Keyword Stuffing: The Dark Ages Before Google Panda
Keyword stuffing is the process of littering a web page with a specific keyword in order to trick a search engine into ranking the page ranking higher than it otherwise might.
Makes perfect sense, right?
And it worked for years. To boost your site rank, all you had to do was include your main keyword in your page titles, META descriptions, META keywords, and overuse it in your content. You could literally bump your ranking up significantly (often in the top three results for your keyword) just by increasing your keyword density by 10-15%.
But, that approach doesn’t work any longer. In order to provide better, more relevant search results, Google developed a better way to evaluate web pages for relevancy. This process began with the launch of the Google Panda algorithm in 2011. Search relevancy was improved 2 years later when Google Hummingbird was launched.
Google Panda sought to screen out sites with low-quality, duplicate, or thin content, while Hummingbird was designed to focus on the meaning behind the words—the semantics. With these two important SEO updates, Google prevented useless, low-quality and spammy content from bubbling to the top of search results.
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: Don’t exceed 2-3% keyword density. This way you avoid keyword stuffing problems.
Does Keyword Density Still Matter?
Five years after Google Panda was launched, keyword stuffing is considered an obsolete technique that, when employed, can actually damage your content ranking.
OK, but how does this apply to keyword density? Should we still pay attention to it?
Yes, you should. Here’s why.
Let me give you an example with the term that I’m targeting with this article – LSI keywords.
Here’s a table with the results in terms of keyword density percentage (you can click on the image below to enlarge, download, or print).
My keyword density analysis yielded the following four very important things:
- The most often used keywords (LSI, keyword, keywords, search, SEO, Google and 10 other keywords displayed in the table above) for each of the top 10 highest ranking web pages
- The average keyword density (expressed as a percentage) for each keyword on each of the top 10 highest ranking web pages
- The number of times each of the keywords are mentioned on the top 10 highest ranking web pages
“LSI” and “keyword” are present on each of these high-ranking pages. They are the words with the highest correlation level. This means if you wanted a web page you manage to rank for the LSI keywords, you MUST use these terms in your content, too.
- The average content length for each of the top 10 highest ranking web pages. The longer the average page content is, the longer the content you should write yourself. Content length does matter—big time!
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: Always perform LSI and keyword density analysis upfront. This way you will know what you’re up against and you’ll be able to design a strategy to outrank your competitors.
From time to time, you will come across sites that have unusually high keyword density levels. For instance, LSIGraph.com. Its keyword density percentage is quite high and is not representative of the average. Use the average percentage of the other 9 web pages as your target instead—somewhere between 0.7 and 2.8% for “LSI.”
When you perform a keyword density analysis on your content, exclude the most irrelevant results from your final list. Remember, SEO is all about finding patterns, analyzing them thoroughly, and obtaining actionable data. Keyword density analysis can provide you with vital insights, including competitive analysis data, enabling you to learn from the successes of others who have adopted on-page SEO best practices. Knowing which keywords your competitors are using—and what their keyword density percentages are—allows you to replicate successful tactics and ensure your content ranks as high as possible.
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: These techniques are most useful when combined with link-building efforts, and high quality, relevant, and useful content.
LSI Keywords—The Modern Way of Doing On-Page SEO
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It might sound complicated at first reading, but it’s not really. LSI keywords are words or phrases that are semantically related to each other. They are not limited to synonyms or keywords with similar meanings. They are most often keywords that commonly are found together.
Here’s an LSI keywords example. Let’s say that you are writing an article about cars. You could be writing about any one (or more) of these 5 things:
- “Cars”—an animated Disney movie
- CARS—Canadian Association for Rally Sports
- CARs—Canadian Aviation Regulations
- The Cars—an American rock band
So how do search engine algorithms know which topic you are writing about?
They do so by leveraging LSI keywords. Basically, the Googlebot scans your page searching for closely related terms which can help it understand your content better.
Let’s go back to our LSI keywords example about cars.
Here are some Latent Semantic Indexing keywords that Google might have found on your pages if you were writing about one of the topics given above.
- Cars—vehicles (vehicle, used, new, buy, sell, dealers, repair, etc.)
- “Cars”—an animated Disney movie (film, movie, produced by, directed and co-written by, motion picture, Walt Disney, etc.)
- CARS—Canadian Association for Rally Sports (association, rally, sport, championship, Canadian, etc.)
- CARs—Canadian Aviation Regulations (aviation, regulations, administration, aerial, aerodromes, airports, etc.)
- The Cars—an American rock band (rock, band, music, guitar, drums, song, etc.)
There are actually many terms related to Latent Semantic Indexing. Here are a few of them:
- Latent Semantic Analysis
- Natural Language Processing
- Phrase-Based Indexing and Retrieval
- Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency
- Latent Dirichlet Allocation
- Probabilistic Latent Semantic Analysis
- Hidden Topic Markov Model
- Latent Dirichlet Allocation
Of course, you don’t have to know everything about SEO in order to improve the semantic value of your content. But, if you’d like to dig deeper, here are a few resources to get you started.
- Keyword Usage
• A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO
- Synonyms and variants
• Helping computers understand language
• How Google May Substitute Query Terms with Co-Occurrence
- Page Segmentation
• Systems and methods for analyzing boilerplate
• Document page segmentation in optical character recognition
- Semantic Distance and Term Relationships
• Google Defines Semantic Closeness as a Ranking Signal
• Document ranking using word relationships
- Co-occurrence and Phrase Based Indexing
• Phrase Based Indexing and Semantics
• Ranking Webpages Based upon Relationships Between Words
- Entity Salience
• A New Entity Salience Task with Millions of Training Examples
• Teaching machines to read between the lines
Want to dig really deep? Start with this great article from Moz which explains what you need to know in more detail.
How do we find LSI keywords?
There are 4 easy ways to find Latent Semantic Indexing keywords:
- Google’s instant search
- “Searches related to” results
- Bold words in SERP results
- Keyword research tools
Finding LSI keywords via Google Instant Predictions
You can identify LSI keywords for your SEO campaign by typing your keyword into Google’s search box and noticing the suggestions it returns for you. Make sure you turn on the Google instant search results feature.
Finding LSI keywords via the “Searches related to” feature
Just type your keyword in the Google search box and scroll down to the bottom of the results page. There you will find 8 additional suggestions you can add to your LSI arsenal. Note that some of them might not be a good fit for your purposes, so make sure they make sense and are useful for your readers. After all, you don’t want to include LSI keywords like fun easy learn English in your article. Instead, you may consider creating a variation like fun and easy way to learn English. Much better!
Finding LSI keywords via bolded words
When you perform a search, you’ll notice that Google shows certain words in bold black text. These are LSI keywords. Find ways to implement them in your own copy that make sense to readers. They will help ensure your content is more relevant to—and more findable by—others.
Finding LSI keywords with the help of some tools
If you have already exhausted the first 3 methods for finding Latent Semantic Indexing keywords it’s a good idea to enrich your LSI arsenal by using some LSI tools. Begin with the most popular tool, Google AdWords Keyword Planner (Google AdWords account required; how to sign up). Once you’re logged in, type your keyword and click “get ideas.”
You will see two different tabs in this tool which are great sources for LSI keywords: Ad group ideas and Keyword ideas.
- Ad group ideas—This is one of the best sources for LSI keywords. Just go through the list of keyword suggestions and make sure you include as many as possible in your final copy.
- Keyword ideas—Everyone knows this one but very few of you have actually used it as a way to find LSI keywords. You can start using it today.
Other Ways to Locate LSI Keywords
There are a variety of small SEO tools and plugins specifically designed for this purpose.
- LSIGraph—LSI Keyword Generator—LSIGraph is a very easy to use, but yet a very powerful tool. The LSI Keyword Generator provides you with a long list of potential LSI keywords—and it’s free.
- SEOPressor plugin—SEOPressor is an on-page SEO plugin for WordPress that helps you do on-page search engine optimization. It’s also pretty simple to use (see step-by-step tutorials). And, it’s affordable. Basic plans start at just $5 USD per month. SEOPressor is powerful because it allows you to perform multiple keyword analysis, over-optimization check, social SEO integration, and structured data support. Finally, you can even do an automatic smart linking to reduce your bounce rate.
- Twin word SEO plugin—Another good WordPress plugin for LSI is Twinword SEO plugin. This is an LSI and long-tail keyword research tool that automatically suggests keywords related to your content while you write it. It provides filterable, sortable data, automated keyword suggestions, and details about keywords including monthly search volume, number of results (to help you select the keyword with the lowest competition), as well as a keyword efficiency index (to help you find the most effective keywords to use) and keyword usage tracking.
There are many other keyword generators that can be used as LSI keyword generators, but here’s a list of my 4 favorites:
- SEMRush related keywords
- Übersuggest (show only versions around your root keyword)
- KeywordTool.io (show only versions around your root keyword)
Why LSI Keywords Are Not Just Synonyms
As I mentioned earlier in this article, LSI keywords are not exactly synonyms. They are actually closely related and relevant terms.
Here’s an example: Imagine that you want to write an article about pizza and you want to know which terms you have to include in order to stand a better chance to rank high with LSI from on-page point of view.
Run the word “pizza” through Keys4Up first.
Now let’s see what SEMRush related keywords tool holds for us:
See the HUGE difference in the results?
We’re no longer seeing a list with keyword ideas based solely on the word we enter in the tool, instead these results give us a different vantage point from which to consider Latent Semantic Indexing keywords.
LSI Keywords in Review
If you’re writing about pizza and you want to make sure you are using LSI to rank as high as possible, make sure to also include terms like: cheese, pepperoni, delivery, crust, food, ingredients and restaurant for best results. As you can see, LSI keywords are not just variations of your main keyword. They are closely related terms which Google likes to see when it crawls pages about a particular keyword.
It’s all about patterns.
How to use LSI keywords in practice?
Now that we already know what LSI keywords are and how we can find them, it’s time to start using them to improve our on-page SEO and organic rankings.
Here are the main areas where you can place LSI keywords to get the most out of them:
- Page title
- H1 and H2 tags
- URL address
- META tags
- Images alt text
- First paragraph of text
- Body of content
- Links anchor texts
- Last paragraph of text
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: Implement LSI keywords after your copy is completed, not before. This allows you to make sure that you write for your audience first and for search engines after-the-fact. And don’t forget the importance of keyword density. It matters.
Now that you’re well-acquainted with the LSI keywords and know how to take advantage of them, get busy. You’ve got content to optimize. What are you waiting for? Get busy!
As a technical leader at Rackspace during a docs modernization effort, I want to respond to Tom Johnson’s recent pointer to the developer docs site as an example of treating docs like code. Not just specifically for the “will it scale” questions, but for the questions I have fielded and continue to answer. Believe me, “Will it scale?” is the least of your concerns in a complex overhaul of attitudes, processes, tooling, and expectation setting.
I’m sure modern docs are not going to work for all projects and all people and all processes, but since I have first hand experience I thought it would be helpful to talk about it.
In case it helps, let’s describe the disruptions at the heart of the movement. You can see that outcomes matter.
If your old tooling cannot provide a great web experience, you need modernization. Traditional tech pubs tooling (Adobe, Madcap, Docbook) will struggle to develop wonderful, responsive websites that provide an amazing experience with documentation. There’s a natural struggle between artisanal hand-crafted documentation and producing tens of thousands of web pages that still offer a great experience despite the size of the site.
Continuous integration for documentation
When you treat docs like code, expect to enable more contributors, and when you enable more contributors, you need to automate builds and quality checks so your time is spent focused on doc outcomes, not running builds. Let the robots take care of builds and use tools that don’t require a seat license so that the writers aren’t having to build from their computers only. In OpenStack we can merge 50 changes a day in a single repository containing ten deliverables (web-delivered guides). We build draft copies with scripts for people to review the output online.
If traditional tech pubs tools product managers are reading, your next killer feature is Travis-ci job integration, Jenkins job enablement, and really any scripted way to build your output so that humans don’t have to click anything to build the docs.https://www.flickr.com/photos/hddod/7229001564/
Collaboration for documentation using code systems
Depending on your contributor base, you influence more people to respect the documentation and encourage contributors to improve the docs with you when the docs are in a code system. Across multiple repositories we deliver REST API documentation for almost 30 services. Some days there are over 100 changes that need to be reviewed for REST API docs.
Content management using code systems
I’ve presented and written about using code systems for documentation – git, GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab, and so on. See the resources section for a deep dive, but suffice it to say, I’m sold on using GitHub for your CMS and I know many other writers see it this way also.
Here’s what you need to look out for and even embrace when the time comes:
Content sprawl: What goes where is a common question from contributors. Be ready with answers so your site doesn’t become a poor web experience. Have excellent navigation systems and way finders for readers.
Quality diminishing: Build a trusted set of reviewers and make sure they are equipped with a style guide and plenty of quality checks to keep in mind while reviewing. Be mindful and use metrics to ensure quality is a priority.
Loss of control: By enabling many contributors, you lose control of who writes what where. Be ready to trade control for many other benefits. I don’t have a control-based mindset so it’s natural for me to give up control in order to gain better outcomes.
Loss of choosing priorities: When you don’t personally manage and direct the teams of contributors, you don’t get to pick what is written first, second, or third. Or even if something is written at all. Have processes and systems in place for triaging doc issues, and create a culture where contributors have good judgement about what to work on first, second, and third.
Search and replace: When you need to make changes across multiple repositories and deliverables, be ready to up your bash scripting game or get help with it. Fortunately text manipulation is pretty powerful at the command line. Unfortunately some teams could be stuck with non-Linux-based systems and no tools to help with this problem.
Naming agreement: Unless you establish standards and have authority for naming certain parts of a project (plugin or plug-in as an example), you could waste time arguing about which name lands in the base.
Value diminishing: If you can’t train your writers to stop nitpicking grammar errors or capitalization consistency issues, and instead do technical reviews, you might have problems with a docs-like-code approach. In a docs-like-code world, be sure you know what is the most valuable contribution and make sure your teams can give those types of contributions.
In closing, you can see I’m a huge advocate for this approach to documentation. Please take a look at the resources I’ve been working on over the last few years to spread my enthusiasm and excitement for the modernization of technical documentation.
- Influencing community documentation contributions
- Treat Docs Like Code: Doc Bug and Issues
- Why use GitHub as a Content Management System?
- Git and GitHub for open source documentation (article)
- Continuous integration and delivery for documentation (article)
Git and GitHub for Documentation from Anne Gentle
We've had a number of requests regarding the agenda for this year's RSuite Tech Day and User Conference in September. I'm pleased to say the details have arrived!
Feel free to tweet this, post this, share this, email this, etc. Most importantly, make sure you reigster to attend!
In 2015, 77% of B2C Marketers and 76% of B2B marketers said they wanted to increase their content marketing efforts in 2016. With less than five months remaining in 2016, it seems they lived up to their promise—with content marketing more attractive than ever. This article discusses some of the best content marketing strategies designed to improve return on investment (ROI).
Best Content Marketing Strategies: The Company Blog
Blog posts remain one of the most useful types of content for solid ROI and are most likely the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of content marketing.
Maintaining a business blog is an entirely different animal from a personal one. A business blog needs to be consistent, interesting, and varied enough to attract new readers continuously while retaining old ones. The first and most important aspect to tackle is a posting schedule. Try to post a variety at least several times a week, and scheduled at least a few months ahead. This program won’t always be followed perfectly but will provide the necessary structure for your content strategy.
Whether you’re writing for a personal or a business blog, the constant need to create content will quickly leave you scrambling for ideas unless you prepare in advance. Helpful tips to manage writer’s block and get new followers include:
- Making a list of your favorite blogs and posts for inspiration
- Creating infographics
- Seeking out guest writers
- Finding case studies to analyze
- Putting together lists of resource posts
- Repurposing your older content (for example, with updates)
Company Blogs and Return on Investment
How can you get the most return on your blog? Just as with personal blogs, business blogs can be monetized via ad revenue—this is perhaps the most obvious way to earn back a little of what you put in. But the main factor remains your content, and what you do with it. Blogs are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site via search engines and social media. And traffic, as we know, can turn into leads that turn into sales.
Remember that Google Analytics is your best friend when considering Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Use them to measure which posts get the most clicks and—crucially—which ones demand the reader’s attention for more than just a few seconds. Your most clickbait-y post may get a lot of visitors, but it doesn’t do much for conversion if they immediately lose interest. Taking the time to learn which posts people read and using this data to improve your content will go a long way in creating more high-quality leads.
Having plenty of calls to action and other incentives to sign up to the mailing list or to request demos has the potential of bringing more clients and customers your way. Jay Baer’s breakdown of the ROI of a hypothetical corporate blog clearly shows how a blog can generate a healthy return on real sales—and that’s not even counting traffic, word of mouth, publicity, social shares, and other beneficial aspects.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: Guest Blog Posts
There are two types of guest posts—the ones you submit and the ones you receive. Both have unique advantages. Submitting guest posts to different publications is a tried and true way of getting your name out there and making important networking connections. Put a lot of work into these posts because the higher quality the article, the more chance you’ll have to write for that publication again. Some of the biggest names in marketing such as Outbrain may be harder to reach since they get so many daily submissions. Start with smaller outlets and work your way up. You can begin with this list of 140 places that accept guest posts.
The second type of post is one that you will receive from others. As your company grows, you will start getting submissions. Don’t turn them away if they are high quality! Creating content is hard and time-consuming; why not have someone do it for you? Seeking out submissions is another important step towards building relationships with professionals in your company.
Regarding hard numbers, the main thing to shoot for with guest posts is referral traffic and exposure. However, don’t expect your guest posts to get a ton of traffic immediately—it will never be your primary source. If you are just starting out with a small blog that is far from a first page ranking on Google, several guest posts relating to your subject (and containing the relevant keywords) on bigger sites can be incredibly useful. This tactic will generate ‘second-hand search traffic’ that will continue to produce views over time.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: eBooks and White Papers
Even though it seems counterintuitive to the whole notion of the typical internet user with a short attention span, longer content is more effective content. Posts that are 1,500 words or longer tend to do better with SEO, demonstrating that people are seeking out informative content. White papers and ebooks are great tools to provide just that—longform, useful and practical advice that will be appealing to consumers and industry professionals. Include these as downloadable offerings with the call to action for subscribers on your site to provide users something for their subscription.
While this type of long-form content is more costly to produce (accounting for all the hours spent researching, writing, and designing), it does generate more leads than a short blog post. So, which is better? One long ebook/white paper or a lot of shorter blog posts? Ultimately, it’s about balance. Due to the time invested, it is not cost-effective to publish an ebook every week. Rather, coming out with a few high-quality ones a year will not strain your resources and will create more buzz. If time (or cash) is in short supply, this type of content has a lot of potential for repurposing and recycling. An ebook, for example, can comprise of a selection of your best posts on a particular subject. Combine it with an analysis of the posts and a few concluding chapters, and you’ve got yourself a marketable resource.
The other advantage ebooks and white papers have is the option of being gated—accessible only after a user provides their details or subscribes to your blog. While generating leads, it’s also an easy way to measure views. The other analytics to consider are whether readers are returning to take another look, the time they spent on it, and how many shares it got. If your ebook features a lot of data useful to your audience you are more likely to be cited in other blogs, thus building up your brand’s reputation and credibility. Long-form content is also more search-engine friendly, with longer content dominating top search-engine results every year. As such, the final ROI will not be immediately apparent but will instead build up with time.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: Influencer Marketing
Yes, guest posts are a type of influencer marketing (kinda, sorta), but in addition to creating and trading content you can make yourself the story. Pitch your product/start-up/brand to influential writers and bloggers in the industry. However, don’t just bombard them with information out of the blue. Build a relationship with them first by following them on social media, commenting on their articles, and sharing valuable tips. Once they know who you are they will be much more open to taking a look at what you’re selling. Marketing bloggers often compile lists of up-and-coming companies—try to get yourself included.
If you’re marketing a product, share it with relevant bloggers for a review and receive a unique piece of content in return—a blog post that will reach a whole new audience and will remain on the web to build up SEO. Investment in the influencer strategy is also cost-effective, with companies reporting an average of an almost $7 return for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, with nearly 60% of marketers interested in increasing their budget for these types of campaigns.
It is not surprising that influencer marketing is one of the best content marketing strategies. More than 90% of consumers trust recommendations from peers over brands, which leads to a 3x – 10x increase in conversion for content shared through influencers. Brands that have success with influencer marketing combine it with the social power of influencers on different platforms, as evident in successful campaigns by Narativ and Sphero on Snapchat, Birchbox on Instagram, and Ford on Facebook, to name just a few.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: Videos
Video marketing is the next big thing in marketing everywhere from The Guardian to The Huffington Post. The idea of video may seem intimidating, but with the tools available nowadays it’s easier than ever. Start with creating videos for your website that explain how your business works. You can use software that records your screen to take users through the process, with no need to worry about lighting! Once you have the basics done, you can use video to personalize your company by giving consumers updates about what your employees are doing via Facebook Live or Periscope, or drumming up interest in your latest campaigns with some Snapchat teasers.
Feature videos on your company blog (just as The Content Wrangler does) to diversify your offerings and make perusing your blog a more dynamic and engaging experience. People are visual creatures who may prefer ‘reading’ a blog post in video form, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Video has one of the best conversion rates of all content (up to 10 times more audience engagement than text-only posts) and doubles the clickthrough rates. Videos also directly impact sales, as was the case with shoe retailer Zappos.com. After adding videos of the products sales increased up to 30%. Another online retailer, Ariat, saw a remarkable 160% higher conversion rate on pages that featured videos.
We have shown you a few of the best content marketing strategies you can use for your business. Start with a blog and mix and match different types of content to see what performs best for your particular industry and company. Finding the perfect voice to tell your brand story will take time but your ROI will be proof that it was time well spent.
BlogsRelease implements, monitors, and analyzes blogger review campaigns for top brands worldwide. Download our free ebook, How To Get Bloggers To Write About Your Product.
My first job was babysitting. I distinctly remember going to one of my first babysitter jobs. I had to be about 13 years old, and it was for a newborn baby who slept the whole time. I basically watched TV the whole time. She wrote me a check and drove me home.When I got home and looked at the check, I realized it was for $20.00, which was much more than I had thought the job paid! My mom said it was fine to keep it but called the parents to be sure they meant to pay that much, and sure enough, she was so grateful for a night out she felt super generous in that check-writing moment.
My second job was corn detasseling, walking corn rows and pulling tassels off corn stalks. I grew up in northern Indiana, and they paid kids as young as 14 to walk the corn rows and remove the tassel at the top of certain rows so that the hybridization would be completed for the type of hybrid corn they want to grow in that field. It was hot, dirty, and way more boys than girls would do this job. It paid well, I wanted to quit after a week, and I rode with a neighbor who was 16 at dawn-thirty every morning, taking a bus after that to the corn fields, packing a lunch each day.
My third job was selling sporting goods in a retail sports store, locally owned, as a retail sales clerk. I stocked shelves and racks, got shoes for people based on size, laced the shoes, and answered questions. I was their night shift, closer, and I was nearly fired after my first three nights because the cash register count kept coming up about $15 short. The day shift person was expressing growing concern as she came in to an inaccurate value each morning, so the owner came in at 9:00 one night to watch me count the cash drawer at the end of the night. He immediately asked my why I didn’t count the rolled coins. I had no idea I was supposed to! The confusion was resolved and I got to keep the job.
My fourth job was inspecting manufactured rubber parts in a local factory, on the night shift during the summer in high school. We worked from night until dawn, hand-inspecting rubber o-rings and specially-made parts to make sure they did not have holes, tears, or other defects. It was smelly, (hot rubber manufacturing smell) dirty, (imagine black rubber dust under your fingernails and in your skin) hot, (though not as hot as the day shift), and loud. During the school year, one of our co-workers drove an elementary school bus after getting done with her night shift. She was famous for once saving the lives of a family when their house was burning and she noticed it from her bus-driver seat, ran into the house, woke them up, and got them to safety.
My fifth job was after starting college, checking out and shelving books at the university library. I wanted to focus on school and not work in college, but learned on a call with my Dad late one night the first week of school that I would have to work to cover costs or come home. I was lucky to land one of the work/study jobs as a desk clerk and book shelver in the four-story library on campus. I could walk to work, I could read and study when it was not busy, and I helped shut down the entire library at night. I remember turning out all the lights on the basement floor, then walking through the pitch black to the elevator, finding the button on the wall, and waiting in complete darkness for the narrow crack of light to appear to take me out of pure darkness. Once someone called in to the library to ask if she could retrieve a $100 bill she left on one of our copiers. Asking her to hold, I went downstairs, opened the lid of the copy machine, and sure enough, there was a $100 US dollar bill. I picked it up, picked up the phone, and told her she could come in to get it. That was one relieved voice on the other end of the line.
My sixth job was inspecting baby formula and drink supplement ingredients as an internship in a chemistry lab. This was another shift job, this time on the second shift from 2:00 in the afternoon until 10 pm. I drove across the Michigan/Indiana state line for this job. I had to wear steel-toed shoes and a lab coat. I remember using my thumb to pipette some liquid, where you have to release some air to get the liquid to the right level for a precise measurement. When my trainer saw me, he immediately re-trained me, showing how to hold a pipette properly using an index finger for more control and finesse.
My seventh job was assembling, word-processing and testing science education materials (such as Chemistry with TOYS, Physics with TOYS) as a graduate student. I also made copies, worked on NSF proposals, and assembled small science kits as giveaways at science educator conventions. One task was to staple more than 400 small cellophane fish to quarter-page instructions on teaching physical science with the small fish. After completing those and boxing them up neatly, I traveled to a science convention, met my boss there, who asked where the 400 fish kits were. They were still on my desk! I hadn’t realized that the assembly of the kits was FOR the conference I was attending. They had to call and have the fish boxed and shipped. I still think of that incident when I don’t have the big picture for a smaller task. Did not get fired then either, thankfully.
We had some fun in a recent meeting with the "top 10" reasons to attend our upcoming RSuite User Conference. Curious? Check it out below...
So while the video was lighthearted and homemade and all, the event will actually be fantastic! We're excited about the content and we're excited about our attendee list so far.The full agenda will be revealed in the next week or so, but a few of the highlights include:
- Customer Panels
- Ask an Expert Sessions
- "Lightning Round" Demos of New Functionality
- XML Editing Tools Discussion
- Exploring Workflows in RSuite
Don't miss out!
2016 User Conference & Tech Day
September 21st & 22nd
The Hub CityView, Philadelphia
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