Digital technology solutions for your business.

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To say the impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic over the past months on the state of businesses and commerce as a whole has been catastrophic is somewhat of an understatement. Day by day we hear countless news reports of organisations that are struggling financially and ones that have had to cease trading after years of buoyant performance - a significant percentage of these are cited as having been unable to pivot or transform as a result of the lockdown as the global crisis increased. Additionally, many of those businesses were ultimately suffering a ‘digital haemorrhage’ by constraints of their historical technology and architecture decisions - and many are teetering on the edge today with significant digital choices to make right now.

Professionally, I’ve been passionately part of the IT/Tech/Digital scene for well over 20 years now and have seen many so-called software development movements, initiatives and ‘silver bullet’ style solution messages being pumped out over those decades - With the benefit of having worked on both sides of the proverbial fence (direct for brands and also for global digital agencies) I’ve has never experienced any two situations the same or facing the exact same challenges - may be similar, but definitely not identical.
However, when I think about it, the greatest obstacle (outside of financial) was often the inability to change or implement a new/revised digital solution at pace and with ease. The key reason for this was the poor architectural and technology decisions made previously.

Historically companies would look to invest in a technological solution that could fulfil the needs of the business for three to four years and most likely connected to a parallel financial cost management strategy. This often boiled down to “...buy it once and it’ll last for years before the IT and business guys would be allowed to come back...”.
However, that often gives leaders the sense that the chosen solution is able to serve the businesses objectives for the entire time scale. With all good intentions, seldom is this the case. As businesses evolve quarter by quarter they struggle to have the technology meet their every need. Within this comes corporate inflexibility and woe betide anyone that has the audacity to lobby for extra financial investment to extend what had already been considerable spend with yet another business case and plan for benefits and ROI to be realised.

The dynamic organisations that have seen digital successes during 2020 (and prior to that) are those that have focused and have implemented a progressive or fully decoupled enterprise architecture. The companies that have utilised flexible and open solutions that allow for seamless API integrations at their core and rapid cloud infrastructure scaling. The businesses that concentrate on headless approaches for delivering and powering digital solutions as customer touch-points - be that eCommerce, a mobile app or any other.

In my experience organisations will typically have an enterprise suite product as the central element in their technology ecosystems such as a CMS, eCommerce or digital experience platform. This decision fulfils or has historically fulfilled a point-in-time business need. Additionally, they’ll have an ever-increasing number of ‘shadow IT’ services, solutions or systems that are typically driven by the need for non-technical functions of the business to, excuse the language, ‘get sh*t done’. This parallel universe is most likely due to the inefficiencies of technology teams and/or digital partners. Never solely due to a lack of competency, but overwhelmingly because the technology systems in place are not flexible, adaptable or based on MACH architecture principles and approaches that bring agility, faster roads to innovate or in the current climate, the ability to transform and pivot at a pace akin to Usain Bolt running a 100metre sprint!

It's a harsh appraisal and this is not to say that organisations are doomed that have legacy (or modern) monolithic enterprise suites, quite the opposite. It’s a huge opportunity to commit to a hybrid movement that has a truly microservices, API-led, cloud and headless centric architecture - one where chosen digital solutions become pluggable components across the digital estate ensuring ‘best of breed’ where appropriate and the flexibility to evolve any single element depending on the ever-changing needs of the business and its internal team’s desires to utilise a new modern SaaS-based service for example.

I’ll resist going further down the rabbit hole but please if some of this resonates with you or you’re facing similar challenges in your organisation around making the right choices along your digital transformation journey - then get in touch today!

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Kingsley Hibbert
Kingsley Hibbert
Chief Technology Officer
Kingsley is the agencies CTO and as part of the c-suite is leading the charge to support our rapid growth as we break into new and emerging markets! He has a wealth of technical experience and expertise having previously worked in Senior Sitecore roles at brands such as PRS for Music and Epsilon.
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