Our Top 5 Highlights | Sitecore Symposium 2018.

Sitecore_SYM_2018

This year’s Sitecore Symposium was held at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida and with the event headlined as ‘Elevate the Experience,' agency owners, Nick Towers and Paul Stephen attended the conference with high hopes about what innovations would be unveiled. This year's two day global event focused on recent developments for the customer experience platform and the future version releases (9.2/9.3).

So as the 3000 Sitecore experts descended on the Walt Disney Castle, what dreams were distilled and how did Sitecore's Fantasyland of content fair? Here are our top five picks from the conference.

1. Acquisition of StyleLabs

Now, this is and was BIG NEWS!. Not only is StyleLabs a complete Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Media Resource Management (MRM) platform which means it gives away to some exciting new features. This is the first time Sitecore has acquired a piece of SaaS platform with the intentions of integrating it with the Sitecore Experience Cloud. Could this open the gateway to further expansion through acquisition?

2. Release of Horizon

Sitecore 9.2 and 9.3 which will be released in 2019 will include integrations with Horizon, a new user interface which will streamline the CMS user experience and include a variety of new analytics and real-time insights tools to help marketers analyse data, engage audiences and achieve higher conversion rates.

3. Taking the Stage to Discuss Personalisation and Conversion Rates

Our very own CEO, Paul Stephen joined other esteemed global conference speakers alongside Richard Lamb, Digital Director from luxury travel hotel group Red Carnation Hotels and presented a case study on how the agency helped the hotel chain increase revenues by 22%. The session had a fantastic turnout with more than 200 delegates, but, even more excitingly, back in the UK, Account Director, Emma Nijjar, was presenting this exciting case study in the Sitecore Cinema Jam at London's Festival of Marketing event. This was an exciting moment for the team as we recognise just how far the agency has come in the last 12 months, presenting at two leading global events across two continents on the same day at the same time!.

4. MVP Conference

Once the brights lights of Symposium was over, Nick and Paul attended the exclusive, MVP conference where exciting new features from future versions of the Sitecore platform were discussed and explored in greater detail. The future is looking bright and exciting for the Sitecore of tomorrow!

5. Cortex is Coming

We now know that from Sitecore 9.1, available now, Cortex is a badge added to any new functionality that leverages Machine Learning throughout the platform. The first ‘use cases’ being added in 9.1 include personalisation insights based on Machine Learning, with an updated personalisation and testing User Interface that will highlight marketing opportunities based on successful user journeys to date. Also, further Machine Learning capabilities will be available through the integration of Open Calais, the intelligent content structure and tagging platform, is now integrated into Sitecore’s own tagging functionality, allowing CMS users to create structured content and tags automatically.

We’re looking forward to the release of 9.2 and future developments in 2019 and beyond for the Sitecore platform!

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?

 
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Naomi Harper
Head of Marketing & Communications
Naomi is the agency's Head of Marketing & Communications with a strong background in Public Relations, events, Marketing and Brand campaigns.

Naomi joined Sagittarius in January 2021 to deliver exceptional external brand experiences, engaging internal communications and to assist with the driving of sales and the developing of relationships with key strategic suppliers.
 

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Naomi Harper

17 Oct 2018 - 5 minute read
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