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We exist to make your business thrive and our greatest reward is our returning clients. Our focus is and always will be on our clients and not on industry awards and accreditations, which could account for why we’ve won so many of them…
RabbitMQ - Messaging that just works.
As lead technologist at Sagittarius Marketing, one of my many roles is to investigate new technologies. Sometimes I hear about new things through a vast array of websites, news feeds and emails I receive. This time I discovered it like many great inventions completely by accident.
I was looking in to a system known as node.js and how to get it to talk to Microsoft .NET. While researching this, I came across a system called RabbitMQ. I'm excited about it, because it allows different pieces of software to talk using a common language.
One of the biggest technology challenges an agency or client faces, is getting their disparate systems to talk to one another. This is commonly overcome using data export/import to migrate data. Emails sent in a defined format to update some third party software. Web services using json or xml to update or read information across different platforms.
RabbitMQ is another solution to this problem, it allows any system to send messages to each other. These messages use a common specification called AMQP or Advanced Message Queuing Protocol.
Each piece of software plugging in to RabbitMQ doesn't need to be written in the same coding language. They don't even need to be running on the same infrastructure.
They can talk to each other in a number of ways including
- Publish-Subscriber – Any message you send gets delivered to all the recipients
- Queue – Messages are delivered to any available unit for processing. So if you had a bunch of small jobs they can be handed out to multiple workers.
- Two pieces of software sharing simple messages
- Routing - Selectively route messages to a given destination(s)
- Topics - Destinations receive messages based on a patten. So one destination gets messages about pears and another gets messages about apples.
- RPC - call a particular command or procedure on a remote computer
Or even use a combination of all of the above.
We see a lot of new technologies come and go, the difficult thing is choosing the right tool for the job. So whenever I see a new system like RabbitMQ in the back of my mind I'm thinking thats great but...
- Does it really help our customers in the real world
- What's the chances of it going down in the middle of the night on a bank holiday weekend
I feel pretty comfortable on both accounts as I can see it is used in the real world by enterprise level companies.
One such company is http://www.15below.com/ based in Brighton, UK. They have a pretty impressive client base including Qantas, Thomas Cook and Ryan Air.
In their words they allow their clients to
Connect with each passenger from when they book until after they get home
– Delight passengers with personalised information to smooth their journeys
– Calmly handle the chaos of unexpected situations from hurricanes to strikes
They use RabbitMQ to power their system:
"15Below's Flight-Status product provides real-time flight information to passengers and their family and friends. We interface with the airline's real-time flight information stream generated from their operation systems and provide a platform that allows them to apply complex business logic to this stream. We render customer tailored output, and communicate with the airline's customers via a range of channels, including email, SMS, voice and iPhone/Android push. RabbitMQ allows us to build each piece; the client for the fight information stream, the message renderer, the sink channels and the business logic; as separate components that communicate using structured messages." - Mike Hadlow, Chief Architect at 15Below.
Fascinating to see something like this used in the real world and I can't wait to leverage it for our clients in the near future.
Best Wishes, Richard
Lead Server-Side Developer
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 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 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 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?
In 2016 and again in 2019 Richard was recognise in the BIMA 100 awards for his outstanding work in Tech, his passion for digital and his contribution to the industry.