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Scaffolding for Social.
Does your site have an Open Graph section something like this?
Setting up your site for social these days needs quite a bit more than the above. Generally the example I've given is thrown in when a developer finds out that when someone tries to share a page on the website with Facebook it decides to use the site logo as the lead image.
I imagine at the very least you would like your site to work correctly on Facebook and Twitter? Well Open Graph is great for Facebook but Twitter uses a totally different OG system called Twitter Cards. Its important to think about these issues from the beginning because sharing your website on social shouldn't be an after thought.
Given how easy it is to create data templates in Umbraco or Sitecore your best off just scaffolding the entire Open Graph and Twitter Cards system. You might be thinking your site only has a bunch of articles why do I need OG settings for Books or Video?
I learnt many lessons from Headspace.com when we ran it. One of which is never ever try to guess what will appear on a clients website in a weeks time, let alone a month or a year in the future.
Headspace at its base is pod casts but they have pages with video, they have normal pages and news stories, a book page and mobile applications you name it. So -do not- try to guess what data might appear on your site in the future. You will lose!
If you implement the entire Graph setup your content authors can choose the right settings per page. For Open Graph you should have Article, Book, Profile, Album, Playlist, Radio Station, Music Song, Episode, Movie, Other, TV Show, and Basic. What's that? you are pretty sure you will never use Radio Station? Ill remind you of that when your boss appears on a radio show and the page its listed on is being shared on social media!
For Twitter Cards its pretty simple, the data stored between each card is pretty similar but there are seven types of card App, Player, Summary, Summary Large Image being the main ones.
Its important to mention that the Open Graph system has support for multiple language versions of content. DO NOT start hard coding links to each version of the content. Use the Sitecore API to figure out which language versions of the page you are on exist and output the meta tags automatically.
You might also want to include on your site meta tags for “Andriod App Alternate Version” and “IOS App Alternate Version” so that you can open the content you are viewing in your mobile app if it exists. Again even if you don't have an app right now you should include these tags for future proofing.
Social should be a massive part of your website because be in no doubt its a massive part of peoples everyday lives. So take a good look at your implementation its a very important.
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.
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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.