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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…
Sitecore Dictionaries, Fields and Translations .
We all know that with Sitecore we have extensive functionalities we can use when it comes to dictionaries. They can be used to make form labels, button texts, watermarks and other pieces more dynamic rather than hardcoded. They can even support functionality similar to the string.Format() method in .NET. Let’s suppose I have a dictionary item for today’s date:
I can use this like so:
Which will result in something similar to this:
And sure, out of the box these dictionary items aren’t editable, but there are solutions for that.
All in all, dictionaries are pretty useful – and then I saw some cool functionality I wasn’t previously aware of!
If I create a new dictionary entry in my content tree, and the value of the ‘key’ field corresponds with a fieldname for one of my templates, Sitecore will output the value of the ‘phrase’ field in the Content Editor. As an example, if I have a field called ‘logo’ I might want to give a little more information to my content editors when they work with the Content Editor interface. Should it be the company logo? A logo for a specific piece of functionality? Logo of the customers the company has done business with? There’s a lot of different uses for a logo field (granted, some are more valid than others in my example).
Everyone is probably aware of features like help texts that achieve a similar goal, but another option is to create a dictionary item with the same key value as the field name, and some phrase value.
Which then, without having to do anything else, resolves to the following
It still works nicely with the help texts as well of course.
It could end up being a bit bothersome for developers though, because this actually hides the fieldname from the item – so when a developer needs to reference the field in code (by using something like item[“logo”] in our example here) they’ll need to go to the template itself (potentially in the inheritance tab if the field in question comes from an inherited template).
This dictionary item can obviously be translated as well like normal (so create a new version of the item in the language required, then translating the phrase). Keep in mind that this translation won’t show up by changing the language version in the content tree but only by changing the actual interface language.
This can also be achieved by giving the ‘title’ field on the field definition item in the content tree a value. In fact, when the ‘title’ field on the field definition item is set as well as the dictionary item, the ‘title’ of the field definition item ‘wins’.
Don’t want to have your field name translated based on dictionary items? Not to worry, the field definition item also has a checkbox field to do exactly that!
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.