The death of [insert technology here] .

31272  download

The joy of working in web development agencies is having exposure to a great range of clients and developers. It’s also a great industry to be in because it’s always in a constant state of flux. Technologies, methodologies, architectures are all being changed on an almost daily basis.  

One of the things that will always makes me chuckle is when I hear someone say “<Technology X> will be the death of <Job Type Y>” or “<Technology X> is dead”.


When I first joined Sagittarius sevenish years ago I was listening to a conversation between several developers about how “you know flash is dead”. Four years ago Steve Jobs said “you know flash is dead” http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

All these years later and 98% of browsers have flash installed and depending on whom you ask it’s used by 30% and 40% of web pages online. Say it’s a more conservative 15% that’s 798 million pages. Compared with Silverlight or Java that’s still an enormous usage. Impressive for a technology I’ve been told is dead once a year for the past seven!


Microsoft released a server technology called Entity Framework. Lots of people were saying this is it; nobody will need Database Administrators anymore. Who needs them when you can use Entity framework to do all the grunt work for you. We can get rid of those highly paid DBAs and save ourselves a packet! Strangely enough it was complete nonsense.


Don’t get me wrong Entity Framework, Linq to Sql, Red Gate SQL Data Generator, NHibernate and the twenty others I’ve not mentioned are great products. They make life easier for end programmers like me.  But anybody who has seen a database schema setup by someone who doesn't know his normalise from his next gen would know why the above was always going to fail.


Let’s also not forget the industry forecast that mainframe computers are dead. Nobody has trained people on mainframe support and development since forever. After all it was a dead technology. But what they failed to take in to account is its heavy usage for small insignificant tasks like say the flight traffic control network! On the approach to the millennium various banks et al were hiring all the former employees who retired to come back in and help them prepare for the millennium bug. Mainframes are actually making a bit of resurgence due thin clients but that’s another story.


I could come up with many similar stories, but the fact is the industry and their experts don’t decide when a technology lives or dies. The deciding factor will always be the companies that rely on it and when they decide to move on.

So ladies and gentleman the year is 2014 and my forecast is:

Flash IS dead at least it might be if this countdown ever gets below 1%...

http://theie8countdown.com/

And the robots are about to put you out of a job….

“According to an Oxford University study that was featured on the cover of The Economist this week, 47 percent of the world’s jobs will likely be automated over the course of the next two decades.” – 22 JAN 2014


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?

 
Richard Brisley
Richard Brisley
Tech Lead
Richard is the longest standing member of the Sagittarius team, he works tirelessly to support the development and side-facing team with problem solving and pitches alike. His skills as a .NET programmer and database administrator have been paramount to the success of Sagittarius and our continued success. 

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. 

Richard Brisley

Richard Brisley

02 Jul 2014 - 5 minute read
share this

stay in the know, stay ahead.

Get the latest from the agency, including news, events and expert content.
explore services in the article
find out what we can do for you
read some of our case studies