AB Thinks  →  30th November 2016

The right content – part 2

Last week we ran through the first three of AB‰’s principles of content – rules that we try to bear in mind when creating really engaging content for internal audiences. (You can catch up on the first three here). This week, we share the remaining principles on the list.

Principle #4: Make it visual

We have all heard the phrase ‰‘a picture paints a thousand words‰’, but it has particular relevance today. In our research with employees, they consistently tell us they feel ‰‘bombarded‰’ by information. They fear missing something important in a forest of unsolicited emails and other messages. That‰’s why we‰’ve become so fond of visual storytelling. Before-and-after pictures, clever infographics, behind-the-scenes footage, selfies – if it‰’s easy on the eye, it‰’s more likely to be seen, absorbed and shared.

But we can‰’t simply rely on great user-generated images or a designer pulling a rabbit out of the hat at the 11th hour. Great imagery and videos need careful planning. So, when planning editorial content across paper and screen, give a central role to still and moving images.

Here‰’s an example. We create Highlights magazine on paper‰ and screen for employees at KPMG. The content for both versions of the magazine is planned simultaneously. So, when‰ we commissioned an illustrator to create an infographic about conference calls in the print edition, she was filmed while she drew her artwork. This became a short video for the iPad edition of the magazine (see https://vimeo.com/82094605).

Principle#5: Make it collaborative

We love a content brainstorm at AB. In our experience, a diverse and dynamic collection‰ of individuals can achieve more together than apart. So, why not hold quarterly content workshops? Gather a group of 10 to 15 from across your communication and business functions. The voice of readers should also be present at these sessions.

These workshops should have five core objectives:

  • Drive proactive content development
  • Ensure alignment across your internal and external media
  • Help stakeholders and others feel a genuine sense of involvement in content development
  • Spot and emulate excellence wherever it exists inside your organisation or elsewhere
  • Review strengths and weaknesses from the previous quarter. These will be fun, interactive sessions with a serious purpose. We will develop an action plan following each workshop, which will feed into your content strategy.

We often run sessions like these for clients, whether to help streamline processes for specific content, or more general sessions looking at trends and inspiration across the industry. If we can help you, please get in touch.

Principle #6: Make it measurable

The great news about digital content is it takes the guesswork out of what people are reading. With the right coding, we can paint a complete picture of what content is really hitting the spot. This starts with who is accessing content, when and on what devices. Dwell times, download and click-through rates give us an indication of reader engagement. Most-searched words or phrases tell us what they are looking for. Mapping the reader‰’s pathway through a channel shows what is catching their eye. The ability to like or rate content helps us understand what content is most valued. This can instantly improve the reader‰’s experience by listing top rated stories.

Data is only useful if it becomes intelligence fed into the decision-making process. Many of our clients are still grappling with this challenge. Their data is vague, incomplete or annoyingly proves something they wish wasn‰’t true! We like to make data part of the planning process and set targets for views, dwell times, shares and likes.

Incidentally, we have ensured targets can be set for each of our six principles, so that we can measure progress against them.

What do you think of our six principles? Would you add any of your own? Let us know in the comments section below or via Twitter.