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Brand-driven Content Strategy: Developing a Message Architecture

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Margot Bloomstein Confab Intensive 083115 #ConfabINT @mbloomstein


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 2 Content demands attention © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 3 Because we all want the same thing, Content requires time way. but content keeps getting in the (CC) http://www.flickr.com/photos/slworking © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 4 Content dredges up politics © Margot Bloomstein © 2015


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This is your job now.


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 6 ©Skillset.org © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 7 Titles < Roles < Skills ©Skillset.org © 2015


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© The Creative Group


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 10 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 11 Content and design— and the processes to create them— complement each other through content strategy. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 12 Content and design— and the processes to create them— complement each other through content strategy. But they require a foundation and vision. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Content types Content model 13 Editorial style guidelines and calendar Content audit Message architecture © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 14 What is content strategy? Planning for the creation, aggregation, and governance of content that’s useful, usable, and appropriate in an experience. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 15 Steps along the way… Message architecture Content audit/inventory Prescriptive content matrix Content model Editorial style guidelines Metadata guidelines Governance guidelines © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 16 Deliverables are merely punctuation in the conversation. They can’t replace the conversation— and too often, we’re afraid to talk. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Why content strategy? 17


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Why content strategy? Because we all want the same thing, but content keeps getting in the way. 18


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Why content strategy? Launch on time 19


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Why content strategy? Stay within budget 20


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Why content strategy? Maintain a consistent user experience visually and verbally, across channels 21


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Why content strategy? Without the team killing each other over differences in opinion and changing goals 22


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 23 This doesn’t need to be hard. Good content doesn’t need to be expensive to plan, time-consuming to create, or difficult to maintain. That’s content without content strategy. © 2015


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More like Apple.


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 26 More like Apple’s message architecture Confident but approachable; accessible Simple • Minimal detail • Streamlined and anticipatory Inviting, friendly • Supportive but not fawning © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 27 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 28 Message architecture? Gracious and engaged • Welcoming, anticipatory service Elite and premium • Selective membership • “Curated” experiences Traditional • Enduring heritage • Preserving appreciation for quality © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 29 Translating Harvard’s principles Innovative Global Inclusive Engaged © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 30 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 31 Message architecture Cheeky • Witty and fun • Young without being childish Customer oriented and responsive • Approachable, friendly, and empowering Helpful • Accessible © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 32 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 33 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 34 From: Little MOO | Print Robot <noreply@moo.com> Subject: MOO | Order 0629312615 | Confirmed Hello I'm Little MOO - the bit of software that will be managing your order with moo.com. It will shortly be sent to Big MOO, our print machine who will print it for you in the next few days. I'll let you know when it's done and on its way to you. Remember, I'm just a bit of software. So, if you have any questions regarding your order please first read our Frequently Asked Questions or contact customer services (who are real people!) Thanks, Little MOO, Print Robot © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 35 Message architecture vs. brand values? 1. Cheeky 2. Customer oriented 3. Helpful Design Innovation Community Excellence (Inspiring, but lack priority) © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 36 What’s a message architecture? A hierarchy of communication goals that reflects a common vocabulary. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 37 First things first. Why start blogging, audit the content, consolidate site architecture, add video testimonials, relaunch the site, develop new brand guidelines, launch a new campaign, or go “mobile first”… if you don’t know what’s most important to communicate? © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 38 If you don’t know what to communicate, how will you know if you succeed? © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 39 What’s a message architecture? A hierarchy of communication goals that reflects a common vocabulary. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 40 A little thing with big impact. © 2015


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How could we prove this is a car not like anything else out there? It’s a small car, but it’s premium. You get a Porsche 911 ride for a fifth of the cost. It’s got history… but in Europe. You need to give people content to give them history.”


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 42 A little thing with big impact. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 43 Message architecture Premium technology • Assertive; ready to perform as a driver’s car • Proactive and supportive of spontaneity Classic design • Experienced and savvy Cheekiness • Smart, “punny,” hip • Fun, gleeful © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 44 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 45 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 46 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 47 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 48 If these emails are boring you and you don’t mind missing out on all the lip-smackin’ stuff we’ll be sending in the future, simply send a message to ownerunsubscribe@insiders.miniusa.com and include “Unsubscribe” and your favorite fruit in the subject field. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 49 Message architecture drives the user experience © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 50 …in content Nomenclature Calls to action Instructional content Sentence structure Diction © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 51 …and in design Photographic angles Dark backgrounds Bold headlines Thick stroke weights © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 52 …and in the prioritization and coordination of features and content types. © 2015


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Content strategy creates harmony, not cacophony, across channels.


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 54 Not all channels fit all brands. Serious and technical? • • • • • • • • • • Annual reports Articles on your site Articles on other sites Blogs Books Branded tools Case studies Digital magazines eBooks Email newsletters • • • • • • • • • Facebook posts Games In-person events Infographics Licensed/syndicated content LinkedIn posts Microsites Mobile apps Online presentations • • • • • • • • • Podcasts Print magazines Print newsletters Research reports Twitter Videos Virtual conferences Webinars/webcasts Whitepapers Per Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs 2013 Content Marketing Survey © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 55 Not all channels fit all brands. Fun and engaged? • • • • • • • • • • Annual reports Articles on your site Articles on other sites Blogs Books Branded tools Case studies Digital magazines eBooks Email newsletters • • • • • • • • • Facebook posts Games In-person events Infographics Licensed/syndicated content LinkedIn posts Microsites Mobile apps Online presentations • • • • • • • • • Podcasts Print magazines Print newsletters Research reports Twitter Videos Virtual conferences Webinars/webcasts Whitepapers Per Content Marketing Institute & MarketingProfs 2013 Content Marketing Survey © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 56 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 57 Message architecture Premium • Lindt embodies quality, in product, marketing, & company interactions • Approachable: Quality indulgences are more accessible • Trusted in brand and quality Empowering • Entrepreneurial: Innovating, championing individuals and successes • Market driving: strategic and proactive • Professional and consistent through experience and being responsive Community-minded • Engaged with the Lindt family • Customer-oriented • Socially conscious © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 58 Message architecture drives a consistent user experience, visually and verbally. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 59 Elegant layout and typography • • • • Spread-to-spread sightlines and flow Wider borders Layered background images Italic titles with initial drop caps © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 60 Imagery of individual impact • People engaged with product and service— not just product or just results of service • Diversity of role, gender, ethnicity, and age © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 61 Accessible, informative copy • • • • First-person plural Frequent rhetorical asides Shorter sentences Clear, concrete explanations © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT Content types Content model 62 Editorial style guidelines and calendar Content audit Message architecture © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 64 What’s a message architecture? A hierarchy of communication goals that reflects a common vocabulary. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 65 What’s a message architecture? Concrete, shared terminology, not abstract concepts. © 2015


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Welcoming, but elite. Selective?


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Welcoming, but elite. Inclusive?


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Welcoming, but elite. Exclusive?


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Traditional, but edgy.


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 70 © 2015


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You like your jargon more than communication.


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 72 Words are valuable, but meaningless without context and priority. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 73 How? • • • • • • Engage in a tangible, hands-on way Encourage debate and conversation Identify points of disagreement Prevent seagulling Force prioritization Encourage ownership & investment © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 74 © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 75 Cardsorting • Tables of 8 • 3 people represent the brand • 5 people consult on content strategy © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 76 Step 1 • Who we are • Who we’re not • Who we’d like to be Go with your gut! © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 77 Step 2 Who we are  Who we’d like to be Be aspirational. What needs to change? © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 78 Step 3 • Form groups: what goes together? • Prioritize the goals or groups • Tell the story of those aspirations © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 79 Why do this? Words are cheaper than comps. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 80 Why do this? Content creation, organization, and governance all need a strong foundation. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 81 Why do this? Choose content types to manifest the message architecture— not just because they’re trendy. © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 82 And beyond… • Gain standards by which to conduct a qualitative audit. What is “good” anyway? • Determine keywords for SEO • Prioritize CMS changes to support content • Reallocate budget and resources across channels © 2015


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@mbloomstein | #ConfabINT 83 But first things first: Understand what you need to communicate—and why. © 2015


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Margot Bloomstein @mbloomstein margot@appropriateinc.com slideshare.net/mbloomstein All photography © Margot Bloomstein unless noted. Screen grabs property of their respective owners.


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