Author Archives: ecarter

Understanding Content Strategy through images

Tasked with finding three images/diagrams that represent content strategy I pulled up Google and typed in “content strategy” in the image search. What do I find? A ton of pictures/diagrams to choose from! Not that it’s really a surprise since Google usually finds me a bunch of stuff when I ask politely. After finally narrowing the options down to three I am now ready to figure out what they mean without reading the sites that are meant to explain them. (Actually, I cheated and read them, but only after trying to figure them out first).

Diagram #1: from UX Booth

Variations of the diagram above were the most common I found when looking at all the different images, this is consistent with the diagram in our readings of Halvorson and Rach’s Content Strategy for the Web. I chose to post this one because I thought it did a good job of representing a content strategy, and I liked the colours they used. 🙂 The diagram is clean, simple and easy to follow which wins a thumbs up from me, and I can get a general idea of what I should be accomplishing in each section. My guess is that the purpose of the circle is to show that the process is cyclical and that one project of creating content can lead into the next and the arrows in the centre emphasize that. Woohoo! So I get the circle. My confusion is that, if I follow the circle clockwise, I would think “Manage” should be on the left bottom and “Publish” should be on the right since I’m under the impression management of content comes after its publication. If I’m missing something please let me know because I’m stumped.

Diagram #2: from Andy Betts’s article

CDPR108 content-strategy - Andy Betts

From and article on http://www.koozai.com/ by Andy Betts

Andy’s diagram is really neat, and I really like it….except I have no idea what it’s trying to tell me. After reading his post I gathered it is to represent that there are different experts of an organization (outermost sections) who then collaborate with their expert colleagues (first and second shaded areas) to produce the content i.e. centre of the nucleus. I think the diagram is a great concept but I don’t think it works as a stand alone image, there is just too much going on.

And my personal favourite…

Diagram #3: from Mark Smiciklas

designed by Mark Smiciklas, found on http://visual.ly/content-strategy-burger

designed by Mark Smiciklas, found on http://visual.ly/content-strategy-burger

The content strategy burger!!! Mm, mm, good! Although it’s very simplistic in its explanation I think it gets the point across and can really help me remember what I need for a strategy. Recognize the audience, figure out a theme that suits them, decide on the tone, find/create the content that follows under that theme and tone then place it all on a digital platform. The only thing I feel is missing is the management of the content once the burger is finished. I’m not sure how he could incorporate that into a burger since it’s meant to be gobbled up. I’m hungry for your thoughts?

Week 3: Foursquare and QR Codes

Foursquareswarm_bee_logoqrcode

As assigned for our course, I downloaded and tried to use the Foursquare application on my phone. In the past, I had seen some friends of mine “check-in” using Foursquare so I went out to try and do the same. I left my house to get a coffee, all set to let people know my location and found out I couldn’t check-in! Apparently Foursquare split into two: Foursquare and Swarm. Swarm is now the application people must use if they want to check-in to a location and Foursquare has now become an application that’s basically the same as Yelp. Learning this, I thought “well then why the heck would one choose Foursquare over Yelp?” So I looked it up and good ol’ Google searching showed me the way. One article I read gave a few good points and said that, as is often the case, it’s all about what type of audience you want to reach, but if I’m any example of what many people think Foursquare is used for it might be more advantageous for a company to invest in making themselves known on Yelp rather than Foursquare.

After further research on what Foursquare used to be I wondered how the businesses felt about the change? I’m sure they had put time, money and energy in creating awards for app users based on how many times a person had been there, with customers competing to be the “mayor” of the location by having the most visits. That competition might have drove sales for different locations so, with that gone, how will it affect their plans with Foursquare? It’s not even an option available in Swarm, though there are efforts to do something similar.

I guess my feeling is that a business that wants to be seen should make itself recognizable on Foursquare only if the cost is reasonable because from personal experience, no one I know is using Foursquare since it split into two. Then again it might just be the type of people I hang out with.

If you want to know their thoughts behind the split here’s a video I found online.

Now about QR codes. Until recently I never really considered QR codes and didn’t even think to look for them. With this assignment I was really trying to pay attention and found that they are not in very many places…I found three. One gave the website of a dump truck company, one gave the website to further information about recycling and the third was for information about a career fair. A year ago Canada Business Network gave some ideas as to how to use QR codes to promote a business and I’m sure there are imaginative people out there working for businesses that could really use the QR codes to their advantage but I’m just not seeing it. It would be neat to see one on a poster for a concert with the QR code taking me to buy tickets, or to automatically put the date in my calendar or even have a sample of the music, or if I’m at the grocery store and they are out of the item on sale I wanted to buy there would be a QR code for me to receive a raincheck for when the product is in, or even making window shopping more than just viewing by placing a QR code beside an item with the directions “Like these shoes but no time to stop? Buy it online here->” or have the customers have a say in the next blizzard flavour by voting through a QR code… I’m rambling, but they’re just some thoughts. It’s too bad I can’t seem to find them in use since I can see potential.

Week Two – Promoted tweets, accounts and trends

As mentioned in my first post Twitter is a new experience for me but it comes as no surprise that a company can pay to have their products/information promoted to Twitter users. Although I’ve yet to see any promotions (or at least see any in the form that Twitter says it identifies promoted items) it’s understandable why any company would consider paying for the services provided by Twitter as it’s a means to reach a lot of people.

First, learning the difference between a promoted tweet, a promoted account and a promoted trend took a minute for me to understand (as I said before, I’m a little behind the times, but I get there) but once straightened out I formed the opinion that any of these options could be advantageous, it just depends on the company and what it is they need to promote.

Promoting a tweet: This seems to be a great way to get a short term announcement to as many people as possible, not just those who show an active interest in the company. For example, an organization is holding a “best mom in the world” essay competition for Mother’s Day with the winning prize being a trip for two to a fancy spa and tweets the entry information to it’s followers. Sure it’s great to let all of its followers know but what’s even better is getting the information to even more people which is where the promoted tweet would be handy. Someone who looks up “family,” “travel” or “R&R” could be targeted and *poof* there is the tweet that gives the competition information, that someone clicks to go to the website and all of a sudden s/he is learning about the organization.

Promoting an account: I feel that an organization just starting out could make the best use of this type of promotion. Similar to what Facebook offers, an organization can pay a certain amount to increase the amount of followers they have. If an organization is new it’s a challenge to get noticed so it seems like a worthwhile investment to promote a twitter account which enables conversations with people and getting the word out about the new business.

Promoting a trend: How can an organization not want to promote a conversation about their product? This is a great way to lead into the launch of a new product. Just look up #smashbros and the amount of conversations is incredible! The game doesn’t even come out in North America for another two weeks but the trend has been tweeted about for months! Granted, a fan favourite Nintendo game might be a bit of an extreme example but nonetheless it does show that a trend can last for a long time, even past the product launch date.

But it always comes down to the big question: is the cost worth it? In my opinion the answer for all three promotion opportunities is yes. If an organization has a budget for promotion then this is as good as any place to invest some of that money as long as the organization has a plan. Nowadays people are constantly on the move and Twitter caters to that community on the go. To stay with the community you have to be able to keep up with it and investing in Twitter would help.

First post for the course – CDPR108 week one

A little behind the times but eventually I get there.

Here begins my first of 13 posts for the Chang School of Continuing Education course CDPR108. I’ve never taken an online course but I think it’s appropriate considering the course is about social media – or rather the social web as I have discovered from reading the textbook.

Although I am of the generation that started using computers in their every day life I’ve always been a little slow at catching on to this thing they call “the world wide web.” I have a Facebook account but don’t post to it and only last month did I start using Twitter (though admittedly, I get excited about using Twitter whenever I think of something to post). To be honest, I only started to use Twitter because I thought I should get to know it for my job and for that same reason decided to take CDPR108. I’m looking forward to learning all sorts of platforms that I am oblivious to and seeing how I can use them to my advantage, or rather, to my organization’s advantage. I’m a little nervous that I might get overwhelmed at what’s out there but no venture no gain.