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Mags HanleyIAThis presentation is the lessons learnt working with a small business ForMums in Chiswick.
ForMums is owned and set-up by Kate Foster, an ex-Auditor. The business model is selling listings and advertising packages to small businesses within a locale – in this case Chiswick.The types of businesses she is focusing on are ones that appeal and provide services to mothers.
Information and listings for mothers from pregnancy to the teenage years.Business targeted include half-term classes, ballet and swimming classes, clothes, health & beauty and home services like cleaning and nannies.The aim is to be hyper-local, but also allowing businesses that are not necessarily IN Chiswick to be put into categories if they service Chiswick.
Many of us work in organisations where we are lucky to get Content Strategy onto the agenda and it is often done by stealth. Working with FM, I’ve seen how essential it has been to defining the business, selling content and developing the site. It is essential that this work is done, otherwise Kate is unable to sell her listings; she doesn’t have a proposition.We need to also identify that catch for our businesses- how do we position content strategy as essential to the business?
What content are we selling or providing access to that is essential to the business and focus our attentions on THAT content.
Base content -Listings information and the categories that strike a notes with users and businessesEssential – as the business does not exist without this content – so the strategy was working out the right blend of paying vs. free business listings
Content that drives the users to our sites – the stickiness. In FM case this is the weekly blog – which is focused on timeliness of content based on the calendar year.
Lastly the advertiser packages – building revenue by identifying the ways the business want to speak and present themselves.Essential to an on-going revenue stream.
Often we focus on one audience for our content strategy; working with FM; we identified three audiencesMums in ChiswickSmall businesses in ChiswickFM editorial teamAll as important as each other – need to make sure we do address them in our businesses.
This is the one – we usually think of.Mums in Chiswick are one of two types:Stay at home mums with a husband who is a high-flyer in the CityWorking mums – part of a two-income professional household
Advertisers are not commonly addressed in our content strategy. For example a leading magazine I am working with at the moment, does not have a content strategy for Advertisers, even though revenue generation is one of the main aims of the site.FM – we definitely thought of the advertisers and what content and services they would like to purchase.
Editorial team – we do think of this team more than others; possibly because many of us who do content strategy come from an editorial or CMS background.In FM, we thought of who would enter the content and how often the content would need to be written to engage the other users.
Kate always knew that she wanted her first site to be hyper-local in Chiswick, but then expand out to other suburbs as her business grew. So we focused on how her content would be sold and devised for other areas at the beginning, before the site was built.As an experienced bottom-up IA, my job was to understand the model and then help her plan the content so it didn’t require re-factoring. In her case we focused on expanding categories and localities.Even though Kate didn’t always get what I was talking about, hopefully our planning (and my notes) will helpher in expansion. She does say to me every time we meet, “I look back at your notes and it becomes clearer.
Sometimes our role is to be the expert!
So even though we were planning for the future, the most critical aspect of a small business web site is the tactical. With FM, there’s the next blog to write, business to feature and conversation to moderate.So our content strategy work and on-going conversations are all about the calendar year and what to promote.
There are features for special events to plan; business to tee-up and approach and categories to promote.
This needs to be planned around the calendar and for FM ideally planned a couple of months ahead.This blend of tactical and planning for the business reflects what we don’t usually do; consider content strategy from both the tactical and strategic. And this is the biggest lesson; when are in the depths of planning blogs, we cannot forget the strategic and when we are identifying our content goals, we can’t forget the need to write and promote fresh content every day or week.
London Content Strategy Lightening talk - Content Strategy for All
Content Strategy for AllLessons learnt from working with an small business Mags Hanley 24/01/2012