We Talked Content Strategy with Georgina Laidlaw – The Transcript

Sarah Hawk

My Wednesday is off to a confusing start as I find myself creating content about creating content. Recursive writing?

It is the result of a really interesting Talk with the Experts session this morning. The subject was Content Strategy and the expert, Georgina Laidlaw. It was an intimate session but the chat flowed steadily – I guess that’s what happens when you have a chatroom full of wordsmiths and content creators!

It wasn’t a session that turned up a lot of resources, but those that did come out of it are listed below.

Some of Georgina’s writing:
http://flippa.com/blog/native-advertising/
http://www.sitepoint.com/create-a-style-guide-for-your-brand/
http://www.sitepoint.com/seo-can-help-you-communicate/

Some Content Strategy resources:
Content Strategy Bootcamp
Content Audit Tool
Google+ Content Strategy Group
Content Strategy Group on LinkedIn

Next week I’ll be hosting a session on Photoshop with designer and Photoshop instructor Nuria Zuazo (or molona, to those of you that are familiar with the forum staff). You can catch that at 2:30pm PDT on Wed 14 Aug or find out what time it will be at your place.

If you missed the session today because you didn’t know it was on, you can sign up for email reminders of future sessions.

And for those of you that would like to know exactly what went down this morning (in my part of the world), here is the full transcript:
[21:33] <HAWK> For those of you that don’t know Georgina, she’s a Content Developer who has been blogging for SItePoint (among others) for a long time now

[21:34] <HAWK> To add to those accolades, she’s an all round good lady

[21:34] <HAWK> So thanks for your time today G

[21:34] <Georgina> Aw Thanks HAWK. And thanks for having me!

[21:35] <HAWK> Georgina – can you give us a brief rundown of exactly what ‘Content Strategy’ is??

[21:35] <HAWK> And why it’s important

[21:35] <Georgina> :) I had a feeling that might be a good place to start

[21:35] <ralphm> The saying is that Content is King, but in reality it gets treated more like a beggar—trying to find a place amid so much fancy technology like CSS, JavaScript and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to find the content amid all the other stuff. What are your thoughts on that, Georgina?

[21:36] <Georgina> Okay so I just wrote a post for Flippa that mentions that no one really knows what native advertising is (http://flippa.com/blog/native-advertising/ ) and I think it’s similar with content strategy.

[21:36] <KevinYank> What kind of business should have a content strategy?

[21:36] <Georgina> Content strategy is your plan for uniting your brand with your users through content

[21:37] <Georgina> so that could be “static” content on your marketing pages, blog posts on your blog, blog posts on someone else’s blog, articles in a local print publication, etc.

[21:37] <Georgina> The strategy covers everything from what you’re doing and how you’re doing it to who’s doing it

[21:38] <Georgina> It’s important because without it, you’re likely to end up scattered and messy, fighting fires and chasing shiny objects rather than systematically engaging with your audiences through content.

[21:38] <HAWK> Great, that makes sense. Thanks.

[21:39] <TonyChung> I’m actually more curious as to how Georgina can write and manage content for so many web properties and keep her head straight.

[21:39] <HAWK> So I guess that segues well into KevinYank’s question – what kind of business should have one?

[21:39] <johnlacey> I was wondering if Georgina had any tips for doing a content audit. I have a site that is due for a complete overhaul and having trouble figuring out what to keep/change/get rid of.

[21:39] <HAWK> Good question TonyChung – I’ll queue it for Georgina

[21:41] <Georgina> You know, to be honest, I think any kind of business that’s publishing anything more than a few pages of marketing content on their website should be strategic about it. But when most people get all hale and hearty about content strategy, they’re talking massive organisation like universities and corporates that have a hundreds or thousands of pag

[21:41] <Georgina> es that need to be updated frequently (or at least kept current!).

[21:42] <Georgina> KevinYank does that answer your question, sir?

[21:42] <Georgina> In the meantime, to ralphm’s question about content being more like a beggar than a king.

[21:44] <Georgina> I do agree in some cases. Often you get the wrong people writing content, and doing a poor job of it since they’re not subject matter experts or trained writers. But particularly in technically focused organisations, content is very easily lost among all the exciting technical shenanignans.

[21:44] <KevinYank> Thanks!

[21:45] <HAWK> This is the current question: The saying is that Content is King, but in reality it gets treated more like a beggar—trying to find a place amid so much fancy technology like CSS, JavaScript and so on. Sometimes it’s hard to find the content amid all the other stuff. What are your thoughts on that, Georgina?

[21:45] <Georgina> I think technology changes a lot and the tech world is so focused on the latest and greatest stuff. Content is seen as much easier than that, so it can be neglected. it’s the writer’s job (if the business owner isn’t prioritising it themselves) to prioritise content and push teh strategy barrow, as it were.

[21:45] <johnlacey> I guess technical people aren’t always content producers, or don’t see themselves as such.

[21:45] <TonyChung> As a working Content Strategist I’m amazed at the differences between practitioners globally. And I know a lot of global practitioners. ;-)

[21:45] <HAWK> And to be fair, they don’t need to be.

[21:46] <Georgina> ralphm, you agree?

[21:46] <KevinYank> How do you deal with “renegades” (e.g. employees with Twitter access)? Does everyone need to be in the Content Strategy loop for it to work, or can a strategy assume other activity will be going on around it?

[21:46] <HAWK> Are you calling me a renegade, KevinYank? ;)

[21:46] <johnlacey> lol

[21:46] <Georgina> ha :)

[21:47] <KevinYank> Absolutely.

[21:47] <Georgina> Okay I’m gonna go to TonyChung’s question

[21:47] <TonyChung> The rogue tweeter strikes again.

[21:47] <ralphm> Yes, I guess it comes down to that. Content *seems* like the easy bit (because we all wrote stuff at primary school, right?) but in fact it’s the crucial part.

[21:47] <HAWK> Yeah – that’s fair.

[21:47] <johnlacey> Well first you say either “the intern did it!” or “our account was hacked, you guys!”

[21:48] <Georgina> Yep ralphm, agreed. People who can type think they can write content. But as KevinYank just pointed out, content strategy isn’t just about slamming stuff onto your website—it’s about managing a stack of moving parts.

[21:48] <HAWK> TonyChung – are you a content strategist for a single company?

[21:48] <Georgina> Okay, so TonyChung asked I’m actually more curious as to how Georgina can write and manage content for so many web properties and keep her head straight.

[21:48] <Georgina> :)

[21:48] <TonyChung> There must be a challenge maintaining the sense of “corporate voice” while at the same time allowing for “personalability”

[21:49] <Georgina> Yep there is. So that’s a challenge, definitely. I love variety, though, which is why I don’t work for just one brand any more. So that helps.

[21:49] <TonyChung> HAWK I work(ed) as a CS for a large government website. I operate independently as a web developer with an interest in content presentation systems.

[21:49] <HAWK> Cool

[21:50] <TonyChung> I Googled Georgina before the chat and read a write up on Pen & Profit.

[21:50] <TonyChung> She sounds busy.

[21:50] <Georgina> The other thing that makes it much easier is that if I’m with a brand for more than about five minutes, I usually make them (or: myself) a language style guide that captures their brand in a sort of language template. Then, when I’m thinking “wait, do these guys use contractions?” I can check the style guide.

[21:51] <Georgina> (Wrote a piece on style guides for sitepoint at http://www.sitepoint.com/create-a-style-guide-for-your-brand/ if you’re interested)

[21:51] <TonyChung> I find the more I get into the weeds of the systems, I don’t write as much content.

[21:51] <KevinYank> If I work for a company that sorely needs a content strategy, how do I convince my bosses, who might just hear “expensive buzzword” that it’s worth the investment?

[21:51] <Georgina> Also, the more you work with a brand, the more it gets into your blood, so it becomes easier to switch to a different mindset for each over time :)

[21:52] <johnlacey> Is it hard to get the stuff out of your system after you stop working with a particular brand?

[21:52] <Georgina> TonyChung what do you mean by “weeds of the systems”?

[21:52] <Georgina> you mean CMSs?

[21:53] <Georgina> So johnlacey asks I was wondering if Georgina had any tips for doing a content audit. I have a site that is due for a complete overhaul and having trouble figuring out what to keep/change/get rid of.

[21:54] <Georgina> :) I just saw a pretty great content audit which listed each piece of content, how current it was, how popular it was, and who was responsible for it (among about 30 bajillion other things)

[21:55] <Georgina> But I think these are the keys. looking at how valuable each piece of content on a site is to your users is the first step to working out what to cull.

[21:55] <Georgina> Then, look at what is popular and needs updating.

[21:55] <HAWK> Would you look at traffic stats?

[21:55] <Georgina> Then, take that to the parties responsible for it and … ask them to take some responsibility by making some calls—especially in borderline cases ;)

[21:56] <Georgina> Yep HAWK, traffic stats are exactly the metric I’m talking about.

[21:56] <TonyChung> Georgina because I started as a programmer I try to find and build systems to automate how content gets produced. I try to avoid repetition where possible.

[21:57] <Georgina> You can look at them over time if you want to, as well as for a given period, like a year or six months. In a recent client project, some of the most popular pages were for promotions that had ended long ago—so that made the culling easy.

[21:57] <TonyChung> Am I allowed to promote some CS resources I learned about at a workshop last month?

[21:57] <HAWK> Yes, absolutely

[21:58] <HAWK> Thanks for checking in first :)

[21:58] <Georgina> TonyChung aaah interesting :) Automating content production sounds … difficult indeed.

[21:58] <Georgina> okay so KevinYank2 asked How do you deal with “renegades” (e.g. employees with Twitter access)? Does everyone need to be in the Content Strategy loop for it to work, or can a strategy assume other activity will be going on around it?

[21:59] <TonyChung> My colleagues hosted a Content Strategy boot camp – website: http://contentstrategyworkshops.com – click “Slide Decks” in the menu for presentation slides

[21:59] <Georgina> I think organisations today should expect that their staff are using social media as individuals

[22:00] <TonyChung> One of the presentations showcased a pretty unique content audit tool called “Content Insight” http://www.content-insight.com/ – full content audit, metrics (based on Google Analytics)

[22:00] <ralphm> A lot of content on the web looks like it was written more for an indexing robot than a real person—filled with bold text, overt keywords, link bait and so on. How do you deal with the pressure to make content SEO-friendly, Georgina? Do you get into fights? Do you just focus on clean, well written text and hold your ground?

[22:01] <Georgina> so the solution there is not to treat them as “renegades” ;) but as humans. One of my clients, which has a staff comprising some very conservative people, and a wide range of ages (with many in the 50+ category— it’s a professional services consultancy) recently produced an internal booklet that helped align staff’s social media usage with the over

[22:01] <Georgina> all brand strategy and, through that, the content strategy.

[22:01] <TonyChung> But the strength is in the analysis of the information. Rather than accepting an audit at face value, treat it as a window that compares the site’s performance against what the business or organization is trying to do–are they reaching their target? Or missing the mark entirely?

[22:01] <Georgina> This kind of thing can be really helpful for managing staff expectations, drawing lines of responsibility, and setting the right behaviours.

[22:02] <Georgina> Who’s okay to talk about what in which channel, etc.

[22:02] <Georgina> Does that answer your question, KevinYank2?

[22:02] <TonyChung> Georgina do you use special tools for tracking your projects, managing your time, and scheduling content produced by multiple writers?

[22:03] <KevinYank2> Thanks!

[22:03] <Georgina> Oh, you also asked the next question: If I work for a company that sorely needs a content strategy, how do I convince my bosses, who might just hear “expensive buzzword” that it’s worth the investment?

[22:04] <Georgina> I’d say that in my experience, this goes two ways. You have big companies that are suffocating under the weight of their mismanaged content, and love to hear about content strategy because it’s pretty clear off the bat that it can alleviate that problem.

[22:05] <Georgina> The other extreme is small companies that are all over the shop, and have one writer or content person on board. In those cases, the content person usually has a bit of autonomy, so they may well be able to formulate a content strategy under the radar, so to speak, then present it as a sort of well-formed proposal if they need buy-in from others.

[22:05] <Georgina> The main problems arise when your content strategy requires someone to change their behaviour. Eg You want the CEO to start tweeting :)

[22:05] <TonyChung> Georgina that sounds like an ideal world

[22:06] <TonyChung> Georgina so it sounds like your CS also considers random factors such as employee and/or user generated content?

[22:06] <Georgina> In those cases, you have to be reasonable in your own expectations. i’d pitch it, but I’d have a backup plan (or two) in case some of the people I needed buyin from wouldn’t get on board.

[22:07] <Georgina> KevinYank does that asnwer your q?

[22:07] <Georgina> Okay so ralphm asked A lot of content on the web looks like it was written more for an indexing robot than a real person—filled with bold text, overt keywords, link bait and so on. How do you deal with the pressure to make content SEO-friendly, Georgina? Do you get into fights? Do you just focus on clean, well written text and hold your ground?

[22:07] <Georgina> :) I’m always getting into fights!

[22:07] <Georgina> Just kidding ;)

[22:07] <TonyChung> My friends wrote this book specifically to pitch to a business that they need CS http://thecontentstrategybook.com/

[22:08] <TonyChung> Thanks for letting me promote. ;-) I’m just a learner too.

[22:08] <ralphm> Hehe …

[22:08] <Georgina> I actually wrote a post that sort of puts my position on SEO pretty clearly; http://www.sitepoint.com/seo-can-help-you-communicate/

[22:08] <HAWK> No worries TonyChung – these sessions are for networking and sharing as well as learning

[22:09] <Georgina> I think most of the content you’re talking about here ralphm is probably generated by software or low-paid churn-and-burn writers (of which I know one or two—they’re like article spinning software packaged up in human form)

[22:10] <ralphm> Thanks. Bookmarked. I sometimes carefully craft content for a client, then come back a while later to find it mangled by an SEO person. I find it really depressing.

[22:10] <TonyChung> How do I click “Like” on Georgina’s comment “:) I’m always getting into fights!”

[22:10] <Georgina> Good, targeted content made for actual people doesn’t compete in that realm as far as I’m concerned. And a good website with decent SEO behind it won’t either, from what I’ve seen.

[22:10] <Georgina> haha TonyChung

[22:11] <Georgina> ralphm, hope that answers your question?

[22:11] <Georgina> Good content and good SEO should be good friends ;)

[22:11] <ralphm> Yes, thanks, it does. And I look forward to reading the article. :-)

[22:11] <Georgina> Cool :)

[22:12] <Georgina> TonyChung asks Georgina do you use special tools for tracking your projects, managing your time, and scheduling content produced by multiple writers?

[22:12] <Georgina> :) sort of

[22:12] <TonyChung> I’ve found the most helpful discussion on the CS Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/contentstrategy and LinkedIn groups http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Content-Strategy-1879338

[22:13] <Georgina> For myself as a freelance writer, I use a calendar and a time-tracking tool call 1daylater to manage my own time.

[22:13] <Georgina> I can be a bit seat-of-the-pants about my time, and that’s freelance, you know: things can change quickly.

[22:14] <Georgina> But within the realm of each client’s content, I’m pretty strict about stuff.

[22:14] <ralphm> Further to Tony’s question, I was wondering if you have any favorite writing tools, such as Scrivenr, or perhaps Markdown?

[22:14] <Georgina> I develop a style guide and brand vocab early and give these to the writers i’m working with for that client asap.

[22:14] <KevinYank> I’m a big Scrivener fan. Wish I had more excuses to use it!

[22:14] <Georgina> I schedule content religiously, usually no less than 2 weeks in advance.

[22:15] <TonyChung> [Style guide] that leads me to another question: How do you share the style guide? I would hope it’s not as a Word doc?

[22:15] <Georgina> I try to develop pretty smooth editing and production flows so that the mechanics of content production work seamlessly, on their own, and I can focus on content ideas and delivery with writers.

[22:16] <Georgina> And on improving that connection between the brand and its audience by constantly improving on the content over time.

[22:16] <Georgina> Hope that answers your q, TonyChung?

[22:16] <HAWK> You won’t find Word around our office TonyChung!

[22:16] <TonyChung> HAWK LOL.

[22:16] <Georgina> !

[22:17] <Georgina> Guys guys guys!

[22:17] <Jerry> What do you use instead of Word, Hawk?

[22:17] <Georgina> Word isn’t the devil’s work!

[22:17] <TonyChung> Georgina can you recommend the tools you use for managing schedules?

[22:17] <Georgina> Well…. maybe it is ;)

[22:17] <TonyChung> I’ve seen Asana, Basecamp, etc.

[22:17] <Georgina> No, I don’t use any special tools. most of my content I write in .txt

[22:17] <Georgina> And for the clients who can’t handle that, I use word

[22:18] <TonyChung> You mean * gasp * you don’t write in WYSIWYG?

[22:18] <HAWK> Haha. We work in a 99.9% Mac office using as much open source SW as possible. Personally, I use Libre Office.

[22:18] <Georgina> I’ve never worked for a client that required me to use a writing tool, but I need to use tools they can work with too.

[22:18] <HAWK> Sorry – should have tagged you in that last response Jerry

[22:18] <Georgina> i’m always meeting the *thrilling* challenge of new CMSs, though.

[22:18] <ralphm> I love .txt … and have recently also fallen for Markdown, which complements it wonderfully (and makes converting to other formats so easy).

[22:18] <Georgina> You think you’ve seen on, you’ve seen em all, but … no

[22:18] <Georgina> ;)

[22:19] <Georgina> ralphm for managing schedules I use all kinds of tools, again, mainly depending on the client and how they want to work (and what sofware they can manage).

[22:19] <HAWK> TonyChung – I’ve used just about every one of those tools that there is and rate Basecamp as no 1

[22:20] <Jerry> I’d love to use Libre Office (or Open Office) — if they didn’t mangle document formatting so badly. Maybe that could be a topic for a session one of these days.

[22:20] <Georgina> So: excel and word or google docs, Trello, whiteboards, you name it.

[22:20] <HAWK> So we have 10 mins left in the session. I think I’ve caught and queued every question and we’re up to date. Jump in now if you have unanswered ones :)

[22:20] <TonyChung> HAWK most people love Basecamp but it seems like too much overhead.

[22:20] <Georgina> Once client uses confluence

[22:20] <Georgina> etc. etc.

[22:21] <HAWK> Jerry – to be honest I don’t use it a lot, so it suits my purpose, but yes – I know what you mean

[22:21] <Georgina> WordPress’s scheduling tools

[22:21] <Jerry> I miss DEC Document :)

[22:21] <Georgina> the list goes on

[22:21] <HAWK> I don’t have a lot of call for using any kind of office package in my job

[22:21] <ralphm> “Whiteboards” … I haven’t heard of that app. :p

[22:21] <Georgina> haha

[22:21] <TonyChung> ralphm here’s the latest: http://smarttech.com/smartboard

[22:21] <TonyChung> ;-)

[22:22] <tom> This talk seems more oriented toward managing content than creating content that will have some desired effect on visitors. Can you suggest some good sources for creating compelling writing for websites?

[22:22] <Georgina> I think scheduling’s easy when one person controls it.

[22:22] <Georgina> As soon as you have other people are in the mix, things get crazy

[22:22] <HAWK> We have a good source for creating compelling content at SitePoint. We call it Georgina

[22:23] <Georgina> haha :)

[22:23] <TonyChung> HAWK and here we have another “Like”

[22:23] <KevinYank> I’ve seen some companies post seemingly off-topic content on their blogs. What’s the deal with that? Misguided SEO ?

[22:23] <Georgina> Well there’s no shortage of advice for writing well online. But “writing” is pretty varied. For blogging advice, you can’t go past problogger, copyblogger and Jon Morrow.

[22:23] <TonyChung> So yeah, Georgina where do you find your ideas?

[22:24] <Georgina> But when it comes to writing good help content? Slim pickings. Copyblogger and Jon Morrow are good on marketing copy advice. No one seems to write about writing good social media updates, though.

[22:24] <Georgina> That’s a real lack, I think.

[22:25] <TonyChung> And will KevinYank be in Vancouver anytime soon?

[22:25] <Georgina> KevinYank, off-topic content is usually part of a strategy to get viral

[22:25] <ralphm> “Help content—slim pickings”. O yes, that’s a real problem area.

[22:25] <Georgina> in the cases I’ve seen

[22:26] <Georgina> “If we write what people love, we’ll get our brand in front of as many people as possible”

[22:26] <KevinYank> TonyChung: Speaking of off-topic content… ;)

[22:26] <Georgina> It’s a brand-building strategy, but in many people’s eyes, a strange one, since it often doesn’t tie the brand to any one topic or category or solution.

[22:26] <TonyChung> We didn’t talk about effective ways to include audio, video, or other multimedia in our strategy

[22:27] <Georgina> Wait! You had a question on ideas

[22:27] <Georgina> :)

[22:27] <Georgina> The answer to that is: by talking to people

[22:27] <TonyChung> Yes. I’m very focused on questioning now that I got into a flow.

[22:27] <Georgina> ;)

[22:28] <TonyChung> Does anyone ever say, hey G, write about this?

[22:28] <KevinYank> Yes, that’s my reaction too, G.

[22:28] <Georgina> I use a combination of reading, thinking about stuff, and talking with people (not in a directed way, just in a “what are you doing? What do you think of x?” way), and that usually connects dots for me.

[22:28] <Georgina> Yep, people say that all the time

[22:28] <Georgina> and often I say “meh”

[22:28] <Georgina> ;)

[22:28] <TonyChung> ;-)

[22:28] <Georgina> If I’m not wildly excited about your idea, I’m probably not the best person to write it

[22:29] <Georgina> I might be able to DO it, but that’s probably not the best outcome for your brand

[22:29] <Georgina> Someone approached me about writing a beginner’s blogging ebook for them recently

[22:29] <TonyChung> So it’s common to draw a line where you don’t think the idea is inspiring enough?

[22:29] <Georgina> and I asked them how it would be different from everything else on the topic. What was the point of difference that would make this content unique to their brand?

[22:29] <Georgina> silence ensued ;)

[22:30] <Georgina> I don’t want to write that stuff

[22:30] <Georgina> :)

[22:30] <Georgina> Yeah TonyChung I think so.

[22:30] <TonyChung> So you asked questions to gauge “audience”, “expectation”, and “direction”?

[22:30] <Georgina> definitely

[22:30] <Georgina> should we talk audio etc, before we knock off?

[22:30] <TonyChung> if nobody else has a question (like I gave them room)

[22:31] <Georgina> ha :)

[22:31] <KevinYank> Wait, there are already ebooks about blogging???!!! </sarcasm>

[22:31] <TonyChung> LOL.

[22:31] <HAWK> It’s technically the end of the session, but if you’re happy to stick around and talk for a bit longer then it’s all good with me G.

[22:31] <Georgina> I think that stuff needs planning. So before you can fit multi media into your strategy you probably need to have the text stuff nailed down, because for most brands that’s the majority of their stuff (at the moment anyway) and the easiest content to produce.

[22:32] <Georgina> Ah cool :) Thanks HAWK

[22:32] <TonyChung> Thanks.

[22:32] <TonyChung> Hey KevinYank: https://learnable.com/topics/blogging LOL

[22:33] <tom> thanks, I’ll look up jon morrow

[22:33] <Georgina> Once you have a good process for the majority of your content production, then you will probably find it easier to build in content that’s more complex to create. Because you might have people you can delegate the everyday stuff to if you need extra time to shoot a video or record a podcast, or you’ll know who you can delegate that stuff to.

[22:33] <Georgina> But the other aspect is to consider how that multimedia fits into the overall content strategy—what need it’s meeting

[22:34] <Georgina> for your brand, but also for your audiences. Sure, you can use video for everything under the sun, if you have all the time and money in the world

[22:34] <TonyChung> I’ve seen several articles and posts about how video helps sites to rank more highly. There’s a lot of expectation on making video and audio content available.

[22:34] <TonyChung> But it sounds to me like it’s better to get your text stuff out the door and build video to support that.

[22:34] <Georgina> but if not, your content strategy should help you prioritise those content types.

[22:34] <TonyChung> At least that ‘s what you said.

[22:35] <Georgina> Well, one of the reasons I’ve seen given for that whole video-as-seo argument is that Google owns YouTube

[22:35] <Georgina> I always focus on audiences first, users, rather than “SEO”

[22:35] <TonyChung> Georgina – good point

[22:35] <Georgina> search is users

[22:36] <Georgina> I think the expectation for multimedia varies between audiences

[22:36] <ralphm> I find that intro videos can be very effective when I’m visiting a site—whether or not they are good for SEO.

[22:37] <Georgina> I also think that an audience that doesn’t expect audio or video may be easily delighted by the occasional surprise multimedia offering, so you don’t need to be hobbled by those expectations either

[22:37] <TonyChung> ralphm – it’s kind of hard to plan for “intro” videos because any of your site pages could be a user’s page 1

[22:37] <Georgina> Yeah ralphm, I interviewed a video dude for an ebook the other day and really with video you need to look at the purpose

[22:38] <Georgina> is it conversion? sales? product demo? testimonial? viral funny haha content?

[22:38] <Georgina> help?

[22:38] <Georgina> I’m working with help videos at the moment

[22:38] <Georgina> So, just saying “video’s great!” is like saying “Ford pickups are great!”

[22:38] <Georgina> They are, but for certain purposes

[22:38] <Georgina> A stack of users never click play

[22:39] <ralphm> If I stumble on a product, and the content describing it is not easy to follow, I often head to the home page to see if there’s an intro video that gives a clearer overview. It’s often a breath of fresh air.

[22:39] <TonyChung> Good CS would have the video link right off the product page you saw.

[22:39] <Georgina> I really look at video on a case-by-case basis. For a site like learnable, video’s obviously the go. For a site where you’re searching for cheap airfares, maybe not

[22:40] <TonyChung> I find the Learnable CS really needing a bit more work

[22:40] <Georgina> ralphm Sure, product demo videos are pretty popular :) I’m doing a script for one today which should be pretty fun :)

[22:40] <HAWK> In what ways TonyChung?

[22:40] <TonyChung> I just signed up for the year and find the same content in multiple places, even though I specifically asked for books, or courses, or…

[22:40] <ralphm> Indeed. I find them especially useful when I’m looking at new software. It’s usually much easier to understand what it’s for through seeing it in a video.

[22:41] <HAWK> Interesting. I’d love to hear some of that feedback in more detail if you have time to put it in an email TonyChung.

[22:41] <TonyChung> Sounds good Sarah HAWK

[22:41] <Georgina> ralphm Definitely :) That said, sometimes video can whiz through things that need more explanation, so once I’ve watched it, I’ll have to read body text to really put the pieces togehter

[22:41] <Georgina> I actually find that with the 99designs video

[22:41] <Georgina> But maybe I’m just slow on the uptake ;)

[22:42] <TonyChung> I really like how Michael Hyatt describes his podcasts. http://michaelhyatt.com/encore-episode-a-peek-inside-my-toolbox-podcast.html

[22:42] <ralphm> Certainly, the video can often generate more questions than it answers. I tend to find that if I don’t get a clear concept from the video, I’m even less likely to get much from the other content.

[22:42] <Georgina> ooh and HAWK asked a q on how to share a style guide :)

[22:42] <TonyChung> You don’t have to listen to the whole thing to get the meat.

[22:43] <TonyChung> Georgina That was me.

[22:43] <Georgina> Ah, sorry TonyChung

[22:43] <TonyChung> Mr. Questionnaire extraordinaire.

[22:43] <TonyChung> ;-)

[22:43] <Georgina> Usually, it’s in PDF format. But when I worked at sitepoint, we had a page of the site dedicated to styles (I think) which was accessible to writers. Same at ProBlogger

[22:44] <Georgina> It depends on what’s needed. If staff are internal, it could be in your wiki

[22:44] <Georgina> If it’s just me, it’s probably in a txt file :)

[22:44] <TonyChung> I’m trying to convince a volunteer org to use a web page for the style guide… thinking of setting up a private wordpress site.

[22:44] <TonyChung> The problem with wiki is that the markup is so… so… arcane.

[22:44] <Georgina> Woah, a separate site for the style guide?!?!?!

[22:44] <TonyChung> Unless you pay for mindtouch or confluence

[22:44] <Georgina> Sounds extravagant ;)

[22:45] <Georgina> How many styles are you including in this thing?

[22:45] <TonyChung> I just want the ease of editing, post revisions, upload etc.

[22:45] <TonyChung> Well, it will also include best practices and documentation for the rest of the site.

[22:46] <Georgina> Yeah. I find with most clients, simpler is better, and more acceptable.

[22:46] <Georgina> Couldn’t you include all this in a Gogoel doc?

[22:46] <Georgina> it’s easily updateable etc.

[22:47] <TonyChung> i’ll have to think about that. we have a shared evernote account for the admin stuff… but then we can’t lock specific pages out of peoples’ access.

[22:47] <HAWK> Ok all, I’m going to call it a wrap

[22:47] <TonyChung> google doc could be ok

[22:47] <ralphm> I was going to suggest Google Drive (formerly Docs).

[22:47] <TonyChung> Thanks Sarah… this was fun.

[22:47] <HAWK> Thanks heaps to all of you for taking part

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  • ralph.m

    Comments are closed on Georgina’s SEO article ( http://www.sitepoint.com/seo-can-help-you-communicate/ ), but it’s a good read.

    From the article:

    > “It’s about playing with content elements to tell new arrivals to your site that they’re in the right place.”

    That’s a really nice point. Even in good writing / speech / communication, you need to express points in a number of ways to help the audience understand your meaning. You don’t know exactly how someone might put into words what they are looking for, so good writing and content organisation should go hand in hand with SEO.

    Also from the article:

    > “If not headings, it’s good if keywords are contained in links because they’re scannable too. If not there, then I guess I’ll just have to start scanning actual sentences (yawn).”

    These days, my preference is to use Command + F, which allows me easily to scan the page for the word or words I’m interested in. I’ve even recently discovered that you can do something similar on some small screen browsers like Safari, which is great.