The days when an editor’s instinct alone decided what was and was not a good story are long gone. The hunches and gut feelings that went into working out what ‘works’ for a title are being replaced with scientific analytics of engagements and conversion rates.
We know there is no one audience but rather many audiences with different interests and buttons to push. In response, publishers are finding how to increase engagement by selecting the subjects that matter to their audience and prioritizing limited resources accordingly.
From strategy to application
Learning to identify what works, however, is only the beginning of the story. Picking out the hot topics by observing reader behavior is a start, but only a start.
The next step is planning your future content and forging that strategy into the daily work pattern of the newsroom.
Our users talk to us about the complexity of transforming strategic content planning into a working reality, and we have redesigned our Topic toolset in response.
There are three steps when it comes to successfully converting strategy into action.
- Structuring content learning points into actionable strategy
- Successfully communicating both the learnings and strategy to the newsroom
- Ensuring that knowledge translates to the daily operations of the newsroom
The key to transforming learnings into action is the choice of topics - an age-old tool in publishing but one now uniquely honed for purpose.
From the editor-in-chief to the most junior reporter, everyone creating content needs a common understanding of the core topics, audience segments, and how data informs that content strategy.
For that to work, it needs to be presented in a form that’s easy to understand every time content is planned, input, or modified in answer to shifting needs.
This is why Topics has been reinvented.
Desk-Net’s Topics feature still consists of two pages: the List page to structure and manage topics with their descriptions and the Timeline that shows how those topics will be deployed over time.
Ensuring topics have a clearly defined hierarchy is key to audience management, supplying what an audience wants, and reaping engagement rewards from delivering.
To do that, the Topics section has been reimagined to better help audience managers with managing their content strategy and audiences.
- You can structure your topics across up to four levels instead of just two
- Drag & drop makes changing the sorting order and hierarchy instant and effortless
- You can add pictures and comprehensive information such as personal descriptions or a campaign briefing.
- Quick Search finds topics instantly; lists can be collapsed or expanded to show precisely the detail needed at any given time.
The Timeline is the most changed feature and the answer to marrying content strategy with content planning and audience management.
Weekly views now join the existing monthly, quarterly, and yearly views as publishers learn to tweak strategy on the fly in response to engagement data.
That speed of response is also evident in the drag & drop editing of the content plan, meaning you can instantly reschedule stories and events or drop them onto a specific publishing date or time.
That makes it possible to re-structure and move an entire campaign with no more than a couple of clicks.
Filters mean you can view content in multiple ways, including target groups, to ensure you’re delivering on the content strategy. Something missing? Coverage not as complete as you want? Not a problem since a click on the ‘+’ icon allows you to add stories instantly.
Since communications are always crucial to a successfully implemented strategy, we have improved the sharing options to make it simple to download story lists and mail them or print them as a pdf.
Reimagined in partnership with the publishers we work with, we believe the new Topics feature is the answer to the latest phase in content management strategy, but we’re not stopping there.
All of the Desk-Net pages are in the process of being redesigned to keep pace with an industry in constant evolution. Look out for forthcoming updates, including the Long-term Planning page, which is being significantly upgraded to take your content strategy to the next level.