Wrap Your Content Around Regular Events [en]

[fr] Il est souvent judicieux d'organiser la publication de contenus autour d'événements récurrents tels que les hashtags hebdomadaires, les fêtes annuelles, les conférences, les remises de rapport trimestriels, etc. De nombreuses publications le font avec profit. Dans cet article, j'explique comment le faire aussi.

How do you ensure your content flows continuously? Publishing around current events, seasons and holidays are a great place to start.News organizations are masters at this. No example shines brighter than the month of December. Year after year, they run stories about Christmas decorations. More recently, they’ve put a “green” spin to it by focusing on LED technology and energy savings. Later they cover snow storms and how they make trains run late. Then, there are sales in the stores. It’s the same in all Christendom!You can do the same by using recurring events to generate ideas and create flow within your content streams. All it takes is a list of relevant events, some thinking and planning to create content that is both relevant to your audience and to the event.Unlike TV channels and newspapers whose content must always fill the same containers, online publications are more agile. However, publishing content that’s both good and relevant remains a challenge. Using recurring events, your publication efforts can be organized and you can start to orchestrate relevant story arcs that your audience will care about. Your ideas will flow! Populating your editorial calendar is bound to become a breeze.

What Type Of Event?

Look for near-global events like Christmas or Easter to begin populating your calendar. Don’t forget to turn to more local ones as well. Both can be very handy. For example, in Geneva (Switzerland), we have an official chestnut tree near the parliament hall. The secretary of the parliament, as part of her job, reports the blooming of the first bud. This first leaf marks the official beginning of spring in the state of Geneva and this event is covered by local news every single year.

All the examples above focus on mainstream news. You shouldn’t limit yourself to their events, however. Dig around your organisation and the online communities you’re part of. Be as specific as you can because each online community and organisation has their own pulse. You will be sure to find many events relevant to your niche. In particular, pay attention to:

  • Industry-specific online celebrations such as Social Media Day or Ada Lovelace Day.
  • Anniversaries and birthdays related to your industry’s leading companies and people,
  • Trade shows,
  • Conferences,
  • Awards,
  • Earning reports release dates,
  • and Product release dates.

How To Connect Events And Content?

Choosing relevant events is always best. However, they don’t have to be tied to the themes you cover. Get creative! It’s all a matter of finding the right angle to connect events and content.

Lifehacker — the productivity blog from Gawker Media — specializes in tips and how-tos. For a number of years now, the week of Halloween triggers Lifehacker’s Evil Week. It has become an awaited rendez-vous and fans get excited about it. Myself included. They create or repurpose content with an evil twist, so you can protect yourself (that’s their claim!). For example, in 2012, they talked about:

Another example of successful cyclical content from Lifehacker is their yearly post  “The Best Time to Buy Anything in 2012” which works so well that they have a canonical version they pledged to keep updated.

More niche communities also have their special moments. In the web design community, the «24 ways to impress your friends» advent calendar publishes great articles about cutting edge techniques. They’re geeky treats which aren’t always practical to use day to day because of poor browser support or industry standards. The period of the advent works great to make an event out of this content’s publication and gather the audience around it.

Even when the connection between the content and the events is far-fetched, it can still work. Tying together relevant content and getting it to your audience in a timely fashion is the ultimate goal.

Hit Or Miss

No one can guarantee your first efforts will be a success and you will have to resort to trial and error to get the mix right. Define success metrics in order to decide which initiatives to push and which ones to abandon.

Unfortunately, some content-event couples will simply not work or the content will prove too complicated to craft. Lifehacker tried a lot of combinations. In 2010, they held a Spring Cleaning Week, for example. It didn’t happen again in 2011 or in 2012. In fact, at the end of 2010, Nick Denton from Gawker Media moved the company away from yearly programming to a TV style weekly schedule. He said:

themes will be moved to a programming grid which owes more to TV than to magazines. For instance, Lifehacker’s personal finance coverage is popular with both readers and advertisers; like much of our more helpful content it is often lost in the blog flow. From next year, it will be showcased at a regular time, say Fridays at 3pm, a personal finance hour.

Pack your calendar full of relevant events: yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly. Reflect on how best to cover them and launch experiments. Adapt and repackage your content. If it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to abandon some events.

Be Reasonable

Very few have the resources to imitate Gawker’s hour-by-hour programming. Small teams or single-authors shouldn’t tire themselves trying to keep up with publishing powerhouses. Anyway, most of us don’t need to publish such high volumes of content.

However, publishing content tuned to the daily memes of your social media platforms of choice can do wonders. If you have a column about wine, think about publishing it on Wednesdays to take advantage of Twitter’s #WineWednesday.

By observing weekly rhythms and attaching corresponding hashtags to your tweets, you can widen your reach. Wine is just an example. Mashable published a list of Twitter’s daily memes such as #MusicMonday and #ThankfulThursday.

Start small! Go back to the basics and commit to #FollowFriday, for example. Tweet about what makes each person you follow worth following and add a #FollowFriday hashtag. One or two additional tweets a week is easy to put out and will represent a useful service to your followers. Such recommendations have reach and they are already content.

Using seasons and memes to plan your content can make your publishing life a lot easier. Start researching upcoming and recurring events in your area and “park” them in your editorial calendar. Oh, and once your content plan is in place, don’t forget to actually write the articles!

I wrote “Wrap Your Content Around Regular Events” on the Paper.li blog, it was originally published on February 25, 2013. Reproduced here with permission.

Santa Monica [en]

Walking alongside the beach in Santa Monica, I was jet-lagged out of my mind. The fresh scent of the ocean trickled up my stuffy nose. The sun was shimmering on the rolling waves and made me squint.  The afternoon breeze shuffled palm trees’ leaves, yet it offered no respite from the heat. I had put my sun screen on too quickly while waiting for my breakfast order and could feel myself burn.

See them tumbling down
Pledging their love to the ground
Lonely but free I’ll be found
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds

…was all I could think of.

Tumbling Tumbleweeds features in The Big Lebowski’s soundtrack. Be careful about the films you watch on your way to Southern California. They might color your impressions. I had re-watched The Big Lebowski a few weeks prior and I adore that film. Mulholland Drive also looms large in my psyche. And I took the opportunity to watch Inherent Vice on the plane. For more films that capture the essence of the Los Angeles area, you may refer to this list.

In my haste to get an uncomplicated and rejuvenating vacation, I had decided that (a) I could handle jetlag well (without any evidence) and that (b) I wasn’t going to experience much culture shock because of US cultural hegemony

Countless US TV dramas watched, McDonald’s meals eaten, an addiction to Coca-Cola: I was ready to see the United States for the first time without a hitch. Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Baywatch, Baywatch Nights, and Pacific Blue are works of fiction, turns out. And travel is hard. I concluded I was a delusional moron as I struggled to put a foot in front of the other in the middle of the afternoon in Santa Monica.

Beating myself up and humming Sons of the Pioneers’ songs in my head could be done anywhere. So much so, you might wonder “Why travel at all?”. But then, I was doing that at the beach watching the Pacific Ocean.

That morning, jet-lag induced insomnia got me up at 4am. I listened to the cars go down the motorway and felt the hotel room vibrate while, seating at the desk with my travel guide, I planned my activities for the next few days. From my phone, I booked tickets to see the Space Shuttle the next day. As the sun was coming up, I decided the Pacific Ocean would probably do me good. I would head for Santa Monica.

Climbing on bus with lots of high school students, I could feel the Monday vibe. The bus trip from Aviation / LAX station to Santa Monica offered me the opportunity to live through Los Angeles traffic. Numberless giant billboards flanked avenues selling burgers, spirits, medication. Two or three times, sirens announced an ambulance or a fire truck trying to zip through.

Low buildings in strange pastel colors. Hills covered in olive bushes. Suddenly, the Ocean appeared in a flash of bright morning light and we passed Loyola Marymount University, went down over Ballona Creek, skirted Marina Del Rey and made our way to Santa Monica.

Once off the bus, I got my map out and that prompted the bus driver to ask me where I needed to go. She kindly gave me directions. Bus drivers, especially women, are very kind to tourists who look lost. Looking lost and confused is like my super-power. What would be great is to be able to turn it off sometimes when I need to look confident.

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Anyway, I had very good green eggs and ham at Huckleberry (1014 Willshire Boulevard, Santa Monica). It was ham on biscuit with eggs on top and arugula salad. It was awesome. I drank San Pellegrino with that because American waters are confusing.

After my meal, I felt somewhat refreshed and walked down to Pacific Palisades. I had my first few encounters with few of Santa Monica’s many homeless people. A man suddenly appeared behind me as I was waiting at a crosswalk. His arm was extended and a bag full of pills was dangling from his hand. “Can you take my pills home?” he asked. I just walked right through without answering. Thankfully, he did not follow me.

An old couple fed squirrels right next to the sign that forbade it. There was a memorial honoring veterans from each branch of the armed forces. And homeless people under every tree. This juxtaposition made me a bit sad. It might say something about South California. Or maybe I was just tired.

Arriving near the stairs that went to the bridge over the road to the beach was close by. Excitement took me again.

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A whole bus load of French tourists were standing around. They were laughing and joking among themselves having a jolly old time — being French. I stood there taking in the scenery and listening to their conversations. It was nice hearing my mother tongue even if I had only left less than 72 hours earlier. One of them was comparing the vegetation to the Côte d’Azur. Typical French move to compare every place with France all the time.

I reached the golden sands of Santa Monica. I took my shoes and socks off to feel the sand on my soles and between my toes. My last visit to a beach must’ve been more than 15 years prior. I walked to the ocean. People from another part of the country asked me to take a picture of them. I did. And kept walking towards the water.

Once I went down all the width of the beach, I toyed in the wet sand and let the waves lick my feet, letting my eyes get lost on the horizon for a long long time.

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I turned my attention towards the pier with its Forrest Gump-themed restaurant, arcades, amusement park, etc. I found some kitsch and ugly postcards to send home to my family and kitsch aficionados friends.

I walked up and down the pier and watched the ocean and listened to the waves crashing and remembered Kerouac’s Big Sur.

I walked through downtown Santa Monica to the California Heritage Museum (2612 Main Street, Santa Monica) housed in a beautiful old home. I learned it is closed on Mondays. The Aquarium below the pier is closed on Mondays too — by the way.

Triceratops fountain, 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica

I went to the 3rd Street Promenade where big metal dinosaurs spew water in flowery pools. There were people in red shirts collecting money for a charity. As I was coming out of Urban Outfitters, I was greeted by one. He said “Are you from Switzerland?”. As far as I know, I had no obvious tell. I was floored. So his ice breaker worked. I, obviously, asked how he could tell. He wouldn’t tell. I listened to his presentation about homeless children. He had heartbreaking pictures of blond children crying covered in slime. I answered that I didn’t consider a donation at this point.

At the end of the street there was a mall. None of the brands looked familiar at all. I visited the Disney store and walked through Bloomingdale’s. They were opening something called a UNIQLO. The sun was getting low — might have been 5pm — and I got hungry. The food court of the mall was deserted and nothing looked promising.

My appetite was still off — way way off. I knew I had to eat but didn’t know how much, so I settled for a crepe place on 3rd street. I always found francophilia intriguing. There were old French ad posters for Folies Bergères, the Côte d’Azur, sun screens, flours. I ordered banana crepes and a chocolate milkshake. I’d been parked in the loner spot. It was a stall, so I couldn’t do much people watching. The other clients were tourists just like me anyway.

I missed the sunset. In may, the sun doesn’t set in the ocean anyway. The picturesque sunset in the ocean as a constant is also a false idea planted in heads by television. This isn’t the way the solar system works.

I walked up and down the promenade once more. and started to inquire about bus routes to go back to my hotel. The rapid line was done for the day. The slow line, I didn’t know where to take. It was dark and my phone wasn’t much help. Using the timetables at the bus stops was difficult in the dark. I found the right stop but I wasn’t on the right side of the street. I missed a bus.

Finally, I went to the right bus stop and turned the looking lost thing to its maximum. I engaged in conversation with an newly wed Italian couple on their honeymoon. They were on an organized tour, coming from Las Vegas. We confirmed among ourselves that it was the right bus to take. We were joined in our conversation by a student from China who was studying in Northern California and came south for a vacation. We climbed on the bus when it came and sat. At night the bus’ windows were mirrors and there wasn’t anything to see. I just had to trust that we were going to the right place.

We talked about our lives and our travels. Every once in a while one of us would interrupt to ask the same questions about where we were, where to get off and will everything be all right in the end. After reassurances, we would talk again about life and our travels. I was headed for the terminus so I didn’t worry too much.

When I arrived at LAX Metro Station, I took the green line to my hotel in Redondo.

First session of Geneva’s Content Strategy Book Club [en]

On Wednesday evening, a group of content professionals and content-curious people gathered at the AllTheContent headquarters in Geneva to talk about Margot Bloomstein’s “Content Strategy at Work: Real-world Stories to Strengthen Every Interactive Project” as part of the Content Strategy Geneva Meetup Group. This book is the perfect mix between theory, tools and case studies. The author’s writing is compelling, easy to read and fun. It is a great book to get a Content Strategy book club started.

I moderated the meeting. For the structure of the evening, I have taken inspiration from UX Romandie‘s book clubs in which we had studied Karen McGrane’s “Content Strategy for Mobile” and Erika Hall’s “Just Enough Research”. For those of you interested in doing similar things, Steve Baty has described the history and the methods of UX Book Clubs on Boxes and Arrows (Thanks @gillesdemarty for the link).

To prepare the evening, I have indexed the book around two axis: case studies and deliverables. Case studies have a way to whet people’s appetite for theory. For a long time, they were very few and far between in content strategy. Thanks to Margot Bloomstein among other practitioners, case studies are more numerous and useful now.

A photo posted by Evren Kiefer (@evrenkiefer) on

Index of case studies

Adagio Too many initiatives. Importance of strategy
Moo.com Tone & voice
Stonewall Kitchen Message hierarchy’s deficient
Light the hill User generated content in Academia
Johns Hopkins Medicine Governance
Energy.gov Overhaul 2010-2011, rolling audit, editorial calendar, style guidelines
Icebreaker Storytelling, consistency in voice and tone.
TV liscensing Third-party content, balancing evergreen and timely.
Bows’n’Ties E-commerce, information architecture and content marketing
Marketo SEO from message architecture
Federal Reserve Create a culture of content management, continuous support, content modelling
REI (Outdoor gear) Dynamic CMS, gradual consolidation of IA, UX and content management, expert advice and content marketing.
Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU.edu) Finding willing content owners is long and arduous, editorial ownership, guidelines for templates in the CMS.
MINI Cars Social Media and content strategy, message-architected shareable content, sustainability of content initiatives.
Adopt US Kids Focus on the end goal and most relevant KPIs. Stop the blog, feature a different kid per week, invested in social media.
Realtor.org Content and expertise as assets. Consolidate around few content types.

I also asked attendees these questions…

  • Which case studies did you find especially interesting?
  • In your opinion, are there solutions that would be especially hard to implement and what would be the obstacles?
  • Where there challenges you already encountered?
  • What solutions would you implement?

This evening went splendidly. It allowed me to get introduced to great people and have rich discussions around content. I’ll do my best to keep organising events and advance the craft of content-care in our city.

Stay tuned for more.

 

Training for NaNoWriMo: lessons learned [en]

Lots of friends have been taking up sports or have made life-altering decisions. Since I am past the reading/writing fatigue of college, I decided to do something for myself by upping my writing output. A legit attempt at NaNoWriMo would do me lots of good, I thought. My previous attempt didn’t benefit from a strong enough commitment and social pressures. It failed at about 15’000 words. Hence, I decided to do a mock run in August first this time.

To cement my commitment, I bought the second edition of Chris Baty’s book on the Kindle app. It’s a quick and delightful read. The book has a first part that is general and then, it has a chapter for each week of the challenge. It was on August 5th that I first wrote 1700 words.

My challenge was to write 1700 words each day for 31 days and have, at least, 50’000 words by the end. If I could do that in August, I would have a shot at NaNoWriMo in November.

mock-nanowrimo-run-2015-09-05On the one hand, in actual fact, I failed to reach my goal. At the end of day 31, a little more than 48’000 words had been written. On the other hand, it is a huge victory and a source of pride. I haven’t quit. I have a draft novel today that I didn’t have 32 days and one hour ago. It is 50’010 words long. It can be done faster if I am even more rigorous and reduce social obligations further.

Screenshot-2015-09-06-01hPictured above is the finish photo with the word count of 50’010 words.

Lessons learned

Here are the lessons I need to remember for November…

Get in a rhythm and stay in it. We all have periods where we’re more productive. Me, it’s before breakfast so when I have time and energy I can make up to 60% of my daily goal then. Those days tend to be the ones where I can reach 100% with ease and go to sleep early enough to repeat the performance early the next day.

Authors will start following you and you’ll get into lists when you use the #amwriting hashtag. That’s nice and OK. Self-publishing gurus and book tour bookers will also follow you and talk about marketing your best-seller. Ignore them. You’re not writing a best seller. You’re writing draft 0 in a long series that might become decent prose one day.

Don’t count on bountiful days to repay word debt. The second wind of week #3 is less impressive than advertised. I haven’t caught it and therefore had trouble remaining steady. 3000 words days have yet to happen to me. My record is 163% on the last ditch effort. Therefore…

Don’t accumulate word debt. One thousand six hundred and sixty seven words per day is a tall order (for me, at least).

This is silly. Forget all the life altering potential of the exercise. It won’t redeem all this time you’ve been writing slowly or not at all. It won’t make you sexier. Beginner’s mind is important. Even more for the last 10 than the beginning 20 days.

Try and surprise yourself. Keep things unbalanced and moving forward. It’s the best thing about being a write-by-the-seat-of-the-pants person. Don’t resist the climax. Shit is going to happen to characters. At some point, it felt like I wanted to protect them from harm which stalled me.

A task does take as much space as it is given. If I have a whole day to write, I struggle to get to 100% just as much as if I have only a few hours.

Close your browser or, better yet, disconnect. That means you can’t rely on YouTube for music but it’s still worth it most of the time.

Don’t mix languages. If you write in English-as-a-second-language, don’t use music with French lyrics. It is exhausting. The more languages are mixed the more words I have to look up.

Hone your capacity for concentration. I have to keep working on that. I mean, who doesn’t?

Changing register and jotting down something else to clear the pipeline can be helpful. It doesn’t count in your word count but a quick blog post can help clear your mind. Projects with a nano scope can replenish your energy.

Put several reminders for the recycling and garbage collection days. Forgetting sucks. Also dishes, cleaning the toilet and the bathroom sink are sacred chores that can’t be passed.

Get people around you excited. Little gold stars, likes, comments and encouragements are tremendously helpful. Don’t hesitate to tell people when you’re struggling too as 140 characters pep-talks can save your bacon. You can use this Jaime Murray gif.

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You may also be interested in the first lessons I wrote about earlier and How to Establish a Writing Habit which I wrote for Paper.li more than two years ago (Gee! I do evergreen content well).

Acknowledgements

Thanks to for her kind words on Twitter and her podcast.

Thanks tofor his very useful and motivating book and kind words on Twitter.

Thanks to , , , , Benoît Perrier, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and the ones I might have forgotten for their gold stars and encouraging words on Twitter.

Thanks, in no particular order, to Julien, Jérémie, Darja, Kelly, Clément, Brigitte, Renee, Errol, Sophie, Yann, Rukkmini, Resshmini, Christina, Jeremy, Pilar, Marisa, Nicolas, Hania, Patricia, Kiara, and Fredrik for their Facebook “likes” and benevolent comments.

I feel indebted to you all because you kept me moving on the path. Thanks to everybody.

Pre-NaNoWriMo training: first lessons [en]

It’s day 7 of my pre-NaNoWriMo training session. The challenge is to write 1700 words every day for 31 consecutive days. It’s already been very interesting to see myself get back into writing and force more output.

One of the lessons is that the environment doesn’t foster low pressure, write-as-an-exercise endeavours. I’ve been working for 7 days and using the #amwriting hashtag for the same amount of time. During that week, my follower count increased dramatically.

All the self-publishing gurus

The accounts that follow me increase the pressure. I’ve been followed by self-published authors marketing their books (that’s really the good part). But there’s also accounts that give me advice on self-publishing, want to help me market my book. I even been followed by a company who proposes to book “virtual” book tours for me.

Remember, I am only in the first week of a month-long challenge at the end of which I’ll have — if all goes well — about two thirds of a raw first draft with plot holes the size of the moon. Now that is ridiculous!

The direction I am going

What’s also bizarre is that I set on a course to get out of schemas and premeditated stories and it seems my mind follows furrows that have been dug during my previous attempt at noveling in French one or two years back.

The change of language and forced writing pace unlocked some things though. The plot is still not that tight and well thought out but I checked my Inner Editor at the kennels of NaNoWriMo. “We’ll see” is my mantra.

I still don’t know if the furrows from the previous attempt help me or hinder me. I’d wager that they hinder me as I write a little slower in parts that seem clearer in my mind — just like Chris Baty wrote in his book.

As for the day’s progress. It’s time to start with my day job and I haven’t reached one percent yet. I am a little burned out because I went out last night (the sin!) and then wrote the last 50% of the day’s word count in a hurry before midnight.

We’ll see.

Low cognitive budgets for web projects [en]

A cognitive budget measures the amount of time and attention the stakeholders allocate to various aspects of their business. I am especially interested in the amount willingly given to the website and other web initiatives. Web teams can work around financial constraints. However, when the stakeholder cognitive budget is low and the web team doesn’t have much power, delivering great work becomes exponentially more difficult.

Way too often, the website is a dumping ground for content and there’s, therefore, little need to discuss or even think too much about it. As for homepage real estate, carousels and slideshows make it easy to never have a conversation about that at all. So it follows that the website is a solved problem. It’s off the managers’ plate. The people in the last office before the server room have to upload things they receive by e-mail from all over the organisation and never talk back. No editorial back-and-forth. Congratulations. That’s a non-issue.

Or is it? When things are set up like this, uneasiness creeps in. People responsible for communicating through the website aren’t sure they’re reaching their target. They feel that something is off kilter. Sometimes anxiety reaches levels that warrants an e-mail to the web person with questions about the templates’ age or alerting them to a lack of “sexiness”. Of course, the website has no appeal. It is an ever-expanding closet holding three ring binders that each and every person in the organisation can add to.

When dissatisfaction reaches their ears, people ask for prettier wallpaper and wider doors to the closet, at least in part, because mandating technical fixes or redesigns doesn’t tap into their cognitive budgets. That’s when good teams or good webmasters come back with questions about branding and goals and content workflows which, in such an organisational culture, never get answered because web stuff is supposed to be a non-issue. It’s supposed to be cheap in terms of money and cognition.

It’s OK to cut corners but avoiding thinking about your organisation’s website isn’t a smart move. Websites are infrastructure that is important to your business.

When the culture is to treat the web as a solved problem and neither allocate sufficient cognitive nor monetary resources, there’s very little that can change in terms of introducing digital governance and content strategy even though these tools can bring positive change and make the website run more smoothly.

Have you tried strategies to work around this? Would you care to share stories?

 

Meetup “Solutions multilingues pour WordPress” [fr]

[en] Yesterday, we had a meetup about Multilingual solutions for WordPress. It was fun and instructive.

Hier soir avait lieu la rencontre Solutions multilingues pour WordPress du WordPress Geneva Meetup. Vincent Ghilione, fondateur de Polychrome a donné une présentation concise et assez complète des différentes solutions techniques existantes pour créer un site multilingue avec WordPress. Ce qui est une gageure. Encore merci à lui.

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Un jour, je souhaiterais entendre les mêmes praticiens sur les défis en terme d’organisation et de budget autour de la mise en production d’un site mutlilingue, peut-être dans un autre groupe meetup, qui sait? *wink wink*

En attendant, et pour revenir à l’événement d’hier soir, les membres sont venus nombreux et ont apprécié cette présentation qui s’est terminée par une démonstration d’un prototype de plugin multilingue maison en cours de développement. Il nous a prévenu que l’avenir de son projet restait incertain. Il pourrait être arrêté car il apprécie beaucoup les qualités de Polylang.

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Puis-je inscrire tous mes contacts à ma newslettre? [fr]

[en] Adding people to newsletter mailing lists manually without asking them first isn't OK. It will damage your list's reputation with your readers and your e-mail service provider. Whereas playing by stricter rules and having interesting content will make your list grow.

Quoi que l’on fasse, il faut résister à la tentation d’ajouter soi-même des noms et des adresses mail à une newslettre. Ces personnes qui n’ont pas donné leur consentement se désinscriront ou pire considéreront vos envois comme du spam et le feront savoir à vos fournisseurs de solution e-mail respectifs.

C’est sans doute la pire chose qui puisse arriver. Les fournisseurs de solution e-mail comme MailChimp, par exemple, appliquent une tolérance proche de zéro pour le courrier non-sollicité. Ils doivent se différencier très clairement des organisations qui envoient du spam. Les filtres anti-spam réagissent à la provenance des mails. Si plusieurs mails frauduleux ou non-sollicité proviennent d’un même serveur, les filtres vont simplement bloquer ce serveur. Comme les fournisseurs de solution e-mail utilisent des serveurs communs à tous leurs clients, ils ne peuvent pas se permettre de voir les e-mails  envoyés par ces serveurs être considérés comme du spam et ne plus arriver à leur destination.

Les dénonciations pour spam sont comptées pour chaque envoi et pourraient vous valoir un blâme — chez MailChimp, si le pourcentage de plaintes dépasse les 5% des mails envoyés. En cas de récidive, votre compte est fermé et votre liste perdue.

En marketing email, le consentement est une notion centrale. On appelle cela le “permission marketing“. Lorsque des visiteurs vous donnent leur adresse mail pour votre newslettre, ils vous donnent explicitement la permission de les contacter. Le contrôle de consentement double ou double opt-in en anglais permet de s’en assurer. Il vaut mieux activer cette option pour éviter que des tiers puissent inscrire des personnes sans leur demander la permission.

L’autorisation de contacter une personne pour des mails promotionnels a une très grande valeur. Si vous n’abusez jamais de cette autorisation, il y a toutes les chances que vous puissiez la conserver et même approfondir votre relation avec cette personne. La bonne conduite est donc très très rentable sur le long terme.

La pertinence des messages doit toujours être la plus élevée possible et concerner toute la liste pour ne pas entamer ce capital de confiance. Si vous faites preuve de parcimonie, de respect envers les personnes qui vous ont donné leur adresse mail, et que vos messages sont intéressants, cette confiance se développera et votre liste s’allongera. Dans le cas contraire, vous risquez de recevoir des blâmes et de perdre votre liste.

Si vous souhaitez vraiment allonger votre liste, attirez des personnes réellement intéressées. Vous pouvez les inciter à vous donner votre adresse en leur promettant un cadeau de bienvenue comme un e-book exclusif.

Jargon hurts your website [en]

You can’t have broad appeal and also use your darling specialist phases everywhere on your site. Getting rid of jargon is the safest bet. When you use specialist phrases, making sure that the vocabulary is common beyond a shadow of a doubt is difficult or almost impossible.

Among specialists a measure of common jargon can help convey precise meaning. That’s why specialist vocabulary emerges after all. However, it should never become a way to feel smart or part of an exclusive club. Obfuscation is part of the culture of some organizations and professions. Sometimes language is intentionally difficult like in French literary theory.

When your website needs to get as many people as possible to change their behaviour, register somewhere or buy something, you can’t afford to fall back on selective and divisive language.

On the public internet you never know who is reading. You don’t have any idea of their background, reading comprehension skills in your language, etc. The copy might very well need to convert an audience of professionals. Yet, it has to convert them even if they aren’t fluent in your language, if they are rushed and stressed, if their kids are yelling in the background or if they’re having a bad day.

Using plain language is important. It doesn’t have to make you sound like an overly familiar simpleton. Within plain language, there is a lot of room for nuance. You can even achieve a formal and academic tone without using jargon.

Produire toujours plus de contenu n’est pas une solution [fr]

[en] Many cry "Our content gets out-of-date!". More content and cheaper content aren't the solution. Better content is.

«Tout évolue en permanence, nos contenus deviennent obsolètes très rapidement…». C’est un problème courant. La solution préconisée l’est malheureusement tout autant. «…il faut donc rédiger, rédiger, rédiger plus de contenu toujours plus vite pour rester à jour».

Là, je dis: «Une minute!»

Il est difficile de s’opposer à cette vision productiviste de manière crédible en tant que rédacteur sans avoir l’air paresseux. Pourtant, la multiplication sans fin d’ articles toujours meilleurs marchés n’est pas toujours la bonne formule.

Beaucoup d’organisations voient le contenu comme des paroles qu’on prononce et s’envolent. Seulement, le contenu numérique une fois créé, il peut rester en ligne pour toujours — si ce n’est sur votre propre site, dans le cache de Google, des services comme Instapaper, les archives d’archive.org ou ailleurs.

En voyant le contenu comme une denrée périssable, on renforce l’idée qu’il perd de la valeur dès l’instant où il est publié. Et, par conséquent, on pensera préférable de faire baisser son coût et augmenter son volume plutôt que d’investir dans la recherche et la réflexion pour créer les contenus dont notre public a besoin et faire une maintenance régulière.

Le coût des contenus ne peut jamais baisser jusqu’à les rendre jetables. Les processus éditoriaux sont coûteux en ressources cognitives et en temps pour les auteurs, les experts consultés au sein de l’organisation, et les éditeurs. Tout cela coûte cher. De plus, les managers (et, souvent, le service juridique) sont impliqués dans l’approbation de contenus. Augmenter la durée de vie des contenus n’est donc pas un luxe mais une nécessité pour augmenter leur impact sans dépenser plus.

Le contenu a une durée de vie bien plus longue qu’on ne le pense. En faisant attention à la façon dont il est produit, organisé, stocké et distribué on peut encore augmenter sa durée de vie et son impact. Si on budgète des révisions et des mises à jour régulières, on peut s’assurer qu’il reste profitable encore plus longtemps. Par exemple, la plupart des contenus du blog de Paper.li dont j’ai été l’un des auteurs conservent une valeur plusieurs années après leur publication et je m’y réfère encore.