What do you think will be the biggest change in content strategy this year?

In this latest Ask the Experts post, we asked our ContentEd speakers to answer “what do you think a big change in content strategy will be this year?”.


We still can’t believe it’s halfway through the year now… and it got us thinking about what the rest of the year holds for content strategy in education communications. So here’s a few predictions from our ContentEd 2018 speakers:


“I think a lot of universities are interested in segmentation and getting relevant content to the right audience. This is a real challenge, not only as it requires more content, but also an increasing challenge in making that content engaging. I think this is where curated, user-generated content can really play a role as it can be very cost effective and authentic. So, I think these two things, combined with more intelligent use of data, are what we’re all aspiring to. Whether we have the systems and the resources, as well as the institutional will, to bring this all together is another question.”

Tom Wright, Director of Digital Student Life, University of Lincoln
Day 1 breakout: What Students Want: Hear What Works for Them in a Student-Led Approach


“I think we’re going to start seeing more institutions getting to grips with structured content and thinking about content as building blocks that can be moved and manipulated rather than as single items that are restricted to the location in which they’re published. This comes with all kinds of other challenges such as creating a single institution vision for content strategy, seeing the whole content ecosystem for the whole institution, and supporting storytellers to think in terms of databases. Big stuff, but other sectors have embraced it and so should we.”

Tracy Playle, CEO and Chief Content Strategist, Pickle Jar Communications
Day 2 keynote: Ready, Steady, Go! Getting To Where We Need To Be


“Content personalization is something I’ve been following closely this year. It’s not a new concept, but it is quickly becoming a vital part of the content strategist’s toolbelt. Personalization can be manual or automated (or a hybrid, data-informed model) and a report by Gartner predicted that this year, “those that have fully invested in all types of personalization will outsell companies that have not by 20%.” As content strategists, we must think about personalization in order to connect an idea with a specific audience, keeping in mind relevance, platform, tone, and timing.”

Mike Petroff, Director of Content Strategy, Harvard University
Day 1 keynote: Small Bets, Big Payoffs: How to Create Change Through Experimentation


“I think the GDPR regulations will have a big impact on how HEIs market to and collect information from prospective students (and current students!).”

Jane Van de Ban, Web Content Manager, Birkbeck, University of London
Day 1 breakout: Telling the Birkbeck Story: How Customer Journey Mapping Helped Us Develop Our New Approach to Content


“My role focuses on research and insights, and I think one of the biggest changes coming will be how important it is for everyone to be involved in the measurement of their success. There’s so much information we can gather in central teams, but we’re not the only ones. Data and analytics are available to everyone, whatever their role, and that can be overwhelming. I think we’ll start to see more and more examples of data curators – people within an organisation who are able to decide what the useful information is and present it to others in a meaningful way.”

Robert Perry, Head of Research Pickle Jar Communications Ltd
Day 1 breakout: Under the Influence: Making Social Media Communities Part of Your Content Strategy


“Creating meaningful content to smaller but more engaged audiences – that connects with them on an emotional level. I think social listening will really help inform content strategies, allowing us content creators to tell the stories people actually care about. I also think strategies will continue to focus on those micro engagements – creating very personalised outputs and building that trust and community with followers. And of course, UGC will continue to evolve and remain powerful in showcasing your brand – using your community to tell your story for you.”

Emma Gilmartin, Head of Social Media, University of Glasgow
Day 2 breakout:Planning Content That Can’t Be Planned: Embracing and Embedding Reactive Approaches in Your Content Strategy


“I think people are more likely to embrace ‘long form’ story telling this year. We are all taking the time to produce quality content directed at more specific and smaller yet passionate groups of people who are more likely to share and engage with it.”

Daniel Marrable, Senior Social & Digital Media Officer, and Emma Gilmartin, Head of Social Media, University of Glasgow
Day 1 breakout: Planning Content That Can’t be Planned: Embracing and Embedding Reactive Approaches in Your Content Strategy


“More people are finally getting the idea that you need to create content that people want and not just to sell what you have to offer; they also want content that they can engage with.”

Tim Senft, Digital Communications Director at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University
Day 1 breakout: Slay the Snail: Innovate in an Innovation-Unfriendly Environment


If you’d like to further your knowledge, you can find out more about ContentEd, book a ticket to our next conference or submit a proposal to speak. 


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