Who else can we learn from outside of the education sector?

It’s important to delve into the successes of other sectors and learn from their achievements to improve our own content strategies in education.

In this instalment of our Ask The Experts series, we challenged our speakers to reflect on people, organisations and brands who are doing content strategy well outside of the education sector. 

Our speakers discuss what we can learn from Ikea, HBO and even the Instagram cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch…  

Tracy Playle
CEO and Chief Content Strategist, Pickle Jar Communications

I adore the work of Scott Kubie (@scottkubie) on content ecosystem mapping – I steal from his concepts and adapt this quite a lot to my own work in education. I love Jeff Eaton’s (@eaton) work because he has an architect’s mind and a humanitarian’s heart, and every conversation I have with him about content strategy, seeing shapes and patterns, and making it work in practice just really excites me. And, of course, Sarah Richards (@ContentDesignLN) whose no-nonsense approach to putting users first is beautifully refreshing, and she presents concepts in a way that even non-content professionals can understand.

Kezia Falconer and Natasha Quinn 
Student-Alumni Engagement Officer and Social and Digital Media Officer, University of Glasgow

Although neither of us are ‘Hinchers’ we do think there’s a lot to be learned from Mrs Hinch –and not even about cleaning! Her content is usually so concise (boomerangs with three word captions) and candid (her rolling her eyes waiting for clothes to soak in bleach) that it’s incredibly accessible!

We also love the many, many micro-engagements that Ikea have with their audiences. Including a fantastic Scottish-specific one recently that turned a threat of burning down a store into an invitation for a date! 

And the social media team for Greggs (@GreggsOfficial) deserve an honourable mention for how they handled the online backlash in response to their introduction of a vegan sausage roll, particularly with their snarky response to Piers Morgan!

Jo Redfern
Managing Director Education Cubed Ltd

The best examples of good content strategy have ultimate value to the end user at their heart, as opposed to ultimate value to the business. The art is then looping it into popular culture – in the words of David Shing (@shingy), “if a brand gets its content strategy right, it is not just competing with advertising but popular culture“.

One such example would be technology platforms and mobile apps, who harness this really well, by exploring a pain point for consumers that the product itself can resolve. Often in the form of an ‘explainer’ video or article, the core value is to the user, i.e. “this is how you resolve that annoying problem you always have”. Ultimately, users / consumers engage most with content that resolves questions or problems they have.

Daniel Marrable
Director, 448 Studio Ltd

I love seeing what @Wendys and @HBO are up to on a day-to-day basis. Some of their campaigns have been epic. The one thing that binds all of these channels together (no matter how large the following) is the human element, being real and transparent is something a social media audience has come to expect. These channels pull it off brilliantly!

Richelle Quinn and John Ferguson
Head of Strategic Marketing and Head of Digital Experience, Sheffield Hallam University

@Sephora are an excellent example of a beauty brand whose user generated content is really impactful. The customer voice, rather than the corporate voice, is both impactful and authentic.

Stephen App
Account Executive Campus Sonar

Kristina Halvorsen (@halvorson)  is the obvious answer that I’m sure many presenters will mention. And to be clear, she’s worthy of that adoration. But beyond Kristina, I recommend that folks follow Erika Hall (@mulegirl) and Ahava Leibtag (@ahaval). They both encourage organisations to ditch the jargon and write in plain language, especially for those industries or organisations that are a bit more complex—advice that higher education would be wise to heed.

Cameron Pegg
Content and Storytelling Strategist cameronpegg.com.au

Sports brands have been investing heavily in this space for some time. I think The Australian Open (one of the four tennis grand slam events) does a very good job throughout the year (not just during the event itself). Check out their Twitter account – @AustralianOpen. Another local example is the Queensland Police Service, who have generated a huge following for their highly reactive, tongue-in-cheek approach to content. Follow them on Facebook.

If you’d like to advance your knowledge of content strategy, you can find out more about ContentEd, book a ticket to our next conference, or take a look at our blog.


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