How to Execute a Successful Engagement Program. Think Like a Publisher.


Running a successful engagement program requires content. And no one handles content creation better than publishers. In this blog, you’ll learn how to execute your online engagement program.

In our past two blogs covering online engagement, you discovered:  
-    Why value matters more than the platform or tool 
-    Three models to drive ongoing engagement

Now let’s talk about how to execute an effective online engagement program -- backed by a robust content plan. Because online engagement depends so much on quality content, it’s helpful to think like a publisher and follow the points below for successful execution.

Organization Is Key

If your organization has developed audience personas, then you should possess a deep understanding of what they care about. The next step is helping your audience find the content they need, quickly and naturally. You can do this by rethinking your website taxonomy – how content is structured, classified, and organized.

Don’t know where to start?
Look at how successful publishers organize their content. Newspapers place content in sections such as business, government, sports, and opinion. From there, content can be categorized further into local, regional, or national topics. As a marketer you may decide to categorize content based on industries, personas, or even the challenges your customers have.

When Refactored team members worked with a popular site for truckers, Freightliners' Team Run Smart, we realized its taxonomy needed some work. The way the site had originally been designed, users found content that was organized by main topic areas but had no easy way to dig into sub topics to find the information that was most relevant to them. The site had over 8,000 articles but without a functioning content taxonomy, site users could really only access the 10 most recent articles easily, inadvertently hiding evergreen articles that could provide great value.

By restructuring the site’s taxonomy, we continued to organize the content around the core topics their audience cared about, including business issues, health issues, truck maintenance, and career path. However, we took it multiple steps further by adding a robust set of secondary and tertiary topics that helped to automatically surface additional content. Now users looking for helpful advice on truck maintenance can further sort relevant content by sub categories like maintenance, then further topics like tires, engines, fluids, seasonal tips, and so on.

This changed provided two main benefits. First, site visitors gained a better, easier experience for finding content valuable to them. And secondly, the team behind the site gained a better method for packaging and presenting the valuable content that they had created – while gaining visibility into content gaps that they still needed to fill.

With clearly defined sections, you can see which areas you have enough content for and buckets that need more content. That makes it easier to develop a content plan and work with your subject matter experts to create new material to maintain and enrich engagement on your site.

Plus, clean, clear taxonomy can help you draw new visitors to the website. Search engines prefer websites that have defined structures – grouping content that shares the same topic or has a clear relationship to each other - see how the taxonomy works on Team Run Smart.

Get a Manager

Of course, producing quality content is work. Hard, but rewarding, work.

Even if most of the content on your platform is user-generated content (UGC), you will still need a talented editorial manager to manage it. This person must think like a publisher – always searching for ways to deliver content that propels engagement.

While the criteria for the perfect candidate depends on your program, here are some factors to consider when searching for the right candidate.

What are some common tasks you should expect this person to do?

  • Manage the editorial process – from idea generation to publication

  • Develop an editorial plan and calendar

  • Oversee a team of writers (freelance or internal)

  • Identify potential themes and campaigns

  • Interact with community members

  • Source user-generated content

What skills and traits should you look for?

  • Strong writing and editing

  • Social media

  • Customer service/account management

  • Content strategy

  • Familiarity with your industry and audience

And if you are in a technical industry or expect them to conduct interviews with subject matter experts, possessing an ability to synthesize information is a plus.

Overall, a great editorial manager will discover what makes your audience tick and continue to develop those connections through their work.

Always Consider Your Audience

Effective online engagement programs always choose channels, tools, and technology that their customer base will use. In other words, meet your customers where they are.

For example, when members of the Refactored and Team Run Smart started creating content for their community site, they considered producing more podcasts. That makes a lot of sense for an especially mobile audience like truckers who spend hours on the road.

Remember, channels and tools should serve you and your audience – not the other way around. Bring on additional tools and serve up content on different channels only when it makes sense and adds value.

More Tips for Success

If you’re not careful, running an engagement program can quickly become overwhelming. Because your audience expects consistent content creation, you need to find ways to make it easier for you to deliver on this promise.

Here are some tips that expand on the points covered above:

Pre-plan your pipeline 
Developing themes for your content on a quarterly or monthly basis can help you produce quality pieces before they’re needed. That way, you’re working ahead instead of feeling the pressure of catching up.

Publish at a frequency you can sustain
You have a firm grasp of your team’s bandwidth. Set a reasonable expectation for publishing frequency – and get help from a trusted partner, like Refactored, if you need more.

Include your advocates
Are you asking your most loyal customers to participate?

These customers know your brand, services, or products well. Leverage that expertise and ask them to create content on your behalf. A bonus of user-generated content? It’s authentic and shows your brand listens to customers.

Don’t be afraid to try something new
With so much online noise competing for customers’ attention, it’s important to try new things. Just stay true to what your customers value; that’s all that matters.

Need Help Creating Engaging Content?

Call Refactored’s marketing experts. As a full-service marketing agency, we offer premium managed content services to meet your critical engagement goals.

You can trust us to consistently deliver high-quality, thoughtful content because we take the time to gain a deep understanding of your brand and customers. Contact us here.