Let’s Get Personal(ized)

    By | Small Business

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    Remember back in the 80s and 90s how cool it was to get all of the “personalized” merchandise that had the most popular names featured on them? Pencils with “Jennifer” and “Michael,” key chains with “Steve” and “Jamie,” if you can think of it, chances are there is a name version somewhere out there. Carrie Bradshaw’s nameplate necklace was a moment in time.

    And who can forget how crushing it was to have a name not featured on those products? Our own Director of Solutions Marketing, Eva Rohrmann, will (to this day) grab a key chain or magnet bearing her name to make up for lost time.

    It’s a natural reaction that we equate “personalized” with “special.” It seems like extra effort was involved, that you thought of us.

    It should come as no surprise, therefore, that when asked to predict a product and technology focus for marketing and communications in 2015, PR Newswire’s CEO, Ninan Chacko, responded:

    “Machine- and algorithm-based learning and filtering that directs the audience toward what to focus on, from their own behaviors and preferences.”

    Personalization is not going anywhere—and, if anything, both technology advances and the demands of the audience have it poised to become an ever more sophisticated practice. Think about Facebook: how often have you hovered over a shared article only to have “associated” content appear in a box below? Or Buzzfeed personalized quizzes—how many of your friends have created and shared them on their social channels? Aren’t you more likely to read content that is recommended at the end of an article you enjoyed—especially if it’s labeled “If You Enjoyed This, Keep Reading” or something to that effect?

    Granted, these types of recommendations are grounded in trust and are not always spot on the mark 100% of the time, but the more we as readers take action on the recommended content that does appeal to us on a given site, the more the site and outlet can refine their recommendations to truly meet individual interests and needs—it’s a two-way relationship.

    So what can you do to boost the personalization of your owned channels? There are a few ways to approach this—and they certainly span a spectrum of basic to advanced, low resource to “budget is not a concern.”

    Work with the Marketing and/or Data team(s) at your organization to properly track your content marketing efforts:

    • It’s OK to start small: collecting and analyzing data as simple as “people who read blogs on topics X and Y were more likely to explore additional content than those who landed on topics A and B” and using it to put more effort into the most successful topics and/or optimize the underperforming topics is a start.
    • Personalization starts with patterns. If you are beyond the first point, or have access to additional data and analytics resources, consider mapping patterns across a wider swath of behaviors and channels. Did your most engaged readers have multiple touches before landing on the content? For example, did they click from a Tweet to a press release to a blog post and keep going? Did they fall off somewhere along the way? Do clicks directly from social generate more engagement with certain topics than those from other channels and vice versa? The more you can map connections the more you can ensure the right messaging and keep it consistent across channels to drive results.
    • You don’t have to do it all yourself. Invest in a recommendation engine. If you’ve got unlimited development resources, you can certainly undertake this step on your own—but it can be a challenge. Consider software that can scan your content and surface similar additional content for you—and can refine these based on return user preferences.
    • Ask and you shall receive. For gated content, like white papers and case studies, consider asking additional questions to understand who the reader is and what they’re looking for—so you can make sure they receive the content that is of the most value to them.

    These are some basic steps to moving toward a more personalized and engaging experience for your users. Beyond PR recently debuted recommended content on the blog—you’ll notice as you read this blog post relevant content from our Knowledge Center is available in the side navigation, and related blog content surfaced at the end of the post. We hope these updates will make for an even better experience for you and help you find additional content that meets your needs.

    This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Let’s Get Personal(ized)

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