By Holly Sutton on 23 February 2017
What has a
digital content strategy ever done for The King’s Fund?
Two things that a lot of our clients and audiences find complex, that we help make clear for them:
- Digital strategies and
- The machinations of the NHS
Speaking at the PRCA Healthcare Group last week, deputy communications director of The King’s Fund, Katie Mantell (@katiemantell) helped make these two issues very clear.
Scrap ‘digital’, focus on content
First, scrap the idea of a digital strategy.
Focus instead on what content you’re going to create by drilling down into what information your target audiences want and will drive them to make the actions you need.
Then, choose the best channel (Twitter/ Facebook/Linkedin/Website) to share and host this content, adapting the content for the preferences of each channel – testing and improving along the way.
When starting out on this journey you may need to just jump straight in and create, before trying to get wide approval of your plans. Test, prove and ask-approval-later style, ideally, based on the conversations you’re already having with your target audience groups.
For Katie, back in 2013, this meant following through on a chat she had with several medical directors who admitted they really didn’t understand how the new NHS system was working after the reforms. She delivered a simple flip chart presentation to help explain the reforms, but realised this could be done much more simply and efficiently for this group via a video.
Without gathering too many permissions, Katie created the type of content she felt was needed: The alternative guide to the NHS:
Video credit: The King’s Fund
This ‘Alternative guide to the NHS is still the think-tank’s most popular piece of content to date, with over 300,000 views across a multitude of channels. The evergreen properties of this ‘explainer content’ mean its long reach continues into 2017, engaging new audiences with the work of The King’s Fund three years on.
From the success of this approach, the next steps the organisations needed to take to move from ‘putting stuff on the web’ to a ‘clear framework for planning, producing and evaluating all our online and offline content’ became clear. And could be organised into three-prongs of a strategy for content:
- Maximise the long reach of explainer content
Following an initial leap into the unknown with the ‘Alternative guide to the NHS’ the benefits of explainer content were clear.
Six of the top 10 pages viewed on The King’s Fund website in 2016 were sense-making content, with ‘The digital revolution’, and ‘Five big issues for health and social care after the Brexit vote’ proving particularly popular.
Google Analytics continues to show that this range of simpler ‘explainer’ content is an effective route for targeted audiences into the longer, more detailed content that forms the backbone of what The King’s Fund does (see pyramid of engagement [insert link]).
- Focus on the impact of tailored, targeted content
Ever been in this meeting?
Like us, Mantell has been too. To avoid this, Mantell’s content strategy set the ambition for her team to take a much more disciplined approach to targeting audiences and getting them to do what The King’s Fund needs via its content.
Pyramid of engagement
To map the desired journey for their audiences Mantell’s team created the ‘pyramid of engagement’.
Using this pyramid, Mantell’s team took a targeted audience group of district nurses on a journey to their report: ‘Understanding quality in district nursing services’.
The report was broken down into a clear and quick to engage with slideshow, that could be shown at district nurse weekly meetings.
This slideshow ‘explainer content’ was then shared very specifically with targeted groups of district nurses via an organised Tweet chat with @WeDistrictNurses.
The Tweet chat summary of this cited 61 contributors and 425 tweets – not a particularly big reach, but talking to the exact people The King’s Fund wanted to engage. Lots of the participants were frontline nursing staff and nursing students who typically would not have the time or funding to attend a conference.
Pre-chat information sent out by @WeDistrictNurses, including the slide pack and the report link, worked well to direct people to the fuller content. There was no noticeable spike in traffic to The King’s Fund website around the event, but given the relatively small (but very targeted) group of people involved this was not a KPI of this engagement activity.
- Focus on the benefits of talking, sharing and engaging from the start
“If I’m not involved at the start of things I become capricious,” an anonymised stakeholder fed back to Mantell.
This is certainly true within our communications work. For this reason, we seek to engage key stakeholders as early as possible in all we do. For example, talking to a journalist about the best time in their news cycle to release data we’d like them to engage with as part of our planning process.
As the third and final prong of Mantell’s content strategy, her team now always seek to engage their targeted audiences at the start of developing any content. Reflecting on what ‘true engagement’ means to their stakeholders as the kick off point to all their content planning activity.
The slides shared by @katemantell for the @PRCA_UK talk to the Healthcare Group: [slideshare id=72661152&doc=kmantellslides21-170228121600]
Twitter moment capturing @katemantell talk https://twitter.com/i/moments/834333200411402240
The author of this piece, Holly Sutton, has chaired the PRCA Healthcare group for three years.