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UK ‘can lead the way the ethical AI’

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UK ‘can lead the way the ethical AI’

The UK is in a strong position to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). This position, coupled with the wider adoption of AI, could deliver a major boost to the economy for years to come. The best way to do this is to put ethics at the centre of AI’s development and use concludes a report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, AI in the UK:

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Content Marketing

Content manager checklist: 10 things to do before you hit publish

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Back in the days when print journalism ruled, major publishers had huge teams of fact-checkers and editors poring over every article before it went to press.

With the move to online publishing, those responsibilities have increasingly fallen on the shoulders of the content manager — a hybrid editor/strategist/project manager role with a bit of search engine optimization (SEO) thrown in.

I’m a content manager. It’s my responsibility to make sure every piece of content I create for my clients is stellar — for their goals, their leads and their customers.

But one man’s “stellar” is another man’s drivel. When we marketing types talk about “high-quality content,” we mean content that:

  • Engages, informs, entertains.
  • Is optimized for search.
  • Delivers what it promises.
  • Uses reputable, authoritative sources.
  • Has a great headline.
  • Is free from error, jargon and clichés.
  • Is easily scannable.
  • Inspires action.

Google rewards high-quality content, which is one of the greatest benefits of following these best practices.

Here are 10 ways (plus one bonus tip) to perfect your content before you press that “publish” button.

1. Optimize for keyword search

The goal of your content should always be to provide something of value to your readers so trust in your brand increases. This means when they’re ready to purchase, your brand will be top of mind.

To get content seen, it must be optimized for keywords people are searching for. Wolfgang Digital’s 2016 study of 87 million website sessions of e-commerce brands found 43 percent of traffic comes from organic Google search:

Use keyword research to discover popular terms and long-tail phrases that can inspire content. Make sure those terms are placed relevantly in header tags and throughout the content but don’t keyword-stuff. As long as the terms are used naturally and relevantly, you’ll be fine.

2. Break up content

While the debate on human attention span rages on, there’s no doubt the amount of content we have access to is larger than ever. According to the “2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America” reports by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 91 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers use content marketing.


That’s a ton of content, in addition to the more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos watched daily, plus social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and other channels.

With so much content to choose from, breaking up content to make it more visually appealing helps capture and keep user attention, since online readers are apt to scan content. Use subheads, numbered or bulleted lists and short paragraphs to make your content scannable. These techniques fall in line with Google’s own Developer Documentation Style Guide.

3. Make sure the headline is searchable and clickable

Unlike intentionally vague titles of great novels that offer mystery and intrigue to readers, writing headlines for the web is an art requiring the perfect blend of searchability and click-worthiness.

You want to craft headlines that include a keyword or two you want to rank for, but it also needs to be compelling enough to grab clicks.

Since the general consensus is that headlines longer than 65 or 70 characters will get cut off by search engines, make sure your keyword appears early in the headline. Such limited space means you should favor straightforwardness over getting cutesy — though there’s still room to be creative in what you write.

4. Add a CTA

Adding a strong call to action (CTA) to every web page and blog post is essential.

What is a CTA?

  • It tells the consumer the best next step to take.
  • It guides the user in the right direction.
  • It is helpful and relevant to the user’s pain points.

Make sure the call to action you use on your blog post corresponds with the content and where the user is on the buyer journey. You wouldn’t want to add a “Buy Now” button to a top-of-funnel informational piece, but a free consultation offer or a white paper download might make sense.

5. Add internal and external links

Linking within content is essential to elevate the user experience. There are external links and internal links. When using either type, the link should be relevant and helpful so that they enhance your search engine optimization process and provide value to the consumer.

  • External links. These links point to other websites besides the domain the content is on. External links are beneficial because they build credibility when you’re linking to a (credible, authoritative) source. They can also be instrumental in creating partnerships with other publishers when they notice your content is linking to them. They can help to make your content more authoritative.
  • Internal links. These are links to content within the domain the content is on. Using internal links helps Google understand your website structure. They provide a better experience for the user, who can discover more information related to the content topic. They also can help nurture leads, since you’re providing additional relevant and helpful content.

Make sure your links open to new tabs. This way, your content is still open for the user, and they won’t have to go back and forth within a single window to consume content. You can also help to increase time on page and decrease bounce rate from your site, which can affect search rankings.

6. Evaluate anchor text

Anchor text is the clickable text part of the link you see on either an external or internal link. When the text is highlighted within the copy, the user gets a better idea of the content they’ll see when they click. Some types of anchor text include:

  • Exact match. This is a hyperlinked phrase which plainly states what the website is about.
  • Partial match. One or two keywords hyperlinked describe what the website is about.
  • Branded. This hyperlink is the name of the company.
  • Generic or nonbranded. Generally known as “click here” type anchors.

Anchor text that relates to the content the link is pointing to is best for search engine signals. Be mindful of using outbound anchor text that contains a keyword you want to rank for that depletes your link equity.

For example, if you run a pet store, don’t link out to another pet store site using the words “best pet store” in the anchor. A generic keyword would be more appropriate to use as anchor text in this case.

7. Link to credible sources

There is a lot of content out there, more than most people have time to read. Developing entertaining and educational content increases the chances of it being clicked, read and shared.

If you need to link to sources to support your content, link to reputable, well-known sources within an industry and the primary source of the information.

When you’re citing another source, include the name of the source, as well as a link. Links break, and pages go offline, so citing the name of the primary source helps keep your article credible.

8. Add images and give credit

Adding images to content is another great way to break it up and make it more visually appealing to users. Images are also important for search engine optimization. Google image search is the second-most used search platform after Google.com, accounting for more than one-quarter of US searches. By optimizing the images you feature in content with descriptive headlines, descriptions and tags, you can increase your chances of being seen in more image searches.

In February 2018, Google removed the “View Image” button in image search results, which means users have to click over to the website the image is on to see it in full context. This is great news for publishers, as Search Engine Land reports there was an average of a 37 percent increase in clicks from image searches throughout 58 websites since the change.

9. Make content shareable

Social sharing buttons are a form of a CTA for users who are on social media. Seeing the recognizable icons for Facebook, Twitter and social networks sends a signal to users to share. As your content gets shared on social media, you reap benefits, including:

Depending on your content management platform, you may easily have the ability to turn on a social sharing button feature. For platforms like WordPress, there is an array of free social sharing plugins you can add to your layout, which makes social buttons automatically appear on each piece of content.

Other options for sharing on social include:

  • Create your own CTA graphics for social sharing.
  • Write out a call to action within a post to join a discussion about it on your Facebook page.
  • Insert “click to tweet” links in a post which enable users to share tidbits from it in just a few clicks

When you can continue the conversation about a piece of content on a social network, engagement for the piece organically increases.

10. Create a great meta description

A compelling meta description is important for every piece of content. With Google’s emphasis on quality and relevance for search results, follow meta description best practices like:

  • Use keywords, but don’t repeat them or overuse them.
  • Use long-tail phrases that give more context to the content.
  • Write enticing descriptions that encourage users to click.
  • Avoid using the same meta description for multiple web pages

It used to be a best practice to cap meta descriptions at 160 characters; then, in late 2017, Google bumped that up to 320 characters, and now it looks like we’re back down to the 160 range again. Make sure whatever you’re writing is relevant, helpful and valuable, just like the content itself.

Bonus tip: Proofread your copy

Well-written, error-free content says a lot about your brand and shows you care about quality.

Plus it makes content managers like me a little crazy when we see such obvious mistakes in content. Don’t drive us batty. Proofread your content!

The post Content manager checklist: 10 things to do before you hit publish appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Meet The Drum DADI Awards 2018 judges: M&C Saatchi, Dare, Karmarama, GSK, 360i Europe and AKQA

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The Drum DADI Awards are on a mission to share the best practices, companies and people in our industry with our readers to help them make better decisions. Our best in class judges will help us do just that.

The deadline has passed but there is still time for you to enter. Contact Laura Gregson for an extension.

Following are six of our stellar list of agency based judges:

Chris Brown, global head of digital, M&C Saatchi

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Brown leads M&C Saatchi's digital team developing strategy and activity across a portfolio of international clients, including Virgin, PepsiCo, Dixons Carphone and Alphabet.

He spent ten years in-house at Dixons Carphone Group as head of content, social media and digital experience. Brown has led teams across insight, brand, content, social media, SEO, testing, web development and strategy and has overseen digital transformation projects across multiple clients. His focus is on making wonderful experiences for consumers that make measurable impacts for businesses.

Melissa Ditson, executive creative director, 360i Europe

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Ditson joined 360i Europe in 2017 to head up creative for brands like Lidl, TSB, Burger King and Norwegian.

Previously, Ditson has lead creative teams and agencies in New York, having launched award winning campaigns to raise awareness about girls education for Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn, worked on US-wide music platforms for brands like American Express with Jay Z, and Budweiser, and redefined brand experiences online for GE, P&G, and (RED).

James Chorley, group creative director, AKQA

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Chorley is the group creative director at AKQA and has over a decade of experience across brand strategy and marketing campaigns as well as products and services including mobile applications, wearables and games.

He has created a variety of products including mobile applications, digital services, games and wearables for global brands including Nike, BBC, TAG Heuer and Xbox.

On the awards, he said: “The Drum’s DADI awards recognise and reward the best companies and individuals and I’m delighted to sit on the panel this year. I’m looking forward to seeing entries with a compelling story, and data that shows meaningful impact on businesses and their customers.”

Sandra McDill, global digital media, GSK

Sandra McDill

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McDill recently joined GSK as global digital media strategy director having spent 14 years working across the digital marketing industry. Starting in performance marketing across affiliates, search, programmatic and social, she has worked in global roles both technology and agency side including global vice president for Tagman, managing partner at Dentsu Aegis agency iProspect and most recently as chief marketing officer at Convertr, a SaaS media technology platform.

Michael Olaye, chief executive officer, Dare

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Olaye is the chief executive officer of Dare, a digital creative agency with hub offices in London, Bristol and New York.

He leads the inside ideas group’s tech vision, responsible for its technical collaboration, industry thought leadership and advanced technology incubations. He has been named one of The Drum’s 100 most influential people in UK digital, and one of Creativepool’s top 100 influencers.

"I have always felt the DADI awards is one of the best in the industry," he said about the awards. "Showing a true understanding of the digital landscape, the people and the great work we all do. I am honoured to have the chance to judge what I no doubt know will be great entries from some fantastic agencies. I am really looking forward to it. "

Hannah Matthews, managing partner, Karmarama

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Matthews joined Karmarama in 2004, seeing the agency grow exponentially over the years and became part of Accenture Interactive at the end of 2016. She has worked with clients including Diageo, Molson Coors, Amstel, MTV and Unibet during this time as well as heading up new business and marketing for the agency.

As well as a founding member and former President of Bloom, Matthews is an active member of WACL, now sitting on the WACL executive committee running gatherings for rising female talent in the industry.

Talking about the DADI Awards, she said: "I’m thrilled to be part of the judging panel for the DADIS. As one of the longest running awards in the digital space they’ve become renowned for shining a light on some of the most progressive digital work which is a really making a difference, which we can all learn from and which raises the bar for best practice across the industry."

Check out our panel of judges for The Drum DADI Awards. The entry deadline has passed but you can still enter by applying for an extension. Please contact Laura Gregson for more details.

These awards are in association with UKFast and sponsored by Shazam.

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Great minds think alike and so do the UK’s most digitally effective businesses

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A new survey into digital effectiveness has unveiled that top performing businesses are changing their approach to creating digital platforms and common behaviours are characterised by an emerging mindset termed ‘product thinking’.

It has also highlighted that there is still a gap between businesses knowing what the right way is to meet the needs of today’s digitally-empowered consumer and actually doing it.

As the battle to deliver highly effective digital products and platforms continues apace, to not only stay in business but to strive to stay ahead of the competition, we have seen an adoption of a new business philosophy among enterprises that are thriving the most – a ‘product thinking’ mindset that encompasses how organisations are aligning their resources, people and process around their digital products.

Product thinking is a way in which organisations are navigating through the tension that is naturally created by the need to deliver increased consumer-centricity and agility, but with larger, more complex business-critical technology platforms.

In a nutshell, they are managing their digital customer touchpoints like software products, akin to someone like Adobe, with an evolutionary roadmap, whose success is based on better meeting the needs of its ever-evolving user base.

As an agency, we have adopted a product approach to be more effective in our client partnerships and, importantly, to enable clients to spend their money more effectively. Since taking this approach, we have experienced huge differences in levels of understanding and acceptance of new methodologies. Our study was designed to explore further the industry’s current attitudes, beliefs and digital practices; delving deeper into the barriers for delivering effective solutions.

What is ‘product thinking’?

At its very simplest, product thinking is a drive for business effectiveness by maximising value from digital touchpoints. It enables organisations to prioritise their efforts more effectively, and immediately correlate investment with commercial return.

In doing so, the organisation should achieve its desired business outcomes more quickly, while delivering more value for the end customer. Internally, this will be achieved with reduced operational ‘waste’ and an improved consumer-centric mindset, which connects teams and individuals with a collective sense of purpose.

In that regard, product thinking is in fact a cultural model, as it pertains to a mindset, methodologies, roles and organisational design.

In terms of practitioner disciplines and methodologies, product thinking brings together human-centred design, modern engineering and lean delivery, unified in an approach based on continually growing the value returned to the business by a product or platform, by better meeting the needs of its users.

Its pillars are:

  • Doing the right thing: with a clear framework for decisions, human-centred design and focus on outcomes.
  • Doing the thing right: using lean delivery practices to build, measure and learn, releasing early and often with continual insight-driven iteration and refinement, and applying modern engineering principles such as decoupled architecture, test-driven development and continuous deployment.
  • Doing it together: removing the silos of an organisation for speed and effectiveness; aligning the entire culture towards shared goals and metrics, with autonomy in teams to find the best way forward.

Adopting a higher level of product thinking behaviours

The report demonstrates some of the differences in mindset between respondents that are outperforming or performing well and those that are not. Top performers are more likely to be looking to increase customer lifetime value than their mainstream counterparts (68% vs 47%). Similarly, they are aiming to speed up their performance (50% vs 38%), improve the integration of the business (49% vs 30%), achieve defined deliverables (46% vs 27%) and develop internal knowledge and capabilities (40% vs 27%).

Taken together, these aims reflect the product thinking approach, a mindset based on continually building value for the customer through an agile, non-siloed, digitally-savvy culture with clearly defined business goals.

This is further emphasised by those respondents ‘strongly’ agreeing with the statements:

  • We focus on outcomes in development and are happy to change requirements if needed (30% of top performers vs 15% of mainstream);
  • We can attribute return on investment to specific digital projects (21% vs 8%);
  • We should strive to place value to the work we do before we invest in it (58% vs 38%).

It is clear that there is consensus within the industry that consumer centricity is paramount. Eighty-two per cent of high performers and even 76% of the rest agree strongly with the statement “Focusing on user needs leads to better business outcomes”.

When asked about what was happening within their organisation, 77% of top performers agree strongly or somewhat with the statement that they put user needs at the heart of their development. Only 53% of the mainstream businesses do this.

Attitudes to ongoing testing and agility also separate the two groups. For successful businesses, a focus on outcomes in delivery (75%) and a focus on long-term goals versus short-term targets (59%) are almost twice as prevalent as in underperforming businesses. Sixty-nine per cent of the top performers also adopt agile processes in development.

Finally, 60% of top performers are satisfied with their ability to deliver digital products on time and on budget, compared to only 19% of the mainstream.

We are undoubtedly in a period of huge change and the pace of this change means that companies cannot afford to develop products or projects in the traditional ways. Our report has emphasised that businesses that have adopted core elements of product thinking believe that their approach is paying dividends.

Collectively, we have an understanding of what we need to do to achieve success in today’s challenging times – but the key differentiator is the ‘doing’. As businesses move from the more traditional ways of working to the agile, adaptable approaches required for the 21st century, they come up against deeply ingrained structural and cultural barriers.

Ultimately, product thinking is a cultural model that pertains not only to a mindset – a collective drive for effectiveness by continually growing value for the customer and company – but also the methodologies, roles and organisational design required to see the approach through.

Tony Foggett is CEO at Code Computerlove

To read more about the survey findings and product thinking visit www.codecomputerlove.com/product-thinking

The post Great minds think alike and so do the UK’s most digitally effective businesses appeared first on Marketing Week.

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