Let’s face it, in 2013 Gov.uk has featured in the forefront of many people’s minds as a flag bearer for great design and digital change. Continuing this trend, Thursday last week saw Gov.uk release the next section of its alpha style guide.
If you don’t have a style guide, or you have a fusty old copy in a shared folder no longer in use, or even worse, just a printed copy in a folder, well now is the time to update it and watch standards soar.
This style guide (part of GDS's seven wider design principles) is still being optimised but now includes sections on ‘writing for Gov.uk’, ‘writing for the web’, ‘style points for various content types’ and a ‘transactions style guide’.
It's interesting that Gov.uk realises the style of the guide itself is important. Continuous work on improving navigation and keeping content up to date is as important for the style guide as for the wider site.
If information and guidance isn’t up to date, or the guide is not easily engaged with, errors carried forward will persist.
Let’s take a look at the new style guide and see why it stands out, as well as what you can appropriate for your own organisation’s style guide. I hope you'll agree with me, that when a style guide is done well, it's actually a lot of fun to use, with more prescriptive advice on grammar reading as dead pan as a Stewart Lee gag.
Beyoncé’s self-titled new album, Beyoncé (I feel like I didn’t really need to say that), has destroyed the internet this weekend in a pre-Christmas gamble which has seen the ex-Child of Destiny installed as the new monarch of pop.
Picking the penultimate weekend before Christmas goes against all traditional new album release logic. Mid-November to Mid-January is a barren wasteland of Susan Boyle, greatest hits compilations and swing albums by nice young men your mum likes. Nobody good releases new music at this time of year. Nobody.
But then the Carter family rarely have been ones to stick with traditional record release logic, just look at Jay-Z who released his last album Magna Carta Holy Grail through a mobile app earlier in the year. (Read more about that in six musicians embracing app technology)
Over the past week I've been asking a bunch of content marketing folk about the trends in their industry for 2013, the best examples, and looking ahead to next year.
Here, I've asked about the most effective formats for content. In 2012, it could be argued that infographics were king, but I think the sheer volume produced has diluted this particular tactic.
Other formats are working well though: video, immersive storytelling, slideshare, scrolling sites, and good old blog posts.
The Oreo super bowl ad is often held up to be the perfect example of agile marketing in action.
In truth there have been a number of similarly effective and timely tweets from brands but Oreo grabs all the plaudits for some reason, probably due to the fact that it coincided with one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
Adidas is one example of a brand that consistently produces effective marketing tweets that give the impression of being off the cuff and reactive to events, even though they were clearly planned ahead of time.
For example, just last night Adidas’ UK marketing team tweeted an image congratulating Andy Murray on winning the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
It was a great year for ecommerce and all signs point to an even bigger, even better year come January 1. What’s on the docket? Plenty.
Building on the success of the last 12 months, 2014 will likely signal a comprehensive integration of mobile with traditional brick-and-mortar along with a boom in gamification, personalization and more comprehensive and accessible methods to test and track.
It’s time to raise a glass to what’s going to be a game-changing year.
Here are some of the most interesting digital marketing statistics we saw last week.
Statistics include Christmas shopping, eBay's referral traffic, mobile marketing, content marketing and how millennials use social.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
While Hummingbird has been much discussed, not many people understand it yet, or appreciate its benefits because it isn't an obvious feature of Google search. If you want to try it, go to Google on your smartphone and click on the microphone to activate a voice search.
For a bit of fun, say 'Tottenham Hotspur'. Google will search for the greatest team in the world (guest opinion - Ed), and then read out an up to date fact, perhaps the latest result and information about the next match.
Next, click the microphone again and ask a related question, such as 'how old are they?' Google will then show you the Wikipedia information about the club. Ask another question, such as 'where do they play?' and Google will show you information about White Hart Lane.
So, that is Hummingbird in a nutshell - a clever way of linking queries so that, instead of starting each search from scratch, Google can show you more pertinent information related to your previous search.
It’s no secret that video is quickly becoming an essential part of any content strategy, and the 2013 video marketing trends report only serves to concretise this.
This year has been fantastic for video, with the emergence of new, social video platforms like Vine and Instagram video soaring in popularity amongst consumers, making it easy for anyone to create a video and share it.
'The Information' makes a case for smaller publishers adopting a paywall.
This is just a brief companion to an article I wrote yesterday entitled do publishers' paywalls kill sociability?, in which I asked a few questions around the subject of online publications asking readers to pay for content which they have traditionally enjoyed for free.
As this focussed mainly on larger newspapers, at the end of the post I suggested that I would follow up the article with a focus on smaller, start-up publishers and whether a paywall might be suitable for them or not.
This recent example was brought to my attention and I feel it makes for an interesting case-study.
I really enjoyed reading Graham’s article about great ecommerce product page copy last week. It set me thinking all afternoon and all night.
Ecommerce is an area I spend most of my time working in, both on my own ecommerce websites, and my clients’ ecommerce websites.
While a lot of the people that contributed to Graham’s article represent 'the big boys' of ecommerce and online marketing, I wanted to share my personal experience with writing ecommerce copy.
My operations are a lot smaller than those of the contributors to Graham’s article, but at the same time my experience is just as important to 'the little guys' out there, running ecommerce websites on a shoestring budget.
You don’t necessarily have to add amazing functionality to your product pages in order to make sales. Perfect the copy and you’ll be well on the road to success.