If content is king, then curation is queen: why personalisation is more important than ever

Phil Lindsay By Phil Lindsay

It’s been another brilliant day at ContentEd – and I’m feeling very fortunate to have heard from some of the sharpest content strategists the education world has to offer.

Now, it’s been difficult to pick a highlight, but the Personalisation Panel this morning is something I’ve just had to write up for you. Featuring Charlotte Renwick from Leeds Beckett University, Dana Rock from Oxford Brookes and Martin Sickafosse from Purdue Alumni Association, this session was crammed with insight.

Charlotte Renwick showed us how to deliver great personalised content: her top advice is establishing the triggers you’ll be using to segment your communications. Are you personalising based on geo-location, your user’s referring website, or the pages they visit?

Leeds Beckett take this one step further still by turning triggers like these into a points system, ensuring they’re confident about their audiences before they personalise.

They also broke the mould by using a Chatbot to handle enquiries during clearing – even making tailored offers. This is truly impressive personalisation, advanced enough to make one of the most stressful student experiences work. Watch this space for more from us on communications strategies and clearing!

And of course, digital means malleability. So we should remember: personalisation isn’t set in stone, but should evolve as you develop ways to better understand your users.

Dana Rock talked us through the HelloBrooks campaign, a personalised welcome for student enrolment on A Level results day.

They cleared their boardroom for 3 days, set up an iPhone, and for every soon-to-be undergraduate, they sent a welcome video. It barely used any budget, but this was a phenomenal bit of hyper-personalisation – serving individuals a truly incredible welcome message.

Finally, Martin Sickafosse got their students creating content for their website, trusting one of their most important constituencies to show them what they needed.

But he had a word of warning when you're considering personalisation: start small. Complex personalisation is seductive, but senior stakeholders are often daunted by it. But through limiting the size of your initial projects you can gather data – and win over your key stakeholders.

At the end of the day, Tracy Playle’s keynote speech backed up everything these dynamic panellists were getting at.

She reminded us that we have to return the heart to the centre of our institutions through our content strategy – and surely authentic personalisation is a way of communicating that heart in a way audiences really get.

Tracy also advises using empathy mapping to understand our audiences – and it seems to me that the tools we use to personalise our content can inform this thinking about who our audiences actually are.

The last two days at ContentEd have taught me so much about Content Strategy. Effective content strategy means you live and breathe your why – and for clients like ours, in the education and charity sectors alike, that’s utterly crucial. At Consider, we can’t wait to explore more of what we’ve learned with you.

A big thank you to Tracy, Richard, Mike, Anne and all the other speakers – it’s been inspiring indeed!

Phil Lindsay

Phil Lindsay

Co-founder & Managing Partner

Phil is responsible for the overall operational and financial efficiency of Consider. Originally our Technical Director, Phil now looks after our amazing team, keeps a keen eye on our finances, and is helping develop the structure and tools we need to grow. You can read Phil's latest thinking on our blog.