Good morning, Marketers, may you live in boring times.
Despite what you’ve been told, “May you live in interesting times”
is not an ancient Chinese curse. However, its popularity is because of something we have all discovered recently: Enormous societal changes are not easy to get through. For one thing, what do you hold on to when everything is in flux?
In marketing the answer is: Your strategic goals. Hold on to them and be prepared to change your tactics to achieve them. That was just a small part of what I learned from yesterday’s keynote session at The MarTech Conference. It was a fast and fascinating discussion. You can watch it and much more by
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About The Author
Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.
It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.
In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.
So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.
You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes.
So, without further ado…
Which names changed?
Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.
A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles.
So, why the change?
It boils down to three guiding principles:
Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency
Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with
Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite
As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).
Other questions? We’ve got you covered.
Q: Why have you made these product name changes?
We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.
Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own?
No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.
Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?
No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.
Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?
No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names.
Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?
Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | www.optimizely.com
Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?
If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.
Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?
I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?
What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.
1. Write with an inclusive heart
There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.
You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.
2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist
Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.
Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:
Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
Red – dense and complicated text
Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
Green – passive voice
Fix: Rewrite for active voice.
Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.
In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:
“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.
“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.
Much cleaner, right?
3. Ask questions
See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.
4. Include links
Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:
You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).
You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.
5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text
Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.
First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).
If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.
For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.
For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.
An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”
It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”
Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”
It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.
Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.
Improve your content and better the experience
Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.
They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)
If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.
All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.
If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.
In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute