Talking all things content strategy with Ryan McBride, Global Head of Content, Fuse
In part I of the 12 Commandments of Content I spoke to Ryan McBridge, Global Head of Content of Fuse, about his team’s methodology for creating content that people love. These first three commandments, which covered everything from his expert advice on the nature of good content, to bite sized content, to re-usable content, were a real eye opener in terms of what it takes not just pique people’s interest, but also what it takes to truly engage learners on a continual basis.
Today, I spoke to Ryan about commandments four, five and six, and we covered the importance of digital and mobile first, as well as his ‘one key image per screen, and no passive imagery’ rule of thumb.
I left our conversation understanding not just the dangers of clunky SCORM courses, but the power and speed behind digital first, the capacity for business growth introduced by mobile first, and why animation drives messages home so efficiently. Read on to hear more of Ryan’s expert advice on how to transform your content strategy.
1. Digital First Capture
To talk me through the importance of digital first capture, Ryan describes what used to happen many years ago before companies realised there was a much faster way to create and get content signed off.
“Imagine you’re a company that wants to do a sales enablement programme. The old way would be that a third party vendor would spend loads of time gathering knowledge, and then they’d script all that knowledge into a big, clunky and unloved SCORM course. These courses could cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of pounds or dollars to make, but the real problem is how long they take to make and get signed off by the right levels of people in the business, and to go through the various quality gates.
“Our digital first capture is different. Instead of going away and scripting big SCORM courses, we start directly with the subject matter experts and capture the knowledge we need, and get it signed off by them. And then it can go wherever you need it to go: on a website, in your learning platform, in a video. We can film or record these people quickly and then they can sign the content off in days rather than months, at considerably less cost.”
Removing these many sign off points and quality gates is really making the difference between traditional SCORM courses and the Fuse content methodology. Ryan says that the digital first capture method usually ends up taking only 5% of subject matter expert’s time, regardless of whether it’s audio or video capture.
2. Mobile First Design
Mobile first design is as simple as it sounds, but the impacts of a mobile first strategy can be astonishing.
Most businesses, Ryan explains, understand this and whether it’s videos or articles, most companies understand that they can’t hinder people by making content that ties them to their desks. Seventy percent of video content in the world is consumed via mobile, so it only makes sense that all learning content really needs to be produced with a mobile first strategy in mind.
Fuse clients have countless examples of great mobile first content, but one company that has really embraced the ‘content on the go, in the flow of learning’ concept is Hilti. The developer and manufacturer shifted from a traditional classroom-based course model (where modules often took up to ten hours to complete) to a mobile, social and video based model where employees could learn in the flow of work from their mobile devices as and when they needed help.
The results speak for themselves, and employee engagement via mobile was a big part of this. As Ryan says, ‘you know you’ve made it when people are consuming learning content on the way to and from work.’ The business performance results of the mobile first strategy were also pretty impressive!
82% learning engagement with 50,000 platform views per day
80% of sales targets achieved in three months (from 27% in six months)
15% increase in sales conversion
3. One Key Theme Per Screen (And No Passive Imagery Thanks)
As designers, Ryan and his team apply a real visualisation process to each and every piece of content they make to highlight the key learning messages in the best possible ways to increase engagement and achieve learning outcomes.
His key rule of thumb is ‘one key theme per screen, and no passive imagery.’ Case in point, he explains: “if you were trying to teach someone about photosynthesis, you wouldn’t just show someone a plant or a flower. That would be passive and ineffective. To be engaging, you need to show us the sun shining through.”
Animation is the strongest form of proactive imagery you can use. It helps audiences to consume key messages that they are more likely to remember later. Animators understand exactly how underlying messages need to be visualised. At Fuse, we call animators ‘Digital Media Designers,’ and our team is able to take great narratives that Videographers have captured and use visuals that allow every learner to process their understanding of the messages. They combine this with audio to increase people’s memory capacity so that the content is remembered, and easily recalled.
These are the second set of three in Ryan’s 12 Commandments of Content series, but if you like what you’ve learned, stay tuned to part III of the series, where we’ll be talking about Ryan’s favourite journalist approach to content capture, the importance of content curation, and the direct correlation between frequency of new content and learning engagement levels. And in the meantime, if you’d like to talk to Ryan about how you can revolutionise your content to drive engaged learning, email the team at: firstname.lastname@example.org