Content Overhaul (Center for Cancer Research)

It was clear from the outset that any fundamental review of the Center for Cancer Research’s (CfCR) online presence must launch from assessing the effectiveness of the 40+ core laboratory micro-sites in engaging site visitors. The audience’s academic level must be considered too — quite distinct from other sites I manage — so it targets established and often very specialized professional researchers, along with post-doctoral fellows.

As such, I developed various new formatting designs for the laboratory sites, for example with small bursts of content available both in its searchable online form and in downloadable PDFs, for those looking to annotate and collate research findings off-line.

Redesigned Research Lab Pages

Redesigned Research Lab Pages

Beyond these developments, I concluded on reflection that this concern for the different type of research audience had been overstated in the site. High-level research content should not mean impenetrable limitations of site access and an austere presentation of this work. With so many laboratories, and several hundred staff, I felt it was would be very difficult for even academically advanced site visitors to really engage with its numerous studies and publications.

This conclusion was supported by the site’s analytics, which also reflected a higher than average bounce rate, suggesting that the site had a problem with its stickiness.

Although the core of the CfCR online content is this mass of research data and publications in each of the labs, the site had actually been suffering from this overwhelming quantity of valuable information.

Since so much of the research work carried on at the CfCR is very engaging to a research audience, my solution was to develop a new central news and events portal, intended to create a truly dynamic space with which researchers could engage.

CfCR News Page

CfCR News Page

This news portal includes a newly created welcome video by the center’s director, to show the center as approachable as well as studious, and a rotating spotlighted “Featured Lab” section, giving a foothold as a site visitor explored the site. There is also a large format recent publications slideshow, accompanied by informal images of relevant researchers.

This development allowed the center to be presented as a place attracting the highest quality of research work, and also humming with professional activity.

SEM Adwords campaign (Center for Cancer Research)

Managing our established SEM portfolio is already a core part of my role at the Cancer Center, including several thousand terms. As the overhaul of the Center for Cancer Research’s (CfCR) site progressed, it was crucial to support it with a targeted SEM Adwords campaign.

I began by creating keyword groups drawn from phrases used in the CfCR annual report because it includes numerous technical terms with low competition in Adwords, and high value in attracting our audience of specialist researchers to the center. I also redirected spend to follow the results of an analytics analysis of high traffic periods of the day and week. The increase in newly developed and cutting edge content on the site contributed to an improvement of the domain’s quality score, as did the addition of embedded youtube videos. I also increased the spend around the names of our Principal Investigators, to ensure we would own this traffic, as their numerous publications and conference presentations meant their reputations often preceded them.

As a result of these tactics, we were able to much more clearly tie this new online development to measurable traffic increases over the course of months around launch.

Planning and Development (What we talk about)

Initial Wireframe

Initial Wireframe

For the development of the “What we talk about (when we talk about cancer)” community site I led a group including a design agency and a web developer through multiple phases of conceptual sketches for IA, wireframing of design and layout, and functional mock-ups and staging server builds.

I managed an aggressive development timeline, which needed to match an upcoming nationwide marketing campaign across the Cancer Center.

A few months after the initial launch we began working on a phase II release, which allowed us to respond to the analytics we were collecting from our initial traffic.

For example, traffic appeared to drop-off somewhat in the early part of each monthly discussion cycle. This indicated to me that the site was perceived as having less content to engage with when only a few perspectives were visible on the homepage. As a result, I re-conceived the site’s overall architecture to work with our developer so we could create a new multi-channel format for the homepage.

WWTA phase I page in dev

WWTA Phase I in Development

 

Phase II Home Page

Phase II Carousel Development Option

Phase II Masonry Development

Phase II Masonry Development Option

WWTA final

WWTA Phase II

Content Creation (What we talk about)

A topic wordcloud, used to help review each topic for my review post

The content on the “What we talk about” community site that I developed works at the border of a traditional blog, with its content created by its contributors; an online magazine, with editorials created by me which draw conclusions from the discussions on each topic; and a forum site, open for all to comment, share and become full contributors themselves.

Creating a community space in which all these differing voices and differing levels of engagement can be accounted for began with me, as editor, establishing an initial list of topics — like “survivor”, “support” and “care” — and of the categories of community member “personas” we were seeking to engage — for example patients, physicians, caregivers, family members, administrators, etc.

I then produced a short list of initial contributors, to ensure the site launched with a balanced amount of content from each of these types of members. Prominent links to a “Participate” submission form then allowed more and more interested visitors to be added to this list (once each had agreed to a set of guidelines which ensured their posting would not violate patient privacy laws, etc).

After I have collected each set of contributions on a topic, and comments have come in from visitors to the site (each with my approval before going live, to avoid hacks or offensive posting), I create a post which collates and reflects on the ways in which the conversation has developed, to encourage further comments from visitors.

22 WWTA Survivor CODA

A review piece for the “Survivor” topic conversation

 

22 WWTA v2 everyday

The Everyday Amazing video channel

 

For the phase II release, a year after the initial launch, I added a new channel for video responses we collect from our community event van (part of the Everyday Amazing campaign). Our community now has over 50 regular contributors, and has had over 60,000 unique visitors.

 

Promotion (What we talk about)

This new “What we talk about (when we talk about cancer)” community site is positioned at the intersection between the Cancer Center’s main website and our traditional social media channels. As such, we approached the promotion of the new site from a number of different perspectives. We developed a promotional strategy that linked “What we talk about” from our Everyday Amazing Campaign microsite, drawing credibility by underlining this integration with the center.

WWTA fb ad

 

I developed a dedicated SM campaign of promoted posts, and paid tweets, with timed release of bursts of these ads encouraging engagement. I used images of several different types of community members (e.g. physician, patient, administrator) to support the central proposition that in this online space everyone has an equal voice.

 

WWTA email blastA third ongoing tactic involved email blasts      from a subscriber mailing list, as the site’s traffic grew.

There were several forms of internal communications too, including flyers in treatment clinics, and large format signage. Physician mailers encouraged them to mention the site as part of their initial conversations with new patients, as an aspect of our supportive care services. The patient on-boarding print materials also included information about the community.

Interest in the site from other bloggers, writers and publishing companies has led to cross-posting and linking from other sites, which has also increased the site’s quality scoring.

 

This promotion has succeeded in bringing over 60,000 unique visitors to the site since launch.