Sense Making

New directions in content creation

I’ve just enabled the new Gutenberg editor in WordPress, what I use for my site and blog.  The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This post is a test and a review all in one.

It’s not an entirely new concept since platforms like Medium and to a lesser extent, LinkedIn, have been using this approach for a while.

I’ve been using WordPress for roughly 15 years. In all that time I have striven to create content that is pleasing to consume and stands out. I understand that in an increasingly cluttered digital environment this makes all the difference.

The difference is between being read and not being read. 

Or how it effects your bounce rate (the amount of time someone sticks around to finish reading your content including posts beyond the one they started with).

Standing out means non uniform content.

This applies to the structure and form of the content in and outside of any single post. The site or blog it is housed in for instance is also important.

Great writing is important of course. Well researched, informative or entertaining.

Equally important is the form it takes. Images and video are so crucial these days and also serve to break things up.

Ultimately form and function together go to make it great content. This post is mostly about the form.

You need to be different in a sea of sameness

Out with the old

So as I was saying, I’ve used WordPress for many years and the default Tiny MCE editor has always been the way to format content. It’s been fine as far as text editors go but I’ve always had to resort to html and other tricks to achieve the  rich formatting and functionality I’ve desired. That’s all about to change. In the words of the founder of WordPress:

The [Gutenberg] editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

MATT MULLENWEG, 2017

The new Building Blocks

Blocks are a great new tool for building engaging content. With blocks, you can insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, you can add a block and focus on your content.

The new Block editor in WordPress Gutenberg

The types of things you can add with each block:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • Lists like this one of course :)

The really exciting thing for me is the potential to add functionality in blocks. So not just use it for formatting and creating rich content in a post. I imagine being able to add and embed functionality from different services. And doing this in core parts of the site like a sidebar or footer that stay permanently in place.

Latest content

Below is an example of embedding simple functionality in a block. In this case it was latest posts I wrote. This is also an example of the kind of sticky content that will keep users around and your bounce rate low.


So what’s the verdict?

It has taken some time to get this post finished as I try get used to the new way things work but so far I’m loving it ❤ I can really see the potential 🚀 It’s going to be a while before I master it fully however. 

For instance, the fact that every time I hit enter it creates a new block.  My mind and current writing style is grappling to understand the need and how to work with it. There is a lot more functionality in little hidden places I need to figure out (instead of one central toolbar).

Hey ho, that’s the way change goes and I’m relishing the prospects 😎

Customer Success

5 usage and adoption heuristics for customer success

Click to enlarge

I wanted to capture some simple rules of thumb that I could use to easily remember the top line influences on my work in customer success. I created a doodle to make it fun and memorable (for me) but also shareable.

I came up with these 5. I’m sure there are more. These would only really become heuristics if they were endorsed by a lot of people so I’ve added a poll below. I’d love your input – please vote on them and add any in the other option and I can update this list later. Below the poll I elaborated briefly on each in case the doodle is not legible – it’s self contained with the doodle so you can share it with this link if you want.

1. Launch well

I really do believe you only have one chance to make a good first impression. This goes beyond onboarding which I cover in a separate point. I think its fairly self explanatory but I do have an entire post on this if you are interested: Launch like a boss – bringing consumer startup practice to your enterprise technology platform

2. Social proof

Showing users other successful users or customers gives them the proof they need to adopt and use something. It becomes a self fulfilling cycle of success if you have good examples. Having a social layer in your tool to foster community and sharing will help greatly in scaling your efforts. I cover some of that in this post: Scaling your customer success efforts online – a guide

3. Signals sell

Creating feedback loops (dashboards) to let users see how they are using a system and what progress they are making can spur on further use. In other words, stats on how they are using the tool, what they have achieved in a given period, etc. Sharing other user stats with them might add a degree of competition, i.e. gamification.

4. Continuous onboarding

Users, especially in an enterprise environment, are continuously churning, i.e. leave the company. For the new ones that come onboard and also for new features (if you are frequently releasing new features), you need to constantly re-educate users. Self service training options and automation are a good way to address this at scale.

5. Use before value

By this I mean your first challenge is getting users to use a platform. They have to be familiar with it and its purpose and grasp the fundamentals. Only then can they go on to higher order value creating activities that achieve business outcomes. So first track usage and adoption metrics and ensure this is going in the right direction, then try capture other types of value related metrics.