In 2012, Innovation Enterprise was very much an events focussed company. We had a vision that we wanted to do far more than just create shows.
We also had an issue that because of our limited size at the time, we had only two ways of talking to our audience - email and social media. We had a great social media presence through LinkedIn, which we have continued until this day, but given that we could only really communicate through these mid length form mediums, it limited what we could achieve.
With this in mind, we created what was at the time named 'the hubs’, which were our exclusive content sites.
I was the sole author and was in charge of creating content across every channel we work on, in addition to my other tasks. This meant that they weren't updated with specific content for every subject too frequently and had a fairly clunky UX. We also had a big problem in that we decided that we needed to put them behind a info wall, so people could only access them if they gave us their information beforehand. This wasn't particularly popular with people and also meant that sharing content on social media was just frustrating for everybody involved.
Despite these fairly large issues, the hubs were not a complete failure. They instead allowed us to experiment with the tone, length, and creation processes for new content. For instance, we found that our readers were turned off by articles under 450 words or over 1500 words, that we needed to discuss complex subjects in simple language and that trying to write about these subjects required an in-depth knowledge of the issues surrounding them.
It was with these findings in mind that we created 'the channels’, to give us a way of effectively creating and sharing content in a simple to use format.
At the same time, we began to expand the team and started drafting in the skills and knowhow of our summit creators, who spend most of their days talking to the brightest minds in their subject areas and researching innovative new approaches. Many were not natural content creators, but with the expansion of the editorial team it allowed us to help with the creation of unique, informed articles.
As the editorial team grew, attended hundreds of our summits, and worked more closely with our subject experts, they themselves became experts and began researching around specific subjects until they were writing with authority about cutting edge subjects. This then led to dividing the teams into specific subject areas, allowing them to double down on their research and spend their time creating relationships with industry leaders in specific areas.
Alongside this, we also realized that an open contribution model would be incredibly useful for us. This essentially means that anybody can submit an article to the site without having to seek approval from us or go through lengthy communication to get feedback ahead of publishing. Instead an article is uploaded and the editorial team is notified. A member of the team can then either approve or reject an article. We have found that the most common reason for rejection is people trying to upload adverts. Luckily, we have not needed to deal with anything more sinister. This model has allowed some of the top minds in the industry to have their content edited and published on a well respected and authoritative site.
The process has not been quick or easy and we aren't finished yet, but the results so far speak for themselves.
We now have a voice beyond selling, a medium through which our experts can share their work, and a company that goes beyond simply putting on industry summits. It has led to considerably more engagement with our audience and we have seen an average yearly audience growth of 150% over the past 4 years. It also allows us to discuss new subjects with those who are leading them, which both helps out future content and informs us about new potential summits.
It has been a long process, but we are really proud of how far we've come.