Interview with Jess Thompson, Senior Content Marketing Manager at ScriptRunner
ScriptRunner (of Jira customisation fame) has recently undergone a metamorphosis. Lou Walden (Brew Digital) chatted with Jess Thompson (ScriptRunner) about this transition, how Brew Digital enabled it, and why this is only the start of the journey.
You've recently worked with Brew Digital. What was your business challenge?
Our primary challenge with the Scriptrunner product suite was that we had a lot of content distributed inside a larger entity's website. And so we needed to extract that information into a single (new) domain.
We wanted to strongly connect the ethos of our new brand with the look and feel of the site, centering it around education, inspiration - being excited, being empowered.
As a business unit we wanted to make the whole site a better experience for customers; ensure content was clearly labelled, that it was possible to filter, depending on product and on hosting - which are very important criteria in our space.
Did you work on your rebranding alongside the web development, or did you do a section of brand identity discovery before you got to the web build? (What was the order in which you did things?)
We actually did this concurrently, which is a credit to Brew Digital for the flexibility of allowing us to do that. We identified key content types and some key customer journeys, and then wireframed those in an unbranded format. Then simultaneously to those wireframes being developed, we were doing brand research...from that research we shaped a new identity in terms of establishing our values, our mission statement, our promise.
And then we were able to pass that package to Brew Digital and ask them to come up with a visual identity to represent all of those things. It allowed us the time to focus on what made our brand, our brand. What made us unique, what made us special, what made us ScriptRunner…whilst not holding up the development work on what we knew would be a good site functionally speaking for our customers and improved user experience. And then going backwards and adding the branding flair.
It sounds like you gave them a brief about the brand identity and then their side of the partnership was to come up with the visuals for that. What was the process you went through around the website itself?
We established who our key audiences were, and what was the key information we needed to be able to present to them. Our technical requirements from industry best practice (as led by Brew Digital) and our own tracking needs - we put into a requirements specification (which was quite large!).
From a delivery perspective, we had a day with Brew Digital to meet with the project managers, the developers and designers to talk about the key journeys and the problems that we had on the current site, to allow them to ideate drawing on their specialisms. From that meeting we were able to detail our list of requirements into 3 different phases. A first baseline phase, which is what is currently live, then a second phase of improvements to the UI - adding more variation, more flexibility in the way that we present content. And the final phase is adding a site wide filtering/tagging system, the building blocks of which have been built-in from the get-go in the back-end.
Why was having an in-person experience with the team so important? What was useful about speaking to them face to face?
It was a nice reset; the ScriptRunner brand is talked about a lot - but not necessarily very deeply understood for its current position…it's a well-known name but we needed to really challenge some historical understandings and assumptions of who the audience is, right now and in the future.
The face-to-face experience was very much about the ability to draw something on a piece of paper and slide it across the table, or catch a look on someone's face where they're not quite sure what you mean by what you said. I think it was really valuable to keep the energy in the room and react instantaneously, to drive the ideas forwards.
Ahead of that session, we had a site map already defined and shared between us, so we were able to pull that up and just talk through each of the sections. About what each section, or page needs to do…it was really nice because the development team were able to suggest things that they'd seen or delivered on other sites. Or recommend other things because the way we were thinking about doing something, wasn't perhaps the smartest way to do it.
Were there any challenges that you didn't foresee along the way?
I think most of them we were able to anticipate. We did a review with our Project Manager towards the end of the project. There were things to iron-out with the CMS…but it wasn't stuff that couldn't be overcome…it was just us giving feedback with normal snagging bits and pieces.
One thing that came out was our business continuing to evolve whilst we were working on the project. We'd already made allowances for us to launch other products while it was going on…but the tagging system for example, making sure it would scale…the Brew Digital team were invaluable in helping us figure that out.
That's a true partnership…there’s space to have your assumptions challenged as the client. So the project - the website - is seen as being a success. What are the factors around success - what was on your list to achieve with the site going live?
Version1 was about the ‘coming into existence’ period. Our first major check-box was being launched in a way that we can measure; having all of our analytics in place from the beginning, being able to introduce several different content types and move as much of our content as possible from the larger, shared domain into our own space. The percentage of our content currently on site versus what we had hoped would be there at launch has ended up being above our targets.
Then from an engagement point of view - visitors actually browsing and benefitting from that content - those initial indicators are positive. Our intention is for them to explore the educational content and get inspired and we need to know if they’re doing that. That means understanding engagement with specific content types and how often those lead to financial and non-financial goal completions: having all of our content in one place makes this easy now (rather than the rather monstrous spreadsheet we were using previously!).
We can also look at the technical successes of a large-scale content migration like this, so things like traffic retention through redirects and site readiness for search crawlers. We have a health score of more than 90% for the site in our SEO tool, which is a great foundation to launch from. Obviously ranking for specific keywords takes time, but already we’re seeing some of our new pages ranking for terms as they were on the previous domain. There are also new keywords that have come in as we've now got a site where we can keep our content in better technical health. So we picked up some extra keywords and some extra traffic as a result of that. Early indicators are good!
I think that early success is in part due to how deeply you thought about the content and its equity, an understanding of how valuable it was…that all goes into the planning process and really nurturing that part of it. Is there anything you would have done differently?
Phase 1 is what’s live at the moment, so we have more to come in terms of other requirements that we want to deliver on; a better experience around the road map and being able to be transparent with our customers, which is one of our values. And then it’s all about how we build out the community; we have this hub, a central place for everything, what else do we build onto that?