And Now For Something Completely Different…


    Sunsetting the Standard Publisher

    Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, once said: “The only constant in the technology industry is change.”
    While it may be frustrating, that statement is worth reflecting on. Technology is developing at an ever-increasing pace. It doesn’t always result in something beneficial, but the frequency of new innovations mean there’s a huge probability that the next game-changing invention is right around the corner.

    Benioff’s quote is doubly important, since not only does technology change, but those of us who use it also need to change in order to embrace it — we can’t maintain the same approach and expect to be relevant in 5, 10, or 15 years.

    At Rock Content, we’ve recognized this for some time. A little over a year ago, we released a new publishing interface called Content Studio. This reimagined publishing tool better suited our customers’ workflow and positioned us for future advancements.

    Since then, most of our customers have adapted to this change and have made the Content Studio your go-to publishing platform. As a result, we will be sunsetting the old publisher interface on April 2, 2018.

    Why Content Studio?

    While most of our customers are using Content Studio regularly, there are some individual users who still prefer our old publisher, and that’s understandable: it’s familiar and reliable.

    You might be asking: “what’s the incentive? Why should I change the way I work? I just need to do my job!”

    Those are good questions, and the point is well taken. Your performance is measured in terms of audience engagement. Your job is to get useful content in front of your audience and to maintain their interest in your brand or stories. Having to adapt to a new publishing interface seems like a pain: you have to learn something new, and that takes time away from your primary goal.

    That might be a reasonable assumption if the expectation is that your job will take you just as long to accomplish on one UI as it does on another.

    However, we built Content Studio after months of user testing and observing our customers as they accomplish their day-to-day duties. The end result is a UI that better reflects your workflow. It also allows you to produce a variety of audience-facing experiences: Q&As, live chats, social streams and more can all be managed from exactly the same back-end.

    This means that the interface isn’t dependent on the type of experience you’re creating. It also means that a single event can evolve from a live blog, to an interactive Q&A, to a storytelling experience without having to create a new stream.

    That said, Content Studio’s most important strengths have yet to be realized. The real reason we’d like all of our customers to use the new UI is twofold: Relating back to the opening line of this blog post, as a technology company we need to change in order to stay relevant. Likewise, we feel you need to take advantage of new technologies, and new ways of interacting with your audience in order to maintain your market presence.

    Our old publisher is just that: old. It has existed in its current form for more than 5 years. It’s built using old technologies and coding languages. At this point, our old publisher can’t keep up with the newest web standards.

    Content Studio is the path forward. It has been intentionally architected to allow for more responsive and interactive user experiences. It also lays the foundation for new features that we might one day include, such as live video streaming, gamification or ecommerce integrations.

    In short, Content Studio is the future. The way forward. It’s a win for everyone who relies on Engage to grab their audience’s’ attention and hold it.

    How? Let’s take a moment to walk through some of its features, together…

    How Can Content Studio Help You?

    Part of Content Studio’s appeal can be found in its name: it’s a studio, designed to give you all the tools necessary to do your work, laid out in a way that lets you grab the right one without having to dig too far.

    To underscore this statement, here’s the old publisher:

    At first glance, it’s simple — two columns, including a text editor and a sidebar used for moderating, tagging content, accessing your content library, and searching for content across over 8 social networks… wait… that’s not so simple. That’s a lot crammed into a tight space.

    It also leaves a lot of screen real estate unused. Most of the tools you need to access are crammed into one half of your screen, while the other half is left blank.

    More than that, if you are moderating incoming audience and moderator content AND adding social content from multiple networks, there’s a lot of clicking back-and-forth between different panels. You might not realize it, but this kind of repetitive clicking can add up: it is one more interaction that you have to think about and execute. Even if it’s second nature, at this point, the time it takes to move your cursor and click, repeated frequently over a long period of time, does eat into your productivity.

    That’s why we took the approach we did with Content Studio. The first two things that you’ll notice is that we’ve used all of the screen real estate available and, as a result, we’ve extracted one of the most important components from the sidebar, the Moderation Hub, bringing it to its own column.

    The intent is to give you more room to view important content that you might want to publish to your stream while making it faster and easier to moderate content generated elsewhere.

    Here’s an example that illustrates this efficiency:

    Let’s say you’re running a live chat. You and a contributor are publishing content from the back-end, including social media posts, while audience members are publishing their own comments and replies that need moderation.

    Here’s what that looks like in the old publisher:

    And here’s what that looks like in Content Studio:

    Note the difference: in Content Studio, you get a 360-degree view of content coming in from all areas, allowing you to view everything in context, streamlining your workflow while reducing the number of clicks and back-and-forth movement from one section to the next. The end result is that you spend less time trying to frantically keep up, and more time feeling like you’re in complete control. Sound nice? I promise: it is.

    Time is on your side…

    The specific example provided above is indicative of our entire approach to Content Studio. It’s efficient, fast, and notably more user-friendly. In our eyes, it’s such an improvement over the old publisher that we’d love to migrate everyone and sunset our old publisher today…but we also recognize change takes time.

    As a customer, you need training. Engage is still a powerful product that provides a variety of features and functions. As a result, I encourage you to reach out to your Customer Success representatives to schedule any training sessions that you feel you might benefit from.

    In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to improve upon the work we’ve already done to make Content Studio an ideal experience. As you read this, we’re working hard to continually improve our UX, enhance Content Studio’s performance and add even more capability. If there’s anything you want us to prioritize, please let us know!

    Our hope is that, by April 2, you’ll have already recognized the potential inherent to the Content Studio. By then, you’ll be so happy with the new interface that you won’t even notice as the old publisher rides off into the sunset.

    Lucan is a Senior Product Manager at Rock Content, the Engage live-blogging platform. He has a background in Big Data and Social Media Analytics and has held product roles at several Toronto-based startups in these industries.



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