Content is king. If that has been your mantra for several years, you probably have a lot of content. How do you effectively leverage your content without sending people into a massive warehouse of content to never be heard from again? ActiveDEMAND Storyboards are the answer. The ActiveDEMAND Storyboard system allows content marketers to develop hyper-targeted content hubs that present their audience with content that is relevant to the individual's interests and stage of the buyer journey.
Storyboards are only available for export in the Corporate Marketer package
The Basics (External View)
A Storyboard is a content hub that is used by the content marketer to aggregate content for website visitors. The Storyboard is a collection of Story cards that are presented to visitors as a web object. The object is either embedded onto a web page with a shortcode/div or directly onto a landing page (very similar to how webforms and dynamic blocks are deployed)
The Storyboard controls the styling of the individual Story cards, how many columns to display the stories in, and allows the content marketer to filter the types of stories that will be presented based on Topics/categories, similar to how many blogs work. The Storyboard controls which types of stories can be rendered, each Story has associated targeting that controls 'who' should see the individual story.
The base unit of content in ActiveDEMAND's content system is the Story. A Story is a 'card' that summarizes a specific article, offer or any other piece of web content.
The very basic elements of a Story, when viewed by website visitors are
- Story Title
- Story Attributes
- Story Excerpt (summary)
- Story Target
Not all elements need to be presented to viewers, but in a very basic sense, a Story is a small representation of a much bigger piece of content.
Each Story 'card' has an associated audience targeting that allows the content marketer to control who should see a specific story 'card' based on visit context. A Story is viewed on a Storyboard.
The Basics (Backend Views)
There are many ways to create a Story.
- Bulk import via a CSV File
- Automatically via RSS feeds
- Using campaign landing pages
1. Manually creating a Story
A Story is a very simple collection of elements that represent many types of content. Stories are aggregated and managed within the Assets->Storyboard section of the platform.
To create a Story, click on the 'New Story' button.
- Audience Targeting (control who sees this Story)
- Feature Image
- Target Name (the text for the button when displayed)
- Target (the URL for the story)
- Author (this is an employee of your account)
- Source (this is how the story was created, this is not editable)
- Excerpt (the summary of the story)
- Topics (these are used by the Story Board to filter which stories will render on a specific Storyboard)
- Categories (these are used by the Story Board to filter which stories will render on a specific Storyboard)
- Publish On (this is the date/time that the Story will be visible on Storyboards)
- Expires on (If this is defined, on the expiry date, the story will be automatically archived and will no longer be visible in Storyboards)
The Targeting is used to control which visitors will actually see this story.
2. Bulk Importing Stories
You can import stories using a CSV file. If you are looking to import all of your blog posts from your WordPress site, consider using a plugin like WP All Export. The Format of the CSV file can be obtained from the Import interface in ActiveDEMAND. Click the 'Import Stories' button
To download the CSV template, click the "Download Headers" button
Once you have your properly formatted CSV file, import the stories. Stories that are imported will have the 'source' set to 'manual'.
3. Importing Stories using RSS feeds
You can import stories by subscribing to an external RSS feed. This is a great way to import blog posts as they are created, product definitions from eCommerce platforms, etc. If you are subscribing to an RSS feed from your WordPress blog, the RSS feed does not, by default, include the feature images in the feed. You can set up the feed to embed images with a plugin like Featured Image In RSS.
Once you have your RSS feed set up and exposed (this is on by default with WordPress), you can set up an RSS subscription in ActiveDEMAND.
Clicking the 'New Feed' button will bring up this modal:
You will have to check with your source documentation to get the proper URL for your feed. For WordPress, the blog feed is
Be sure to set a Target Name (i.e. the name of the button for the story). That is it. Once you save and activate the feed, ActiveDEMAND will pull the RSS feed and create stories. Most blog RSS feeds will give you the last 10 posts in the feed, thus if you want all the posts, you have to do an export/import as described earlier. ActiveDEMAND will poll the feed for new content 2 times per day. To manually trigger a Feed poll, deactivate, then re-activate the feed.
4. Creating Campaign Stories
Typically content is created in a campaign. A campaign will promote some specific action that you are looking to have prospects engage with.
This action is typically on a landing page. This is very convenient as ActiveDEMAND has landing pages in campaigns! ActiveDEMAND has made it easy to create and publish stories for your promotions, directly in the campaign interface. Thus when you create a new campaign, you can have the story automatically publish on your content hub (Storyboard) when the campaign activates. As well you can have the story automatically publish at the beginning of a promotion (using the promotion duration) and automatically archive once the promotion is over. Promotion duration linking is only available for calendar campaign types (not drip campaigns).
Campaign Story Publication
A campaign Story will only be displayed on a Storyboard if the associated campaign is active
In your campaign container in ActiveDEMAND, under Assets
There is a Stories section.
which will bring up the story edit modal:
- Link the Story content to a campaign landing page
- link the publication of the Story to the campaign promotion duration
1. Linking a Story to a campaign landing page
The CTA of most campaigns is to have a prospect visit a landing page. This is very convenient as ActiveDEMAND has landing pages in campaigns! ActiveDEMAND has made it easy to create and publish stories for your promotions, directly in the campaign interface.
If your campaign has a landing page you can link a story directly to the landing page which will let the page determine the content of the story. This is very useful for the cases where the campaign is going to be cloned. Cloning the campaign will ensure the related new story will be published with the appropriate content.
If you choose this option, enter the name of the landing page. This name must be unique to the campaign. Thus if you have a landing page called "Register for Webinar" in this campaign:
The linked landing page will provide the following content for the story:
Story Title: Landing page title
Story Excerpt: Landing page meta description
Story Topics: Landing page Topics
Story Categories: Landing page categories
Story Target: Landing page URL
Story Image: Landing page feature image
If you link the story to a campaign landing page, the above elements will be read-only in the story editor. To change these elements for the story, you will have to edit the landing page properties:
2. Linking the publication to the promotion duration
You can link the story publish date and story expiry date using dynamic terms for a linked story using:
Note though, if your campaign promotion duration does not have a start date set, your story will never publish. The promotion duration is set on the 'Overview' tab of the campaign:
Setting your story Targeting
The real power of the Story system is the ability to control which visitors see a specific story. This is controlled on the Story targeting settings for a story. There are three ways to set your Story targeting:
- Using the Story edit
- Using the Story bulk editor
- Automatically using a Story Targetting rule
1. Setting Targeting on a single existing Story
If a story already has been created, you can edit any attribute of a story, including the targeting, by browsing to the story in the Story table.
For the story above, the only visitors that will ever see this story, regardless of the Storyboard this viewed on, will be those contacts that belong to the segment "Interested in Product A"
2. Bulk Editing Stories
The story table does have a bulk editor. This allows you to set attributes on multiple Stories at once. Targeting can be set on any existing Story. On the story table, select one or more Stories and the Bulk Edit button will appear
3. Automatic Targeting Rules
Some stories are created automatically (using Rss Feeds for example). To ensure every Story has the appropriate targeting, you can set up Story targetting rules that are automatically applied to any new Story that matches an associated rule targetting filter. A targeting rule will override any existing targeting that was set on the Story during Story creation. This important to note. If you create a Story in a campaign for example, if you set the targeting, hit save, the targeting rules you have set up may override the story targeting. Story targeting rules are only applied to a story once: when the story is created. Thus any subsequent editing of a story will not go through the Story targeting rules
Story targeting rules are matched in order from the top down. Thus when a new Story is created, the Story is processed by the first targeting rule, if the Story matches the filters for that rule, the targeting is set using that rule and no subsequent rules are checked. You can re-order the targeting rules on the rule table.
Configure the targeting rule's match criteria to ensure the content gets targetted correctly. A new Story must match ALL of the configured Story filters. The Title and Excerpt textboxes support regular expressions. Regular expressions can be a bit complex. You can type regular text in the boxes and it should match as long as you do not have special characters. Check out this link (regular expressions) to test your filter.
Creating Storyboards (deploying your Story cards)
Now that you have an inventory of Stories, you will want to display the stories to your audience. This is done via Storyboards. The Storyboard object controls the layout and design of your Story cards.
The Storyboard builder is very similar to the other asset builders in the platform. The major difference is the object you are designing, the content will not render until the block is embedded in a web asset
- Preview the Storyboard design with your current Story inventory
- Code for embedding the storyboard on an external website
- Example Story card for visualizing your board design
- Element styles
- Row/column styles
- Storyboard properties
- Story filters (which stories are allowed to render with this board)
- Card styles
- Structure elements
- Content elements
- The maximum number of stories this board will display (before loading more)
- Number of columns of Story cards to display on large screens
- The maximum number of words in the Story excerpt to render before truncation
- How more Stories are loaded once the initial Maximum has been reached (currently autoloading more is the only option)
To limit the types of Story cards that will be displayed on a specific board, you can add Story Topics and Story Categories. If no topics or categories are added, this Storyboard will display all stories that are published in your inventory. Adding a tag or category to the filters will require a story to match both the tag and category filters.
Storyboard Content Elements
- Text block
- Story Excerpt
- Story Title
- Standard spacer
- Story feature image
- Story Target button
- Standard divider
The text block content element allows you to create text similar to how you do for any other content block in the platform. There are Story specific dynamic terms available:
All other dynamic terms are available as well, but they may be of limited use as this content block will be used for every Story card that renders. The only variance between cards will be the dynamic terms related to the content in the Story.
The other elements represent elements of the Card. The Story Target button will use the Story target URL for the link and the Story target name as the button text for that specific story.
The Storyboard can be embedded in any external website using the <div> code that is exposed within the Storyboard builder. As well you can embed a Storyboard into a landing page. In the 'Dynamic Content' section within the landing page builder is a section where you will see all of your Storyboards
Once the Storyboard is deployed, the Story cards that match the Storyboard card filtering (topics and categories) AND match the targeting for the visitor will be displayed to the viewer. They are ordered by publication date (newest first).