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How Audible unified 7 global blog properties into a new user-friendly CMS with HFC's help

Audible

A popular premium audio storytelling brand, Audible gives users access to a vast library of audiobooks, podcasts, and original content through a subscription-based model. For its marketing team, reaching new audiences and listeners is a major goal—a connection that, unsurprisingly for a digital content company, mostly happens on its website.

The challenge

Audible had a problem. Its previous CMS (content management system), Movable Type, was difficult for its marketing team to use. Even making basic changes to a web page required technical knowledge or developer support.

That meant that even though its marketers had amazing creative ideas for reaching new customers through blogs, landing pages, and other content channels, they couldn’t execute on those ideas quickly or easily.

Audible chose HFC to help them:

  • Assess whether a new CMS was a better fit for their goals and content requirements 
  • Empower their team to turn their blog properties into more robust marketing funnels
  • Optimize the blog for organic search by improving load speeds, Core Web Vitals performance, and Lighthouse scores, while ensuring Audible’s team could build beautiful pages without developer support
  • Migrate all their blogs to a new modern platform with consistent layouts and content types.

“HFC has enabled us to migrate content, create new blogs faster, and grow the space to be truly global to meet the needs of these new markets” – Nate Cook, Director of Global Marketing Web Development

HFC’s approach

Taking a comprehensive view of Audible’s requirements and the team’s pain points, HFC jumped in with the aim to get Audible set up on a new content management platform that gives its creative teams more autonomy and the structure to build and create content with minimal external support.

Rethinking the architecture - HFC’s blog CMS strategy for Audible had two main pillars: Contentful CMS and the Next.js framework.

  • Contentful provides an easy-to-use way to structure and manage content, and exposes an API (REST|GraphQL) that is automatically updated based on the content structure.
  • Next.js would give Audible’s team a more customizable way of building static pages that provides blazing fast experiences. HFC chose Next.js because it can be connected easily to the Contentful API, which lets designers and developers customize content freely using React components.

“The Contentful migration was the best thing that ever happened to all of the editors and once we were on there, people raved about it. It's very self-explanatory and easy to use.” – Nate Cook, Director of Global Marketing and Web Development

Setup - HFC built out all the elements that Audible’s creative and marketing teams would need, so they could customize the front-end of the blog however they liked without needing to code anything. 

  • For example, HFC built custom apps within Contentful that integrate with the Audible API so editors could easily pull in elements like cover images, titles, authors, and so on. All they have to do is paste in the unique identifier for that title in the marketplace—this saved the editors 10x the time it would’ve taken to pull hundreds of books into a single blog—and made their team very happy.
  • HFC also created a more straightforward CI/CD workflow for Audible using ACS and Fargate AWS services, which would allow the setup to be cloned easily in the future

Migration - After building Audible’s European and global blog structure on Contentful, HFC is now migrating all the blogs to this structure for consistency.

  • With this migration, HFC is refactoring the front-end pieces on the US and global blogs – cleaning up the European migration while migrating the US blogs

Streamlining - Audible has seven different blogs, each managed differently by its team of roughly 50 editors. HFC is streamlining every blog to be built on the same platform with the same structure so they can be updated and managed more efficiently, and have the same structure and SEO capabilities. 

Another major pain point for Audible’s team is they have two code repositories to support the US and Europe regions, which HFC is also helping to consolidate.

Design - After given some initial requirements, HFC architected, designed, and implemented Audible’s instance of Contentful, which can now support a recent brand refresh, continued SEO growth, and seven global blog properties (and counting).

Ongoing optimizations - Next steps: optimize the blog for accessibility, translations, and continuous Core Web Vitals and other performance improvements.

The results: A CMS that empowers creative teams to tell more stories—while saving editors 10x the time

Now, all of Audible’s blogs are on one modern tech stack and have a cohesive brand look thanks to consistent layouts and content types.

With the standardized and optimized content and visual layouts that HFC built, Audible’s team can easily populate and configure content, which also results in a much more predictable look across the blog.

With Contentful, they no longer need to create APIs and Audible’s technical team doesn’t need to create or maintain any blog management dashboards.

Just a few of the outcomes of Audible’s partnership with HFC:

  • 20% increase in conversion rates
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual purchases
  • 7 regional blogs launched for the US, UK, France, Canada, French Canada, Italy, and Spain
  • Increased agility and ease of use for editors
  • 7 million page views across global blogs in 2023
  • A brand-new Jira ticketing system and process that improved the team’s ability to plan, track velocity, and work in a more agile way

With a new CMS and structure, HFC has given Audible the tools the team needs to create new content and campaigns, while reducing the burden on their development team. Now, Audible is set to launch their next blog, Australia, with the updated backend and tools that HFC built.

Their editors now have the support they need to easily publish engaging content on the blog, optimize pages to rank in search engines, and maintain a consistent brand with prebuilt templates.

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Having these parameters in place gives us a safe space and framework to create from. No matter who’s creating the content, it will have that same ‘Audible’ look and feel. There are moments for dazzle and surprise but they fail to exist without a common baseline.

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Abby McInerney, Senior Creative Director, Brand Creative

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