While preparing for the upcoming presentation on structured authoring, we realised we didn’t have anything on that subject on the Cherryleaf website. To fix that, we’ve added a new page to the site, on structured authoring.
We plan to add a recording of the presentation, and some examples, after the event.
Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt will be speaking at two upcoming events:
London Content Strategy Meetup, 7pm 22 February 2018
What’s the deal about structured content?
Content can often seem like jelly – messy and hard to manage. In this presentation, we’ll look at whether you can reduce this messiness through structured writing. In this overview of the topic, we’ll explore what is structured writing, what it promises to give its adopters, the different standards, and the challenges that come with using structured writing.
Venue: SYZYGY London, 84 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8RW
London Content Strategy Meetup
MadWorld Europe 2018 conference, 11-13 September
Documentation as Self-service Support
In this session, Ellis Pratt will look at the different approaches to self-service support, and the role of the technical communicator within that environment. He’ll explore questions such as where end-user documentation fits in in self-service support, and the realities of expecting users to write content. And finally, Ellis will discuss whether software-as-a-service changes the type of support and organization needs to provide.
Authoring in an Agile World
Agile development has been growing rapidly in the software industry and other industries. While the agile development model may make sense from a product development perspective, the methodology doesn’t explain the best way to create Help content for users. In this presentation, we’ll look at how authoring teams have responded to this challenge and developed agile approaches to technical writing.
Venue: Boscolo Prague Hotel, Prague, Czechia / Czech Republic.
MadWorld Europe 2018
Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt will be speaking at the Write2Users Conference 2017 , which is being held 1-3 November at Copenhagen Zoo.
“The mission is to give attendees new skills for their day-to-day work with technical documentation and translation. You will learn about process optimization, new methodologies and new technologies. All delivered by industry experts, in-house specialists and practitioners from Scandinavia and abroad.”
Ellis will be speaking on “Agile in an Authoring World”.
Here is an interview we carried out with Mark Baker, author of Every Page is Page One. The interview is interspersed with audio snippets from Day 1 of the UAEurope 2017 conference.
- Caroline Loverage (Thermo Fisher Scientific). Teaching by Example: Worked Examples in the Documentation of Complex Systems
- Kelly O’Brien (Kayako). Practical Information Architecture: Building Templates For Better Content.
- Helena Pichler (Nominet). AsciiDoc to Responsive Webhelp: Agile documentation for small teams/
With thanks to Matthew Ellison and Mark Baker.
I spoke at, and attended, the Content Strategy Applied 2017 conference last week. One of the keynote speakers, James Mathewson, provided a fascinating description of how IBM uses audience intent modelling to map its content plans. By doing this IBM is able to align its content with the buying cycles for their target personas.
This planning involves the management of 300 million pages and 100,000 marketing assets, and they use a dizzying array of artificial intelligence and software to improve their search engine rankings. However, their strategy is actually very simple.
There are three forms of audience intent
These are informational (learn about a topic), navigational (find information about a topic), and transactional (find a place to buy the solution or get help).
There are two kinds of audience
These are business people and specialists.
There are two kinds of queries
These are branded and unbranded. Most searches are unbranded questions, and people only move to branded questions when they are ready.
There are five stages in the IBM customer journey
Here are the steps and the type of content IBM provides:
- Discover – What is big data? web page
- Learn – Video on big data (“Four ways big data and analytics transform marketing”)
- Solve – A product information page (“14 top big data analytics platforms”)
- Try – The offer (Watson Analytics 30 day free trial)
- Buy – A whitepaper (“Understanding Watson Analytics”)
IBM has invested heavily in technology
This is used to maintain consistency in the tagging of content, and in the tone and voice. It’s also used to learn what audience want, and are searching for on the web. A lot of searches are in the form of questions, so they mine those questions to discover what they are asking.
IBM avoids online marketing tricks
James said “clever messages to push people and trick them” rarely work online, and if they do the reader is unlikely to come back. Instead they focus on what the audience wants, and aim to meet that need.
It was the best presentation at the conference, and it provided lots of ideas for Cherryleaf’s website.
Ellis will be speaking at a number of conferences in 2017, including:
Content Strategy Applied
- Crossing the Divide between Technical Communication and Content Strategy at Datomia
- 9th-10th February, 2017
- API documentation writing – The undiscovered country
- 8th-9th June, 2017
If you’re going to attend either of these events, we look forward to seeing you there.
The Gov.uk GDS team is organising a one day, free of charge conference in December, where speakers will discuss techniques for writing documentation in an Agile environment, and how to make your content Agile:
- Tips to writing continuous documentation, ensuring it stays up to date.
- Tips to getting the development team to value documentation.
- Knowledge of the tools available to help you write Agile docs.
- Understanding of how much documentation to write and when to start writing it.
- Suggestions of how writers can become part of the product development cycle.
- Understanding of how to overcome challenges that come with working in Agile environments (where the focus often tends to be on the product and not on the content).
This free event will be held in Victoria, central London. Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt will be speaking at the event.
Agile the Docs speaker request form
I thought I’d mention a conference I’ll be attending this month – The Customers as Advocates Conference.
“Customers as Advocates” focuses on the challenges of creating successful customer relationships that lead to reference and case study programmes.”
Although it is aimed at professionals that sell and market enterprise technology, I found it very informative, as a great deal of it relates to User Assistance and other forms of technical communication.
I attended this (free) conference last year, and I particularly enjoyed the presentations on developing and nurturing a thriving community of advocates.
“More than 70 percent of the buying journey is complete before a customer looks at your marketing or engages with sales. Who are your prospects and customers speaking to, and what are they sharing about the experience?” Ian Williams, Director, Jericho Consulting
The conference will be held on Thursday 26 May, in London.