Last night I saw presentations at the Content Strategy London Meetup from Rob Hinchcliffe (a community strategist), and Sara Treewater (Content project lead for Citi Private Bank’s Web and Mobile team) in which they both mentioned relationship marketing and how it was influencing content strategy.
If your marketing and sales strategy focuses on developing a relationship with your customers and prospects, it makes sense your pre- and post- sales content (such as user documentation) sustains and builds relationships as well. Joe Gollner has called this “relationship content”. This may mean giving people an opportunity to comment, and supplement, your user documentation. In other words, moving from a monologue to a dialogue.
This can be challenging for organisations, particularly for those where there are compliance and regulatory considerations. However, there may be little choice but to do this. Rob Hinchcliffe said in his presentation that, today, content is everywhere. There are unofficial information sources where Google will direct users, if you do not provide content that’s relevant and useful.
If this relationship goes further, you can gain a significant insight into how each individual customer and prospect behaves, and start to disrupt your industry sector. We discuss this in our latest post on the STC’s Notebook blog (we’ll post a link once the post has been published).
On Tuesday 26 February, Ellis Pratt from Cherryleaf will be speaking at the popular London Content Strategy lightning talk.
Ellis will explain how the principles of Lean manufacturing can be applied to developing and managing content. It’s a way of writing that focuses on maximising the value to the user and minimising waste. Since the Agile development methodology is based on Lean principles, it will help you to position content management within an Agile environment.
Each speaker gets 5 minutes and 20 slides (15 seconds per slide) to share their unique perspectives on content strategy in a blur of energy, passion and intensity.
Knowledge in people’s heads – skills and tacit knowledge.
Formal intellectual property rights – copyrights, patents, trademarks, brand equity etc.
Customer-related information and relationships.
Business processes. We can include in this the knowledge and systems that comes from interacting with other organisations.
If all of these are coded and formalised, then a financial justification can be made for the value created in the company.
So how can you code and formalise these areas? One way is to turn them into software applications, and the other is to record them. Your intangible value will be recorded in the polices and procedures, in people’s knowledge that is captured and documented.
This means the better your content strategy and content management systems are, the more in control of your business’s intangible assets and intellectual property you’ll be.
One of the challenges when considering moving to a single sourcing authoring environment, such as DITA, is determining the Return on Investment. This often boils down to a key question: how much content can you actually re-use?
Organisations typically attempt to answer this question in a number of ways:
Conducting a semi-manual information audit of the existing content to identify the number of times the same chunks of information is repeated. Unfortunately, this can be a large and lengthly exercise.
If the content is translated, getting reports from Translation Memory tools indicating where content might be repeated. Unfortunately, if you’re not translating your content, you won’t have this information.
Using benchmark industry measures. Unfortunately, these can vary enormously (from 25% to 75% content re-use), and your situation may be totally different.
In an ideal world, you’d be able use an application that could look at all your content and give you a report telling you the where content is repeated. It could do the “heavy lifting” in the information audit automatically for you. This programmatic analysis of reuse within existing content, at an affordable cost, is now starting to become possible.