We are all content marketers now – Charles Cooper (The Rockley Group)

Another content strategy session this afternoon, this time with Charles Cooper from The Rockley Group.

Stories

Any information that we want people to remember is best told in a story. We have used many techniques over time to present stories as a form of communication. We have changed the way we display content to match the medium and the time is upon us to tell these stories at anytime, anywhere and using any number of mediums.

People learn better when they are engaged. If we focus on the output,mew tend to forget about the engagement, and feedback is good.

Feedback

We need to move away from our broadcast default and learn to embrace conversation. Feedback is essential in many industries outwith our own.

Fewer than 40% of technical writers have any contact with their customers. Facilitation is available through CRM channels, amongst others.

Content marketing

There are many names for content marketing such as inbound and branded, but the discipline is the same.

Content marketing, when done well, contains a feedback mechanism that drives engagement and ownership among customers.

By understanding customer needs, content marketers have a goal to promote/invite deeper engagement. Within the content itself this could be in the form of related links, deeper links and rich media peripherals. Don’t make the customer search for depth and related content.

Customer satisfaction

Tools that don’t need a manual help to solve problems, anything more complex or convoluted only create problems and frustrations.

Titles are important and should be longer, inviting, memorable and contain your product name front and centre. This is different to technical communication where short, descriptive and task focused titles are needed.

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Shareable content

Content marketers excel at producing content that is shareable and exchangeable. They create information with this in mind, providing tools and CTAs for this purpose and integration with dissemination channels. This provides the opportunity to extend the brand.

Rick media

Best practice for shooting rich media for use in content marketing:

  • Less than 2 minutes
  • No background audio
  • Shot in landscape
  • Use a tripod and use a microphone

Tell a story

Balance the provision of information with a good story. No need for an elaborate narrative, just enough arc to deliver the key information.

In summary

In summary, one way communication is dead. People carry devices with them all of the time, they expect to have conversations with businesses. Move from a closed cycle to one that embrace feedback and provide links so that your customers can spread the brand for you. Embrace rich media but embrace best practice, remember the story is important, whether told at length or short.

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Storytelling, immortality and the content experience: the future exposed – Kevin Nichols (SapientNitro)

Due to events out with his control, Kevin was unable to attend this years conference in person. He was, however, able to run his session remotely through a screen share and VOIP.

Kevin is the Global Content Strategy Lead for SapientNitro, the worlds largest digital agency.

Storytelling

Storytelling has become huge in the content industry and is not just restricted to content marketing.

Content is information that is recorded and is covers a broad spectrum. Even if we design for single channel experience, we need to consider the experience out with this.

A content strategy helps us to determine the stories that need to be communicated and to whom, when and how.

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Challenges

When thinking about the content you are creating, consider whether the stories deserve to be preserved for time. Is the content of enough value to sustain itself and be usable. Have we lost sight of a good story? Has money taken precedent over creation of valuable stories? Has emphasis on channel overtaken the story itself?

When mobile first is cited, this now means tablets before phones before desktops.

What makes good stories?

A good story shouldn’t have a shelf life, it should transcend time itself and be relevant. The Assyrians created stories that were important, had a strategy and tactics to capture and record their stories. Good stories, when done well, have a timelessness and can be reinvented.

Following breaks to the connection, the session was aborted and will be replaced with a webinar of the original talk at a later date.

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The balance scorecard: measuring the success of enterprise cooperation – Dawn Stevens (Comtech)

Dawn’s talk will focus on measuring the success of cooperation and collaboration across departments and organisations, using the balance scorecard.

Why measure

We need to measure to:

  • demonstrate promises have been met
  • validate assumptions
  • alert the teams to irregularities, bugs and errors
  • track progress towards a goal.

What to measure?

We need to measure what is important to our teams, organisation and customers.

We can measure inputs, outputs, process efficiency, direction state and finances, both spend and revenue. Only measure things that are actionable, things we can affect change about. This should fill your measurement scorecard.

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Be aware that if you start to focus measurement on specific areas, workers within this area change their behaviour as a result. Team members start to focus only on those areas being measured and stop collaborating and sharing.

By measuring time, productivity increases but not necessarily quality or necessity.

How much to measure?

Measure twice, cut once. Check the statistics and measurements before making decisions. If you measure too few areas, you won’t get a full picture and no clear cause and affect. By tracking too many areas, you get a blurred picture with no clear focus, this changes the dynamic of the organisation into a reporting factory instead of a content factory.

Balance scorecard

We need to balance all of our stakeholders concerns, as well as a variety of indicators. Both qualitative and quantitative data needs to be captures, with you mission and strategy at the centre.

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Step 1 – Goals

Start with the question “what does successful collaboration look like?” Is it tied to increased customer satisfaction, reduction in production and maintenance costs.

Step 2 – What are the domains?

Determine what you need to achieve these goals.

Step 3 – Determine CSF for each domain

What are your critical success factors? Consider your plan, performance, quality and communication.

Step 4 – Select KPI measures

Determine the measurements that will help to determine if your CSF have been met. These should be clear and unambiguous, relating specifically to the CSF you have identified.

Step 5 – What is success?

Define your success criteria so that you can assess your KPIs for risk and progress.

Quantitative values require numerical values to be defined, what constitutes a high percentage and a low percentage within an acceptable range.

Qualitative measurements require definitions and can’t be assessed using numbers. This can follow the same red, amber, green indicator pattern as before.

Step 6 – Prioritisation

Apply weights to CSF and KPIs to help show where the important and critical measurements are and to be able to monitor them closely.

Positioning your metrics

These metrics should not be used to judge or assess your teams. Address issues when they arise.

Consider the big picture when interpreting the data and resist the temptations to play with the metrics.

Only collect measurements if you are going to believe in and take actions from them.

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The biological imperative for intelligent content: Why nature says we should give content more agility – Noz Urbina (Urbina Consulting)

First content strategy session of the day will be delivered by Noz Urbina of Urbina Consulting and will be a deep dive on the topic of empathy.

Empathy

To build an empathetic view, you need to be proactive and not reactive,

Intelligent content

Digital communication is forcing us to think and talk about the world in a new way, we need to build a vocabulary to understand it much as Newton did to process scientific discovery and communicate ideas.

Semantic models

A traffic light can help us to explain semantic models. You can’t roll up to a red light and not understand the meaning, it’s programmed into us through semantics. A semantic model is a semi-conscious mental storage unit.

An illusion is when your internal semantic model doesn’t match what you are seeing. All of our senses apply logic to information and data we receive.

Thinking system 2

This system contains our conscious experience and is analytical, It delegates to system 1.

Thinking system 1

This system is quick, non-rational and where we get free thinking and inspiration.

It uses compression and semantic models,skimming content instead of analysing it. We use this system to search and find content before system 2 engages for reading and interpretation.

System 1 uses simplified models to find meaning.

These systems work together most of the time, but on occasion they conflict.

Memory

Memory trumps experience, we throw away all of the detail of experience and just keep key thoughts.

We plan a process from our perspective, this doesn’t necessarily align to business processes and functions, such as providing feedback.

Our brain rewards the creation of new models and identities, but it is always cheaper to relate to established ones.

Reward model

Many companies are now tapping into the notion of rewards to improve user experience. They have created models to reward users, such as associations and relevant terms when searching for ideas.

Intelligent content

This enables intelligence through to identity. Your creators and customers can internalise your semantic models. If you can get everyone to internalise this, then there is less need for recall which is stressful and tiring.

Familiarity and positivity go together, people enjoy moving through content that is familiar and consistent with their internal models.

A semantic model with metadata makes our content human, porting meaning to an output.

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It is an attitude shift, We need to stop framing users in the window of a medium. Assumptions and analytical aren’t enough, think about their experience.

Lessons learned

Write for system 1 and 2, define the layers and semantic models in your content – different perspectives and context.

Measure user memories, UX is just a means to an end. Digital can’t show customers the full journey and finally, set up your team properly – have all members of the team understand each other.

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Keynote: Findable, usable, re-usable: IBM’s enterprise content strategy for smart content – Michael Priestley (IBM)

Michael is a content strategist at IBM, today’s talk is about how to create a strategy to output smart content.

Story so far

Firstly, content matters and we have to work together to create it. At IBM they continued to experience scope creep around content development, the naming of the output continued to change.

The user experience is not limited to the design of the product, content contributes just as much to delivering a beautiful UX and customer experience. A large proportion of users believe good technical content reflects well on their perception of the brand.

Content

To understand the complexity of your content ecosystem, you need to map it. To start mapping, you need to ask a lot of questions about technology, classification and types.

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You will also need to build relationships and buy-in from technical, authors and management over time – aligning them to the mission and strategy.

Many departments within IBM are interested in DITA implementation and capabilities, developers are scared of this.

With so many independent content teams operating within IBM’s ecosystem, it was important to understand and agree on definitions and terminology – for example, modularisation. Understandings varied between teams.

Findable, usable, re-usable

Common standards, processes and tools are at the core of creating findable,usable and re-usable content.

Content should be:

  • searchable on topic instead of author, and should come to the user.
  • aligned to user goals, it shouldn’t clutter up the screen
  • easy to create and share, storing content as personal collections to revisit time and again.

Any re-usable content is invisible to Google, and doesn’t get indexed multiple times.

Authoring

With findable content, as an author you should consider what is already available. This informs the planning process.

Usable content authorship should employ a common design approach and metrics/feedback.

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Options for managing multiple content teams

To manage complex content ecosystem:

  • Centralise content, providing a hub for reuse across multiple teams and outputs.
  • Use content standards.
  • Provide content services to ease assembly and create applications to manage these standards.

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Smart content

The basic premise of smart content is information that is free of context and format, discipline and product boundaries.

If you love your content, set it free.

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Congility: Day Two

Day two is nearly underway with Julian Murfitt’s opening address ” Human factors: how to avoid a content strategy plane crash”.

Drawing on lessons learned from the aviation industry, Julian will align human factors to content strategy, emphasising their importance on par with technology and process.

Sounds like it is going to be an interesting start to the day, with an intensive content strategy deep dive ahead following a focus on technical communications yesterday.

With that, today’s sessions look like:

  • Findable, usable, reusable: IBM’s enterprise content strategy for smart content (Michael Priestley)
  • The biological imperative for intelligent content: Why nature says we should give content more agility (Noz Urbina)
  • Enabling content contributions throughout and beyond the enterprise (Patrick Baker and Les Burnham)
  • The balanced scorecard: measuring the success of enterprise content (Dawn Stevens)
  • We are all content marketers now (Charles Cooper)
  • Modularising industry standards – an ongoing case study (Anthony Davey)
  • Content Strategy panel (multiple panelists)
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Component content management is the fire, mobility is the gasoline – Eric Kuhnen & Michael Rosinski (Astoria)

This afternoons talk will be on mobile, specifically content management, creation and strategy for mobile. Eric and Michael work for Astoria Software developing Mobile and CRM solutions.

Mobility

Bring your own device being exchanged for bring your own experience, BYOD to BYOE.

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Trust and transparency are key to a mobile strategy. Think big. Start small and act quickly.

Feedback

An author-feedback loop should be built into any new mobile solution, this allows end users to provide feedback and comments about content. This feeds into a customer experience team to be managed as per the nature and specialism of the request – fed out to the relevant teams and SME’s. This leads to an change request process whereby prioritisation of actions can be assessed and decisions taken about what to fix, how to fix it and how quickly we can react.

Astoria have created a number of specialist apps connected to this feedback loop which allow different teams to react to feedback, this could bet SME’s quickly reviewing information following a comment about accuracy.

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