Content Strategy and Content Management

Content Strategy & Content Management

 

In addition to providing excellent professional technical writing, Saiff Solutions has expertise in two areas crucial to any information-centric enterprise: Content Strategy and Content Management.

What is Content Strategy?  Content Strategy is the design of processes that support the goals of your enterprise by coordinating the creation, production, use, maintenance, delivery, and retirement (sunsetting) of content across the enterprise. A good content strategy accounts for all of the types of content and all of the content creators, modifiers, and users, enabling each person who interacts with any of your content to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency.

For example, in the development of a software product, the following people may create relevant content:

  • Product managers or marketers create business plans and requirements documents
  • Engineers create design and specification documents
  • Quality assurance engineers create test plans, test scripts, and other documents
  • Information developers create online help, administrator guides, user guides, reference guides, SDK guides, release notes, and other documents for customers
  • Support personnel create internal documentation for themselves as well as FAQs and knowledge base articles for customers
  • Training personnel create educational guides and tutorials
  • Sales engineers and marketing staff create reviewer’s guides, solution guides, data sheets, white papers, and other documents

Consider the volume of content created for just one major product release. Consider how much of that independently created content is remarkably similar. And yet, each content creator basically starts from scratch. The resulting content may be inconsistent or inaccurate. In cases where existing content is used in the creation of new content, inaccuracies in the original may be propagated to the new content, or new inaccuracies may be added.
Consider the difficulties involved in attempting to ensure that all of the above content refers to all products and product features consistently, and “sings the same tune” in presenting the benefits of the product.
Content Strategy asks, how can we make this all work better, at less cost, in less time, and with increased accuracy, effectiveness, and quality?
To create a content strategy that achieves these goals, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. There are existing tools and practices that have been deployed and tested at hundreds of enterprises that can be adopted to fit your needs and dramatically improve your results, while saving you money. But before you adopt tools and practices that may not fit for your enterprise, you should ask some key questions:

  • What kinds of content do we produce for each of our audiences?
  • What are the needs of each audience?
  • For each audience, and especially for our customer audiences (there may be several), in what contexts do they use our product and our content?
  • What are their roles?
  • How can our content be most effectively delivered to them?

The best way to answer these questions is to talk to the members of your content audiences themselves. Saiff Solutions has experience in developing survey instruments to gain such rich data, and in deploying those instruments in the most effective ways possible, to yield useful results that can enable you to develop a winning plan.

For example, inventory software that is used by truckers delivering product to retail stores may be hosted on tablet computers the truckers bring with them in their trucks. The user documentation for that software can be hosted on the same tablet computers, and also printed in a form that fits in the glove compartments. The documentation may include reference information that will enable a trucker to accomplish his tasks even if he has forgotten or lost his tablet. Other users, such as sales personnel, may primarily use the software on laptops or mobile phones, and will need the documentation to be usable on those devices. How do you get the right content to the right audience on the right device, in the format that works best on that device or in that location? It is often not just a simple matter of “Save As” the correct format. To create documents that are usable on each platform, a content strategy that incorporates topic-based authoring is essential.

Content Strategy involves answering such questions, and then using those answers to design or choose the processes, tools, and practices that will rationalize your content development, and your entire content life cycle.

Content Management is the implementation and maintenance of your content strategy. Saiff Solutions can assist you in all of these areas.

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Testimonials

“Barry [Saiff] truly is a force of nature – he is a consummate professional with deep technical expertise when it comes to technical writing which lets him just “get it” right out of the box. Barry pairs very strong writing skills with the ability to easily speak both “business analyst” and “software engineer” in the same meeting. Barry was the lead information developer for my product at Symantec, and I had the utmost confidence in his abilities and work ethic. On top of all that, Barry has a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh that can transform the work environment in an instance. I strongly endorse Barry’s many talents and would welcome working with him again in the future.”

Angelos Kottas
Principal Product Manager, Symantec
December 17, 2010

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