Content Strategy Across Industries

What does higher education have to do with healthcare or finance? More than you might think!

Conference Revelations

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Confab Higher Ed. As always, Confab offered a variety of fantastic talks – so many that it was difficult to choose between them. But what most struck me wasn’t the brilliance of the speakers, or the breadth and depth of the information, or even the variety of perspectives.

What struck me was the ways in which higher education topics apply to healthcare and finance. Continue Reading


Live from ConfabEDU: Too Many Cooks!

Too Many Cooks: How to overcome content interference so you can do your job, by Jared Thomas Meyer

Content interference can result in websites that don’t reflect goals, movie posters that don’t reflect the movie, and logos that are terrible.

You end up with: https://xkcd.com/773/

What is content interference?

The unsolicited, unwanted, and often uninformed opinion of an interloper that delays or alters carefully crafted content.

We ask for feedback in our process. Content interference isn’t feedback.

Why do people interfere?

  • Visibility is power
  • Competing interests
  • Content strategy is a mystery
  • Expertise is really difficult to prove (and easy to fake) Continue Reading

Live from ConfabEDU: Getting real about content workflow for your CMS

Getting real about content workflow for your CMS, by Rick Allen

Workflows can be highly personal. So can lunch… and you don’t need it to be fancy, necessarily. You just need it to work for you.

  • Exciting? No.
  • Predictable? Yes.
  • Simple? Yes.
  • Convenient? Yes.
  • Get the job done? Yes.

Getting a content workflow together means understanding the work we do. Continue Reading


Live from ConfabEDU: The accessible user experience

The accessible user experience, by Robin Smail

Robin’s a Penn State UX designer. What is UX, and why should you care?

  • User experience encompasses everything people touch.
  • Usability is how well they can get what they need.
  • Accessibility is the inclusive practice of removing barriers to prevent interactions

There are many many definitions of accessibility though, which can be overwhelming. When admins here “accessible” they sometimes hear that as “costly litigation.” But we are all designing for people with low visibility, hearing issues, etc etc.

We don’t get to choose who our users are or what device they use. They choose that. Continue Reading


Live from LavaCon: Feed the Goldfish in 19 Minutes and 52 Seconds

Feed the Goldfish in 19 Minutes and 52 Seconds, by Stefan Gentz, AdobeSystems

In 2000 Microsoft conducted a study to measure attention span. They found people in a transient situation have a 12 second attention span (as of 2000).

What is decreasing our attention spans?

  • Media consumption (we do a lot)
  • Social media usage (we’re used to seeing a ton of short content)
  • Technology adoption rate (moves so fast!)
  • Multi-screening behavior (we switch between screens)

More and more people have ADHD. Is this also due to shorter attention spans?

What does all this mean from marketing and technical communications?

We’re moving from big drops to little drips. We need to engage people. We need to involve them, personalize and tailor to them.


Live from LavaCon: It’s Amazing What You Can Learn When You Actually Listen to Customers

It’s Amazing What You Can Learn When You Actually Listen to Customers, by Jon Ann Lindsey, Google

Jon Ann works in consumer help centers. She’s trying to get a handle on the quality of translated content, so she had experts review customer service emails and help articles across 11 countries, and the findings were surprising: they thought they knew their customers, but they got a lot of insights.

Good intentions are not sufficient to solve our (content) problems -Mary Parker Follett (with help from Jon Ann Lindsey)

Continue Reading


Live from LavaCon: Personalization of Content and the Power of Metrics

Live from LavaCon: Oded Ilan, Iridize

A lot of people in history made a lot of money telling people what was in the future. Soothsayers. Professor X can read minds. How do they all do it? In sci fi/fantasy they’re not real. But in real life people learn from past people and make you happy by telling you a story that’s similar to that and seems like it’s about you.

We have science and machines and AI now… it’s like a new religion. We just want to know someone’s taking care of us.

Continue Reading


Live from LavaCon: From Yellow Pads to Virtual Reality: The Evolving Role of Content Strategists

From Yellow Pads to Virtual Reality: The Evolving Role of Content Strategists, by Andrea Zeller, Facebook

Andrea’s agenda:

Starting by talking about Content Strategy at Facebook, then getting into the evolution of content strategy, and then how she writes for Virtual Reality.

The day her 3 year old son asked Siri where to find his red cape she realized her kid was talking to computers while she was trying to figure out what words to put into a chatbot.

Content strategists at Facebook “make Facebook more human.” The strategy part is where we consider more than just “what do we write” but also “who are we speaking to” and “why do they need this information” and “where are they in space.” It doesn’t matter what device or platform you’re writing for – you’re always trying to make it simple, straightforward, and human. Continue Reading


Live from LavaCon: Professionalization of Content Experience Specialists

Professionalization of Content Experience Specialists, by Aaron Roe Fulkerson, MindTouch

Exciting times for content strategists.

  • Focus on customer first
  • Think about metrics
  • Focus on crossing silos

You are a content experience manager.

Five principles to customer experience

  1. Self-service is undeniably the preferred channel
    • for support
    • for purchase
  2. Companies that don’t directly engage with their customers are going the way of the dodo
    • Survival of business is directly related to your ability to scale the needs of your customers
    • Most businesses that have been successful to this point have done that by having 3rd parties for sales, etc
  3. 90% of business revenue is from current customers – so customer support is crucial
    • Content is critically important to onboarding
    • Subscription-based business models are the way of the future
  4. New channels demand new content
    • Why are you using PDFs when your users are on mobile?!?!
    • If voice-activated searches are high with your users, make sure your content is accessible to search
  5. AI and Automation will replace customer support jobs
    • IBM says that by 2020 85% of customer support work will be automated
    • We need to create content to support that

To be a content experience metric you need to be holistic in your thinking. Customers don’t care why or how you do it – they just want a smooth, easy, good experience. Put their needs first.