• Save
Small steps to content strategy
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Small steps to content strategy



Neil Perlin's content strategy presentation for LavaCon 2011

Neil Perlin's content strategy presentation for LavaCon 2011



Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



0 Embeds 0

No embeds



Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment
  • 1
  • 5
  • 17
  • 5
  • 5
  • 5
  • 7
  • 2
  • 17
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 15
  • 7
  • 2
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 17
  • 2

Small steps to content strategy Small steps to content strategy Presentation Transcript

  • Small Steps to Content Strategy
  • Who Am I?
    • Neil Perlin - Hyper/Word Services.
      • In tech. comm. since ‘79 at DEC.
      • Creating hypertext since ’85, WinHelp since ’90, HTML since ‘91.
      • Training and consulting on HATs since ’95, XML, mobile devices, single-sourcing, structured authoring since ‘98.
      • Certified – Captivate, Mimic, Flare, RoboHelp, MobiFlex, others now gone.
  • Contents
    • Why Have a “Content Strategy”?
    • Big Issues in Small Steps
    • Why Have a “Content Strategy”?
  • Shifting Environment
    • We’re in an era of increasing flux:
      • Writing in relative decline vs. other forms of comm.
      • “ Content” being created by more sources in more forms than ever before.
      • More single sourcing to more different outputs.
      • Technology advancing rapidly, with brand new things coming.
  • The Response
    • Working under these conditions quickly, cost-effectively, and responsively means defining and formalizing how we create and manage content – a strategy.
      • The “winging it” days are ending.
      • May also help tech comm justify its existence by participating in and even helping direct the larger strategy.
  • Why Now? Why Not Now?
    • Now?
      • You’re at a transition point – preparing to go online or switch online formats anyway.
      • Your workflow problems have grown to the point that it’s time to take action.
      • Content strategy is hip, we’re hip, ergo…
    • Not now?
      • No reason – defining CS simply boils down to revisiting how and why you work the way you do and changing as necessary.
  • Philosophy and Cautions
    • Distinguish between strategy and tactics.
      • Prepare for the former before doing the latter.
    • Make decisions deliberately.
      • Avoid the “Ready, fire, aim… oops” approach.
      • But avoid paralysis by over-analysis.
    • Anticipate a continuing, often messy effort.
  • An Unpleasant Question
    • What doc group goals are we pursuing?
    • What company goals are we pursuing?
      • Does the company know or care that doc is pursuing those goals – e.g. indicates doc’s credibility within the company.
    • Big Issues In Small Steps
  • Four Big Issues
    • Strategic Direction
    • Definitions
    • Culture
    • Standards
  • Strategic Direction
    • What’s the company’s strategic business direction?
    • How does doc support that direction?
      • In the past, doc was reactive and didn’t have to know about strategic direction.
      • Today, as companies are adapting to weird new technologies (Twitter? QR codes?), we have to help make decisions.
      • If not, then others will make decisions for us.
  • Help Define That Direction
    • Learn the company’s direction in general and with regard to “content,” NOT “doc.”
      • Such as social media.
    • Help set that content and general direction.
      • Get enough credibility to get involved.
      • Stay involved to keep, extend that credibility.
    • Think ahead and extensibly.
      • Stay on the edge – embrace technical change.
  • Definitions
    • “ Strategy” – Must define it to create it.
      • Business aspects, technologies, other?
    • “ Topic-based authoring”
    • “ Structured authoring”
      • May just mean that content has “structure”.
    • “ Online” – Web? Browser-based online help or doc? PDF? Mobile? Other?
    • Any other?
  • Culture and Politics
    • How does doc relate to other groups?
    • With what representatives? Credibility?
      • Willingness to speak other groups’ language.
      • Effect of company culture when picking reps.
        • Young, petite, shy women may have problems.
        • So may lone reps and hostile writers.
        • Need a political sense.
      • Doc reps must participate in all events.
  • Need To/Willingness To Keep Up
    • Hard to keep up with technology and tool changes.
      • Names are confusing or confusingly similar:
        • Windows Help vs. Windows Help.
        • WebHelp vs. Web Help.
        • HTML Help vs. HTML help.
        • Single sourcing vs. multi-channel publishing.
        • Chrome?
        • Google Docs?
        • Native apps vs. web apps vs. eBooks.
  • Need To/Willingness To Keep Up
    • The issues:
      • What are these new technologies? Tools?
      • How and when may they affect my company?
        • And me?
      • Are people amenable to keeping up?
      • Will strategic change make people leave?
        • You’ll gain people with new tool and technology skills but lose people with domain knowledge.
  • Political Issues
    • Missing the point – Doing something for coolness, or not wanting to kill a bad idea for fear of losing a learning opportunity.
    • Infeasibility – A plan to kill the doc group by having the engineers write the content, or wanting to “automate” doc work via a CMS.
      • Yet the idea keeps popping up…
  • Political Issues
    • Posturing – Pushing “bold leaps,” even if impractical, unneeded, or harmful.
    • Turf – Content strategy may require some-one to give up some power.
    • Competition – “Content” is cool and pays well, so consultants are now competitors.
      • Defining a content strategy is often what they do; we need to do so too in order to compete.
  • Standards
    • Does/would your company support:
      • External standards – For technologies, outputs, etc.
        • From external bodies – W3C, OASIS, IDPF...
        • Like XML, HTML 5, CSS, ePub, mobi…
        • May affect tool selection.
      • Internal standards – For workflows.
        • Like information structure and templates, indexing, wording, CSS specifics, etc.
  • Some Broad Standard Suggestions
    • Consider your culture.
      • Make standards “invisible” by embedding them if possible, like Flare’s master stylesheet.
      • Publicize the standards, train people on them, made adherence mandatory.
  • And Some Specific Ones…
    • Think ahead – will these idea fly in your company?
      • Develop in-house expertise.
      • Stay out of the code.
      • Use styles and CSS for all formatting.
      • Stay flexible – font sets, relative sizes.
      • Validate your code – try http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator
      • Think inside the box – Avoid tool “hacks”.
  • Validation Example
    • For example, this page:
  • Validation To This…
    • From Jigsaw – but do these errors matter?
  • Thinking Outside That Box…
    • This WinHelp code: Produced this:
  • Until the Box Closed…
    • As HAT HTML converter “fixed” to this:
    • Next Steps…
    • Once you understand the environment, you can move from strategy to specific tactics:
      • Information analysis and type definition.
      • Control mechanism definition.
      • Output definition and cross-output feature set “rationalization”
      • Sources and types of content, writing changes.
      • Tool evaluation/re-evaluation, purchase.
  • As You Do, Remember…
    • KISS!
    • Plan before you begin in order to:
      • Minimize flailing and operational disruption during implementation.
      • Help internalize the processes in the company.
      • Minimize feature and expectation creep, esp. in political environments.
    • KISS!
  • Thank you... Questions? Hyper/Word Services 978-657-5464 [email_address] www.hyperword.com Twitter: NeilEric
  • Hyper/Word Services Offers…
    • Training • Consulting • Development
      • Flare • RoboHelp • RoboInfo • Mobile
      • Mimic • Captivate
      • XML
      • Single sourcing • Structured authoring