Avoiding content strategy trap: The iFixit.com Case Study


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In this opening keynote session at Content Strategy Applied EU, March 1, 2012, Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, explored The Content Strategy Trap and how failing to avoid it often leads well-intentioned strategists down the wrong path. Attendees will learn how avoiding the trap led one retailer (www.ifixit.com) to become a publisher of online repair manuals designed to teach "do-it-yourselfers" how to fix things, while selling them the goods they need to do the job. Sales are driven completely by visually engaging, standardized instructional content delivered to the web, to smartphones and to mobile devices. Return on investment is no longer a wild guess. It's directly tied to individual pieces of content. By thinking outside The Content Strategy Trap, the retailer has become the leader in their market. Their strategy is so successful that other retailers of products that require assembly, sometimes break, or need occasional maintenance are clamoring to replicate it.

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Avoiding content strategy trap: The iFixit.com Case Study

  1. 1. AvoidingThe Content Strategy Trapby Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler #CSA12 @ScottAbelContent Strategy Applied EU ~ March 1, 2012 ~ London
  2. 2. Scott Abel, The Content Wranglerweb: www.contentwrangler.com twitter: @contentwrangler
  3. 3. www.thecontentwrangler.comthe online resource for folks who view content as a business asset
  4. 4. www.thedynamicpublisher.comsite dedicated to educating people about dynamic delivery of content to customers
  5. 5. Content strategists managethe cost of value @ScottAbel#CSA12
  6. 6. Everything must track back to value
  7. 7. Words alone aren’t enough. Contentstrategists use mathematics to makethe business case for changes thatcreate value @ScottAbel #CSA12
  8. 8. Two sides to the content strategyreturn on investment coin savings from optimization; revenue from sales
  9. 9. To become indispensable, contentstrategists must help organizationsto reduce waste AND earn revenuefrom sales @ScottAbel #CSA12
  10. 10. UnderstandingThe Content Silo Trap‘Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy” (2012) by Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper
  11. 11. how do I dry out a wet iPhone? Publishing ‘How To’ Manuals That Sell Products: The iFixit.com Storyhow do I change the fuel filter how do fix a broken iPad screen?on a 2009 Honda Element? how do replace an Xbox power supply? by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler
  12. 12. many don’t recognize itToday, everyone is a publisher! very few organizations do it well
  13. 13. New formats, standards, devicesbut there are provide myriadobstacles to overcome opportunities for profit
  14. 14. 100% preventable, based onoutdated business practices Problem 1: Organizations are siloed prevents them from adopting a unified publishing strategy
  15. 15. Problem 2: WHNDITWH or it’s cousin, WHADITWH
  16. 16. Problem 3: Few role models prevents organizations from5 lucky registrants will receive a free copy of “Managing Enterprise Content:A Unified Content Strategy” [Second Edition] by Ann Rockley &of others mimicking successes Charles Cooper
  17. 17. they’ve been producing multi- channel content for decadesThere is a roadmap available well-documented, road-tested methods, best practices, standards exist -- just look at technical publishing!
  18. 18. iFixit.com Case Study and that’s exactly what the folks at iFixit.com did, but not without learning a few lessons along the way
  19. 19. millions of potential customers in the US aloneiFixit.com: Challenge/Opportunity to become the largest third-party seller of Apple replacement parts
  20. 20. become a proper distributoriFixit.com Round One: First Step identify manufacturers to provide products
  21. 21. put it on the web and sell world wideiFixit.com Round One: Second Step set up an online catalog of replacement parts
  22. 22. lather, rinse, repeat...iFixit.com Round One: Third Step make sales, earn tremendous profit
  23. 23. iFixit.com Round One: Results not really “very poor” but certainly not the excellent results they had hoped for
  24. 24. iFixit.com: First Lesson Learned build it and they will come (and buy) isn’t an eCommerce strategy
  25. 25. instructions provided by manufacturers are of questionable qualityiFixit.com: Second Lesson Learned
  26. 26. too much creativity andfreedom is a bad thingiFixit.com: Third Lesson Learned consistent, high quality content requires a standardized, repeatable structure
  27. 27. when teaching how to repair, maintain or build mechanical things, big images accompanied by a little text often communicates better than many words accompanied by a few picturesiFixit.com: Fourth Lesson Learnedimages help consumers believe theycan “fit it” without messing things up
  28. 28. old approaches no longer validiFixit.com: Fourth Lesson Learned Fifth Lesson Learned pdf was not the answer
  29. 29. recognize role as publisher adopt mobile-first strategyiFixit.com Round Two: First Steps re-imagine the service repair manual as a high quality, media-rich, socially-enabled, mobile-device-friendly, eCommerce platform
  30. 30. create multi-channel, device-and platform-agnostic content iFixit.com Round Two: Second Steps recognize the need for xml authoring environment that supports the separation of content from its formatting information
  31. 31. enlist the help of publishers that “get it” iFixit.com Round Two: Third Step create an easy-to-use standard designed to support the needs of readers and make content available on mobile devices of all types, including ones not yet envisioned
  32. 32. iFixit.com Round Two: Fourth Step build a community-based software platform allow both writers and community members to create repair manuals
  33. 33. iFixit.com Round Two: Fifth Step leverage keyword-rich content to drive traffic and generate sales of repair tools and replacement parts
  34. 34. iFixit.com Results: Google Juice users often discover iFixit.com via search
  35. 35. iFixit.com: Service Manualsrelevant keywords + rich media + simple instructions + social sharing = sales
  36. 36. iFixit.com: Paradigm shift dominant image plus minimal text
  37. 37. iFixit.com: Multiple outputs provide various viewing options
  38. 38. iFixit.com: Multiple outputs if you require a pdf, you can have one
  39. 39. iFixit.com: Multiple outputs embed code provided for social & blogs
  40. 40. iFixit.com: Multiple outputs content is marked up in oManual xml
  41. 41. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android content is ‘future-proofed’iFixit.com: Multiple devices content is dynamic published to mobile devices; updated automatically
  42. 42. iFixit.com: Questions/Answers community / collaboration / co-authoring
  43. 43. iFixit.com: Patrol users edit and monitor content
  44. 44. iFixit.com: Badges awards, points, deputizing
  45. 45. iFixit.com: Users user community, ratings
  46. 46. iFixit.com: Teams forming groups, consulting firms, niche communities
  47. 47. iFixit.com: Contribute users encouraged to contribute / form-based entry
  48. 48. iFixit.com: Contribute behind the form: oManual xml standard
  49. 49. iFixit.com: eCommerce they sell tools and parts to pay for it!
  50. 50. iFixit.com: Next steps professional / crowd-sourced translation
  51. 51. iFixit.com: Next steps create a movement for change
  52. 52. Scott Abel, The Content Wranglerweb: www.contentwrangler.com twitter: @contentwrangler