Driving Enterprise Content Strategy with Only Guerilla Staff

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Get the content strategy you want by tying your work to the things that matter to business, savvy metrics, intentional stakeholder management, and maximizing the capacity of the kindred spirits around …

Get the content strategy you want by tying your work to the things that matter to business, savvy metrics, intentional stakeholder management, and maximizing the capacity of the kindred spirits around you. Presented at LavaCon 2013.

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  • 1. Driving Enterprise Content Strategy (with only guerilla staff) Alyson Riley IBM 22 October 2013
  • 2. About me Technical communicator since 1995, doing stuff like: — Systems thinking — Content strategy — Content metrics—the business value of content — Information architecture (I organize my closets for fun) — Interaction design for content delivery — Usability, analysis to validation — User-centered design — Scenario-driven information StrengthsFinder 2.0: — Strategic (patterns!) — Maximizer (excellence!) — Ideation (ideas, connections!) — Input (variety, complexity!) — Activator (action!) architecture Senior Content Strategist on IBM’s corporate Client Technical Content Experience (CTCX) team in the IBM CIO organization Columnist (with Andrea Ames) for The Strategic IA in STC’s Intercom magazine @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Just so you can’t say I didn’t warn you Most of this presentation is going to be about: 1. Metrics 2. Stakeholder management Try not to be disappointed, OK? @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 4. You can stop listening after this chart, if you want. If you want to do content strategy: — You must adopt this mindset: “Nice to have” is dead If it's not business-critical, no one will care If no one cares, no one will support (read: fund) you — You must prove these things: Your work addresses critical business issues Content has strategic business value — You must start small but think big: Maximize what you have Build a conspiracy of competency Adopt a community-driven model Demonstrate value in crawl―walk―run increments @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 5. Your mindset: Search out problems & opportunities @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 6. Toward business-critical Look for the “Why?” behind the strategy — Change, challenge, or opportunity in the marketplace? — Innovation in the IT landscape? — Trend or sea-change in financial realities or global dynamics? Why what matters — Strategic priorities vs. point-in-time tactics — Investment vs. legacy — Revenue generation vs. cost center Use systems thinking skills to find opportunities to add value — Contribute to market plays, innovation, or customer requirements — Contribute to the priorities of the enterprise, business unit, or product — Prove that your results are something that customers want — Prove that your strategy supports business strategy @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 7. Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at the problem space content A generalized view of IBM’s product lifecycle @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 8. Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at your “users” A layered view of “the client” Are you thinking about your clients and their needs holistically? @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 9. Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at product performance @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 10. Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at content performance @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 11. (another way of saying what the previous chart said) See all this? Yeah, content makes this happen. How effective is your content? How do you know? @ak_riley @LavaCon Graphic lifted from Aiden Creative Digital Marketing Agency ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Content drives stuff that matters to business. Analyze the system to find business problems and opportunities. Make your case for what you want to accomplish, built around critical problems and opportunities. And get ready to prove it. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 13. Proving value: A framework for telling the right story @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 14. First: Who? …implement content strategy. …fund us (or not). — We need them. — We need them. — Many kinds of content people — We must stop trying to will help implement an enterprise content strategy. — Content people tend to reflect the values of where they live in the enterprise. Even “kindred spirits” can have widely different goals and metrics. — Identify common ground by speaking to what matters most to these people and reflects their worldview. “educate them” and start speaking their language. — We speak their language by proving value using business metrics that matter in the marketplace. — Unless we can make a direct connection between our content work and metrics that drive business, we will fail. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 15. A test Who are we speaking to when we talk about this stuff? Site visitors Page hits Visitor location Most popular pages Least popular pages Bounce rate Time spent on page Referrers Search terms Etc. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 16. We content people need to tell a better story Become a story-teller —Define the right vision —Tell a compelling story that inspires people to buy in to your vision. Evolve from good stories to best stories —What makes a story true? Facts—things you can prove. —What makes a story compelling? It speaks to what matters most. —What matters most? Depends on your audience. Duh, right? Prove value with the right metrics —Value is in the eye of the beholder—know your beholders. —Use metrics that target actual decision-makers. —Figure out what your actual decision-makers value—their metrics for success. —Cold hard truth: Your actual decision-makers are probably business people—executives and others who hold the purse-strings. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 17. Sell your story to a business audience The metrics we use to create good content strategy do not resonate with most outside our discipline: Example content metrics: Site visitors Page hits “Page hits” resonates with us. Visitor location Most popular pages Least popular pages Bounce rate Time spent on page Referrers Search terms Example business metrics: Revenue streams Sales leads Cost per lead Customer satisfaction “Sales leads” resonates with business. Customer loyalty Return on investment (ROI) Time to value Market share Mindshare You need a content strategist’s intuition to know how content supports business goals. Most business people don’t have that intuition. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 18. But don’t neglect that content audience Where do their goals align with yours? build bridges! Where do their goals conflict with yours? build business cases! When you need to build a business case, use metrics to: — Show problems and opportunities that content people care about — Bind your work to their highest priorities and goals for content — Reveal a clear and achievable pathway away from their current goals and toward new goals that would increase their value @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 19. Bridge the worlds of business and content Tie content metrics to the metrics that make a difference in the market Do the hard work: Research how content influences the metrics that are most important to the specific people you need for success. A simple starting point: How does content speed client success and time-to-value? direct link to customer value How does content drive purchase decisions? direct link to the revenue stream How does content impact product quality? direct link to customer loyalty How does content influence customer satisfaction? direct link to ROI How does content shape clients’ perceptions of your company? direct link to mindshare @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 20. Metrics mapping: A simple example Stakeholder Business metrics Content teams Marketing Executive ROI Cost per lead Campaign performance Conversion metrics Web team Social team Event team Sales Executive Viable leads Sales growth Product performance Sales enablement Education & training Beta programs Support Executive Call volume Call length Customer sat. Ticket deflection Web support team Call center team Development Executive Dev cost Market share Lines of code Compliance Quality and test Technical documentation team Developers who publish whitepapers and case studies Product community forum team Content metrics Web traffic Click-throughs Likes and shares Conversions Collateral distributed Cost per unit produced Proofs of Concept (PoCs) to sale Number of classes Beta program participants Cost per unit produced Amount of web information produced Volume of calls reduced Time-to-resolution reduced Cost per unit produced Lines of text, number of pages, etc. Cost per unit produced Web traffic Number of forum participants Sentiment analysis @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 21. Set business-savvy, metrics-driven content goals Business metrics Purchase decisions (revenue) Product quality (client loyalty) Customer satisfaction (ROI) Perceptions of company (mindshare) Example content metrics Example content goals Contribute to revenue Reach—visits, etc. stream through referrals Engagement—referrals, etc. from technical content that become sales leads. Contribute to product quality through by Reach—visits, etc. simplifying the amount of Engagement—referrals, etc. content in the user experience. Web traffic Direct feedback Ratings Shares (social) Create high value content that speeds customer time to success. Sentiment—nature and tone of social dialogue, etc. Direct feedback Create high quality, highly usable content delivered in an elegant information experience. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 22. Telling a better story: An IBM example We’re learning to tell a better story for a business audience We conducted a survey with clients and prospective clients— here’s the data: Shameless ad: See the May issue of STC’s Intercom for my article on proving the business value of content (co-authored with Andrea Ames & Eileen Jones) @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 23. Metrics—the best weapon in your arsenal Metrics have gotten a bad rap — Numbers can be hard for word people — The right numbers are hard for everyone — Getting metrics to work for you requires a significant shift in thinking Rethink metrics — Metrics are like audience analysis (who cares about what?) — Metrics are like usability testing (what works for whom?) Embrace metrics — Metrics get you what you want — Metrics ensure you want the right things — Metrics transform opinion into fact — Metrics remove emotion from analysis Strategize with metrics at every phase — Beginning: identify opportunity, prove the strategy is right — Middle: show incremental progress, course-correct — End: prove value and earn investment for the future @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 24. The sell: Tell a compelling story for each audience Logos Logic, data, clarity, evidence— either inductive (bottom-up) or deductive (top-down) reasoning Use metrics to: Speak to the analytical mind Tell the “black and white” part of your strategy Articulate facts that prove that your strategy is a good one Ethos Pathos Your authority, credibility, professionalism, and authenticity Emotional appeal, vivid imagery, creative envisioning, imagining Use expert communication to: Prove that you own the space Provide powerful evidence that you are worthy of trust and investment Build a network of influencers Use vision to: Speak to the heart Inspire people to believe Craft a narrative that resonates and lingers long after you’ve left the room @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 25. Think big, start small: Organize for success @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 26. Maximize an asset you already have: Stakeholders Whose agendas do you need to understand to be successful? — Which influencers can help you? What are their agendas? — Which influencers could block you? What are their agendas? — How can you help your influencers be successful? — How can you map your success to business priorities and metrics? Manage your stakeholders intentionally: — Their top concerns — Their metrics — The level of support you desire from them — What role they play (or you’d like them to play) in your work — The actions that you want them to take (and their priority) “Stakeholder management is critical to the success of every project in every organization … By engaging the right people in the right way in your project, you can make a big difference to its success... and to your career.” —Rachel Thompson Stakeholder Management: Planning Stakeholder Communication. MindTools. Web. 12 April 2013. Free stakeholder management worksheet here: http://bit.ly/8UnUdj — The messages that you need to craft for them to enable the outcome you want @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 27. Note: Maneuvering people is not necessarily evil To make content strategy happen, you have to master politics Think of it as a game—moving pieces on a board — You can’t touch the pieces directly to move them where you want — You have to inspire them to move — You inspire them by figuring out what they care about and helping them succeed It doesn’t have to be an evil game — Look for win-win alliances and opportunities — Discover and play to people’s strengths — Don’t get bogged down by pieces on the board that “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.” —Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card refuse to move—looks for paths around them — Enjoy the wins—be sure to share the rewards — Learn from the losses—keep your eye on the end game on not on emotional setbacks @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 28. Build a “conspiracy of the competent” Search out kindred spirits who get it Connect with influencers who demonstrate: — Systems thinking — Excellence in results — Work ethic (doers, not just talkers) — Sophistication in playing the game — Strengths that shore up your weaknesses Drive a conspiracy of guerilla warriors: — Strategize together — Work around the pawns, sheep, and fools together — Complete missions together — Celebrate wins and learn from losses together @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 29. Adopt a community-driven framework executive sponsor business unit sponsors competent content thought leaders from each domain content teams from each domain Network of supportive allies content marketing graphic design writers editors interaction design product management engineering infrastructure gurus @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 30. Your starting point might look more like this… sponsor competent thought leaders some random kindred spirits you met along the way That’s OK. Just start. Start somewhere. If you build it (right), they will come. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 31. Community-based model: Getting started Define the common problem — What hurts? — What are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)? Define the common vision — Where are we going? — What will it look like when we arrive? Define common priorities — What matters most? — What common metrics unite us? Define success — Which metrics will we be measured against? — Which metrics accurately assess the tomorrow-state? @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 32. Demonstrate value: Crawl—Walk—Run Crawl: Small, measurable projects — Build relationships and trust — Demonstrate value “Boil not the ocean.” — Measure incremental progress Walk: Bigger scope, more sophisticated work — Build on lessons learned —Some wise person, like Gandhi or Chuck Norris or Bon Jovi — Leverage the key contributors — Grow your network Run: End game — Define enough of the end game vision at project outset to inspire the previous phases — Don’t worry too much about this phase until you have learned what you need to learn—not everything needs to be defined in order to act! Communicate constantly—up, down, across — Take interim measurements — Maintain sponsor and stakeholder enthusiasm — Course-correct as needed @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 33. Don’t do it like this: 4 stories from the trenches @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 34. Story 1: In which I fail to use metrics intelligently What I saw What I did A content producer working on a Argued! certain type of content is troublesome: About content quality— Doesn’t get the big picture redundancy, inconsistency Doesn’t get content About an elegant user experience Is belligerent Is territorial and siloed What I should’ve seen What I should’ve done Her success is measured differently than my success! What’s behind her metrics? Find a way to map my metrics to hers and evolve her vision: Her success metrics: increase volume of content; promote strong brand identity for her team My success metrics: simplify the information experience; deliver a “one IBM” information experience Increase volume of content Increase impact of content (reuse internally; visibility externally) Promote strong brand identity for her team Prove team value @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 35. Story 2: In which I fail to manage a problem personality What I saw What I did A writer on a “legacy” product wanted to keep writing books forever: Got frustrated—argued, yet again! Doesn’t understand value of modular content Doesn’t value reuse Internal efficiency metrics External experience metrics Industry trends Doesn’t get DITA What I should’ve seen What I should’ve done She’s afraid! Give her a path to future security that resonates with her values: Of failure with the new technology Of losing her eminence and position as subject matter expert within her organization Of losing her job We have these problems—current approaches don’t solve them! We need a solution or we all fail I need your help You’re a thought leader We can’t do this without you Start together on a small project to demonstrate value and earn trust. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 36. Story 3: In which I think “of course we should do this” What I saw What I did This is an obvious solution to an obvious problem. We must do this. And we are a happy family: Ran meetings. Same company Same vision Same goals Kept agendas and minutes. Wondered why I was the one doing all the work. Got frustrated. What I should’ve seen What I should’ve done The problem wasn’t obvious. Test the shared-ness of the vision: The solution wasn’t obvious. The team was giving me lip service. The team wasn’t a team. The sponsors weren’t engaged. Collaborate on a plan and formalize buy-in (will you put your money where your mouth is?) Disseminate responsibility (will you stand up and own this?) Communicate progress & impact @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 37. Story 4: In which I am too abstract What I saw What I did A team of content people from different business units who each: Kept trying to explain (read: forged ahead blindly, not realizing that anything was wrong). But… See big picture Think abstractly Noted lack of progress Use models Watched participation plummet Felt awkward What I should’ve seen Meeting conversations were weird: What I should’ve done I spent too much time explaining Realize that few people can start at the abstract level. The content people discussed our purpose and work in ways that didn’t make sense. Find a small, measurable, concrete project to work on. Work together = learn together. Sponsors didn’t see the work: The team wasn’t socializing it Generate team results—then work together to abstract out the key findings. @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 38. And that’s all she wrote. Any questions? thanks @ak_riley @LavaCon ©2013 IBM. All rights reserved.