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Make It All About Your Audience (Deliver What They Want, How They Want, When They Want)

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It’s all about the audience and we hear that all the time. Know your audience. Articles and discussions abound about the informed consumer, audience metrics, and personas. How do you actually organize and create content geared to multiple audiences?
Learn tips and techniques for planning, writing, and publishing which help you deliver the right information, to the right audience, in the right format, at the right time, and let them make the right decisions.

Published in: Business
  • Bogus requirements for download. No longer interested.
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  • Thank you for this! There are some good things that we'll consider for our project. I've been using Hackos books for reference - Information Development and Managing Your Documentation Projects. We did a major procedure re-architecture about 6 years ago and we're ready for the next phase of it. We need to further break out our categories of document types - to deliver the right "job aid" level type checklists to the right users, and still provide some higher level procedures to our external customers with our who/what/when types of rules and actions (process as opposed to software level user guides). I like the concept of the big "books" - as one of the risks we've discussed with the project is splintered information without ties back to their "parent" documents.
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Make It All About Your Audience (Deliver What They Want, How They Want, When They Want)

  1. 1. Bernard Aschwanden www.publishingsmarter.com bernard@publishingsmarter.com Audience focused delivery 12:25 1 @publishsmarter
  2. 2. Overall Objectives 12:25@publishsmarter 2  It's all about the audience.  Discussions abound about the informed consumer, audience metrics, and personas, but how do you actually organize and create content geared to multiple audiences?  Learn tips and techniques for planning, writing, and publishing which help you deliver the right information, to the right audience, in the right format, at the right time, and let them make the right decisions.
  3. 3. Housekeeping and note taking 12:25@publishsmarter 3  A/V concerns: Turn off other apps that hog bandwidth  Not all slides or topics are equally weighted  Use some, discard others  Slides speed varies (reference)  Questions? Ask along the way!  I’d love to claim errors/typos is on purpose… they isn’t, ain’t, and weren’t never;
  4. 4. About your speaker 12:25@publishsmarter 4  Publishing Smarter: President  Content strategist, publishing technologies expert, author, and geek- enough  Certified Technical Trainer  DITA  Content management  Topic-based writing  Society for Technical Communication  Past President  STC Associate Fellow
  5. 5. Solving business problems through communication 12:25@publishsmarter 5  We help clients:  By helping clients:
  6. 6. Standard disclaimer 12:25@publishsmarter 6  In the interest of brevity I will make some blanket statements to keep it simple  It’s not all 100% “the truth”, but I’ll stay close  Purists may complain  And they are wrong!  (except when they are right)  These slides are to guide you, not to write rules in stone
  7. 7. Thinking about your user @publishsmarter 12:25 7 A few easy steps
  8. 8. What do differing audiences want? 12:25@publishsmarter 8  Tailored content  Not “the complete dummies guide to using a Windows or Macintosh or Linux system from novice to expert and covering what a mouse is as well as how to configure server blades as a PDC or BDC for web hosting”  Instead, they want to get content that is specific  To their product  To their platform  To their abilities  Actually, they don’t want that at all. What they want is…
  9. 9. They want you to get rid of the problem 12:25@publishsmarter 9  Stuff to work  Stop writing content, start to solve the problem  If you TRULY want to deliver what the audience wants, focus on reducing their need for documentation  If you can’t reduce their need for it, reduce the volume  If you must deliver to many audiences at once, give them as little content as possible, as focused as possible
  10. 10. Document review 12:25@publishsmarter 10  Start by reading your content  ID what can go away, and do so early  The less to review and clean up in detail, the better  Why write product specific content at all?  If I am reading “Microsoft Word 2020 for Windows 10 User Guide” I don’t need to see “You can save a file in Microsoft Word 2020 for Windows 10” as a sentence.  I defy you to tell me what software the following slide is documenting!
  11. 11. Print (for every software tool, ever) 12:25@publishsmarter 11
  12. 12. Searched Google for ‘how to print word’ 12:25@publishsmarter 12
  13. 13. Got this as the first hit... (ARGH) 12:25@publishsmarter 13 https://support.office.com/en-ca/article/Printing-and-print-preview-1c15515c-98b5-4421-baa9-68b7a870398a
  14. 14. Includes a video on how to print, plus Access 12:25@publishsmarter 14
  15. 15. Excel, OneNote, and Outlook 12:25@publishsmarter 15
  16. 16. PowerPoint and Project 12:25@publishsmarter 16
  17. 17. Publisher, Visio 12:25@publishsmarter 17
  18. 18. And finally, Word... (oh, go somewhere else) 12:25@publishsmarter 18
  19. 19. And once there, I can scroll down 12:25@publishsmarter 19
  20. 20. And continue to scroll down 12:25@publishsmarter 20
  21. 21. I got annoyed MAKING these slides 12:25@publishsmarter 21
  22. 22. Here it is. Finally. 12:25@publishsmarter 22
  23. 23. What I finally found What I suggest about a day ago Follow these steps to print a document. 1. Click the File tab, and then click Print. TIP To go back to your document and make changes before you print it, click the File tab. 2. The properties for your default printer automatically appear in the first section. When the properties for your printer and document appear the way that you want them to, click Print to print the document. NOTE To change the properties for your printer, under the printer name, click Printer Properties. Print content  Prerequisite: Ensure a file is open, a printer configured, and that you have a martini ready! 1. Select File > Print. Specify options, if required. 2. Click Print. It’s that easy. Now have a martini. Let’s compare approaches and content 12:25@publishsmarter 23
  24. 24. And the sad thing is... 12:25@publishsmarter 24  Every. Single. Screen. Was. The. Same. Info  Or at least, it could have been  Even that wasn’t the case:  Access: 1. Click the File tab, and then click Print.  Excel For information about previewing and printing in Excel, see:  Preview worksheet pages before printing  Print a worksheet or workbook  OneNote: 1. Click the File tab, and then click Print.  Most others follow that standard.  In most: 2. When the properties for your printer and document appear the way that you want them to, click Print.
  25. 25. Is it the tools we use? @publishsmarter 12:25 25 What is the solution?
  26. 26. One part is the tools we use 12:25@publishsmarter 26  Tools are part of the problem, but a small part  The biggest issues are:  Legacy: But we always wrote it that way. (Um, we also “always” did …)  People: They think they know what your users want. They don’t. At least, not if there isn’t research.  So, before we get to anything with software, deal with history and the people in the organization  Review the past, learn from it  Attend conferences or webinars, learn from them  Talk to users, learn from them  Watch how people (users, partners, competitors) do things, and learn from them
  27. 27. Paragraph design 12:25@publishsmarter 27  When publishing to online outputs, you can drop entire paragraph types, so organize information well  Step  StepInfo  StepExample  StepResult  Don’t write this: Select File > Print, and in the dialog box that appears, specify options, if required, and then click Print. It’s that easy. Now have a martini.  Break content into logical components  Easier to find  Easier to update (look/feel)  Easier to publish  Yes, you can do a lot of this in Microsoft Word as well!
  28. 28. Conditional content 12:25@publishsmarter 28  Use conditional text for  Comments  Watermarks  Revision tracking (compare docs)  Set up conditions  Avoid overlapping if possible, but is supported  If using FrameMaker and structure  Manage conditions using elements, attributes and values  Automatically apply conditions to content  DITA also uses attributes and ditaval files  Microsoft Word and conditions… Not so much!
  29. 29. Variables 12:25@publishsmarter 29  Yes, it’s cool to be able to swap out the product name  Or the audience, or even the platform  Now that we know it’s cool, avoid it  You are using a tool really, really well when you do this, but solving a problem that simply should go away
  30. 30. Longer term considerations @publishsmarter 12:25 30 Working with multiple documents
  31. 31. Text insets 12:25@publishsmarter 31  Repeated phrases  Simple content in headers or footers  Consider format choices when importing  Develop multiple text flows in a single document to store repeated phrases  If using DITA:  Review the use of conref
  32. 32. Books 12:25@publishsmarter 32  Consider using books and sharing files, or reusing topics (DITA?)  Add or remove entire chapters as required  Change numbering appearance from book  Generate files from a book on an “as needed” basis for specific purposes  Build generated files, then rename them to Table of Contents.fm or to Index.fm or to List of Figures.fm and so on  avoids names being based on book (i.e. Book is Europe.book so there are EuropeTOC.fm, EuropeIX.fm and so on)  books can not be renamed if defaults are used without renaming generated files  Create “super books” that contain all your files
  33. 33. Let’s see a sample of some of the ideas @publishsmarter 12:25 33 Deliver the goods
  34. 34. Organize and create content for your audiences 12:25@publishsmarter 34  Plan  Identify what you need to write in the first place  Once you know what you truly need, you likely write less  The audience will appreciate it  Form a content strategy, perform content analysis, get professional templates, and use the tools to their full potential  Write  Create only the parts you identified in the plan (and get sign-offs in writing)  Consider topic-based (task/concept/reference) to focus the writing  Let the SME contribute, the manager deal with issues, and technical communicators deal with content (all types of content)  Publish  Deliver the right information, to the right audience, in the right format, at the right time, and let them make the right decisions
  35. 35. Want to see something REALLY cool? 12:25@publishsmarter 35
  36. 36. This is a very basic, normal FrameMaker file 12:25@publishsmarter 36
  37. 37. It has minimal format; all “out of the box” 12:25@publishsmarter 37
  38. 38. What have I done so far? 12:25@publishsmarter  Written text  Assigned paragraph tags  Title, Heading1, Heading2, Body, Numbered1, Numbered, Indented  Assigned character tags  Emphasis  Added some graphics (screen shots, pasted right into FrameMaker... Yes, I know, should be referenced)  For the purpose of the slides I reduced them (to fit better)  For publish I’m using fullsize  Added some index entries, all very basic stuff 38
  39. 39. Now let’s see where we can go beyond “default” 12:25@publishsmarter  First, I’ll publish it “as is”  File > Publish  Going to create Responsive HTML5 output only  Review the output  Then I’ll mock up a better solution to this thing  Create some conditions  Word  Excel  PowerPoint  Apply them, and publish the defaults  Apply them, and publish using Dynamic Content Filter (which, if I may say, is TOTALLY AWESOME!) 39
  40. 40. What we did, and what is next @publishsmarter 12:25 40 Conclusion and contact
  41. 41. Recap of the session 12:25@publishsmarter 41  It's all about the audience.  Discussions abound about the informed consumer, audience metrics, and personas, but how do you actually organize and create content geared to multiple audiences?  Learn tips and techniques for planning, writing, and publishing which help you deliver the right information, to the right audience, in the right format, at the right time, and let them make the right decisions.
  42. 42. Personalized demo with YOUR content? 12:25@publishsmarter 42 905 833 8448 (Eastern Time) bernard@publishingsmarter.com www.linkedin.com/in/bernardaschwanden @publishsmarter –or– @aschwanden4stc www.publishingsmarter.com

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