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Content Strategy Workshop

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Talk given by Gavin Austin, Principal Technical Writer, and Ted Kuster, Lead Technical Writer, at STC Silicon Valley meetup on February 2016

Customers no longer have the patience to read online help or user guides. To help customers better understand why they should use a variety of features, and renew their subscription-based apps, Salesforce conducted research to determine the content types that engaged customers most. The result—Salesforce changed its content strategy.

In this session, you’ll learn:

What types of interactive content we’re creating at Salesforce
Why Salesforce moved to interactive content over documentation
How a large company changed its content strategy and how customers responded

Published in: Engineering
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Content Strategy Workshop

  1. 1. Content Strategy Workshop How and Why Salesforce Changed Its Content Strategy Gavin Austin Ted Kuster gaustin@salesforce.com tkuster@salesforce.com @salesforcedocs
  2. 2. Safe Harbor • Safe harbor statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: • This presentation may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. If any such uncertainties materialize or if any of the assumptions proves incorrect, the results of salesforce.com, inc. could differ materially from the results expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements we make. All statements other than statements of historical fact could be deemed forward-looking, including any projections of product or service availability, subscriber growth, earnings, revenues, or other financial items and any statements regarding strategies or plans of management for future operations, statements of belief, any statements concerning new, planned, or upgraded services or technology developments and customer contracts or use of our services. • The risks and uncertainties referred to above include – but are not limited to – risks associated with developing and delivering new functionality for our service, new products and services, our new business model, our past operating losses, possible fluctuations in our operating results and rate of growth, interruptions or delays in our Web hosting, breach of our security measures, the outcome of any litigation, risks associated with completed and any possible mergers and acquisitions, the immature market in which we operate, our relatively limited operating history, our ability to expand, retain, and motivate our employees and manage our growth, new releases of our service and successful customer deployment, our limited history reselling non-salesforce.com products, and utilization and selling to larger enterprise customers. Further information on potential factors that could affect the financial results of salesforce.com, inc. is included in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year and in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the most recent fiscal quarter. These documents and others containing important disclosures are available on the SEC Filings section of the Investor Information section of our Web site. • Any unreleased services or features referenced in this or other presentations, press releases or public statements are not currently available and may not be delivered on time or at all. Customers who purchase our services should make the purchase decisions based upon features that are currently available. Salesforce.com, inc. assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.
  3. 3. Agenda 1. Who we are and who you are and why we should all care 2. Why Salesforce moved to more interactive content 3. What types of interactive content we’re creating 4. How we changed our content strategy 5. How we trained teams
  4. 4. Takeaway If you’re not creating interactive content beyond traditional documentation, you risk losing your customers.
  5. 5. 1. Who’s Who?
  6. 6. Who we are Gavin Austin Ted Kuster
  7. 7. Who are you? 1. What do you hope to learn? 2. Where do you work? 3. Your challenge?
  8. 8. About your content 1. Which types of content do you create? 2. Do you use structured content? 3. Which tools do you use? 4. What’s the scale?
  9. 9. What is content strategy? 1. “The analysis and planning to develop a repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire content lifecycle.” 2. “Provides context, so that the organization’s vision can be implemented in an integrated way, to meet business goals and project objectives.” Rahel Anne Bailie, The Language of Content Strategy
  10. 10. Salesforce’s content strategy Prioritize interactive content over traditional forms of content to give customers the types of information that they want to succeed.
  11. 11. Your strategy? In one or two sentences.
  12. 12. 2. Why Salesforce Added More Interactive Forms of Content
  13. 13. Does this kind of content look familiar?
  14. 14. What do customers need from content? •“Simplify documentation… It has always been far too lengthy and time- consuming.” •“If I have to leave a page to do research, I am going away… Having it right in the same place increases productivity.” •“There are a lot of videos about what you can do, but they don’t always show how to do it.” •“All documentation focuses on how-to, but we usually start off needing to know when-to or why-to.”
  15. 15. Why do we write content? Increase customer adoption. Reduce customer cases.
  16. 16. 3. What Salesforce Added for Interactivity
  17. 17. What types of content did we create? 1. Walkthroughs 2. Trailhead 3. Videos
  18. 18. What are walkthroughs?
  19. 19. What do our customers think?
  20. 20. What is Trailhead?
  21. 21. What do our customers think?
  22. 22. What are videos?
  23. 23. What do our customers think?
  24. 24. 4. How Salesforce Changed Its Content Strategy
  25. 25. How did we change our content strategy?
  26. 26. Why did we make these changes?
  27. 27. (1) How has the new strategy improved our help?
  28. 28. (2) How has the new strategy improved our help? When we write help, we build it according to a structure that provides one bit of info at a time, leading to ever-greater levels of detail.
  29. 29. (3) How has the new strategy improved our help? When we write new content, we write it to a voice and tone standard that makes it easy to redeploy in any of our content types, including help.
  30. 30. 5. How Salesforce Trained teams
  31. 31. How did we train large groups of people?
  32. 32. Do you practice “Scrum, but”? No one practices Scrum by the book. We all say, “Scrum, but…” This worked t our advantage.
  33. 33. Do you practice “structure, but”? Probably like you, we’re still working towards a shared view of what “structure” means.
  34. 34. If there was no “Scrum, but” or “Structure, but”? •What would your content strategy be? •What do you need to get there? •What’s in your way? •Can you sidestep?
  35. 35. Takeaway If you’re not creating interactive content beyond traditional documentation, you risk losing your customers.
  36. 36. Thank You!
  37. 37. Gavin Austin https://www.linkedin.com/in/gavinaustin Ted Kuster https://www.linkedin.com/in/ted-kuster- 1a58b2

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