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 you. Presented at LavaCon 2013.


  • Driving Enterprise Content Strategy (with only guerilla staff) Alyson Riley IBM 22 October 2013
  • About me Technical communicator since 1995, doing stuff like: Systems thinking Content strategy Content metricsthe 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 IBMs corporate Client Technical Content Experience (CTCX) team in the IBM CIO organization Columnist (with Andrea Ames) for The Strategic IA in STCs Intercom magazine @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Just so you cant say I didnt 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.
  • 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 crawlwalkrun increments @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Your mindset: Search out problems & opportunities @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 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.
  • Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at the problem space content A generalized view of IBMs product lifecycle @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 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.
  • Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at product performance @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Figuring out what matters: Take a system-level look at content performance @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • (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.
  • 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.
  • Proving value: A framework for telling the right story @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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? Factsthings 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 beholderknow your beholders. Use metrics that target actual decision-makers. Figure out what your actual decision-makers valuetheir metrics for success. Cold hard truth: Your actual decision-makers are probably business peopleexecutives and others who hold the purse-strings. @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • 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 strategists intuition to know how content supports business goals. Most business people dont have that intuition. @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • But dont 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Reachvisits, etc. stream through referrals Engagementreferrals, etc. from technical content that become sales leads. Contribute to product quality through by Reachvisits, etc. simplifying the amount of Engagementreferrals, etc. content in the user experience. Web traffic Direct feedback Ratings Shares (social) Create high value content that speeds customer time to success. Sentimentnature 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.
  • Telling a better story: An IBM example Were learning to tell a better story for a business audience We conducted a survey with clients and prospective clients heres the data: Shameless ad: See the May issue of STCs Intercom for my article on proving the business value of content (co-authored with Andrea