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A content strategy is a well-thought-through plan that sets out how content with a certain value for a given readership can help it reach a business goal. When it comes to technical documentation, that means setting up a plan detailing how product information can be organised most effectively and then provided to the target audience.
In a word: a good content strategy makes it clear what content should be shared, when, and with whom. It allows you to:
Process information efficiently
There’s a lot of product knowledge and information within any organisation—whether in the form of marketing texts, data sheets, technical drawings, or procedures. Not all of it is relevant to every user. The purpose of a manual is to offer user support. That’s what users want, either so they can start getting the most out of a product, a software package, a machine or installation, or so they can sort out a problem with it. And from all the information available, a choice has to be made: which information is relevant to which users, so they can carry out an installation, or maintenance, or repairs.
Once you know which content is relevant, you need a plan for how to manage it.
Content management involves storing your information in such a way that it can be re-used easily for cross-media output (same content, different formats, such as PDF, HTML5—you name it), or further manuals. A content-management system, or CMS, helps you organise the gathering, creation, management, and publication of information. It allows you to distinguish among content, design, and structure.
COPA: create once, publish anywhere
That way, you can publish your information any way you like. Because the content stands on its own and is based around topics, it can be re-used. That’s how you can process information efficiently, and save in the process.
Users want to look up content right when they need it—so it’s not always possible to convenient a paper manual. A tablet or a laptop with all the information on it is a lot handier for maintenance technicians than a thick hard-copy manual, and software users get more out of information when it’s online. As soon as the content has been settled on, you can decide over what medium the information will be made available to users.
Some organisations come to realise that their content is not organised in the best way. It takes too long to assemble and publish the information that end users need. Worse yet, sometimes the information has to be provided to users in several languages and over various media. Other organisations realise that organising content well right now can head off problems in the future. And in fact, some businesses understand that providing well-organised and relevant information contributes to customer satisfaction and keeps customers coming back.
If you experience a problem with your content, you can go for a strategic approach. A content strategy helps you get the most out of your product and content. INSTRKTIV can help you set up a content strategy. We can: