Content accounting: Calculating value of content in the enterprise

Sarah O'Keefe / White papers1 Comment

This white paper is also available in PDF format.

The challenge of content value

Content value is a hot topic in marketing and technical communication. In the publishing industry, the connection between content and value is clear. A publisher sells a book (or film or other piece of content) and gets book sales, ticket revenue, or streaming subscriptions in return. But what if your content is a part of the product (like user documentation) or used to sell the product (like a marketing white paper)? In these cases, measuring content value is much more challenging.

It is tempting to fall back on measuring cost instead of value. The cost of content development can be a trap, though. Eliminating wasted effort and optimizing content workflows is sensible, but too much focus on cost leads us toward content as a commodity.

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Subject matter experts as authors and reviewers (podcast)

Sarah O'Keefe / Podcast, Podcast transcriptLeave a Comment

In episode 63 of The Content Strategy Experts podcast, Sarah O’Keefe and Chip Gettinger of SDL chat about subject matter experts and their role as authors and as reviewers of content.

“One of the most important things about working with SMEs is to meet them where they are. It’s important to understand where they’re coming from and their perspective. Understand what issues matter to them.”

—Chip Gettinger

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Content strategy pitfalls: best practices (podcast, part 2)

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In episode 62 of The Content Strategy Experts podcast, Gretyl Kinsey and Bill Swallow continue their discussion from episode 61 and talk about best practices for planning.

“You need to be mindful about how what you’re doing is going to impact other groups. You can’t just assume they’re going to play ball when you start rolling out a new strategy. Make sure they’re not only on board in theory, but that they are pretty much committed to the success of the project because they should have a stake in it in some form as well.”

— Bill Swallow


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Content strategy pitfalls: planning (podcast, part 1)

Gretyl Kinsey / Podcast, Podcast transcriptLeave a Comment

In episode 61 of The Content Strategy Experts podcast, Gretyl Kinsey and Bill Swallow return to our content strategy pitfalls series with a discussion about planning.

“Another thing that is really helpful is doing a pilot project or proof of concept, because that can help you look at a small but essential piece of your strategy and see how that works, and what goes wrong or what goes in an unexpected direction during that pilot.”

— Gretyl Kinsey

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Reuse in DITA and beyond (podcast)

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In episode 60 of The Content Strategy Experts Podcast, Elizabeth Patterson and Gretyl Kinsey discuss content reuse, how it specifically applies to DITA,  and how it can benefit your organization.

“So often we see companies wasting a lot of time copying and pasting. This idea of reuse saves time and money, and then it also helps to maintain that consistency across your organization.”

— Elizabeth Patterson

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Using the Learning and Training specialization for your content (podcast)

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In episode 59 of the Content Strategy Experts Podcast, Alan Pringle and Kaitlyn Heath discuss how you can apply the Learning and Training specialization to your content.

I think the conditional processing is a huge benefit as well. You can have a lot more interactivity built in without that human interference.

— Kaitlyn Heath

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Smarter marcom content

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Smarter marcom content has advantages, but marketers are used to writing and formatting content at the same time. Smart content separates writing and formatting. Although getting used to this separation may take some effort, the benefits are well worth it.

Most content has an implicit structure. For example, a white paper usually starts by stating a problem, then describes a possible solution, and then mentions a product that can help you with that approach.  A good marketing writer understands the implicit structure of a typical document, but the structure may not be clearly stated or outlined anywhere. With smart content, you take a document’s implicit structure and spell it out explicitly.

The tags in smart content capture the structure explicitly. Once you have your tagged document, you can process the information in lots of interesting ways (reuse, multichannel publishing, and much more). 

Smart content separates formatting and content.  In tools like InDesign or Word, you write and format  at the same time. In a smart content tool, you typically focus only on the content sequence and not on the formatting. As a marketing writer, I can tell you this is a big adjustment.  But there are huge benefits. Once you create smart content, the separation of content and formatting makes it much easier for you and others to reuse content. Reuse improves the consistency of your messaging across the company. Smart marcom content also allows you to spend more time creating the text, videos, and other promotional content rather than spending time focusing on the organizational structure.  

As you get started, there will be a learning curve. Having smart, structured marcom content can save your business time and money. Benefits such as simplifying rebranding, search engine optimization, time, and reuse make the switch worth it.