This year at TCWorld in Germany, Scott Abel hosted a full day of content strategy talks. The participants included an illustrious group in the content strategy space including: Ann Rockley, Charles Cooper, Rahel Ann Bailie, Geoff Roberts, Noz Urbina and Ray Gallon. Scott did an amazing job of organizing the speakers and focusing the content. This track was really relevant and valuable. It was helpful to anyone in customer support, marketing, product management and, of course, techcomm. There were two primary foci of the talks: the benefits of help and product content to digital marketing and the evolving landscape of digital publishing.I was the only outsider speaking as part of the content strategy track. Obviously I am not a content strategist. I’m a product guy. I presented a talk on the “’Social’ Impact on Help and [Product] Docs”. It’s clear that “social” is a fundamental shift in computing. I’ve heard it called the “fifth shift in computing” and I like to think of it this way because doing so makes clear the importance of social. The historical paradigms of computing are as follows:
- Mainframe computing
- Timeshare or departmental computing
- The personal computer
- The Internet
When I speak or write about social I’m not just referring to Facebook and social networking. No, I’m referring to software’s ability to enable or increase the capabilities of humans to collaborate and socialize. This is something that is fundamentally different and is impacting all software verticals. Some verticals are being made obsolete as a result and others are being made more valuable than ever before. One software vertical that is becoming more valuable is the help space. Look no further than the recent $2.5B in acquisitions by Oracle or the hundreds of millions being invested in the space by venture capitalists.
Companies are realizing that their help, technical and product documentation is enormously valuable and effective
- in creating new buyers,
- driving customer engagement,
- creating up-sell and cross-selling opportunities,
- and in deriving intelligence that informs content, product, sales and marketing strategy.
This is precisely what I spoke about. Specifically, how the help center can be infused with social aspects and analytics to achieve these key benefits. Furthermore, I emphasized the value of creating a social learning experience that creates customer experts.
Below is my presentation. You will notice there’s a lot of information about using MindTouch atop CCMS’s like SDL Trisoft and IXIAsoft. I encourage you to reach out to me via email for additional real-world information and success data on how this can impact key performance indicators for support and sales. You can email me at: afulkerson at mindtouch dot com.