Transwhat? That’s what most humans—and nearly all spellcheck programs—ask when they encounter the word, transcreation. In this post, an excerpt from the book Global Content Strategy: A Primer by Val Swisher, we explore the concept of transcreation and why adapting translated content for effectiveness is a necessary part of a successful global content strategy.
Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness
These days, every employee produces content. In addition to the usual suspects–marketing communication writers, technical writers, course developers–software engineers write user guides, technical support engineers write frequently asked questions, and (shall we dare?) VPs of marketing write blog posts. Some of those folks work at your corporate headquarters. Others may work far away at your regional or branch offices. Those people may include sales reps, country-specific marketing communication folks, other engineers, and technical support reps. All those remote people are creating content that makes its way out to your customers and beyond.
“Oh no,” you may say. “They can’t do that. Everything must be sanctioned by headquarters. Legal insists on vetting all customer-facing content.”
Don’t fool yourself. I’ve seen sales groups in the Asia-Pacific region create their own slide presentations. European marketing people create their own datasheets and case studies, even separate technical forums, in other languages, for local markets.
Everyone, everywhere, is creating content. Now. As you read this.
The Good News
If it’s news to you that people throughout your company are creating content, it’s good news. Who understands the needs of a local market better than the people who live there and speak the language, literally and figuratively?
Imagine that you work for a company that has a presence in many countries. Your job is to create marketing campaigns that generate interest, spur emotion, and drive sales. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, maybe. My travels have taught me that emotion does not necessarily translate. Emotions themselves–love, for example–may be universal. Heck, I believe that my dog loves me. She truly loves me. But I digress.
Whether or not you agree that all humans (and canines?) share a basic set of emotions, I think we’d all agree that the expression of emotion varies widely from culture to culture. Values vary. Facial expressions of emotion vary. In September 2011, the American Psychological Association published a study on the perception of facial expressions to indicate emotion. Dr. Rachael Jack found that people from different cultures may perceive facial expressions differently. In her study, Perception of Facial Expressions Differs Across Cultures, she noted that “East Asians and Western Caucasians differ in terms of the features they think constitute an angry face or a happy face.”
What Do Facial Expressions Have To Do With Creating Effective Content For Global Use?
A lot! If something as seemingly innate as a facial expression varies from culture to culture, then the words we use to express emotion may vary even more. After all, we have far more words at our disposal than facial expressions. And a good marketing campaign is all about emotion, isn’t it? Think about the best campaigns you’ve created or experienced. I bet they still evoke emotion, even if the product is long gone.
This reality presents a dilemma. How do you communicate a great, emotion-packed campaign across all the cultures that you need to target? While you might be able to translate the words, the campaign as a whole could be meaningless to someone a world away.
For example, I love the “Got Milk” campaign, which was created by the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board back in 1993. Milk mustaches on celebrities. It was, and continues to be, a popular campaign. When I think about it, I smile. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it’s meaningless in many cultures. One intent of the ad is to make people smile when they think about milk. But because the meaning and emotion don’t translate, the ad fails in some cultures.
Consider the Kentucky Fried Chicken tagline “Finger-Lickin’ Good!” which got translated into Chinese as “Eat Your Fingers Off!”
For dozens of campaigns gone wrong, read The Little Book of Transcreation, by Louise Humphrey, James Bradley, Amy Somers, and Guy Gilpin. It will make you laugh (or cry if you were one of the poor souls involved in the case studies).
To create a global marketing campaign that evokes the desired response in every culture you target, you need to recreate the campaign–the words and the images–or every culture. This process is known as transcreation. Content that is transcreated is created for a particular culture, using the vernacular of that culture, often in a certain locale. Transcreation is more of a content development process than a translation process. Sure, transcreated content retains the brand logo and mark, the corporate colors, and so on. What it doesn’t necessarily keep is the message or expression of sentiment.
There are some great examples of transcreation on the web. Coca-Cola (www.coca-cola.com) has dozens of transcreated sites. Here are a few.
Coca-Cola is impressive in the amount of content they transcreate. They change not only the words but also the visuals and the layout – all to match the predominant culture of the target country. For example, the Japanese and Taiwanese sites have boxy layouts. These cultures are accustomed to seeing advertisements in a box format. Every site is customized.
This is great, isn’t it? They target every culture, every country. Wow!
The Bad News
There is bad news. (You knew it was coming, yes?) The bad news is that people all over the world are creating rogue content and sending it to your customers! Yikes! And you–the central point for all global content–may have no idea. You don’t know who is writing what, for whom, when, and for what purpose. You don’t know if the messaging is on target. You don’t know if the trademarks have been used appropriately. (Insert legal-team tantrum here.) You might know that “those people” are creating content “over there.” But get beyond the loose idea, and the picture gets fuzzy.
In all seriousness, it is a problem when nonsanctioned employees across the world go off and create their own content with no input, guidance, or knowledge from headquarters. It becomes a content management problem and, ultimately, a global content strategy problem. How can you plan your global content strategy if you don’t know about the content itself?
What Is The Solution?
The solution isn’t to mandate that all content come from headquarters. That idea won’t work. You are not going to get customized content to each region, specifically targeted to a local culture, properly localized, translated, or transcreated in time to meet every region’s needs. You can strategize and plan all you like, but it won’t work. No one knows a region as well as the people who live there.
The solution is to reach out to all your locations and involve them in the plan. As you plan your global strategy, take into account the various regions. Include them in your campaigns. Ask them if they plan to create their own content. Get to know your teams around the world. Invite them to share their plans with you. Share your plans with them. Ask how you can support them as you plan the global strategy for a product release, a website upgrade, or a sales campaign. Convince them that they can benefit from your efforts. Once everyone agrees with the plan, you can give them the freedom to use their knowledge of local customs to create targeted, culturally-appropriate material.
Then, make sure that the people creating the content know how to write. An engineer, for example, may lack the skills to write great marketing or sales copy, regardless of his or her native language. If you don’t have native writers located in-country, consider hiring a partner to do the transcreation instead. That way, you get the best writing, created in the language that you need.
Not So Fast!
Before you start adapting translated content for effectiveness, beware. The amount of organization, time, coordination, and, most of all, money required to create and update this type of extensive global presence is enormous. In all likelihood, you will need a separate creative team in each country. As products and campaigns are phased in and out, each team needs to plan and execute in lockstep. Otherwise, the sites look disjointed and unprofessional. The proliferation of visuals and taglines can be overwhelming. And you can only imagine the cost.
So what should a business – let’s say, one that generates less than several billion each year in revenue – do? Here are a few pointers:
- Make your campaigns as universal as possible. This may be difficult to do, given that we just agreed that there is no universal way to evoke emotion. And removing emotion from marketing materials defeats the purpose. But you can still try.
- Before you embark on any transcreation, have an infrastructure in place. By this, I mean a content management system, complete with tags and metadata, so that when you do come out with a new product, all the product images, for example, are stored centrally and can be easily found by all system users.
- Document your workflows and processes. Multiple people will be creating content for the same product at the same time. Reuse where you can. At a minimum, help each content creator know what the others are doing. You’d be amazed at the confusion I’ve seen (or maybe you wouldn’t).
- Prioritize the pieces to be transcreated. I know, sounds obvious. But it’s always worth saying. You might end up transcreating a top-level web page and maybe one level down (the pages that are one click away from the top level). And after that, you might direct people back to your home-language site (for example, English). In that case, make sure that the English pages are understandable to all your readers, including those who have English as a second language. Use simple words and phrases. Keep your sentences short.
- Make sure that all of your content is searchable in the target language. If I’m viewing a Japanese page and want to search for something that happens to be on an English-only page, I still need to be able to search for it in Japanese. Or German. Or Swahili. Recently, I was shopping at a multinational company using their French website. I was interested in returning an item. I could not find any information in French on how to return the item. I tried searching every French term for return that I could think of. Instead, I had to search in English and be directed to the English returns page. Imagine how frustrating this would be for a customer who does not speak English. Tagging your English pages for multilingual search can be a huge task. Start with the most important terms. For example, I think it’s important to be able to return a product and I might not know the word for return in English. Add terms as quickly as you can after that.
What you should not do is take your new, witty, hip branding and assume that you can translate it into Farsi, Arabic, Mandarin, or any other language without evaluating it–the language, the images, the layout, the medium, and everything about it–for cultural appropriateness. You might end up creating one of those disasters that people like me write about.
Transcreation is a content development process in which content is created–and customized–for a particular culture, in a particular language, or for a particular region. Transcreated content is not translated from a source; it is a source. It does not necessarily exist in any other language.
Remember these two main points when adapting translated content:
- Done well, transcreated content evokes the desired emotional response in cases where the original expression of emotion might not translate.
- Employees all over the world are already transcreating content. They just haven’t told you.
While overusing transcreation can create expensive headaches, using it for the right content at the right time can yield excellent results.
The post Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness appeared first on The Content Wrangler.
I do a lot of research and reading on the topic of customer success. As a result, quotes like these often find their way to a sticky-note, my computer desktop, or a post on Slack:
- “When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” (Robert Half)
- “What’s important is the progression from an organization that targets customers to extract value from a customer base to a fully customer-centric firm that excels at delivering value based on a deep understanding of customers’ needs, wants, and desires." (Robert G. Thompson)
- “Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and provide them with what they want. It makes sense.” (Bob Bowman)
Of course, if you have some stake in RSuite, these sessions will be equally or perhaps even more valuable to you. Below are 3 key reasons why YOU can get "stoked" about these customer panels, too.
Note: you may have noticed (as I did) that my quotes above were all by guys named “Robert.” Keeping in the spirit, I decided to organize my key takeaways below based on famous quotes by other guys named Robert! So have some fun as you read and see how well you know these famous Roberts…
Two roads diverged…
Whether you’re ahead, behind, or on the same version of RSuite as the panelists, it won’t take long to see that no two clients use RSuite in the same way. You can take advantage of this fact by getting this sneak peek into how these other organizations prioritize/incorporate new functionality and how they creatively solve many of the same challenges you face. Attending these panels will give you an unprecedented opportunity to collect ideas and really understand how RSuite has made all the difference.
The best laid schemes…
Another common theme in every RSuite implementation is that enterprise software projects don’t always go exactly as planned…and that’s okay. These customer panels will show you, little Mouse, you are not alone! <grin> Whether you are still considering RSuite or are in your nth phase of development, the experience of others in these panels can become your guide – giving you a huge advantage in your next project and helping you to create success more quickly.
Gotta whole lotta love…
Probably the best thing about these sessions is that you get to hear about real results and real NUMBERS and why these customers LOVE RSuite. Baby, I’m not foolin’…this technology is making a huge difference for clients in tangible ways and these sessions will get you pumped about the possibilities.
Join the RSI team and more than 100 publishing executives on Wednesday and Thursday, September 21st and 22nd.
The RSuite User Conference highlights include talks by RSI executives and product leaders, technical lightning rounds, and customer panels. Attendees will also have the ability to schedule one-on-one meetings with members of the RSuite engineering team. You'll have the opportunity to hear from both new and experienced RSuite customers, learn what their goals were when they first began using RSuite and learn what their successes look like today.
You can catch these sessions in the morning and afternoon.
Space is limited.
While preparing for my upcoming session at #RSuiteUC16, it struck me how much fun I’ve been having with technology lately. While I’ve loved pushing RSuite CMS to new limits for a long time now (we started development way back in 2004), today we find ourselves in an exciting place.
We’ve reached a place with both the RSuite technology and our customers where we can really get serious about going beyond basics of content management.
Possible…and now practical
In the past, some features and functionality in CMS may have been possible, but they simply weren’t practical. Customers were busy trying to establish direction, establish infrastructure, and change culture. They didn’t have head space or time for more advanced functionality. And technology integrations and customizations were not always friendly.
As I look around today, everything has gotten easier. The CMS user base (and management) today just seem to “get it” more; they know what they want to achieve and are far more adaptable to change. At the same time, technology – RSuite and other software – has become increasingly “out of the box,” which is simplifying everything. Projects are easier, empowering organizations to leap ahead to those cool new applications that can really change their business.
So that’s the backdrop for my session at #RSuiteUC16. We’re going to get people excited about the possible and practical in a quick look at the future, including:
- Previews of functionality that has been recently completed or is coming soon, like
- Out of the box workflow reporting
- Easier ways for infrequent CMS users to access RSuite
- Browser-based editors that users love
- Content exploration driven by semantic metadata
- A sneak peek at our product roadmap, including improvements to scalability and security.
- An understanding of how we’re setting priorities (and how you can get involved).
What’s really inspirational about events like ours is that they get you to lift your head up. For at least a day, nobody is asking you to put out fires, so you get the precious freedom to actually think about the longer term and where your business is headed. You also get to meet and learn from people like you at other organizations – and share your own lessons learned.
And we get to show you how RSuite can help… <grin>
The Complete Guide to LSI Keywords
Think you know pretty much everything about on-page search engine optimization (SEO) techniques? There are many resources available to teach you how to improve your on-page optimization, but most of them tend to miss an important and lesser-known concept called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). If you haven’t heard of LSI keywords—or don’t know much about them—The Complete Guide to LSI Keywords will help you improve your knowledge. Before you know, LSI keywords will be an integral part of your SEO strategy.
A short note before we dive in. This article won’t discuss topics like off-page SEO, link building or even keyword research. Instead, it is dedicated entirely to LSI keywords. You will learn how to improve your Google rankings by using LSI the correct way.
Let’s dive right in.
Keyword Density: The Predecessor of LSI Keywords
Simply put, keyword density shows the number of times a word appears in your text. It is measured as a percentage. To calculate this percentage, we take the number of times a term occurs on a web page and divide it by the total word count of that page. The bigger the percentage, the higher your chances of ranking better in Google for your selected keywords.
At least that is how it used to be before Panda and Hummingbird. Those were simpler times.
Back in the day, keyword density was the ONLY way in which Google could determine if a particular web page might be relevant. Needless to say, people started taking advantage of this metric pretty quickly. That’s how keyword stuffing was invented.
Keyword Stuffing: The Dark Ages Before Google Panda
Keyword stuffing is the process of littering a web page with a specific keyword in order to trick a search engine into ranking the page ranking higher than it otherwise might.
Makes perfect sense, right?
And it worked for years. To boost your site rank, all you had to do was include your main keyword in your page titles, META descriptions, META keywords, and overuse it in your content. You could literally bump your ranking up significantly (often in the top three results for your keyword) just by increasing your keyword density by 10-15%.
But, that approach doesn’t work any longer. In order to provide better, more relevant search results, Google developed a better way to evaluate web pages for relevancy. This process began with the launch of the Google Panda algorithm in 2011. Search relevancy was improved 2 years later when Google Hummingbird was launched.
Google Panda sought to screen out sites with low-quality, duplicate, or thin content, while Hummingbird was designed to focus on the meaning behind the words—the semantics. With these two important SEO updates, Google prevented useless, low-quality and spammy content from bubbling to the top of search results.
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: Don’t exceed 2-3% keyword density. This way you avoid keyword stuffing problems.
Does Keyword Density Still Matter?
Five years after Google Panda was launched, keyword stuffing is considered an obsolete technique that, when employed, can actually damage your content ranking.
OK, but how does this apply to keyword density? Should we still pay attention to it?
Yes, you should. Here’s why.
Let me give you an example with the term that I’m targeting with this article – LSI keywords.
Here’s a table with the results in terms of keyword density percentage (you can click on the image below to enlarge, download, or print).
My keyword density analysis yielded the following four very important things:
- The most often used keywords (LSI, keyword, keywords, search, SEO, Google and 10 other keywords displayed in the table above) for each of the top 10 highest ranking web pages
- The average keyword density (expressed as a percentage) for each keyword on each of the top 10 highest ranking web pages
- The number of times each of the keywords are mentioned on the top 10 highest ranking web pages
“LSI” and “keyword” are present on each of these high-ranking pages. They are the words with the highest correlation level. This means if you wanted a web page you manage to rank for the LSI keywords, you MUST use these terms in your content, too.
- The average content length for each of the top 10 highest ranking web pages. The longer the average page content is, the longer the content you should write yourself. Content length does matter—big time!
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: Always perform LSI and keyword density analysis upfront. This way you will know what you’re up against and you’ll be able to design a strategy to outrank your competitors.
From time to time, you will come across sites that have unusually high keyword density levels. For instance, LSIGraph.com. Its keyword density percentage is quite high and is not representative of the average. Use the average percentage of the other 9 web pages as your target instead—somewhere between 0.7 and 2.8% for “LSI.”
When you perform a keyword density analysis on your content, exclude the most irrelevant results from your final list. Remember, SEO is all about finding patterns, analyzing them thoroughly, and obtaining actionable data. Keyword density analysis can provide you with vital insights, including competitive analysis data, enabling you to learn from the successes of others who have adopted on-page SEO best practices. Knowing which keywords your competitors are using—and what their keyword density percentages are—allows you to replicate successful tactics and ensure your content ranks as high as possible.
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: These techniques are most useful when combined with link-building efforts, and high quality, relevant, and useful content.
LSI Keywords—The Modern Way of Doing On-Page SEO
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. It might sound complicated at first reading, but it’s not really. LSI keywords are words or phrases that are semantically related to each other. They are not limited to synonyms or keywords with similar meanings. They are most often keywords that commonly are found together.
Here’s an LSI keywords example. Let’s say that you are writing an article about cars. You could be writing about any one (or more) of these 5 things:
- “Cars”—an animated Disney movie
- CARS—Canadian Association for Rally Sports
- CARs—Canadian Aviation Regulations
- The Cars—an American rock band
So how do search engine algorithms know which topic you are writing about?
They do so by leveraging LSI keywords. Basically, the Googlebot scans your page searching for closely related terms which can help it understand your content better.
Let’s go back to our LSI keywords example about cars.
Here are some Latent Semantic Indexing keywords that Google might have found on your pages if you were writing about one of the topics given above.
- Cars—vehicles (vehicle, used, new, buy, sell, dealers, repair, etc.)
- “Cars”—an animated Disney movie (film, movie, produced by, directed and co-written by, motion picture, Walt Disney, etc.)
- CARS—Canadian Association for Rally Sports (association, rally, sport, championship, Canadian, etc.)
- CARs—Canadian Aviation Regulations (aviation, regulations, administration, aerial, aerodromes, airports, etc.)
- The Cars—an American rock band (rock, band, music, guitar, drums, song, etc.)
There are actually many terms related to Latent Semantic Indexing. Here are a few of them:
- Latent Semantic Analysis
- Natural Language Processing
- Phrase-Based Indexing and Retrieval
- Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency
- Latent Dirichlet Allocation
- Probabilistic Latent Semantic Analysis
- Hidden Topic Markov Model
- Latent Dirichlet Allocation
Of course, you don’t have to know everything about SEO in order to improve the semantic value of your content. But, if you’d like to dig deeper, here are a few resources to get you started.
- Keyword Usage
• A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO
- Synonyms and variants
• Helping computers understand language
• How Google May Substitute Query Terms with Co-Occurrence
- Page Segmentation
• Systems and methods for analyzing boilerplate
• Document page segmentation in optical character recognition
- Semantic Distance and Term Relationships
• Google Defines Semantic Closeness as a Ranking Signal
• Document ranking using word relationships
- Co-occurrence and Phrase Based Indexing
• Phrase Based Indexing and Semantics
• Ranking Webpages Based upon Relationships Between Words
- Entity Salience
• A New Entity Salience Task with Millions of Training Examples
• Teaching machines to read between the lines
Want to dig really deep? Start with this great article from Moz which explains what you need to know in more detail.
How do we find LSI keywords?
There are 4 easy ways to find Latent Semantic Indexing keywords:
- Google’s instant search
- “Searches related to” results
- Bold words in SERP results
- Keyword research tools
Finding LSI keywords via Google Instant Predictions
You can identify LSI keywords for your SEO campaign by typing your keyword into Google’s search box and noticing the suggestions it returns for you. Make sure you turn on the Google instant search results feature.
Finding LSI keywords via the “Searches related to” feature
Just type your keyword in the Google search box and scroll down to the bottom of the results page. There you will find 8 additional suggestions you can add to your LSI arsenal. Note that some of them might not be a good fit for your purposes, so make sure they make sense and are useful for your readers. After all, you don’t want to include LSI keywords like fun easy learn English in your article. Instead, you may consider creating a variation like fun and easy way to learn English. Much better!
Finding LSI keywords via bolded words
When you perform a search, you’ll notice that Google shows certain words in bold black text. These are LSI keywords. Find ways to implement them in your own copy that make sense to readers. They will help ensure your content is more relevant to—and more findable by—others.
Finding LSI keywords with the help of some tools
If you have already exhausted the first 3 methods for finding Latent Semantic Indexing keywords it’s a good idea to enrich your LSI arsenal by using some LSI tools. Begin with the most popular tool, Google AdWords Keyword Planner (Google AdWords account required; how to sign up). Once you’re logged in, type your keyword and click “get ideas.”
You will see two different tabs in this tool which are great sources for LSI keywords: Ad group ideas and Keyword ideas.
- Ad group ideas—This is one of the best sources for LSI keywords. Just go through the list of keyword suggestions and make sure you include as many as possible in your final copy.
- Keyword ideas—Everyone knows this one but very few of you have actually used it as a way to find LSI keywords. You can start using it today.
Other Ways to Locate LSI Keywords
There are a variety of small SEO tools and plugins specifically designed for this purpose.
- LSIGraph—LSI Keyword Generator—LSIGraph is a very easy to use, but yet a very powerful tool. The LSI Keyword Generator provides you with a long list of potential LSI keywords—and it’s free.
- SEOPressor plugin—SEOPressor is an on-page SEO plugin for WordPress that helps you do on-page search engine optimization. It’s also pretty simple to use (see step-by-step tutorials). And, it’s affordable. Basic plans start at just $5 USD per month. SEOPressor is powerful because it allows you to perform multiple keyword analysis, over-optimization check, social SEO integration, and structured data support. Finally, you can even do an automatic smart linking to reduce your bounce rate.
- Twin word SEO plugin—Another good WordPress plugin for LSI is Twinword SEO plugin. This is an LSI and long-tail keyword research tool that automatically suggests keywords related to your content while you write it. It provides filterable, sortable data, automated keyword suggestions, and details about keywords including monthly search volume, number of results (to help you select the keyword with the lowest competition), as well as a keyword efficiency index (to help you find the most effective keywords to use) and keyword usage tracking.
There are many other keyword generators that can be used as LSI keyword generators, but here’s a list of my 4 favorites:
- SEMRush related keywords
- Übersuggest (show only versions around your root keyword)
- KeywordTool.io (show only versions around your root keyword)
Why LSI Keywords Are Not Just Synonyms
As I mentioned earlier in this article, LSI keywords are not exactly synonyms. They are actually closely related and relevant terms.
Here’s an example: Imagine that you want to write an article about pizza and you want to know which terms you have to include in order to stand a better chance to rank high with LSI from on-page point of view.
Run the word “pizza” through Keys4Up first.
Now let’s see what SEMRush related keywords tool holds for us:
See the HUGE difference in the results?
We’re no longer seeing a list with keyword ideas based solely on the word we enter in the tool, instead these results give us a different vantage point from which to consider Latent Semantic Indexing keywords.
LSI Keywords in Review
If you’re writing about pizza and you want to make sure you are using LSI to rank as high as possible, make sure to also include terms like: cheese, pepperoni, delivery, crust, food, ingredients and restaurant for best results. As you can see, LSI keywords are not just variations of your main keyword. They are closely related terms which Google likes to see when it crawls pages about a particular keyword.
It’s all about patterns.
How to use LSI keywords in practice?
Now that we already know what LSI keywords are and how we can find them, it’s time to start using them to improve our on-page SEO and organic rankings.
Here are the main areas where you can place LSI keywords to get the most out of them:
- Page title
- H1 and H2 tags
- URL address
- META tags
- Images alt text
- First paragraph of text
- Body of content
- Links anchor texts
- Last paragraph of text
Complete Guide to LSI Keywords Recommendation: Implement LSI keywords after your copy is completed, not before. This allows you to make sure that you write for your audience first and for search engines after-the-fact. And don’t forget the importance of keyword density. It matters.
Now that you’re well-acquainted with the LSI keywords and know how to take advantage of them, get busy. You’ve got content to optimize. What are you waiting for? Get busy!
As a technical leader at Rackspace during a docs modernization effort, I want to respond to Tom Johnson’s recent pointer to the developer docs site as an example of treating docs like code. Not just specifically for the “will it scale” questions, but for the questions I have fielded and continue to answer. Believe me, “Will it scale?” is the least of your concerns in a complex overhaul of attitudes, processes, tooling, and expectation setting.
I’m sure modern docs are not going to work for all projects and all people and all processes, but since I have first hand experience I thought it would be helpful to talk about it.
In case it helps, let’s describe the disruptions at the heart of the movement. You can see that outcomes matter.
If your old tooling cannot provide a great web experience, you need modernization. Traditional tech pubs tooling (Adobe, Madcap, Docbook) will struggle to develop wonderful, responsive websites that provide an amazing experience with documentation. There’s a natural struggle between artisanal hand-crafted documentation and producing tens of thousands of web pages that still offer a great experience despite the size of the site.
Continuous integration for documentation
When you treat docs like code, expect to enable more contributors, and when you enable more contributors, you need to automate builds and quality checks so your time is spent focused on doc outcomes, not running builds. Let the robots take care of builds and use tools that don’t require a seat license so that the writers aren’t having to build from their computers only. In OpenStack we can merge 50 changes a day in a single repository containing ten deliverables (web-delivered guides). We build draft copies with scripts for people to review the output online.
If traditional tech pubs tools product managers are reading, your next killer feature is Travis-ci job integration, Jenkins job enablement, and really any scripted way to build your output so that humans don’t have to click anything to build the docs.https://www.flickr.com/photos/hddod/7229001564/
Collaboration for documentation using code systems
Depending on your contributor base, you influence more people to respect the documentation and encourage contributors to improve the docs with you when the docs are in a code system. Across multiple repositories we deliver REST API documentation for almost 30 services. Some days there are over 100 changes that need to be reviewed for REST API docs.
Content management using code systems
I’ve presented and written about using code systems for documentation – git, GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab, and so on. See the resources section for a deep dive, but suffice it to say, I’m sold on using GitHub for your CMS and I know many other writers see it this way also.
Here’s what you need to look out for and even embrace when the time comes:
Content sprawl: What goes where is a common question from contributors. Be ready with answers so your site doesn’t become a poor web experience. Have excellent navigation systems and way finders for readers.
Quality diminishing: Build a trusted set of reviewers and make sure they are equipped with a style guide and plenty of quality checks to keep in mind while reviewing. Be mindful and use metrics to ensure quality is a priority.
Loss of control: By enabling many contributors, you lose control of who writes what where. Be ready to trade control for many other benefits. I don’t have a control-based mindset so it’s natural for me to give up control in order to gain better outcomes.
Loss of choosing priorities: When you don’t personally manage and direct the teams of contributors, you don’t get to pick what is written first, second, or third. Or even if something is written at all. Have processes and systems in place for triaging doc issues, and create a culture where contributors have good judgement about what to work on first, second, and third.
Search and replace: When you need to make changes across multiple repositories and deliverables, be ready to up your bash scripting game or get help with it. Fortunately text manipulation is pretty powerful at the command line. Unfortunately some teams could be stuck with non-Linux-based systems and no tools to help with this problem.
Naming agreement: Unless you establish standards and have authority for naming certain parts of a project (plugin or plug-in as an example), you could waste time arguing about which name lands in the base.
Value diminishing: If you can’t train your writers to stop nitpicking grammar errors or capitalization consistency issues, and instead do technical reviews, you might have problems with a docs-like-code approach. In a docs-like-code world, be sure you know what is the most valuable contribution and make sure your teams can give those types of contributions.
In closing, you can see I’m a huge advocate for this approach to documentation. Please take a look at the resources I’ve been working on over the last few years to spread my enthusiasm and excitement for the modernization of technical documentation.
- Influencing community documentation contributions
- Treat Docs Like Code: Doc Bug and Issues
- Why use GitHub as a Content Management System?
- Git and GitHub for open source documentation (article)
- Continuous integration and delivery for documentation (article)
Git and GitHub for Documentation from Anne Gentle
We've had a number of requests regarding the agenda for this year's RSuite Tech Day and User Conference in September. I'm pleased to say the details have arrived!
Feel free to tweet this, post this, share this, email this, etc. Most importantly, make sure you reigster to attend!
In 2015, 77% of B2C Marketers and 76% of B2B marketers said they wanted to increase their content marketing efforts in 2016. With less than five months remaining in 2016, it seems they lived up to their promise—with content marketing more attractive than ever. This article discusses some of the best content marketing strategies designed to improve return on investment (ROI).
Best Content Marketing Strategies: The Company Blog
Blog posts remain one of the most useful types of content for solid ROI and are most likely the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of content marketing.
Maintaining a business blog is an entirely different animal from a personal one. A business blog needs to be consistent, interesting, and varied enough to attract new readers continuously while retaining old ones. The first and most important aspect to tackle is a posting schedule. Try to post a variety at least several times a week, and scheduled at least a few months ahead. This program won’t always be followed perfectly but will provide the necessary structure for your content strategy.
Whether you’re writing for a personal or a business blog, the constant need to create content will quickly leave you scrambling for ideas unless you prepare in advance. Helpful tips to manage writer’s block and get new followers include:
- Making a list of your favorite blogs and posts for inspiration
- Creating infographics
- Seeking out guest writers
- Finding case studies to analyze
- Putting together lists of resource posts
- Repurposing your older content (for example, with updates)
Company Blogs and Return on Investment
How can you get the most return on your blog? Just as with personal blogs, business blogs can be monetized via ad revenue—this is perhaps the most obvious way to earn back a little of what you put in. But the main factor remains your content, and what you do with it. Blogs are one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site via search engines and social media. And traffic, as we know, can turn into leads that turn into sales.
Remember that Google Analytics is your best friend when considering Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Use them to measure which posts get the most clicks and—crucially—which ones demand the reader’s attention for more than just a few seconds. Your most clickbait-y post may get a lot of visitors, but it doesn’t do much for conversion if they immediately lose interest. Taking the time to learn which posts people read and using this data to improve your content will go a long way in creating more high-quality leads.
Having plenty of calls to action and other incentives to sign up to the mailing list or to request demos has the potential of bringing more clients and customers your way. Jay Baer’s breakdown of the ROI of a hypothetical corporate blog clearly shows how a blog can generate a healthy return on real sales—and that’s not even counting traffic, word of mouth, publicity, social shares, and other beneficial aspects.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: Guest Blog Posts
There are two types of guest posts—the ones you submit and the ones you receive. Both have unique advantages. Submitting guest posts to different publications is a tried and true way of getting your name out there and making important networking connections. Put a lot of work into these posts because the higher quality the article, the more chance you’ll have to write for that publication again. Some of the biggest names in marketing such as Outbrain may be harder to reach since they get so many daily submissions. Start with smaller outlets and work your way up. You can begin with this list of 140 places that accept guest posts.
The second type of post is one that you will receive from others. As your company grows, you will start getting submissions. Don’t turn them away if they are high quality! Creating content is hard and time-consuming; why not have someone do it for you? Seeking out submissions is another important step towards building relationships with professionals in your company.
Regarding hard numbers, the main thing to shoot for with guest posts is referral traffic and exposure. However, don’t expect your guest posts to get a ton of traffic immediately—it will never be your primary source. If you are just starting out with a small blog that is far from a first page ranking on Google, several guest posts relating to your subject (and containing the relevant keywords) on bigger sites can be incredibly useful. This tactic will generate ‘second-hand search traffic’ that will continue to produce views over time.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: eBooks and White Papers
Even though it seems counterintuitive to the whole notion of the typical internet user with a short attention span, longer content is more effective content. Posts that are 1,500 words or longer tend to do better with SEO, demonstrating that people are seeking out informative content. White papers and ebooks are great tools to provide just that—longform, useful and practical advice that will be appealing to consumers and industry professionals. Include these as downloadable offerings with the call to action for subscribers on your site to provide users something for their subscription.
While this type of long-form content is more costly to produce (accounting for all the hours spent researching, writing, and designing), it does generate more leads than a short blog post. So, which is better? One long ebook/white paper or a lot of shorter blog posts? Ultimately, it’s about balance. Due to the time invested, it is not cost-effective to publish an ebook every week. Rather, coming out with a few high-quality ones a year will not strain your resources and will create more buzz. If time (or cash) is in short supply, this type of content has a lot of potential for repurposing and recycling. An ebook, for example, can comprise of a selection of your best posts on a particular subject. Combine it with an analysis of the posts and a few concluding chapters, and you’ve got yourself a marketable resource.
The other advantage ebooks and white papers have is the option of being gated—accessible only after a user provides their details or subscribes to your blog. While generating leads, it’s also an easy way to measure views. The other analytics to consider are whether readers are returning to take another look, the time they spent on it, and how many shares it got. If your ebook features a lot of data useful to your audience you are more likely to be cited in other blogs, thus building up your brand’s reputation and credibility. Long-form content is also more search-engine friendly, with longer content dominating top search-engine results every year. As such, the final ROI will not be immediately apparent but will instead build up with time.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: Influencer Marketing
Yes, guest posts are a type of influencer marketing (kinda, sorta), but in addition to creating and trading content you can make yourself the story. Pitch your product/start-up/brand to influential writers and bloggers in the industry. However, don’t just bombard them with information out of the blue. Build a relationship with them first by following them on social media, commenting on their articles, and sharing valuable tips. Once they know who you are they will be much more open to taking a look at what you’re selling. Marketing bloggers often compile lists of up-and-coming companies—try to get yourself included.
If you’re marketing a product, share it with relevant bloggers for a review and receive a unique piece of content in return—a blog post that will reach a whole new audience and will remain on the web to build up SEO. Investment in the influencer strategy is also cost-effective, with companies reporting an average of an almost $7 return for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, with nearly 60% of marketers interested in increasing their budget for these types of campaigns.
It is not surprising that influencer marketing is one of the best content marketing strategies. More than 90% of consumers trust recommendations from peers over brands, which leads to a 3x – 10x increase in conversion for content shared through influencers. Brands that have success with influencer marketing combine it with the social power of influencers on different platforms, as evident in successful campaigns by Narativ and Sphero on Snapchat, Birchbox on Instagram, and Ford on Facebook, to name just a few.
Best Content Marketing Strategies: Videos
Video marketing is the next big thing in marketing everywhere from The Guardian to The Huffington Post. The idea of video may seem intimidating, but with the tools available nowadays it’s easier than ever. Start with creating videos for your website that explain how your business works. You can use software that records your screen to take users through the process, with no need to worry about lighting! Once you have the basics done, you can use video to personalize your company by giving consumers updates about what your employees are doing via Facebook Live or Periscope, or drumming up interest in your latest campaigns with some Snapchat teasers.
Feature videos on your company blog (just as The Content Wrangler does) to diversify your offerings and make perusing your blog a more dynamic and engaging experience. People are visual creatures who may prefer ‘reading’ a blog post in video form, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Video has one of the best conversion rates of all content (up to 10 times more audience engagement than text-only posts) and doubles the clickthrough rates. Videos also directly impact sales, as was the case with shoe retailer Zappos.com. After adding videos of the products sales increased up to 30%. Another online retailer, Ariat, saw a remarkable 160% higher conversion rate on pages that featured videos.
We have shown you a few of the best content marketing strategies you can use for your business. Start with a blog and mix and match different types of content to see what performs best for your particular industry and company. Finding the perfect voice to tell your brand story will take time but your ROI will be proof that it was time well spent.
BlogsRelease implements, monitors, and analyzes blogger review campaigns for top brands worldwide. Download our free ebook, How To Get Bloggers To Write About Your Product.
My first job was babysitting. I distinctly remember going to one of my first babysitter jobs. I had to be about 13 years old, and it was for a newborn baby who slept the whole time. I basically watched TV the whole time. She wrote me a check and drove me home.When I got home and looked at the check, I realized it was for $20.00, which was much more than I had thought the job paid! My mom said it was fine to keep it but called the parents to be sure they meant to pay that much, and sure enough, she was so grateful for a night out she felt super generous in that check-writing moment.
My second job was corn detasseling, walking corn rows and pulling tassels off corn stalks. I grew up in northern Indiana, and they paid kids as young as 14 to walk the corn rows and remove the tassel at the top of certain rows so that the hybridization would be completed for the type of hybrid corn they want to grow in that field. It was hot, dirty, and way more boys than girls would do this job. It paid well, I wanted to quit after a week, and I rode with a neighbor who was 16 at dawn-thirty every morning, taking a bus after that to the corn fields, packing a lunch each day.
My third job was selling sporting goods in a retail sports store, locally owned, as a retail sales clerk. I stocked shelves and racks, got shoes for people based on size, laced the shoes, and answered questions. I was their night shift, closer, and I was nearly fired after my first three nights because the cash register count kept coming up about $15 short. The day shift person was expressing growing concern as she came in to an inaccurate value each morning, so the owner came in at 9:00 one night to watch me count the cash drawer at the end of the night. He immediately asked my why I didn’t count the rolled coins. I had no idea I was supposed to! The confusion was resolved and I got to keep the job.
My fourth job was inspecting manufactured rubber parts in a local factory, on the night shift during the summer in high school. We worked from night until dawn, hand-inspecting rubber o-rings and specially-made parts to make sure they did not have holes, tears, or other defects. It was smelly, (hot rubber manufacturing smell) dirty, (imagine black rubber dust under your fingernails and in your skin) hot, (though not as hot as the day shift), and loud. During the school year, one of our co-workers drove an elementary school bus after getting done with her night shift. She was famous for once saving the lives of a family when their house was burning and she noticed it from her bus-driver seat, ran into the house, woke them up, and got them to safety.
My fifth job was after starting college, checking out and shelving books at the university library. I wanted to focus on school and not work in college, but learned on a call with my Dad late one night the first week of school that I would have to work to cover costs or come home. I was lucky to land one of the work/study jobs as a desk clerk and book shelver in the four-story library on campus. I could walk to work, I could read and study when it was not busy, and I helped shut down the entire library at night. I remember turning out all the lights on the basement floor, then walking through the pitch black to the elevator, finding the button on the wall, and waiting in complete darkness for the narrow crack of light to appear to take me out of pure darkness. Once someone called in to the library to ask if she could retrieve a $100 bill she left on one of our copiers. Asking her to hold, I went downstairs, opened the lid of the copy machine, and sure enough, there was a $100 US dollar bill. I picked it up, picked up the phone, and told her she could come in to get it. That was one relieved voice on the other end of the line.
My sixth job was inspecting baby formula and drink supplement ingredients as an internship in a chemistry lab. This was another shift job, this time on the second shift from 2:00 in the afternoon until 10 pm. I drove across the Michigan/Indiana state line for this job. I had to wear steel-toed shoes and a lab coat. I remember using my thumb to pipette some liquid, where you have to release some air to get the liquid to the right level for a precise measurement. When my trainer saw me, he immediately re-trained me, showing how to hold a pipette properly using an index finger for more control and finesse.
My seventh job was assembling, word-processing and testing science education materials (such as Chemistry with TOYS, Physics with TOYS) as a graduate student. I also made copies, worked on NSF proposals, and assembled small science kits as giveaways at science educator conventions. One task was to staple more than 400 small cellophane fish to quarter-page instructions on teaching physical science with the small fish. After completing those and boxing them up neatly, I traveled to a science convention, met my boss there, who asked where the 400 fish kits were. They were still on my desk! I hadn’t realized that the assembly of the kits was FOR the conference I was attending. They had to call and have the fish boxed and shipped. I still think of that incident when I don’t have the big picture for a smaller task. Did not get fired then either, thankfully.
We had some fun in a recent meeting with the "top 10" reasons to attend our upcoming RSuite User Conference. Curious? Check it out below...
So while the video was lighthearted and homemade and all, the event will actually be fantastic! We're excited about the content and we're excited about our attendee list so far.The full agenda will be revealed in the next week or so, but a few of the highlights include:
- Customer Panels
- Ask an Expert Sessions
- "Lightning Round" Demos of New Functionality
- XML Editing Tools Discussion
- Exploring Workflows in RSuite
Don't miss out!
2016 User Conference & Tech Day
September 21st & 22nd
The Hub CityView, Philadelphia
The post TED Translators Share Idioms From Around The World appeared first on The Content Wrangler.
I’ve written up my experiences at a leadership training class for OpenStack in Ann Arbor this summer. You can read more on the OpenStack blog.
We also had the opportunity to tour a maker space close to the training center, Ann Arbor’s Maker Space, and wow, it is neat. Comparable to a monthly gym membership model, they provide large woodworking and metalworking and industrial sewing and crafting machines for a daily or monthly fees or full memberships. Staff members are available for training, and each station comes with documentation. You can store large and small projects in progress so you don’t have to lug your work back and forth.
Tom Root, a Miami University graduate like me, started the space during the financial crisis in 2008. He has a vision of uniting a community of young people who need and want vocational and trade education with the experienced workers in the community who may have lost their traditional manufacturing jobs but have a lot of knowledge and experience to pass on. The Midwesterner in me knows that this type of collaborative space makes so much sense.
I was so inspired by the woodworking shop I decided to come home, buy some mesquite wood, and mimic some window treatments I’d seen on Fixer Upper for my own living room.
Here are some photos from our tour of the 11,000 square foot Ann Arbor Maker Space.
Just a quick post to invite all interested parties to the 8th annual RSuite User Conference and Tech Day. Join the RSI team, our clients, industry experts, and others as we share the latest in publishing automation and shape the future of content and digital asset management.
- TECH DAY - Wednesday, September 21, 2016
- USER CONFERENCE - Thursday, September 22, 2016
- The Hub CityView, Philadelphia
The full agenda for both days will be published soon, but some of the highlights include:
- Success stories told by our customers
- Showcases of new features and functionality
- Demonstrations related to key industry topics like
- Authoring tools
- Content lifecycle
- Search and discoverability
NOTE: For those who have attended our annual event in previous years, please note that we are switching Tech Day to Day #1 (Wednesday), which will be followed by our Evening Reception and the RSuite User Conference on Day #2 (Thursday). We hope to see you there!
In this issue we look at moderating perspectives on a few hot topics. First up, we follow up on our earlier coverage of bots and use cases. There are lots of good reasons to be excited about the growth and range of applications for bots, but the hype has been a bit much. We have chosen four short articles […]
This post originally published on https://gilbane.com
In this issue we look at moderating perspectives on a few hot topics. First up, we follow up on our earlier coverage of bots and use cases. There are lots of good reasons to be excited about the growth and range of applications for bots, but the hype has been a bit much. We have chosen four short articles […]
This post originally published on https://gilbane.com
Editor’s Note: The Content Wrangler is presenting a weekly series of twelve articles that provide useful insights and practical advice for those who produce customer and staff support websites. Columnist Robert Norris shares practical guidance on how to overcome the operational challenges related to harvesting, publishing and maintaining online knowledge bases. His twelfth installment examines the strategic impact and operational repercussions of creating relentless demand for ever better content to feed multiple, knowledge-sharing websites. He discusses the proverbial tiger of organizational expectations. And how these expectations, if not managed carefully, can lead to a counterproductive culture of misguided corporate pressure and control.
A Successful Enterprise Content Strategy
Thanks to the content wranglers who presented a compelling business case to reduce risk and boost ROI by consolidating multi-departmental content operations, our knowledge-sharing channels are experiencing explosive popularity. As forecast, our customers, staff, and partners are quickly finding much needed problem-solving resources at their fingertips. And they like it!
It took time, energy, tact, empathy and the commitment to listen, but we succeeded in convincing leadership and our colleagues that:
- Our customers, staff, and partners will benefit immensely if we provide content similar in usefulness to what we lavish on potential clients;
- Given our multiple audiences and digital channels, we also are in the business of publishing, in addition to our goods and services;
- There is a compelling business case to consolidate content operations to reduce risk from poor content and boost ROI from content-related investments;
- Enterprise-level content consolidation can leverage rare expertise, enact robust quality control, reduce waste and increase productivity.
The last six articles in this series have focused on building support from key stakeholders to define requirements, evaluate the feasibility and set priorities. Our comprehensive content strategy lays out objectives and guidelines while providing mandates for resourcing and execution. Operationally, we are off to a fast start fueled by shared enthusiasm to tackle the chronic content-related problems we hope to overcome.
When Success Begets Counterproductive Organizational Expectations
However, we might suddenly be confronted with potential challenges that threaten to inhibit progress and stall the initiative, including:
- Leadership’s newfound interest in content operations spurs both a heightened sense of scrutiny and an increased level of involvement.
- Scrutiny often begets a scramble to generate a diverse assortment of metrics, some of which are confusing or just downright misleading.
- Increased organizational involvement often signals the possibility of micro-management from several managers, many of whom have little to no experience in content operations.
- These factors combined may ultimately threaten the original conditions which were necessary for the content operation’s success: namely, the free capacity to experiment, discover, innovate and learn.
Meanwhile, down in the trenches—rather than experiencing gratitude from our audiences—demand for useful, timely content is becoming relentless, often framed by strident urgency if not outright frustration. Squeezed from all sides, many of us might begin to question the wisdom of jumping on this freight train.
This maelstrom of expectations is the proverbial tiger that we unleashed and now hold by her tail. Make no mistake; the beast will consume us if we fail to control it, but—thanks to our thorough planning and inclusive approach—we can be confident of survival because we are well prepared.
Tips for Effectively Managing the Proverbial Tiger
Let’s break this down into manageable challenges:
- Manage Organizational Expectations. We have the Sponsors’ Committee of managerial peers to remind over-zealous managers not to focus prematurely on productivity and efficiency. The primary objective of early operations is to evaluate, test and discover that which works along with that which does not. Meanwhile, leadership can ask the Sponsors’ Committee to develop meaningful metrics.
- Collaborate. We have an Operations Committee of content developers and audience advocates. This committee frequently meets to manage operational priorities, assign scarce resources, tackle problems and report to the Sponsors Committee. This detail-oriented group represents all operational stakeholders and provides the forum for individuals to champion their causes. The Ops Committee is also the go-to source for content-related information needed by the Sponsors’ Committee. When more horsepower is required to solve a sticky problem, the guiding principles establish a protocol to escalate it to the sponsors.
- Establish Accountability. Our content quality control system built on the governing principle that each and every piece of content in a knowledge base has an owner at the executive level. Each owner is accountable for maintaining the usefulness of all content for which they are responsible. Managing content is the responsibility of a subordinate, while the responsibility for maintaining continued efficacy is not. The owner is ultimately responsible for identifying, revising, or retiring defective content.
- Leverage Expertise. Across the enterprise are pockets of rare expertise that have the potential to improve our knowledge base content dramatically. These experts from various departments have keen insights to optimize the content we produce for customers, partners, and staff. Their involvement in analysis and planning for the publishing initiative will establish a level of trust and credibility. Upon opening these doors, we can now engage them for practical insights and feedback. As the content upon which their constituents rely improves, our expert colleagues will recognize that their contributions directly improve their work lives. In short order, we will no longer need to elicit their insights; they will come to us.
- Boost Capacity. When our audiences discover that they can rely upon our knowledge bases for timely, useful problem-solving resources, they will head to those knowledge bases in droves. We will hear—loud and clear—when they don’t find what they need, and their feedback will set our priorities. We will quickly be able to identify the constraints—expertise, technology, capacity—that limit our productivity. This boost in capacity is a game-changer. When we hit a limitation, the Ops Committee will provide the Sponsors’ Committee with a compelling, data-driven business case to expand capacity by investing in content.
Wrap up. The dream of contributing to robust and efficient knowledge-sharing inspired many of us to become content wranglers in the first place. Achieving this goal requires our organization’s leaders to recognize that we are in the business of publishing. Our audiences demand access to timely, useful and engaging content. We who wrangle content for a living can help establish that mindset. We can help decision-makers, managers and supporters recognize that their commitment to implementing an actual enterprise content strategy will dramatically improve their lives along with those of their customers, partners, and colleagues. Besides, what’s better than holding a tiger by the tail, eh?
Articles in this series
- Think Like a Librarian When Creating Online Help Websites—Learn how to overcome operational challenges related to harvesting, publishing and maintaining online help websites.
- Problem-Solving Toolkits—Tips for building problem-solving toolkits: websites designed to help users easily find relevant product information.
- The Curse of Elegance—How to overcome the paradoxical challenges that surface when we do our best work to craft resources that—due to their elegant design—appear simplistic to our audience and colleagues.
- (Im)Propoer Care and Feeding of Subject Matter Experts—How to convince subject matter experts (SMEs) to create user assistance content.
- Hey, Where’s Our Content?—How a myopic content strategy short-changes audiences and results in expensive, avoidable problems.
- Devising a Content Strategy to Serve Every Audience—Discover why you need a content strategy that recognizes the importance of internal and external audiences.
- Your Content Strategy: Is it Feasible?—Learn to evaluate the feasibility of a new content strategy by engaging everyone involved in the content production process.
- Best Practices for Fostering Support from Stakeholders—Discover best practices designed to help you gain support from stakeholders when selling the value of content improvement projects.
- A Swing and a Miss: Faulty Customer Support Metrics—Learn how to improve customer experiences by leveraging insights (including customer support metrics) to guide content strategy decisions.
- Building a Robust Content Quality System—A framework for a consolidated content quality control program based on explicit content ownership.
- Developing a Unified Content Strategy: Learning from the Masters—Discover why—and how —we should leverage the content expertise concentrated in the marketing team to develop a unified content strategy.
The post Managing Counterproductive Organizational Expectations appeared first on The Content Wrangler.
We're having our bi-monthly RSuite Online User Group meeting on Tuesday, July 26. This meeting is for all key end users, IT developers, and executives who have implemented RSuite.
In this edition we'll be:
- Discussing our upcoming RSuite User Conference.
- Showing creative new functionality regarding XML Editing in RSuite
- Answering questions and chatting about pertinent topics in our regular "Users Helping Users" segment.
You can request a seat by visiting https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/8377680845092700674.
Today we discuss the future of content with Michael Rosinski, CEO of Astoria Software, a cloud-based, component content management system (CCMS). Rosinski, a veteran of the content management space, talks with Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, about innovation, computing, and how content—and those who produce it—will be impacted by artificial intelligence.
Scott: Michael, for someone surrounded by technology 24/7, I’d wager you see a lot of proclamations about the next big thing. Help us cut through the hype. As a technology CEO, what do you think is the most exciting innovation in the field of content?
Michael: Great question. I believe the most exciting innovation in the content world is cognitive computing. Why? Because traditional computing technology, while impressive, is also somewhat idiotic. Today’s computer software can tabulate and calculate, store, manage, and deliver files faster than human beings. And, while computers are much better at remembering details, they can’t provide many of the content capabilities needed by today’s businesses. However, that is about to change.
Cognitive computing, according to the folks at TechTarget, is “the simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model. Cognitive computing involves self-learning systems that use data mining, pattern recognition and natural language processing (NLP) to mimic the way the human brain works. The goal of cognitive computing is to create automated IT systems that are capable of solving problems without requiring human assistance.”
Cognitive computing will empower computers to learn, comprehend, adapt, and interact with content in ways we could only imagine until recently. Cognitive content solutions will provide business with amazing differentiating capabilities—digital differentiators that will allow businesses to gain insights and intelligence that are currently hidden in our content. That’s why I believe cognitive computing will play a starring role in the future of content.
Scott: That is exciting. And, you’re right, cognitive computing presents new opportunities for cities and governments, medicine and healthcare. And, it opens the door to innovation in energy production, insurance, banking and finance, business intelligence and analytics, and marketing. And it will create new jobs in every single business sector. Companies will begin expanding their research and development efforts to include cognitive computing in hopes of identifying potential competitive differentiators. The opportunities are almost endless. Why do you think a new approach to solving problems with content and computers is needed?
Michael: Traditional computing systems like the ones we use today rely on us to know what we want them to do ahead of time. We must program them in advance to do the work we require of them. Traditional computing architectures designed in this way are troublesome. They can lead to what’s known as the von Neumann bottleneck (a processing-heavy approach in which discrete processing tasks are completed linearly, one at a time). This situation makes it difficult for us to create scalable solutions to big data—and big content—problems. And, it prevents us from uncovering hidden value in our content assets.
Cognitive computing and machine learning technologies are designed to help us overcome issues of scale. And, they can help us discover solutions to problems. By adding semantic context to the content—making content intelligent—machines can learn and process content on our behalf. They’ll even be able to help us determine risk, spot hidden potential, and make better choices. And they’ll be able to automatically assess probability, recommend courses of action, and guide us toward business decisions. Just imagine what that will mean for customer support solutions, cancer research, and education.
Scott: Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, has said that one of the biggest questions associated with cognitive computing is: “How can people and computers be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before?” In your view, why would intelligent content (modular, structured, semantically rich, reusable, format-free content) be of value to help cognitive computing technologies make sense of the exploding availability of content coming at us from an increasing number of sources?
Michael: The need for intelligent content is paramount when thinking in terms of advanced solutions like cognitive computing. We can teach systems what they need to know about unstructured content. That’s one option. Or, we can provide systems with intelligent content equipped with semantic metadata. Metadata helps cognitive computing systems understand the content without our needing to intervene as trainers. Companies that have invested in intelligent content solutions are ahead of the curve in this area. Intelligent content and artificial intelligence systems go hand-in-hand.
Scott: I know that many people hear words like cognitive computing and jump to the conclusion that it’s all about artificial intelligence and replacing humans with robots. I realize you’re not talking about that, although there is a grain of truth in those fears. Artificial intelligence will allow us to innovate and to create better solutions. Those innovations may indeed lead to job losses. But, there’s an entire world of new jobs that are being created at the same time. Do you see this transformation the same way as I do?
Michael: Yes, Scott. I do. First, it’s important to note that the cognitive computing revolution is not about replacing humans with machines. It’s about shifting gears and providing humans with the better results by leveraging computers to do what they do best. The volume and velocity of content being produced by organizations, shared and curated by people via social media, and collected by sensors connected to the Internet of Things, is huge. Thus cognitive computing power is required to help us make sense of the volumes of content around us. Combined with intelligent content, cognitive computing can help us solve many of the global challenges we face today.
Even with all the advancements made in cognitive computing, there will always be debate on how far technology can take us. During the 2016 Wimbledon tennis tournament, IBM Watson predicted the number of first service points and aces that would be needed in order for one player to win against his opponent. Unfortunately, Watson’s predictions weren’t always spot on. I guess Watson will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how athletic ability, speed, and endurance relate to scoreboard pressure, nerves, and emotion. There’s still plenty of room for improvement.
Scott: Good point. Although, IBM used Watson at Wimbledon to cull through all sorts of other data that did provide some useful data points. For example, Watson used facial recognition to attempt to understand what people were cheering about (or not) during the matches. And, Watson was pointed at social media channels to decipher what Wimbledon fans were sharing and chatting about on the web.
That said, I think you’re spot on with your prediction about cognitive computing and the future of content. It will be interesting to see where these new capabilities lead us. There will be a few stumbles along the way.
Thanks for sharing your views with our audience.
Michael: I’ll leave you with this quote from IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. “This era will redefine the relationship between man and machine.” Cognitive computing, while still relatively new, holds many possibilities. I’m excited to see what we can make happen.
Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your audience, Scott. I appreciate it.
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