driving enterprise content strategy with only guerilla staff

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Driving Enterprise Content Strategy (with only guerilla staff) Alyson Riley IBM 22 October 2013

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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 Ames & Eileen Jones) @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Metricsthe best weapon in your arsenal Metrics have gotten a bad rap Numbers can be hard for word people The right numbers are hard for everyone Getting metrics to work for you requires a significant shift in thinking Rethink metrics Metrics are like audience analysis (who cares about what?) Metrics are like usability testing (what works for whom?) Embrace metrics Metrics get you what you want Metrics ensure you want the right things Metrics transform opinion into fact Metrics remove emotion from analysis Strategize with metrics at every phase Beginning: identify opportunity, prove the strategy is right Middle: show incremental progress, course-correct End: prove value and earn investment for the future @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • The sell: Tell a compelling story for each audience Logos Logic, data, clarity, evidence either inductive (bottom-up) or deductive (top-down) reasoning Use metrics to: Speak to the analytical mind Tell the black and white part of your strategy Articulate facts that prove that your strategy is a good one Ethos Pathos Your authority, credibility, professionalism, and authenticity Emotional appeal, vivid imagery, creative envisioning, imagining Use expert communication to: Prove that you own the space Provide powerful evidence that you are worthy of trust and investment Build a network of influencers Use vision to: Speak to the heart Inspire people to believe Craft a narrative that resonates and lingers long after youve left the room @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Think big, start small: Organize for success @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Maximize an asset you already have: Stakeholders Whose agendas do you need to understand to be successful? Which influencers can help you? What are their agendas? Which influencers could block you? What are their agendas? How can you help your influencers be successful? How can you map your success to business priorities and metrics? Manage your stakeholders intentionally: Their top concerns Their metrics The level of support you desire from them What role they play (or youd like them to play) in your work The actions that you want them to take (and their priority) Stakeholder management is critical to the success of every project in every organization By engaging the right people in the right way in your project, you can make a big difference to its success... and to your career. Rachel Thompson Stakeholder Management: Planning Stakeholder Communication. MindTools. Web. 12 April 2013. Free stakeholder management worksheet here: http://bit.ly/8UnUdj The messages that you need to craft for them to enable the outcome you want @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Note: Maneuvering people is not necessarily evil To make content strategy happen, you have to master politics Think of it as a gamemoving pieces on a board You cant touch the pieces directly to move them where you want You have to inspire them to move You inspire them by figuring out what they care about and helping them succeed It doesnt have to be an evil game Look for win-win alliances and opportunities Discover and play to peoples strengths Dont get bogged down by pieces on the board that In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. Enders Game, Orson Scott Card refuse to movelooks for paths around them Enjoy the winsbe sure to share the rewards Learn from the losseskeep your eye on the end game on not on emotional setbacks @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Build a conspiracy of the competent Search out kindred spirits who get it Connect with influencers who demonstrate: Systems thinking Excellence in results Work ethic (doers, not just talkers) Sophistication in playing the game Strengths that shore up your weaknesses Drive a conspiracy of guerilla warriors: Strategize together Work around the pawns, sheep, and fools together Complete missions together Celebrate wins and learn from losses together @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Adopt a community-driven framework executive sponsor business unit sponsors competent content thought leaders from each domain content teams from each domain Network of supportive allies content marketing graphic design writers editors interaction design product management engineering infrastructure gurus @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Your starting point might look more like this sponsor competent thought leaders some random kindred spirits you met along the way Thats OK. Just start. Start somewhere. If you build it (right), they will come. @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Community-based model: Getting started Define the common problem What hurts? What are our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)? Define the common vision Where are we going? What will it look like when we arrive? Define common priorities What matters most? What common metrics unite us? Define success Which metrics will we be measured against? Which metrics accurately assess the tomorrow-state? @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Demonstrate value: CrawlWalkRun Crawl: Small, measurable projects Build relationships and trust Demonstrate value Boil not the ocean. Measure incremental progress Walk: Bigger scope, more sophisticated work Build on lessons learned Some wise person, like Gandhi or Chuck Norris or Bon Jovi Leverage the key contributors Grow your network Run: End game Define enough of the end game vision at project outset to inspire the previous phases Dont worry too much about this phase until you have learned what you need to learnnot everything needs to be defined in order to act! Communicate constantlyup, down, across Take interim measurements Maintain sponsor and stakeholder enthusiasm Course-correct as needed @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Dont do it like this: 4 stories from the trenches @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Story 1: In which I fail to use metrics intelligently What I saw What I did A content producer working on a Argued! certain type of content is troublesome: About content quality Doesnt get the big picture redundancy, inconsistency Doesnt get content About an elegant user experience Is belligerent Is territorial and siloed What I shouldve seen What I shouldve done Her success is measured differently than my success! Whats behind her metrics? Find a way to map my metrics to hers and evolve her vision: Her success metrics: increase volume of content; promote strong brand identity for her team My success metrics: simplify the information experience; deliver a one IBM information experience Increase volume of content Increase impact of content (reuse internally; visibility externally) Promote strong brand identity for her team Prove team value @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Story 2: In which I fail to manage a problem personality What I saw What I did A writer on a legacy product wanted to keep writing books forever: Got frustratedargued, yet again! Doesnt understand value of modular content Doesnt value reuse Internal efficiency metrics External experience metrics Industry trends Doesnt get DITA What I shouldve seen What I shouldve done Shes afraid! Give her a path to future security that resonates with her values: Of failure with the new technology Of losing her eminence and position as subject matter expert within her organization Of losing her job We have these problemscurrent approaches dont solve them! We need a solution or we all fail I need your help Youre a thought leader We cant do this without you Start together on a small project to demonstrate value and earn trust. @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Story 3: In which I think of course we should do this What I saw What I did This is an obvious solution to an obvious problem. We must do this. And we are a happy family: Ran meetings. Same company Same vision Same goals Kept agendas and minutes. Wondered why I was the one doing all the work. Got frustrated. What I shouldve seen What I shouldve done The problem wasnt obvious. Test the shared-ness of the vision: The solution wasnt obvious. The team was giving me lip service. The team wasnt a team. The sponsors werent engaged. Collaborate on a plan and formalize buy-in (will you put your money where your mouth is?) Disseminate responsibility (will you stand up and own this?) Communicate progress & impact @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • Story 4: In which I am too abstract What I saw What I did A team of content people from different business units who each: Kept trying to explain (read: forged ahead blindly, not realizing that anything was wrong). But See big picture Think abstractly Noted lack of progress Use models Watched participation plummet Felt awkward What I shouldve seen Meeting conversations were weird: What I shouldve done I spent too much time explaining Realize that few people can start at the abstract level. The content people discussed our purpose and work in ways that didnt make sense. Find a small, measurable, concrete project to work on. Work together = learn together. Sponsors didnt see the work: The team wasnt socializing it Generate team resultsthen work together to abstract out the key findings. @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.
  • And thats all she wrote. Any questions? thanks @ak_riley @LavaCon 2013 IBM. All rights reserved.