SDL Webinar Series: Beyond Words – The Reinvention of Technical Documentation

When July 15 2014 1:00 PM (1 hour) , Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Free Registration

SDL invites you to join this multi-part webinar series on taking technical documentation to the next level to meet and exceed the demands and expectations of your customers.

Many organizations are now faced with the mandate to transform their publications into high quality customer touchpoints to support broader CXM initiatives beyond technical documentation. For many, contextual personalized product content also supports marketing efforts to engage with customers at all points in the customer journey. Not only does this support a company’s overall CX initiative, but it the added benefit of reducing customer support costs through easy-to-find, multi-channel, multilingual documentation.

Yes. It is about Acrolinx!

Great Style Makes Good Content Great

Your company’s personality comes through the tone of voice of your content. Whether you’re selling sewing supplies or supercomputers, your corporate voice determines whether you connect with your audience or leave them cold.

Your voice may even vary based on the customers for each product. For example, you may want to keep technical jargon out of your user guides while keeping it in your systems administrator guides.

Defining Your Voice
Many companies rely on third-party style guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Microsoft Manual of Style. Larger companies often develop their own style guides.

Regardless of who creates the style guide, it typically covers many language issues. The following table describes some of them.

Style Guides Cover Issues Such As:

Pronouns: second person or third person?
Contractions: prefer or avoid contractions?
Pleasantries: allow or minimize words like “please?”
Active voice: prefer active voice and minimize passive voice?
Slang: allow colloquialisms?

Most organizations produce a style guide and ask everyone to read it, learn it, and follow it.

However, compliance varies widely, and even the best writers have trouble seeing errors in their own work. You could turn your best writers into editors who check every sentence, but most companies cannot afford the expense.

In addition, style guides usually focus more on consistency than voice. Does your style guide define a target reading grade level? Does it specify a target level of readability or “liveliness?” If so, how do you measure them?

Need help with this

Abandoned by my new Content Marketing friend

I visited a Corporate Facebook page a few months back. The product that the Company was developing (Yes, it is not in production yet) seemed like a very cool piece of technology out of Silicon Valley. They said it could even save my life someday.

Cool piece of technology and it could save my life; I decided to follow the Company. Something unexpected, but much appreciated started to happen, I started to see posts in my News Feed from the Company. They provided product information, beta user experiences and even an occasional post by the Company founder.

Each day I would receive two posts, each of them filled with either a video or an interesting write-up. I grow to look forward to their posts. I started to feel like I was part of the family, and then suddenly they stopped.

At first I wondered why, but like many relationships I began to forget the flash friendship we had. I started to follow a different Product Page and soon they were forgotten.

Guess what? I suddenly started to see posts again landing on my News Feed. Honestly, it would have been better to never have started this relationship in the first place. Their restarted posts brought back my feelings of abandonment. I had to unfollow. I had no choice. They can also forget about me buying that cool tech when it comes out.

The moral of this story is that once you start a Content Marketing relationship with a prospect, you need to constantly publish new material or you may alienate the very people you are trying to attract.

Tom Aldous