A mature content production process reduces churn, improves constancy and improves quality.
With agile development processes becoming mainstream, technical authors have needed to refine their content production processes to meet the new requirements introduced by agile development.
Content development process: where to start?
The discipline required to ensure that technical documentation is completed within each iteration has led to a number of additional benefits, for example, more consistent content, modular content, and shorter delivery times.
With 50% of content marketers saying their biggest problem is creating content consistently, marketing teams should leverage the content production that is already happening in their organisation.
Here are 5 ways marketing teams can engage with technical writing production teams to ensure they have consistent, high-quality content.
1) Redefine the definition of “Done” to include marketing
For a story to be considered “Done”, it needs to meet predefined criteria. In mature technical content production processes, the documentation is part of the definition of ”Done”.
The marketing team should ensure that the inputs to their processes are also included in the definition of “Done”.
2) Develop a content strategy that extends to the story level
So how do you know what inputs should be included in the definition of “Done”? A comprehensive agile content strategy that extends to the technical product information will define the inputs required at this stage.
For example, this may include capturing the benefits or use cases that lead to the feature being developed.
3) Collaborate with the technical authoring team
To improve the velocity of content production, technical authors working in an agile content development process rely on collaborative authoring techniques. By using detailed style guides and content models, teams of authors can quickly produce high quality content.
The marketing team should be involved in defining the style guides, content models and templates, to ensure consistency across all customer communication, as well as to eliminate the need to repurpose content later.
In addition, the marketing team can create and review relevant content.
4) Streamline internal communications
Agile processes typically rely on demos to communicate changes to the product. But this method is not practical for communicating to the organisation as a whole. By ensuring features are documented as they are created, information can be made available for those who can’t attend the demo.
The marketing team gets information about new features sooner, giving them more time to develop campaigns, and new staff to both engineering and marketing departments can get up to speed more quickly.
5) Insist on an online-first strategy for product information
The most important channels for distributing content are online. By engaging with the technical production processes, the marketing team can influence content production to ensure that content is produced in a format they can use.
Time can be saved by not reformatting the content to suit marketing tools. And content can be structured in a way that is suitable for use in marketing campaigns.
Wrapping up and agile content development
Technical authors have refined their content production processes to ensure they keep pace with agile content development. By engaging with this existing content production process, content marketing teams can ensure they have a consistent, high quality and predictable supply of content that is suited to their needs.