I'm Not a Content Machine!

Content is the talk of the town. One thing is for sure: to remain visible, you need to keep at it. You need to remain up to date, make sure you don't miss anything, and serve all channels. Marketing contents are written, published in the form of press releases, printed, twittered, ...

Even in the field of technical documentation, standalone printed manuals belong to the past. Nowadays, printed formats are supplemented by online help texts, release notes, product videos, and technical newsletters.

Though the transition between marketing and technical documentation may be fuzzy, one thing is for sure: the content must reach the target audience.

As a technical writer or marketing specialist, we sometimes feel like content machines, don't we?

The Pain of Creating Content

The world of machines is often associated with terms like productivity, continuity, consistent quality, predictable processes, optimization, and savings potential.

By contrast, the content creator stands out as a human with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and personal style. Due to these characteristics, he cannot be replaced by machine labor. As a result, he is often exposed to the overwhelming load of creating as much content as possible and as often as possible. However, a person is not a machine!

This can easily result in tension and problems such as the ones described below.

More media, more media competence?

Usually, content marketing makes use of several media channels at the same time, such as Twitter, XING, Facebook, printed media, and others. In all these areas, the writer can easily lose sight of the rules of the networks and the style and formal requirements of a particular medium. Often, there is no time for the establishment of a media concept and media-specific training. Thus, the core question is: How to find the time for this when subject to production pressure?

No time for quality?

Due to the production pressure, they are exposed to, writers often feel an urge to sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. Possible reasons (apart from the media-related problems specified above):

  • No text concept
  • Slips of the pen
  • Forgotten content
  • No time for terminology work
  • No review

"If I just had more time ..." – Which content creator has not had this feeling! Usually, the deadline is not even the main issue. The actual pain often lies in the gap between the personally embraced text quality standard and the circumstances under which a text is written. This problem could be addressed using a text quality instance that does not devour any additional time resources, but perhaps even enables time savings.

What about creativity?

The question of and to what extent creativity is desired in content creation depends on the document type and, to a certain degree, on the author's preferences. While technical documentation is often arranged in a systematic, formal manner, creativity is a key element of content creation, at least in the field of marketing. But when time is a critical factor, the pressure goes up. While pressure makes some people work faster and more efficiently, it curbs the creativity and power of expression of others. The result: loads of boring content. A bored reader will often stop reading and, in the worst case, might not return in the future (= i.e. he might stop generating clicks and contacts). This must be avoided.

Quality, Quantity, and Speed?

Media competence, creativity, and useful texts have one aspect in common: they cannot be acquired or created casually. While media competence is successively acquired as time goes on, creativity requires leeway and time to grow. Texts, too, need to grow and require preparation and quality assurance – all of which takes time.

So why not tweak the time factor and create leeway with the help of technical assistance?

In the marketing department …

Marketing specialists can manage their diverse content publications on various channels with the help of tools. The automation of the posting process generates time resources that can be used for creating content.

In the technical documentation unit …

Single-source publishing can be used to avoid having to create documents for various areas of the technical documentation from scratch. For example, this is possible via editorial systems with multiple output formats or via the export formats of Wiki-based documentation. Content does not need to be created separately for every format, which saves time. This time can be used for other purposes.

Wherever text is created …

As a content creator, you often long for a benevolent instance to assist you in your work – without any hassle, without any significant time input and use of human resources, and without any finger-wagging. Such an instance could consist of a linguistically smart author assistance tool. Such tools offer features that go beyond the spell-checker of standard text editors. For example, they provide sentence reuse, terminology check, and research functionality, and – last but not least – advanced machine review. If necessary, the technology can be implemented throughout the enterprise, in all departments, in numerous languages ... there are countless ways in which support can be provided.