Content is King!

By Bert Sandie posted 06-26-2010 18:46

  

As we examine the critical elements that make our E2.0 solutions a success we need to thoughtfully look at content. The first set of questions to consider with respect to content are:

  • What is content?
  • Who creates the content?
  • Is there a quality bar for content?
  • What is the right amount of content?
  • How do we make sure the right content is read by the right people?

Let’s try to answer each of these questions...

Question #1: What is content?

The simple answer is any data that is created for your E2.0 by users. Looking at the top E2.0 solutions the content includes:

  • Blogs – each employee has a blog as part of their user profile
  • Articles/Documents – an ability to post documents, spreadsheets, presentations, images, etc.
  • Videos – think enterprise YouTube
  • Social/User Profiles – a set of useful enterprise information that is a cross between what LinkedIn and Facebook offer
  • Micro-blogging – this provides the standard 140 character mechanism to quickly communicate within a stream or with others

Question #2: Who creates the content?

The best solutions allow every employee in the company to contribute content. That said, find who the most passionate and gifted content creators are and incent them even further.

To help empower all employees make it easy to add content to the system. For example, to add a blog entry this should be as simple as what is provided by popular external blog systems such as Blogger i.e. add a title; edit the blog body using a rich text editor that supports embedding images, urls and video; upload attachments; and add tags.

In addition, provide a recommended set of tools to help employees create quality content and “gold standard” examples for them to use for guidance. Listed below is a set of recommended content tools to start with:

  • Video: Camtasia, Microsoft Movie Maker, CamStudio
  • PowerPoint: provides templates; offer instructions on how to create a narrated deck
  • Articles/Blogs: MS Word, Adobe PDF, screen capture utilities, Adobe Photoshop

Question #3: Is there a quality bar for content?

You bet there is a quality bar – we need to have a quality bar to avoid the garbage-in garbage-out syndrome. We need to enable and empower employees to share their wisdom, experiences, and knowledge in a manner that adds return on investment to the company and its employees.

Questions #4: What is the right amount of content?

Determining what the right amount of content to capture is challenging to answer as employees have different rates and abilities to consume content; and the ease of contributing content is a major limiting factor.

A few factors to consider in determining the amount of content:

  • How many employees do you have? The number of employees is a factor as it will help determine the number of active communities that can be properly supported. Using the 1-9-90 rule (creators, editors, readers) as a guide and then using real metrics will provide insight on how many communities can be supported.
  • The consumption rate of content is key to understanding who, when and what types of content are being read. Tracking reads of content is important to understanding usage patterns.

Question #5: How do we make sure the right content is read by the right people?

Push-vs-Pull techniques to inform employees about content availability need to be used. Some popular push techniques available for use include RSS feeds, digest emails, and community manager crafted newsletters.

In addition, the presentation of content has a high degree of influence on what content is read. Content managers and community moderators need to have the ability to control the “featured” content on the home pages of the main knowledge portal, communities, intranet sites, etc.

Communities are a powerful vehicle to segment information to specific audiences. The key is to ensure you have a big enough audience, motivated contributors, and a pipeline of quality content that is shared on a regular cadence.

Finally, the use of targeted communications (i.e. email) to the consumers is important as they need to be aware of the content to consume it.

Final Words

If  you are fortunate enough to be starting to deploy a new E2.0 solution then take some extra effort to work with a hand-picked set of employees to create high-quality content to seed the system with. This content will help drive the expectations of subsequent contributors and forms an excellent set of examples to point folks at to emulate. If you have an existing solution then ensure that there is a set of gold standard content that has been created and continually reinforces the standard expected.

Finally, remember “Content is King” so make sure you properly invest in it!



#community #content #quality #e2.0
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