This article previously appeared in the June 2011 edition of Intercom Magazine. It is published here, with permission.
In a previous article on social media, I mentioned that your customers are going to talk about your products and your company, so why not give them a forum to monitor what they say and respond to customer concerns? And since your customers are going to talk about you, give them a positive experience to talk about. In an effort to practice what I preach, I recently looked at how I could engage my customers. What topic could I ask my audience (past and future LavaCon attendees) about that was germane to them and beneficial to me? In short: content development.
I began a social media campaign with two objectives: Give my audience something to talk about, then listen to their answers and respond accordingly. One of the challenges of being a conference planner is predicting what trends and topics will be hot six months to a year from now. Since I believe the industry will continue to move toward user-optimized content, I decided to use the content management lifecycle (CML) as the standard against which I’d judge speaker proposals. That is, if a session or workshop applies to some stage of the content management lifecycle, I’ll include it in the program. (This also helps to assure that each session in the program applies directly to each attendee’s day-to-day job.) So I created a draft CML diagram and asked my audience for their input. One of the responses I received was from Scott Abel, who tactfully pointed out that both CM Pros and Metatorial Services, Inc. had already developed content management lifecycle posters.
Why reinvent the wheel? See www.cmprofessionals.org/_data/ global/images/CM%20Lifecycle%20Poster%20ECMplaza%20 061012.pdf and http://metatorial.com/pagea.asp?id=poster. So I studied both models. I liked the CM Pros poster, but the diagram was not what I needed to vet speaker proposals. For example, testing after translation isn’t represented, and they use “Manage” as a phase in the lifecycle, where I believe management applies to all phases of the lifecycle. The Metatorial poster, on the other hand, was just way too complicated for my needs.
So I rephrased my question and went back to my audience for feedback: Given my draft diagram and the two other CML diagrams, what is the best way to represent the content development lifecycle for the purpose of ensuring that all sessions and workshops at the conference directly relate to some phase of real-world content development? I wanted feedback, and boy, did I get feedback! Not only did my audience offer valid comments on the diagram itself, but many people took the time to describe the challenges they were facing in their day-to-day jobs and asked for sessions on those issues as well. It was valuable feedback, indeed!