Consistency of message

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My role in our company isn’t strictly defined so, outside of my work with the Publications team that I head up, I also get involved with other areas of the company either because I can help, or because there is a vested interest. That brought about the creation of our development community website and more recently has seen me involved in a company wide information project.

The main aims are to provide a consistent set of information to our customers, throughout their relationship with us. So from initial contact right the way through to rollout and future upgrades, we will have a coherent set of information that is updated accordingly and a clear idea of how it will all be communicated to the customer.

This is one of those ideas I’ve long had so it’s exciting to get something like this in place, agreed and set in motion. We are lucky in that we are still a small enough group that we tackle something like this without a huge amount of overhead, although obviously the main reason we are doing this is to help us be more successful.

The model itself is simple, with 4 layers of information:

  1. Marketing Information
  2. Business Sales Information
  3. Technical Sales Information
  4. Reference Information

In the real world the layers are not distinct, but by and large the model should help people understand what they should be writing, and what they can re-use across a variety of documents.

Naturally all of this will impact on the technical documentation, with many of the Business Sales level content helping us answer the question ‘Why would I want to use XYZ?’. It’s likely we will share a lot of information with the Technical Sales layer (architectural overviews and the like) but the bulk of work will remain the creation of reference information about our product and its capabilities.

We are still tweaking things, and will continue to do so into the New Year, but the very fact that we’ve started to adopt this approach is half the battle.

The war, of course, continues!

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