Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (2023)

Article

Written bytrace of amber

Disposethe print version.

Content strategy and information architecture are two different disciplines that work together to create customer success. Information Architect Amber Swope and Content Strategist Chris Hibbard share some methodologies and processes, best practices, and insights into how content strategy and information architecture work together to make client projects a success.

Content Strategy

There are many ways to define content strategy. In the context of this article, content strategy defines how content meets business and end-user needs, manages your investments in content systems and publishing resources, and informs migration/transformation plans and key performance indicators.

Businesses large and small tend to view content as a valuable asset. Organizations no longer view content strategy as a cost center. Instead, organizations are taking a broader perspective to consider how content can drive business productivity and how it can support the organization's mission and brand. In this sense, content is intellectual property and worth a business investment. The content strategist is crucial to this continuous development and has a crucial influence on the decision-makers in the company.

information architecture

Information architecture or AI is sometimes used interchangeably with content strategy, but they are different. Samantha Bailey defines AI as "the art and science of organizing information to make it findable, manageable, and useful." While the science of AI uses patterns, taxonomy, and best practices, the art of AI is working with the content strategist and client to understand what success looks like and design the right solution. Judgment, experience, and creativity are required to find the best way to structure, manage, and assemble content.

Successful AI provides a transactional framework that leverages structured and modular content and metadata to deliver effective content experiences. Because we don't know how or where users might experience this content in the future, AI design must enable the content for the future.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (1)

Content-Stratege

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (2)

(Video) 10 Ways DITA Can Help Drive a Content Strategy

information architect

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (3)

Client

Phase 1: Define success

Because developing a successful content strategy requires clear goals and intense collaboration, defining success is the first step.

The content strategist begins by assessing the scope and priorities of the project. We conduct stakeholder interviews, review business challenges and host breakout sessions to clearly articulate the problem we are trying to solve.

Based on the score, we identify how the content can solve a business problem or move a user to action. By basing the project on the client's real-world challenges and opportunities, we can enable the content to inspire and enable measurable action.

Once the business challenges are identified, the content strategy action plan lays out the different types of content, rationale, dimensions around content context (how and where it is used), and support. A good content strategist looks at the content problem area from a operational perspective: how will it change people's daily lives? How much does it cost to produce this type of content? Is it sustainable? These factors fit into a framework that allows the strategist to engage diverse stakeholders and develop a common vocabulary of what we are trying to achieve. Defining success ensures that we establish the right shared vision, vocabulary and business framework.

Phase 2: Assessment of the current state

Defining where the customer should go begins with assessing where they currently are. This starts with conducting an assessment of the systems, content and processes based on success criteria that base the project on a strong business case.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (5)

The content strategist starts with a preliminary content audit to assess how much content there is and look for patterns in the content landscape. Armed with this data, we carry out a quality and design review to determine if the current structure meets the needs of the company and to determine how it should be modified if it does not.

Next, we evaluate the performance of the content; This includes understanding workflows, how content is used, and what needs to change to achieve business outcomes. Because content has a life of its own, we need to plan its lifecycle.

To help senior sponsors make the decision to fund a large content project with confidence, we have developed a clear financial rationale that includes cost savings and a business case for investments.

Finally, we work together with the customer on the content strategy roadmap - nothing works without a plan! The plan clearly articulates what, how, and when things will be done, and sets expectations for everyone involved.

Phase 3: Visualize the future state

After we define customer success and the current state, the content strategist and information architect work with the customer to envision the future state of their content information architecture, technology, and processes.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (6)

(Video) Advanced Techniques for Customer-Centric Delivery of Product Information

Content-Stratege

As the process evolves, assumptions will continue to be made. We use these assumptions to develop common models and goals to achieve stakeholder alignment. With a full content analysis, a user context map, and a maintenance plan, we frame them using an interaction model.

The interaction model tells us where people consume the content and in what context they will consume it. For example, the way users interact with an email differs from that of a knowledge portal or helpdesk solution. Here we develop real user scenarios and model how users should interact with the content. The interaction model considers how the context and delivery channels support the end user consuming the content at the point of need.

information architect

At this point, the information architect joins the process. Based on the content strategist's work, we can start searching for the results we need to create.

¼Context determines the effectiveness of content.¢

The architect analyzes each of the high-priority deliverables to identify its purpose, structure, and end-user benefit.

Based on this analysis, we can define the requirements for each release type, including the required metadata. For example, the structure of a guide differs from a whitepaper, which also differs from a newsletter, and the metadata about each of these results differs based on how we expect users to access them. The architect needs to understand what metadata each piece of content requires. Whether users are accessing content through an embedded system, search portal, mobile app, or any delivery platform, we need to know what success looks like in order to build the right architecture.

Phase 4: Analyze future government content requirements

This is essentially a gap analysis of where we are and where we want to be.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (7)

Content-Stratege

The context delivery model allows us to include user research: Conduct primary user research on the content and design of the interaction, including themes and clickable user interfaces (UIs). This user research feeds into the analysis of future government requirements to determine how people will actually use the content now and in the future. The context model looks at multiple dimensions beyond content: it defines where and what types of users consume the content, as well as key targeting attributes for the business to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. The context model informs the technology requirements and the metadata model that provides the context for the content design.

¼Not all content is created equal – invest in your high-priority content first.¢

information architect

Using content strategy research, we can evaluate the results in new ways and then structure each one to meet user needs. First, the information architect creates diagrams that identify the content types, content hierarchy, and metadata for each delivery. We then analyze the content set to assess how often content of the same type appears in different and related results to identify redundancies, and we examine how structurally consistent results of the same type are across the content set to determine consistency. By reviewing benchmark results from content strategy research, we can design the best delivery framework for the future. Amber uses diagrams to validate the proposed structures with the content strategist and client.

If we are clear about the purpose of the content, we can be clear about what delivery address your address should be. Using this prioritization-based matrix that we receive from the content strategist, the information architect can understand what content is most important to user success and focus on that high-priority content.

The final activity in this phase is to write a summary for the client to validate the observations. This feedback validates what we did right and clarifies what we did wrong. By working with the content strategist, we gain valuable insights into the needs of stakeholders and internal customers.

Phase 5: Development of the first project

So far, content strategy has led the way. From now on, the information architecture leads and does most of the work.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (8)

information architect

In this step, we create content diagrams to understand what is included in each content collection unit based on its purpose. For example, for a glossary definition, we need to know the following information: term, definition, form of first instance, symbol, and alternate forms.

(Video) Optimizing your DITA Content Model for Translation

For each content type, we need to know what the structure should look like so we can start testing. This includes identifying exactly which individual parts belong to which type. In the case of a glossary topic, this means defining how we create each of the above.

We also use these charts to show and communicate to stakeholders how modular and structured content works and to get feedback that we can translate into technical requirements.

Diagrams also help us understand the relationship between content units. For example, a glossary definition is most useful when it references an instance of that term in content execution. We want to build relationships so that we can use them in different ways in different contexts. In the glossary example, we want to associate the definition with the term instance so that a user can easily access the definition when using the content.

Finally, we want to determine the required metadata and start prototyping with the content. We work with the content strategist to conduct a proof of concept (POC) to show the art of possible for content structure and delivery.

Content-Stratege

At this point, it is important for the strategist to work with the architect to understand the content delivery and interaction design requirements, and to provide insights into the user experience (UX) design around the content. For example, we'll see how collections of research and interactions around recent posts are rendered. The strategist works closely with UX designers to optimize the user experience so that content can be consumed and processed in the real world.

As a consensus building exercise, strategists communicate with stakeholders and share progress to ensure there is organizational alignment with the direction and vision we are moving towards. When making design decisions and proposing improvements to systems and content structures, we try to be aware that the changes will affect the day-to-day work of the team: there are team members who accidentally apply for positions that have not yet been accepted. – that's why we're working hard to make it easier to see new systems and new content structures. Stakeholders need to understand what is happening to them and their required involvement.

¼Charts help stakeholders see your content in new ways.¢

Phase 6: Validate project + plan work

At this point we get customer feedback on all aspects of the initiative: success of user testing, content relationships, metadata usage, etc. It's really a collaboration, a conversation that we have together and with the customer, because they are the ones who define success. We build the ecosystem, but they have to be able to sustain that ecosystem. To get it right, the process cannot take place in secret: it requires transparency and collaboration to work.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (9)

information architect

Based on the results of the POC and subsequent analysis, we can validate the proposed design for the content and the charts to be delivered, as well as the metadata design. Because metadata is critical to empowering content, it's imperative that we identify the appropriate metadata classes and values ​​for each content type and delivery type. Whenever possible, we leverage existing metadata values, such as B. those in the corporate taxonomy to support cross-system consistency.

Now that we know what types of content we have and what services they belong to, we can develop a plan for sharing or reusing content. Ideally, content sharing allows authors to create a single content instance that can be presented in all appropriate delivery contexts; This means that some content can be reused during creation and other content can be reused during delivery, publication or presentation of content in a specific context. .

Content-Stratege

As with all of these points, the content strategist begins to facilitate the handoff to the implementation team. We want to ensure that the insights we gain along the way are transferred in more detail to the team members executing the work. Strategist facilitates transformation roadmaps and timeline. When building the system, from a technical standpoint, there are various parts that are initially implemented, so we need to ensure that content transformation roadmaps are pushing content into these systems once they go live. It's important to realize that not all content flows equally through the ecosystem. As we review the roadmap for implementing the technology, we also look at what content needs to be transformed and how the sequence of events for content transformation will support implementation. The content should flow like the gears of a clock.

Phase 7: Implement + Iterate

The final step in this process is implementation and iteration. At this point, we formalize the first round of content to set the baseline. We need to finish what we have and understand what is needed downstream.

Content Strategy + Information Architecture = Customer Success – DITA Strategies (10)

information architect

At this point, we formalize the content model that represents the detail and structure of the deliverables and content, and create final sample files for use by downstream processes. These processes include content conversion and migration, template creation, content validation, deployment automation, and publishing. Since content is in practice AI, authors need validation models and rules to support their success. AI may be beautifully designed, but if content creators can't efficiently write content into it, it has failed. Your job is quite difficult; our job is to help you succeed.

We also take the time to document not only what we decided, but how we got there. We use a series of templates to document the requirements, the questions we asked, the options we considered, and why. If we don't document the process, we can't answer stakeholders' questions about how we designed the solution.

The documentation contains the metadata values. As delivery systems continue to evolve, metadata does not remain static and we need to understand why and where metadata is applied (at creation, publishing, delivery) so that we can deliver the experience we want.

Content-Stratege

From a content strategy perspective, implementation and iteration revolve around the transformation and migration activities themselves. As Peter Drucker said, “Plans are only good resolutions if they don't immediately turn into hard work.” – that's the value of the strategy – they really enables the work. Because of this, my team works with others to do the transformational work. This allows us to monitor the quality of the content and the implementation of the strategy proposed at the beginning. Create a feedback loop to make adjustments over time.

¼A successful project achieves the client's goals and can actually be completed.¢

summary

As content strategy and information architecture work together throughout the phases, it becomes clear how they benefit each other and together drive customer success.

How content strategy benefits from AI input

From a content strategy perspective, AI provides structured and reusable content components. The structuring of content components not only enables the flow of content through the ecosystem, but also supports the design of the component experience and enables better ways for consumers to consume and use that information. AI is also creating new opportunities to solve business needs in new and better ways. For example, many of our recommendations have been made possible by new technology and new content structures.

AI USE CONTENT STRATEGY THROUGH:

  • Provide reusable content components

  • Create opportunities to solve business challenges in new and better ways

  • Deliver contextual content at scale

AI also enables the delivery of contextualized content at scale. For example, millions of pieces of content need to be structured and standardized in order to be made available. In the case of our mutual customer, there are five different delivery endpoints (of which we are aware) where consumers can access this structured content. We know we're doing it right because we allow the lead sponsor to go out and show off and get support from other stakeholders. As a result, this is a system that many people want to adopt, and being able to work together has made a huge difference to this success.

How AI benefits from contributing to content strategy

Content strategy adds value to AI by setting context for content creators and end users. As content flows through the system, it enables actions in the real world, so the user context actually informs the metadata and structure. Without that context, all we have is some metadata. We want to understand which metadata should be applied to which content units.

BENEFITS OF CONTENT STRATEGY THROUGH:

  • Definition of the content producer and consumer context

  • Anchor AI decisions in the real world

  • Provide guiding principles for structured content

Having a content strategy input to narrow the focus really helps us think about how people can create that content effectively. This anchors AI decision-making in the real world and provides guiding principles for structured content.

If you're looking to optimize your content strategy with customized information architecture consulting, consider hiring Amber Swope for five to ten hours of consulting or training.

(Video) DITA Isn't for Everyone (And Here's Why)

Learn more

Checklist for phase specific delivery

Use this checklist to guide content strategy and information architecture coordination in your project:

Dispose

This article was written in collaboration with Chris Hibbardtahzoo.

Content StrategycooperationeducationAdvisor

trace of amber

(Video) Optimizing Your Authoring Process with Precision Content and easyDITA

FAQs

What is the difference between content strategy and information architecture? ›

Content strategy focuses on the delivery, governance and planning content creation. Information Architecture deals with the design of an information space and to ensure that users can easily find what they're looking for.

Is information architecture a content strategy? ›

"Information architecture enables content strategy in that it allows an organisation to tell its story by giving them the tools to guide visitors through a certain path." Content strategy and information architecture are so interconnected that one cannot be created before the other.

What is information architecture strategy? ›

Information architecture (IA) focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. The goal is to help users find information and complete tasks.

What are the 3 components of content strategy? ›

Industry experts will tell you that an effective content strategy must have three core elements to be successful: brand focus, user experience, and content distribution.

What are the 4 steps of content strategy? ›

Content Marketing Strategies: The Four-Step Approach for Success
  1. Step one: Identify your goals. ...
  2. Step Two: Customer research. ...
  3. Step 3: Leveraging the right content management system. ...
  4. Step 4: Identifying what form your content should take. ...
  5. Key takeaways.
15 Apr 2019

What are the 7 steps in creating a content strategy? ›

How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy (7 Steps)
  1. Define your goals.
  2. Establish your target audience.
  3. Identify keywords by establishing the problems your business solves.
  4. Run a content audit.
  5. Determine which content types you will use.
  6. Create a content calendar & publish.
  7. Measure results.
20 Aug 2020

What are the four components of content strategy? ›

4 Key Components That Make A Content Strategy Successful
  • Clearly Defined Targets. Knowing who you are targeting is the first and most important part of any marketing strategy and content marketing is no exception. ...
  • A Contextual Understanding Of Your Audience. ...
  • Clear Goals. ...
  • Metrics To Measure.
22 Jul 2019

What are the 3 types of information systems architecture? ›

I will focus on three system architecture types: a single database system, a centralized system, and a federated system. A single database architecture is one in which all contributing entities use one single database and system to store all data.

What are the types of information architecture? ›

There are two basic styles of information architecture: top-down and bottom-up. The thing that many designers must realize is that it's useful to look at a site from both angles to devise the most effective IA.

What is content architecture? ›

Content architecture is the process of designing a structure that can utilize content effectively, efficiently, and create outputs that satisfy the stated or implied needs of the target audience. There are so many factors that can affect the content architecture.

What are the four types of architecture? ›

Top 8 architectural styles that can easily be recognised
  • Greek and Roman Classical Architecture. ...
  • Gothic Architecture. ...
  • Baroque. ...
  • Neoclassical Architecture. ...
  • Victorian Architecture. ...
  • Modern Architecture. ...
  • Post-Modern Architecture. ...
  • Neofuturist Architecture.

What are the four types of system architecture? ›

Several types of systems architectures (underlain by the same fundamental principles) have been identified as follows:
  • Hardware architecture.
  • Software architecture.
  • Enterprise architecture.
  • Collaborative systems architectures(such as the Internet, intelligent transportation systems, and joint air defense systems)

What are the 4 main types of enterprise architecture? ›

In particular, the article focuses on the four most widely known EA frameworks: the Zachman Framework, FEAF, DoDAF and TOGAF.

What are the 3 categories of content? ›

As such, I would propose that very broadly there are three types of content required for a successful content strategy. These types include content designed for link attraction, content specific to your product or service and finally content geared towards your target market or audience.

What are the 5 steps on developing content strategy? ›

5 steps to developing a content strategy
  1. Define your goals. Great content needs to have a purpose and that purpose needs to be defined by clear goals. ...
  2. Know your audience. ...
  3. Audit your content. ...
  4. Develop content themes. ...
  5. Map your content to your marketing funnel.

What are the 5 steps of content development? ›

5 Vital Steps for a Successful Content Development Process
  • Set Content Goals. Before you even think about topics or audiences, consider what you want your content to accomplish. ...
  • Perform Audience Research. ...
  • Hone Your Content Strategy. ...
  • Write. ...
  • Publish and Distribute.
28 Feb 2022

What are the 7 elements of strategy? ›

Here are the 7 basic elements of a strategic plan: vision, mission, SWOT analysis, core values, goals, objectives, and action plans.

What are the 5 essential elements of a content marketing strategy? ›

An effective Content Marketing strategy should have these five core elements to be successful: audience personas, brand positioning, owned media value proposition, business case, and an action plan. Let's see why these elements are essential and how you can start implementing each of them.

What are the 4 key elements in the funnel? ›

The 4 Simple Elements of a Marketing Funnel

Awareness. Interest. Desire. Action.

What are the six types of content? ›

In order to effectively reach your ideal audience, make sure these six types of content are included in your toolkit.
  • Blog posts. ...
  • Guest-contributed articles. ...
  • Press mentions. ...
  • Email marketing. ...
  • Gated content. ...
  • Video content.
19 Nov 2019

What are the best 6 tips for content marketing? ›

Be the person on the internet that actually answers the questions.
  • Create Content That Is Long And Lean. Longer content often performs better in searches than pieces that are shorter. ...
  • Use Data. ...
  • Don't Forget The Visuals. ...
  • Repurpose Content. ...
  • Pay Attention To Analytics.
5 Nov 2021

What are the 5 main components of an information system? ›

5 Components of Information Systems
  • Computer hardware. This is the physical technology that works with information. ...
  • Computer software. The hardware needs to know what to do, and that is the role of software. ...
  • Telecommunications. ...
  • Databases and data warehouses. ...
  • Human resources and procedures.

What are the 6 main components of an information system? ›

The six basic functions of information systems are capture data, transmit data, store data, retrieve data, manipulate data and display information.

What are the main elements of information architecture? ›

In our article “Information Architecture. Basics for Designers” we've defined four essential components of IA: organization systems, labeling systems, navigation systems, and search systems.

What are the four levels of information in designing? ›

4.1 The Big Picture

Figure 4.1 shows four nested levels of design: domain situation, task and data abstraction, visual encoding and interaction idiom, and algorithm.

What is an information architecture diagram? ›

What is an Information Architecture Diagram? The information architecture diagram is a blueprint of the design structure that can be generated into wireframes and sitemaps of the project. UX designers utilize them as basic tools to start planning the navigation system.

What is content design strategy? ›

“ - Content strategy is the art of bringing the right content to the right person and the right place at the right time and in the right context. It's an umbrella term that covers the planning for, development of, and management of content.

What is included in a content strategy? ›

Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. Content not only includes the words on the page but also the images and multimedia that are used.

What is the relationship between information architecture and digital content? ›

The information architecture of your site is one of the ways through which you express your content strategy. The choices you make about what content to highlight is just another way to emphasize mission-centric issues and messages. In other words, information architecture is another expression of your voice.

What is meant by content strategy? ›

A content strategy is a plan in which you use content (audio, visual, and/or written) to achieve your business goals. A successful content strategy will attract your target audience at every stage of the funnel and keep them engaged even after a purchase.

What are the 4 layers of Internet of Things architecture? ›

here in this article we will discuss basic fundamental architecture of IoT i.e., 4 Stage IoT architecture. So, from the above image it is clear that there is 4 layers are present that can be divided as follows: Sensing Layer, Network Layer, Data processing Layer, and Application Layer.

What are the two main components of data architecture? ›

Components of data architecture

The architectural components of today's data architectural world are: Data pipelines. Cloud storage.

What are the 4 P's of content development? ›

In a nutshell, the 4 P's are the core concepts for creating the right product at the right price in the right place with effective promotion. Inspired by the 4 P's, I created the 4 P's for my book, Global Content Marketing: Plan, Produce, Promote and Perfect.

What are the 4 components of information system? ›

As discussed before, the first four components of information systems – hardware, software, network communication, and data, are all technologies that must integrate well together.

What are the five 5 different phases of strategy? ›

The five stages of the process are goal-setting, analysis, strategy formation, strategy implementation and strategy monitoring.

What are the 5 components of strategy? ›

These five elements of strategy include Arenas, Differentiators, Vehicles, Staging, and Economic Logic. This model was developed by strategy researchers, Donald Hambrick and James Fredrickson. To achieve key objectives, every business must assemble a series of strategies.

Videos

1. Managing DITA implementation
(ScriptoriumTech)
2. Using Structured XML to Power your Learning Content
(DITA Strategies)
3. Sharing content across the enterprise
(DITA Strategies)
4. SDKS Webinar Sharing content across the enterprise June 20, 2018
(StiloInternational)
5. Localization best practices for Next-Gen DITA
(WhP)
6. WEBINAR | OptimizeR | Optimization of DITA Content for Consistency and Reuse | December 4, 2019
(StiloInternational)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Carmelo Roob

Last Updated: 12/28/2022

Views: 6366

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Carmelo Roob

Birthday: 1995-01-09

Address: Apt. 915 481 Sipes Cliff, New Gonzalobury, CO 80176

Phone: +6773780339780

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Gaming, Jogging, Rugby, Video gaming, Handball, Ice skating, Web surfing

Introduction: My name is Carmelo Roob, I am a modern, handsome, delightful, comfortable, attractive, vast, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.