Every once in a while, a group of content folks, documentation managers and technical writers look up from their style guides and technical writing subreddits to connect with like-minded peers. And they call it LavaCon.

What’s LavaCon?

LavaCon 2021, which took place virtually the week of October 24th, marked the conference’s 19th year. It’s the place where rockstars of content strategy gather to share best practices and lessons learned, network with peers, and build professional relationships. This year’s topic was Mastering the Content Development Cycle, focusing on how enterprises can create and share content. And the conference did not fail to deliver its promise!

Zoomin is proud to continue to sponsor LavaCon, and support the community of documentation experts. We always look forward to meeting new folks and sharing our view of the trends and themes in the technical publication industry,

This year, Zoomin’s President Joe Gelb gave a talk sharing Zoomin’s vision of how companies should use content to drive customer loyalty. He shared his perception of what drives customer loyalty, the vital stages to building customers’ trust, the future of customer journey, and what technical content documentation experts should consider looking into the 2022 trends. If you attended the conference, you can view the talk here.

Key takeaways from LavaCon 2021

In addition to hearing great best practices on everything from subject lines and CTAs to personalization, to inclusive and accessible content, for us attending the conference was also  an opportunity to see what other organizations are focused on as well as where they’re struggling.

These are our week’s worth of insights condensed into 5 quick snippets:

  1. Content is getting wider recognition: A few speakers touched on the point that content of all kinds is no longer a nice-to-have or should be created without purpose. Organizations realize the power that content has, not only for customers to discover their products and services but also to keep existing customers on the right track (more on this later).

  1. Measurement is essential (but not solved yet): Measuring the effectiveness of content beyond just views is the only way to determine what type of content readers want and find easy to use. While universally agreed upon, knowing how to produce and serve effective content is sometimes easier said than done and many attendees say they have to use a myriad of tools and channels to monitor in order to cobble together this insight.

  1. Existing customers aren’t getting the love: Much of the content being written has been focused on getting prospects to convert, rather than maintaining and improving the health of existing customers. While this was reported to be widely acknowledged in companies, competing priorities from marketing, sales and customer success have put content teams in a tricky spot.

  1. People want content they can trust: Quite a few sessions touched on this point, and how the way customers experience content can either build or erode that trust. While there is no single answer, having consistent content, transparent language, easy to navigate documents, and digital experiences put a few pennies in the trust bank.

  1. Content and customer experience are the same thing: While organizations tend to put these groups in different areas, these two functions were inseparable during discussions and presentations. One truly cannot exist without the other.

Good news, bad news

The good news is that some of these problems are solvable - from giving customers a more consistent digital experience to measuring content across the entire lifecycle to showcasing clear value from content for the organization. (And, wouldn’t you know it, that’s what we do at Zoomin.)

But the bad news is that some of these issues can’t be solved through software, consultants, or DITA maps. They are things that we and the organizations we work for need to prioritize. Like how we ensure open, inclusive language. Or how we recognize the people who create content that drives these journeys. Or how we continue to serve customers after they convert.

These are the things we need to keep talking about. See you at the next one!

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