What Is Your Technical Communication Strategy
A great technical communication strategy combines content, user focus, and business needs.
The purpose of your technical communication strategy should be like any other – to decide what to communicate, how to communicate it, to whom, and for what purpose.
A major issue with technical communication is the lack of self-servicing users. As much as companies are investing in new channels and features, customers are still not always self-sufficient in looking for information they need. 56% of service leaders agree that new features and channels are not making the transition to self-service customers.
So, how should you address this? What should you consider when planning your technical communication strategy? We’ll take a look at some approaches that may give your strategy the boost it needs.
User experience is important to any technical communication strategy. Consider if your strategy is actually `providing the right information through the appropriate channels to your users.
• Collaborating with various teams and deciding which collaboration tool best suits your needs will play a large role in ensuring the success of your strategy.
• Combining other teams like content, marketing, branding, and customer support into your strategy will give you an integrated approach to your strategy.
• Deciding which data to measure will give your strategy an added advantage.
Every aspect of technical communication, no matter the industry or content, is a driver of user experience.
Are you using the right combination of channels to address the issues your customers are facing? Your customers’ experience should be the focus when deciding the kind of information and which channel would be most effective for your strategy.
Companies can invest in creating high-quality content for their audience, but it doesn’t solve a business need if the information is outdated or over inconsistent channels. Disparate content leads to a drop in user experience as customers have difficulty finding the answers they need, which ultimately means higher costs and negative feedback.
The goal of your strategy should be to make even the most complex documents understandable and incredibly user-friendly. Some questions you may want to consider while mapping your strategy include:
• Is it answering your customers’ most asked question?
• Is it easy to find that information?
• Is the content readable and easy to understand?
Ensuring a good user experience requires teamwork. This means your technical communication strategy should include big-picture discussions amongst various teams in your company. Team players from different departments can provide advice on elements like messaging strategy, branding, imaging, and how you can combine all those aspects to achieve the final product.
Sometimes, collaboration in technical writing projects is easier said than done. Here are three main steps that can help aid successful collaboration:
Planning the project and laying out specific objectives can build a strong foundation for churning out high-quality deliverables. Whether your project is a single document or a book, details like editing and proofreading are just as important as marketing and budgeting.
Flexibility also plays an important role in collaboration. Though it’s important to assign tasks to your team based on their merits, you’ll also have to consider your team approaching the project from different angles with different ideas. Some ideas may work, some won’t, but what’s important is compromising and listening to each idea. Active listening and participation will go a long way in any technical communication strategy.
Think about what you need to complete the project in terms of geographical location, platforms, and the need to allow simultaneous access.
For example, Zoomin helps documentation leaders work better with various teams to provide the best overall customer experience by connecting to the tools they already use. Effective collaboration leads to securing larger budgets and your content having a bigger impact on organization-wide strategy and goals. By planning how to create a better, more intuitive experience, users can find the right content they need and reap the benefits of the hard work the team puts into it.
Combining content, marketing, and customer support teams allows your technical communication strategy to provide a holistic solution to your business and customer needs. It should encompass content development, branding, marketing, a smooth delivery system, and great customer support.
This is where your strategy evolves to an integrated technical communication strategy, which can be applied to many areas of business activity as shown in the figure below.
Focusing on integration allows you to approach an issue from different angles. It ensures you’re utilizing every available asset to provide the best possible solution to your business.
Your strategy is in place and it’s running well. Now how would you measure its success?
When tracking the success and progress of a technical communication strategy, you’ll have to:
• Finalize your project goals. Data is all about helping you achieve and measure success. Once your team understands the project goals, deciding which type of data to track and how to utilize valuable data to your advantage will help you achieve that goal.
• Have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). Measuring KPIs throughout the progress of your strategy will allow you to track and manage your team’s productivity more effectively. It’s a moot point to continue publishing content, spending money to market it if you’re not going to analyze whether the content is solving a need or issue.
A great example is how Zoomin can help your team become a data-driven team by providing actionable content analytics. This helps you produce more relevant content, better manage team productivity, and prioritize where your team spends time to create content of high value.
Planning an effective technical communication strategy starts with identifying a business issue or need. From there, you can decide how you plan to meet those needs.
An example of a successful technical communication strategy is a collaboration between Shiji Group and Zoomin. The video shows how Shiji Group gains a strategic advantage over its competitors by deciding on the type of content to produce and how it’s delivered to meet the need of their customers.
Learn more on how Zoomin can help with your technical communication strategy.