Digitization Here, There, and Everywhere

I enjoyed this week’s readings, which challenged me to analyze several components of digital communication from various angles. Though all four chapters were thought-provoking, I think I was most intrigued by Chapter Eight, titled “Addressing Audiences in a Digital Age”.

Reaching the Masses through Technology

It goes without saying that, in modern society, we rely heavily on technology while actively using it to communicate with audience segments of various sizes and demographics. In fact, there really isn’t a way to efficiently contact the masses in bulk without the help of technology. After all, even spammy snail-mail would require technology for mass printing.

Marketing Land

Image courtesy of Marketing Land

Technology aside, a general communication approach and style is contingent on several variables, including but not limited to:

  • Subject(s) – Sender(s) AND receiver(s) of message
  • Situation – What is the intended message and its purpose?
  • Setting – Where are we and what is our method of communication?

We communicate uniquely specific to these (and other) variables. Simply put, we cannot communicate with everyone via the same methods. Instead, we must be cognizant of or subject(s), situation, and setting while applying the appropriate communication approach.

This same mentality most certainly applies within our techno-ciety as well. Though it would be perfectly convenient to use the same digital platform(s) to communicate with people from all walks of life, this simply isn’t possible. Thankfully, there is no shortage of platform options.

It Starts with Social Media

Inner Ear

Image courtesy of Inner Ear

Social media, in its ever-growing nature, allows for efficient, effective communication with the masses. Accordingly, it continues to be the primary means of digital communication in our tech-niverse. However, with countless social media platforms available, it is important to devise a game plan (content strategy, if you will) to determine the appropriate platform(s) for each type of audience.

In devising a content strategy, I believe this is best achieved through market research. Sure, these days, a search engine would produce endless results on such a topic. However, instead of trying to create a “perfect” content strategy (spoiler alert: not possible), use your research as a general guide to determine what has and hasn’t been successful in the past for other technical communicators relying on social media.

Measuring Your Success

You’ve now invested time, effort, and (quite possibly) money in your social media campaigns. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to make sure your communication efforts are effectively reaching your intended audience(s). Accordingly, you should closely monitor your communication process along way.

The Media Online

Image courtesy of The Media Online

Throughout your technical communication journey, it is important to track audience engagement. Such tracking acts as the proverbial ‘pulse’ on your content strategy. Most commonly, engagement can be monitored through page follows/likes, direct messages, posts, comments, shares, and other such notifiers. Also, there are many available ‘extension’ platforms (several of which are free) that dig down deep into page analytics as specific as link-clicks and page views.

About delwichej8841

Writer / Editor / Content Developer / Communication Specialist

Posted on November 11, 2018, in Blogs, Digital, Social Media, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Your post this week makes me realize that communicators and producers of content really must become more educated on tools outside of content creation. Not only do we have to know how to write well, but we need to consider visual, audio, and accessibility issues. Along with that, we must think about who we’re reaching and how. How much time they’re spending on our content. We must monitor their comments and respond to them in a timely fashion. It begins to feel overwhelming, which also leads me to the strong inclination that technical communicators need teams. All those said tasks are a lot to put on one person and expect that person to perform them well.

    • Hi Amery,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      You are absolutely correct that, in addition to technical writing, content management includes a wide variety of skills and platforms.

      Yes, “overwhelming” is a perfect adjective to describe the daily responsibilities of a Content Manager. After all, content is continuously produced in various forms and through multiple mediums.

      In my opinion, a Content Manager should not necessarily approach his/her responsibilities with a “get it done” mentality. Instead, he/she should devise an organized system for maintaining the content through consistent action. After all, once one piece of content is addressed, another is sure to arise.

      Also, I agree that, within most organizations, content management would be best handled by a team, which could perhaps be overseen by a single Content Manager.

      Thank you!
      Jeff

      • Jeff, I started a comment yesterday but didn’t get to finish it. I’m posting here as a reply to yours and Amery’s because it applies.
        I was going to ask about who the “you” was in your final few paragraphs. If the Content Manager, who has as you suggest here needs to “devise an organized system for maintaining the content through consistent action…” I wonder if your final paper could explore that further, framed perhaps as a “best practices” strategy, supported with course readings and external research, of course. Let me know if this interests you because this blog post is only beginning to scratch the surface of a rich topic!

        • Hi Dr. Pignetti,

          Thank you for your feedback, and for your suggestion re: my final paper.

          In the final few paragraphs of my blog post, the “you” was initially in reference to a Content Manager. However, upon further review in accordance with feedback I’ve received from my classmates, I believe the “you” should, ideally, refer to a Content Management Team, as opposed to a single person.

          Yes, for my final paper, I am interested in further exploring ‘Content Management Best Practices’. Per your suggestion, I could emphasize the importance of first laying the groundwork by devising an organized strategy/game-plan for content management.

          Thank you!
          Jeff

  2. I agree with Amery’s comments about the importance of measuring our results. At one organization I worked at, we had to evaluate the value of creating videos for our internal audience. Everyone wanted to make a video: HR, Environmental, IT, etc. It became a “thing” to create a video every time a group wanted to communicate something. So, we had to start looking at the metrics. We found that less than 2% of employees were even viewing the videos, and even less were acting on them. Once we knew this, we asked ourselves, “Why?” Was this because they weren’t promoted enough, or because people prefer another medium in which to receive their information, or because not enough employees had access to the videos (for example, production workers), or was it something else? It’s important to get those metrics, and then when we have them, to ask why. This can help us understand our audience’s needs and preferences.

    Thank you,
    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for sharing that experience.

      Based on how you explained it, I wonder if your colleagues defaulted to a ‘video-happy’ mindset without first considering the ultimate goal or end result. This default mindset might be the result of generational upbringings, with certain generations conditioned to prefer watching audio instead of reading text. For example, throughout your academic years, did your classmates ever cut corners by watching the movie-visions of assigned readings? My classmates sure did, and I’d be lying if I said I never tried that method myself. Shame, shame.

      Just out of curiosity, at your place of employment, was video-production costly with regard to money, time, or both? Did the company eventually cease video-production altogether?

      Thank you!
      Jeff

  3. Hi Jeff!

    Enjoyed your post. I agree with other comments in this post as well. Measuring content can be tricky.

    Communicating the success of content can also be challenging. I’m commonly aware of my own content metrics, but I often get bogged down communicating the success and failures to my teammates. I’d rather spend my time writing a new piece of content versus creating a report or breakdown that explains how well a piece of content did.

    I also experience challenges where my content metrics don’t align with team goals. My company focuses on MQLs (i.e. lead generation). One of the easiest ways to gain leads is to create a white paper or case study and have a customer download it. However, syndication or SEO content, often doesn’t often lead to a download. So it can be hard to prioritize creating content like that even though it still has good merits. I’ve been meaning to talk to my manager about realigning our company’s metric to promote content creation of all types.

    Have you ever experienced challenges communicating the success for your content? I’d be curious to know.

    Thanks,
    Jeffrey

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. Like you, I would rather use my time and energy creating quality content instead of generating analytical reports on it.

      Yes, I have definitely experienced challenges while communicating content-success to my colleagues. More often than not, I am expected to explain (translate, really) such content-success to people who aren’t overly knowledgeable on content creation/management/sharing. Therefore, no matter how clearly I try to break down and explain the content metrics, there is generally a communication breakdown between me and my counterpart(s).

      Also, I am not convinced that digital analytics tell the full story with regard to content quality and reach. Sure, such analytics might help us devise/revise a general content strategy, though there is still much to be considered beyond the standard analytics.

      Thank you!
      Jeff

    • Also, good luck if/when you speak with your manager re: expanding the range of content-creation types. I think that’s a fabulous idea. 🙂

      ~Jeff

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