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What is a Unified Content Strategy?

Flock of birds forming into an arrow shape

By Rob Hanna, President – Precision Content

Recently, a techcom student posted a question on Reddit’s Technical Writing forum asking, “what is a unified content strategy?”

The term Unified Content Strategy was first coined by Ann Rockley in her 2003 book, Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. This book has shaped and informed the techcom industry and should be required reading for any aspiring professional technical communicator.

In her book, Ann states that a unified content strategy helps organizations by “reducing the costs of creating, managing, and distributing content, and ensuring that content effectively supports your organization and customer needs. A unified content strategy is a repeatable method of identifying all content requirements up front, creating consistently structured content for reuse, managing that content in a definitive source, and assembling content on demand to meet your customers’ needs”.

At the heart of this definition is the notion of managing content from a definitive, single source of truth: Write once and reuse often. Also important is an understanding that this involves a well-defined, overarching strategy for how your group creates and manages their content. The benefits of this strategy are substantial but so is the effort required to get there and maintain it. As the volume of your content grows and the demands on that content evolve, this strategy becomes less of a nice-to-have and more of a requirement.

So what does that mean in practical terms? Imagine that we are going to introduce a new product. A unified content strategy means that we are going to consider, plan for, design for, and implement the content required to market, sell, use, and support that product as a single corpus of content, rather than individual pieces of content, as has typically been the approach. We are going to write product descriptions that can be written once and used in sales and marketing materials; in user materials; and in training. And so on.

Contact Precision Content today to learn more about how we can help you assess your current state and build out a content strategy to ensure your content is valued and future-proofed.

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