Content is an invaluable part of every business model; it provides the voice of your company to your customers. Most companies have a team of people solely dedicated to creating content or they outsource the work; either way, content development could be costing your company thousands of dollars every month (if not every week). While quality content is always a solid investment for your company, there are ways to cut costs and save time by investing in a content management system (CMS).
Content reuse is the heart of a content management strategy. Content reuse can provide many of the benefits of using a CMS, including translation cost savings and savings in content creation time. Whether your content is in XML or still in unstructured Word documents, you can begin to identify where content is identical or very similar. Here are some tips to help you find your reuse potential:
We often hear questions like, “Can I still use DITA if I don’t have a component content management system (CCMS)?“ . The answer is “Yes“ …but… Like any method of publishing, you can perform various functions to a certain point without a CCMS. However, there are things a CCMS does that other tools don’t do that can make you more effective in your publishing process:
When deciding on which CMS is best for your organization, you’ll likely find quite a selection of choices. One common question we are asked is how an open source CMS compares to a commercial CMS. Here, we offer a comparison of these two options:
We’ve given tips in previous articles about what to consider when choosing a CMS. Now, let’s take a look at the flip side and consider what NOT to do when choosing a CMS. It’s good to know what to avoid, too, rather than learning the hard way (and the expensive way!). These tips were derived from experiences we’ve seen with organizations in the past that made a few big mistakes in their quest to buy a CMS. Take a lesson from them and do not follow in their footsteps:
You may have a long-term goal to implement a component content management system (CCMS) and structured authoring, but you may only have the staff and budget to dip your toe in and wade slowly through the shallow end rather than to plunge into the deep end all at once. Is it possible to break the implementation down into manageable steps?
How do you know if a CMS is right for your organization? Many people struggle to find the answer to this question. Often, these are the questions we hear: Is my content base too small to make it worthwhile? Is the cost of a CMS too expensive for my organization? Is my staff too small to benefit from a CMS? What is the breakeven point for adopting a CMS?
You may be looking in all the wrong places for justification for a CMS. The size of your team, the size of your content base, and the cost of the system may only play a small role in the decision to implement a CMS. The more important factor is: how much will you save in time and costs if you implement a CMS? Here are some criteria to consider:
Technical writers sometimes feel like the ugly step-child. They have too much work, and there’s never enough staff to do everything that must be done. And, the work was needed yesterday! In some organizations, the focus is placed on the engineering and marketing of the product, but the technical documentation is merely perceived as an afterthought. Since technical documentation is a cost of doing business rather than a revenue generator, it tends to get the small end of the budget stick.
When thinking about moving your content into a content management system (CMS), there are a few key principles to consider. The first principle is single sourcing. A CMS is a great place to store one copy of your content so that it can be shared with many users. By single sourcing your content, you eliminate all duplicate copies of the content and consolidate your content base down to one trusted source of content. Now, all users who access the content will always get the most current version, and older copies won’t be floating around anymore. In addition, single sourcing your content leads to higher quality documents since the content that is being reused across your publications is current and consistent.
When writers create content that will eventually be translated into many different languages, they must really focus on more than just good grammar, clarity and spelling. There are a lot of things we say in the English language that doesn’t translate well – or doesn’t translate at all – into other languages. For example, acronyms and slang phrases usually don’t work so well when translated. Americans can relate to being out in left field, but people in countries where baseball isn’t popular won’t understand it.