Archive | July, 2011

Laura Creekmore speaking at Nashville Chamber 8/5/2011

Update, 8/6/2011: If you wanted to see the slides from my talk on content strategy and marketing yesterday, they’re now available on SlideShare.

I’m really excited about an upcoming event — I’m speaking to the Nashville Chamber’s interactive shared interest group on Friday, Aug. 5.

Here’s the description:

Content Strategy: A Framework for Marketing Success

Content strategy is a framework to help you make better decisions about managing content as a business asset.

Great writing is an art, but business realities demand that we standardize and structure our content for maximum effectiveness. Content strategy gives you the tools to spend your marketing time and money well, whether you’re working on your website, a software product or designing a social media campaign. This session will explain how content strategy can improve your marketing results, and it will walk you step by step through the content strategy framework, giving you ideas to improve your work today.

The event is open to all Nashville Chamber members. Hope you can join us.

 

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You must become an accountable content organization

If you’re in health care, like most of our clients at Creekmore Consulting, you are already familiar with the term “accountable care organization.” ACOs have become a hot topic in health care — last year’s health care reform bill really promotes the idea that health care organizations should be reimbursed based on the effectiveness of treatment, not just on the fact that they provide services. Health care providers are now working to figure out the best ways to demonstrate the effectiveness of the care they provide, so that the government and insurance companies will pay them.

We see a related [though thankfully, very, very rarely life-or-death] issue in our content strategy work: The need for accountable content.

Accountable content starts with a business goal. [Just a quick note to say that your problem is not a good definition of your business goal. For instance, your problem is that your help content is hard to keep current and no one uses it. Your business goal is creating useful help content that reduces call volume by XX% this year.]

It’s too simple to say that everything else flows from the business goal, but it’s true. You have to make every decision about your content through the lens of your business goal. Should you write your own content? Should you license it? Should you hire a freelancer or seek a long-term relationship with a content development firm? Who will approve and manage the content? What kind of technology will you use? How will you measure the results? You’ll give better answers to every question with the business goal pasted on the wall.

We’ve worked with many organizations through the years that do not realize how much content they’re already managing, and the overhead they’re already putting into the process. Very few organizations don’t have content. Most don’t have the right kind, or don’t manage what they have well. The real opportunity sometimes comes in the ability to narrow down your content-under-management to only what truly serves your business need.

Is your content accountable? Is it working for you? Or are you working in service of your content?

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Just a small UX complaint

I’m working hard to get to Inbox 0 here on this holiday weekend. I’m down to a few random emails that require me to DO something. One is from E-Verify, the government program that lets you verify an employee’s legal ability to work in the United States. This is a simple matter for most U.S. citizens and for many others, but when you get more than a few employees, keeping up with the paperwork I suppose could be a pain. At Creekmore Consulting, there are just 3 of us at the moment, so our employee paperwork file is pretty thin. But just on principle, because I’d rather do stuff online, I signed up for E-Verify a while back, thinking it would make things easier.

Hahahahahahaha.

Bless my heart. [If you're not Southern, you may not know that "Bless your heart" is frequently a veiled insult. It's hard to distinguish between a genuine and a facetious usage of that phrase, if you're not schooled in the shades of meaning there.]

So once I enrolled online, I was nonplussed to learn that I couldn’t actually USE the system until they mailed me a whole bunch of stuff, in the mail, and until I took some sort of test to show I understood the system. I promptly gave up and continued with my paper recordkeeping. [Most larger businesses HAVE to use the online system now, I believe. I don't know what the threshold is, but it's higher than 3.]

At any rate, I got an email from them the other day, since I was in their system, telling me that it was time to confirm my contact information or some such. And so when I was cleaning out my email tonight, I ran across it again, and I figured, well maybe they’ve made it easier. I’ll just log in and do that real quickly.

Except.

The email includes no link to the E-Verify site.

It tells me to log in and update my info. But I guess I am supposed to just have that URL memorized.

Dear E-Verify,

If you need some help on that whole user experience thing, please contact me. [That "Contact Laura" link at the top of this page will let you do that now. Or just call me: 615.500.4131.] I know lots of people who’d be glad to help.

Best,

Laura
A small-business owner who’d really like to like you

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