Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Call and Response of a Content-based Architecture

One of the prime points I'll raise tomorrow at the Boston Gilbane Conference: Where Content Management Meets Social Media is the garbage-in, garbage-out notion that post-Google content production is really all users about picking through the information scraps for that one unsuspecting gift of credible, airtight, leverage-worthy understanding.

It's about the yard sale of search results where my precious time is suddenly not billable because I'm no longer on the clock -- I'm on Google and anything that turns up is free and clear or I turn it down.

The idea that a corporate intranet could become the pleasure center of a redemptive search ain't gonna happen because of one vendor over the next or because our corporate intranets are rebranded as incubators for the soon-to-be monetized grand designs of our wannabe thought leadership elites. No one slaves over their best strategic thinking on a corporate intranet. No one honestly believes that the answer to better content is to pay a premium for it (or any fee at all).

The ultimate triumph over unlimited content in a time-sensitive world is to hook-up the content pipes to the quantifiable demand for knowledge (information worth putting to use). Do that and that surplus of supply can be a blessing. Of course that means understanding what your customer need to inform their decision-making. Does that mean invasive surveys? Does that mean reading the long tail of your search logs in dubious hope that a pattern emerges? Does that even mean that your users know what they want (in advance of seeing it)?

Here are a few pragmatic pointers:

1. Do that hookup maneuver in your metadata structure. Connect your taxonomy to how people complete their work (actions) -- not some unwinnable debate about what to call things (nouns).

2. Make your search tool do the heavy user lifting. They should not have to guess about where their next productive experience is coming from. Conversely you must be vigilant with your providers to make sure they are sensitive about where they locate their content -- otherwise your users have to care too (they're probably more interested in telling their life stories to Survey Monkey).

3. Create one dignified and significant workflow where an important milestone triggers the telling of those teachable moments that keep people like me employed as KM professionals. Maybe it's dissecting a win-loss. Perhaps it's an illustrious use case. Either way it's an instructive lesson about how to model success and draw important distinctions that were not obvious prior to when the story takes place.

4. Include in the storytelling the other relevant links and deliverables that document the life of the project in question. That's how to grow the content base in step with the knowledge deficits you're trying to balance.

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attentionSpin is a consulting practice formed in 1990 to create, automate and apply a universal scoring system (“The Biggest Picture”) to brands, celebrities, events and policy issues in the public eye. In the Biggest Picture, attentionSpin applies the principles of market research to the process of media analytics to score the volume and nature of media coverage. The explanatory power of this research model: 1. Allows practitioners to understand the requirements for managing the quality of attention they receive 2. Shows influencers the level of authority they hold in forums where companies, office-seekers, celebrities and experts sell their visions, opinions and skills 3. Creates meaningful standards for measuring the success and failure of campaigns and their connection to marketable assets.