Map Out Your Content Strategy
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Explain why content strategy is important.
- Explain Learn Mode.
- Define your audience.
Think of myTrailhead as a really exciting road trip: it’s a chance to venture out of your comfort zone and explore new terrain on your own terms. On a road trip, you experience new places, interact with diverse people, and gain valuable knowledge. On myTrailhead, you explore new tools and products, connect with smart people, and gain new skills along the way—all with a colorful backdrop of fun (and confetti).
Travelers on a road trip need a reliable map, and myTrailhead learners do, too. As a myTrailhead writer, you help to create that map. But before you start writing, you want to strategize and craft a plan with content goals to ensure learners get the most out of their myTrailhead adventure.
You want a smart, solid content strategy.
What exactly is content strategy? One of our successful Trailhead writers, Gavin Austin, explains it like this.
All content created by an organization should reflect its purpose and help it sell or support its products or services. To do that, a business or nonprofit must align its many content creators (writers, designers, illustrators, filmmakers, juggling clowns, and so on) to deliver consistent customer experiences.
Simply put: your content strategy determines how you plan, create, and maintain content so that it supports your company’s mission and remains relevant, reliable, and high-quality. We think this is the most important first step to designing a top-notch myTrailhead experience, because when your audience doesn’t get what they want from content, they get confused, frustrated, or —even worse—bored.
Speaking of audience, let’s talk about that next.
Your audience should guide your content strategy.
How can you get to know your audience well enough to dish up the exact content they want at the time they need it? Here are a few tips.
- Determine which employees you’re writing for.
- Understand their pain points.
- Assess your audience’s goals.
- Know your product, service, or offering.
- Identify the learner’s level of expertise.
The topic itself always determines the tone you use to address your audience. Trailhead Editor Alice Pope has this advice: “Are you teaching new employees about your corporate social network? You want a fun, inviting tone. Anti-harassment training for employees? Strictly business, skip the humor.”
Do road trips make you hungry? Us too. Let’s look at a picture of an ice-cream cone.
This mouthwatering picture illustrates three common user mindsets, or modes: learn, do, and update. Consider these modes when planning what types of content you will create.
As you develop your own content strategy for myTrailhead, think about when employees in your company are in each of these modes. Sometimes employees want to build a foundation of knowledge about your company’s business model (learn). Other times they want to know how to submit a request for time off (do). And sometimes they want to know what’s changed in their benefits package (update).
In this module, we focus on the learn mode, because learning is what most people come to myTrailhead for.
In the ice-cream world, the cone isn’t a requirement. But cones give ice cream a solid foundation, something to get a grip on. Learn mode does the same thing.
Right now, you’re in learn mode. You’re going through the fundamentals of content strategy so that when it comes time to implement it, you have the basic knowledge you need.
Generally, people are in learn mode when they’re taking time out of their day to enhance their knowledge and skills. Learn-mode content isn’t meant to be used as an instant job aid. It’s for users who want to improve their job performance or get the lowdown on a feature that they haven’t used before.
Think of learn mode as a springboard for users. When users are in learn mode, what they’re looking for is a jumping-off point. They want to quickly master the basics before diving in to more advanced content. Users in learn mode want content that engages and guides them.
myTrailhead can be your company’s primary platform for learn mode content.
- Outline your content goals. Do you want learners to gain a core skill or learn new approaches to management?
- Define your target audience. Are you writing for beginners or experts? Are they marketers or admins? Are they looking for soft skills or core skills?
- Audit what’s already out there. Do any resources already exist for your topic? How are people currently learning this information?
- Decide content structure. Do you need one module or four?
- Identify stakeholders. Who are the key players involved in creating and approving the content?
- Plan for content localization. Do you want to translate your content?
- Maintain your content. How will you ensure your content remains accurate and relevant?
Once you can answer the above questions, you’re ready to get started on crafting your own content strategy for myTrailhead.