What is content optimization?
Content optimization is the process of making content consistent in grammar, style, tone, and terminology by using software to support authors as they write.
Why optimize content?
Optimized content is cheaper to translate and enables better quality, more accurate translations. It also makes your content better in English, for native and non-native readers alike.
Content optimization increases operational efficiency by improving content quality at the same time the content is created. With content optimization, you can ensure that all your content conforms to company standards and makes use of approved terminology.
Content optimization is key to delivering personalized content at scale. You can mix and match your optimized content to produce any number of deliverables and provide a seamless experience wherever your customers encounter your content.
How does content optimization work?
Content optimization is achieved by using special software that enforces company standards across the enterprise. It’s like having a supportive copy editor right there next to each writer.
Without optimization software, it’s much more difficult for multiple authors to create content that is entirely consistent with your organization’s standards for terminology, grammar, style, and tone.
What content should I optimize?
All of it.
Content optimization improves product documentation, training materials, marketing copy, customer support content, and even internal-facing content such as employee onboarding and ongoing communications.
If your company is global, there is even more benefit to optimizing internal content. Developing standards for internal terminology, grammar, style, and tone goes a long way toward helping all employees understand company communications.
OK, what content should I optimize first?
Typically, we suggest our customers prioritize customer-facing content that meets at least two of the following criteria:
- High usage
- Translated into many languages
- Written by many authors
- Written by authors for whom English is not a first language
- Is strategic to the organization
- Will be read by users for whom English is not a first language
How long does content optimization take?
How long it takes to optimize content depends on the state of the content, the amount of content, and how well your content optimization software is configured.
The first time you run content optimization software on a batch of content you’ve never checked before, you’re going to get a lot of results. It can take time to make all the changes suggested by the software.
There’s also usually a period of time where you need to make decisions about which results to act on and which ones to let go, at least for the first round. Using these early results to tune the software more closely to your priorities will also help streamline the process.
As your writers get used to content optimization, they’ll also change how they write. You’ll find that authors start using the preferred terminology and adhering to the style guidelines in a way they’ve never been able to before (because looking things up in a style guide is nowhere near as effective as having an assistant right there in your authoring tools). As authors learn the correct terminology, style, and grammar, they have fewer issues to fix, and optimization becomes a seamless part of the content creation process.
What if we use different words in different departments?
Content optimization software supports different terminology sets. For example, you might have a different term set for internal communications than for customer support. Or your regional marketing teams around the world may use different terms that resonate more clearly with their audiences.
The important thing is that the same term is used for the same meaning, every time you use it.
What if we have different style guides?
Content optimization software supports different rule sets for grammar, style, and tone. You can have common rules that apply to all content, and special rule sets for certain content types. For example, your legal and policy department may prefer more formal grammar and style, while your marketing department prefers a more conversational style.
What does content optimization cost?
Content optimization software costs include licenses, deployment services, and maintenance subscriptions. These costs vary depending on number of users, which optional features you include, and how many years of maintenance you purchase. If you purchase software via subscription, the maintenance is usually included in your subscription price.
Optimized content is significantly cheaper to translate than non-optimized content over the lifetime of the content. However, there’s often an increased translation cost the first time you translate the optimized content, as wording will have changed throughout. Once sentences that match your style guide and terminology are in your translation memory, you won’t have to pay to translate them again.
How does content optimization fit with my content strategy?
As your organization expands its scale and reach, it can be tough to maintain standards for consistent, high-quality content. That’s where content optimization comes in.
Here’s how it works:
- Strategy provides clear guidelines for creating useful content. It leads to better content management, organization, and workflow.
- Content optimization increases efficiency by improving content quality. With content optimization, you can ensure that all your content conforms to company standards and makes use of approved terminology.
How does content optimization fit with my editorial team?
Many of our customers put their editors or copy editors in charge of their content optimization software after we finish a deployment. Some of our customers do not have editorial teams and hire our expert editors and terminologists to help them on an ad-hoc basis or at a regular cadence.
Editors and copy editors can manage the terminology as the term sets evolve. They can evaluate suggested terms and recommend which terms to manage, which terms to prefer, and which terms to deprecate.
They can also update and maintain the rule sets for grammar, style, and tone. They can work with authors to determine which rules to bend and when to bend them. They can coach authors in writing better content from the start and help onboard new users as the software is rolled out to each silo.
Content optimization software works at a sentence level. It frees copy editors from repetitive corrections such as adding serial commas or fixing verb tenses. Rather, copyeditors can focus on the language itself and ensure the content conveys the message it’s meant to convey.
Content optimization services: I need help!
Over the decades that Content Rules has been in business, we’ve developed an innate understanding of what makes content great. And we have a variety of tools and techniques to help you deliver outstanding content on every platform, in every language.
If you’re considering purchasing the software, we can help you select the right content optimization software for your needs. We analyze your style guide to determine how to configure the software for style, grammar, and tone. We harvest and validate terminology. We deploy and configure the software. And we train you how to use it.
If you’re rather take advantage of content optimization as a service, we can do that too. We’ll scrutinize your content ourselves. We’ll also scrub it with our optimization software to flag issues with terminology, spelling, grammar, style, and even tone of voice. Then we can update the content for you or provide reports for your writers and editors to work from.
Your content is our priority. We provide a full range of professional and training services for the top two enterprise-class content optimization applications in the world, Acrolinx and Congree. We’re the only certified service partner for Acrolinx in the U.S., and the only certified service partner for Congree in all of North America.
Contact us today to schedule time to chat with one of our expert consultants.
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