tina turnerTina Turner is known for her long legs, audacious ways, and for belting out the song “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. If Tina Turner is the product, and the song “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is the content, I’d argue that the content  is outstanding. This song is #309 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This got me thinking about what it takes to create standout technical content.

Creating standout content takes time, money, and skill. How much time, money, and skill is relative of course. It really helps to know what kind of category you are competing in. If you compete in a hot category, plan on spending more time and money developing stand out content. Why?

Competitive pressure.

What’s hot and what’s not? Here’s what I see, based on our work with 2,000+ skilled content developers and 200+ companies across the US.

What’s Hot

  • Data analytics
  • IP security
  • Big Data (Hadoop, MapReduce, NoSQL, etc)
  • Mobile/GIS (iOS, Android)
  • SaaS-ified apps
  • Data Center optimization/virtualization/cloud
  • Open source
  • Social media
  • Advertising
  • Games/Entertainment

time-money-skill=standout content

What’s Luke Warm

  • SQL/Data warehousing/Business intelligence
  • Enterprise applications (non-SaaS)
  • Search
  • Development tools
  • Content Translation/Localization/Internationalization technology
  • Medical devices
  • Biotech/Pharma
  • Storage (SAN/NAS technology)
  • Networking (including videoconferencing) – non-cloud

What’s Downright Cold

  • Finance/Insurance
  • CRM
  • Semiconductors/EDA
  • PCs, tablets, smartphones (hardware)
  • Peripherals
  • Manufacturing (most)
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Law
  • Utilities
  • Infrastructure (transportation, etc)
  • Education
  • Publishing
  • Graphics (hardware, software)
  • Clean/green tech

In terms of skill sets, the following skills are in short supply among content developers:

Skills in Short Supply

  • HTML5, EPUB3, or iBooks Developer. IOW, eBooks conversion and delivery services
  • XML, XSL, XSLT, XSL-FO, DITA, DocBook, structured authoring tools
  • Arbortext Editor (formerly “Epic”) and XMetaL Author, and (to a much lesser extent) Structured FrameMaker, Author-it, and MadCap Flare
  • Video production (iMovie, etc) and/or screencasting experience (Captivate, Articulate, etc)
  • Wiki implementation experience
  • Interface/user-experience (UX) design, especially for mobile applications

What does all this mean? If you compete in a segment that’s relatively hot and need to hire content developers with skills on the short-supply list, plan on spending more time and money securing the resources you need to create content that stands out from the crowd. Can every piece of content rock on … like Tina Turner? That depends. But for your most strategic and time-sensitive projects, please call on Content Rules. We’ll help you develop stand out content and develop your own place in your company’s “Hall of Fame”.

And the award for most outstanding content created on a tight budget goes to …

Val Swisher
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