The LavaCon Content Strategy Blog

Learn about the updates to the premier content strategy conference.

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Make a Quantum Shift in Structured Authoring – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

In this podcast, Eric Kuhnen and Michael Rosinski of Astoria Software join Ed Marsh to talk about their upcoming presentation at LavaCon, Making a Quantum Shift in Structured Authoring.

According to Eric, one of the key changes in the content industry has become the inability for multiple groups within a department to share content while using a common set of tools. The technical documentation team works with structured content, and the content repository is often not available to those outside the team. Astoria Software now provides integration with Witty Parrot to enable “rich sharing” and ensure that XML-based content is available to non-XML content creators. Continue reading

People Love to Give You Money! And Recognition! And Headcount! – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

Chellie Campbell joined Ed Marsh to talk about her LavaCon keynote presentation, People Love to Give You Money! And Recognition! And Headcount!

Chellie started her career as a musical comedy actress and then became a bookkeeper. When she learned that not many people could read their financial statements, she started teaching them, which led her to write books and teach workshops. She has found that most people look at money from the perspective of stock brokers and financial planners, which means they view money with a negative perspective:

These people say, “You’re going to run out of money. You’re not going to have enough money for medical expenses.” It’s a place of fear. It’s ridiculous. You should be enjoying your money. I take the money piece, and I make it fun. Budget means Baby U Deserve Getting Every Thing, and I talk about that in my talk.”

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How MOOCs, SPOCs, and Next Generation e-Learning are Impacting Content Strategy – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

Keith Boyd recently talked to Ed Marsh about his upcoming keynote,  How MOOCs, SPOCs, and Next Generation e-Learning are Impacting Content Strategy. The growing popularity of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs) provides the opportunity for traditional technical communicators to work with other teams and incorporate e-learning into their content strategy, resulting in mastery and deeper commitment from customers. By becoming aware of the options, we are better equipped to have conversations with the other teams, identify opportunities, and deliver engaging solutions.

I’m going to talk about how learning science is impacting our ability to motivate people, to keep them in the game, and to keep them wanting to learn.

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Build a Business Case to Attend LavaCon – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

How do you convince your boss that attending The LavaCon Conference is a smart investment? Build a strong business case that connects your organization’s needs with the LavaCon program. Whether you want to improve your customers’ experience, move towards structured authoring and XML, or strengthen relationships with stakeholders, LavaCon offers sessions and case studies that will help you make a difference in your organization. Continue reading

On the Road: Enabling Customer Success in Chicago – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

Jack Molisani is on the road! Join Jack in Chicago where he is speaking at the Chicago Content Strategy Meetup on July 19th and the STC Chicago chapter meeting on July 20th. Both meetings feature the topic, “People First Content Strategy: What I Learned From Facebook for Business,” in which Jack shares what he learned from the Content Strategy group at Facebook for Business—a team that enables customer success for billions of customers worldwide.

At this meeting, you will hear about the Facebook case study that fundamentally changed Jack’s own approach to content strategy and his ability to enable customer success. He will also talk about:

  • How Facebook for Business sets the tone for content
  • How they research and identify for whom they are writing
  • How content is just the tip of the Content Strategy Iceberg

Attend the meeting that works best with your schedule and location:

Chicago Content Strategy Meetup

Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Location: Chicago, IL

Details: Chicago Content Strategists Meetup Website

STC Chicago Meeting

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Location: Downers Grove, IL

Details: STC Chicago Website

Can’t attend either meeting? Check out Jack’s presentation at the Philly Content Strategy Meetup in April!

Get to Know: Lukasz Gornicki and Static Site Generators – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

Lukasz Gornicki, a Product Owner at SAP, presented “Static Site Generators are the Game Changers” at The LavaCon Conference in Dublin in May, and we are looking forward to seeing him in Portland! Thank you for joining us, Lukasz!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I started working as a technical writer six years ago. Previously, I was creating content as a Knowledge Manager, but it was not the same as writing documentation for software industry. I quickly grew more interested in content strategy and structure, and that’s when I became a Documentation Architect.

How did you first get interested in static site generators?

About three years ago, we started working on a new software product based on microservices and the cloud. After doing some research, I convinced the organization to start using static site generators. Then I became a product owner of the team that was implementing a documentation solution based on static site generators. Continue reading

Get to Know: Dawn Stevens and Content Maturity – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

As the new president of Comtech Services, Dawn Stevens has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. She presented “Maturing Process Maturity” at The LavaCon Conference in Dublin in May, and she will be joining us in Portland in November.

We’re excited that you are joining us for The LavaCon Conference this year! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am one of the few people who entered the world of technical communication on purpose. I loved my English and journalism classes in high school, as well as my math and sciences classes. My high school counselor told me about technical communication as a way to combine these interests, and I have never looked back in 27 years.

You’re talking about Maturing Process Maturity. Can you give us a sneak preview of your talk (without giving too much away)?

Just like the technologies that we as technical communicators use have changed over the last decades, so have the processes we follow to create that content. The most successful companies in adapting new content strategies and technologies have learned to adapt their processes as well. In this session, we’ll look at how process maturity is defined today. What are the best practices for successful organizations in such areas as information design, quality assurance, user analysis, planning, budgeting, and hiring and training? Too often, we get hung up on the technologies without thinking about how changing technologies also means changing processes. Continue reading

Get to Know: Ray Gallon and Information 4.0 – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

As a co-founder of The Transformation Society, Ray focuses on complexity and technological change. He presented “Our Role and Responsibility in Information 4.0” with Andy McDonald at The LavaCon Conference in Dublin in May and will be joining us in Portland in November.

How did you become interested in Information 4.0?

I think I have always been interested in it‒even before it existed. What I mean is this flows naturally out of my interest and involvement in the future, in the meeting place between culture and technology, out of a sense of play merged with a seriousness of purpose. I’ve been this way ever since I can remember: as a small boy, in high school, and certainly in my professional life, whatever career I was following at the time.

What do content professionals need to know about Information 4.0?

At the risk of overdramatizing, they need to know it is nothing like the kind of content we’ve known until now, whether we’re doing technical communication, marketing, webs, information architecture, content strategy or whatever. Sure, we’ll still write‒though we’ll do a whole lot more curating. Sure, we’ll still have to provide structure, coherence, reliability, and all the rest. But the definition of “valid” might be true, or useful, only for half an hour. Much of the information we now treat will be handled exclusively by machines, in codes that are not readable by humans.

A lot of the work we now do will be taken over by machines, chatbots, AI engines crunching Big Data, etc. Our jobs will be less to provide answers, and more to guide people to the answers they need. People know a lot already, but they also have big gaps in their knowledge. We can’t know in advance what they know or don’t know. We have to be ready to provide an offer of information that they can choose from, so they aren’t bored wading through stuff they know, or put off by an assumption of prior knowledge they don’t have. Continue reading

On the Road: Enabling Customer Success in Philly – The LavaCon Conference: 2017

Have you ever had an “Aha” moment with your content strategy? Are you designing for users, or for people? How do you enable customer success?

At the Philly Content Strategy Meetup on April 20, 2017, Jack Molisani shared the Facebook case study that fundamentally changed his own approach to content strategy and his approach to enable content strategy. Continue reading

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