When it comes to Enterprise Architecture ‘Content is King’

What could your department do with a little publishing industry knowledge?

Assistance, analysis, advice – it’s of no value if it doesn’t get through. I used to work in Enterprise Architecture, and many other roles in and around the IT department are the same – I would probably spend about 50% of the time on message delivery – and I’m not talking about Enterprise Service Buses here. I found that taking a left-field approach can lead to some surprising results when it comes to comms.

Ask yourself this – if you or your department put your deliverables in a magazine – would anyone read it?

I’m guessing probably not. I bet you’re actually doing a bunch of interesting things that would genuinely benefit others to know about, if only they had the time to really understand what you were all about. I’ve blogged before about the importance in taking pride in your work. Here we go a step further with a few tips from the publishing industry. They know a thing or three about getting noticed.

  1. Know your audience. Take some time to think about who you’re communicating with. What are their preferred communication styles? What media do they choose? What are their attention spans like? Any ‘hot buttons’ – key trends or topics that always get their attention? Take some time to think about tailoring the media, the delivery method, the frequency and even time-of-day of your interactions with them. Work out what matters, and tailor to fit.
  2. Plan your engagement strategy. Customer Experience is just as important in an internal facing context as with the company’s real customers. When designing a new product, blog, magazine, app or website – designers will anticipate what kind of experience they want the consumers of their content to have. It’s about how it makes you feel. You can profile the experiences that you might be aiming for in the CIO, the project manager, the business department lead. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer of your stuff – and describe the ideal experience they could have. For example – I read this because it ‘makes me smarter’, helps me stay current with cross company issues, enables me to make decisions with more confidence they are in line with other departments, enables me to talk knowledgeably with my direct reports on cross company matters – etc. Experiences have been well researched if you need help getting started.  Set out some experience statements. Segment your market. Then use it as a litmus test of your materials. Does that entity relationship diagram you sent the CIO really achieve what you’d hoped? Or should you be positioning it differently?
  3. Power of three. In today’s information overload environment, it pays to keep things simple and short. People won’t actually remember much of what they consume – even with a well-designed experience tailored to an individual. Look at any marketing materials and you’ll see three word messages all the time. This principle can be applied everywhere. Keep it to three points in your daily stand-up. Three sentences per slide. Three pieces of advice from the publishing industry.

I’m not suggesting you should up sticks and go and work in internal comms – but a little consideration of the points above can go a long way. Let’s face it, it’s all within your control, and you are making choices about these things with everything you send out. Do you want to architect the experience, or let it happen by accident?

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