What is Great Digital Content?
Great digital content shines when you see it, but it can be difficult to articulate what makes it so good. Is it the presentation? The interactivity? The reliability? The truth is, greatness often results from a combination of factors, many of which are unique to digital production and distribution technologies. Great digital content isn’t just print content that’s been re-sized for a digital device; instead, it is an unquestionably new, digital way to consume content.
The recent rise of mobile usage in the workplace has forced many organizations to consider how they should build their own digital content. Whether for mobile sales enablement or mobile performance support, it has become increasingly vital for businesses to strategize how they should replace their print-based materials with mobile-optimized content. To be sure, time spent strategizing about mobile content creation is important: the quality of content may mean the difference between simply implementing a mobile program and achieving (or exceeding) your goals for doing so.
But before you can decide how to build great digital content for your employees’ smartphones and tablets, it’s important to have an idea of what that end-product should look like. Below, I’ve compiled a list that is by no means exhaustive, but sums up some of defining qualities of great digital content.
Great digital content is…
Great content is characterized by the value that it offers and creates. Of course, different teams value their content for a variety of reasons: sales teams need content that will inform and empower them to close deals, for example, while learning departments value training materials as a means to boost employee effectiveness.
In order to achieve those goals, content is most valuable when it has been targeted to its audiences’ specific priorities. For example, sales reps might value content that includes product descriptions and talking points, while pilots-in-training value take-off procedures and updated safety precautions. Be sure that you’ve curated and prioritized the most valuable content for your audience.
When audiences invest time to absorb new information, they want to count on that information being accurate. That means that it isn’t enough to perfect your content, only to release it into your organization to grow stale. To be stay great, your content must be updatable. Luckily, integrated content systems give you the remarkable opportunity to maintain your content’s relevance over time, allowing you to update content everywhere with the push of a button.
When viewed as an optional addition to print, digital materials are often riddled with errors that would never have found their way onto the printed page. It’s no wonder certain audiences prefer print! In order to be great, digital content must be treated with the same care and precision that has traditionally been devoted to print content.
That means that, in addition to maintaining sound editorial quality, content creators must focus on upholding best practices for digital content, such as cross-device compatibility, navigable structure, and effective linking. Great digital content must be treated with meticulous care.
Digital content offers new opportunities for multimedia learning and interactivity, never before available in print. Now, you can seamlessly marry multimedia assets with written materials, reimagining new, interactive methods for presenting dry or tricky concepts.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should pursue interactivity for interactivity’s sake; interactive enhancements should be incorporated when helpful, and avoided when hurtful. In some cases, consider “basic” enhancements, such as crisp design, thoughtful structure, and appropriate linking, as a less flashy, but effective alternative. Great digital content should be engaging and meaningful.
In my opinion, meaningful structure is the cornerstone of great digital content. Whether we know it or not, when we create digital content, we create code. This may seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools, nontechnical teams can create structured, code-based content without ever needing to worry about coding.
The beauty of structured content is that code is machine-readable. This means that it can be automatically adjusted or reordered to take on a new visual appearances as your needs change over time. Picture how painful it is to redesign a print product today–with structured content, you can efficiently adjust the visual design of your content globally, instead of manually adjusting it page-by-page.
Furthermore, effectively structured content is future-proofed. While you may be distributing your digital content in eBook form or via an LMS today, technology will continue to advance. One day, you may want to present your information in a new format. With structured content, you can easily redesign content to optimize for mobile devices today, and in the future.
The bottom line:
Creating great digital content takes some thought and care, but in the end, it will be a stronger weapon in helping you achieve your content goals. Whether that’s empowering your traveling sales team with up-to-date product specs, or ensuring that your new employees have interactive, built-in assessments, you’ll see better results for your business with enhanced digital content. And that is truly great.
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