Technical communication and content strategy have become two sides of the same coin. They both involve the delivery of the right content to the right people at the right time for the right reasons. Technical communication just focuses on delivering technical content whereas content strategy can focus on any type of content.
As Guiseppe, our President and Founder, recently pointed out in a webinar for the Southeastern Michigan chapter of the Society for Technical Communication, however: businesses who aren’t using content strategy best practices might soon find themselves left behind their competition if they don’t pay attention to how they use their technical content in the customer journey.
Ways Technical Communication and Content Strategy Overlap
Technical communication is a field devoted to delivering technical content, usually in the forms of help documentation, user instructions, process documentation, and other types of information designed to help people:
- Break down complex information
- Understand how to do something
- Apply complex knowledge to professional problem-solving
Content strategy, on the other hand, to quote Kristina Halvorson:
plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.
You can probably see the overlap already. Content strategy focuses on planning for the creation and delivery of content that is useful and usable. Technical communication focuses on the development of specific types of content: technical content.
This overlapping content may include:
- Product information
- Landing pages on company websites devoted to product releases
- Blog posts featuring user guides and other customer-focused information
- User help guides
- Troubleshooting forums and other places customers gather when they’re having problem with a product or service
Where Technical Communication and Content Strategy Meet: The Customer Journey
Whether your business sells sprockets or software, you need to take customers through the customer journey. This includes not only attracting customers to your product or service, but also captivating them with your content once they’re there. And, if you want to retain them, it means keeping them engaged after purchase.
And according to McKinsey, in fact, two big parts of the customer journey are active evaluation before the purchase and the postpurchase experience:
All businesses have technical content that they use throughout their organization. We keep a lot of this documentation internal, but based on this view of the customer journey: we shouldn’t be. We should be using that technical content throughout the customer journey, including:
- Lead generation
- Customer service
- Customer support
- Loyalty experiences (VIP events, existing customer newsletters, etc.)
Businesses can either support their customers with the technical information they need throughout the customer journey or they can be sure that a competitor will. And the next time a customer enters the active evaluation phase of the buying process, they’ll probably choose to buy from the brand that has supported them the most during that process.