“You’re letting the barbarians control the information about your product.”
If you listen to most so called social media guru’s they’ll tell you that resistance is futile. Embrace sites like YouTube, Yahoo Groups, Industry Forums, Product Review sites and other online destinations that are discussing your product or brand without your participation.
But why let sites like YouTube and the others disintermediate your product support? In fact if you check these sites it’s likely that a competitor is advertising next to content discussions about your brand or product.
I’m not saying that you’ll ever stop these discussions, but please – at least become the authoritative destination for information about your product. You’re not the authority now because unlike these sites you don’t offer the ability for your customers or prospective customers the ability to create or participate in adding relevant content about your product.
Either it’s been too difficult to do because of internal politics, or the right enabling technology hasn’t been available, or you simply didn’t realize that it was an issue. But it is an issue.
Here’s an experiment I want you to try. Go to Google and type in a problem that your product or solution solves. For example I need a camera that works in cold weather (please note not a single camera manufacturer shows up on page 1). We know from our research that this is one of two ways that people search for information about your product/service.
If you’re not on page one, you’re not taking advantage of a natural advantage you have today. It’s your product/service/solution, why aren’t you the authoritative destination? It’s because your documentation is not strategic. Here are a few other examples:
The 5 question test to determine if your product/service/solution documentation content is strategic
- If you’re not on Google/Bing page one for an issue that your product solves then your product documentation needs to be more strategic.
- If the documentation about your product/service/solution is not its number one lead generation source, then your documentation needs to be more strategic.
- If your product/service/solution support costs are not decreasing rapidly, then your documentation is not strategic.
- If you’re not curating the best content from the web and from your customers then your documentation is not strategic.
- If there is not a community forming around your documentation then your documentation is not strategic.
Chances are you didn’t answer affirmatively to the 5 questions above. If you did, congratulations. I simply must speak with you so that I can write about your experience.
(Cross-posted @ MindTouch )