Content Optimization Tools - Part of a Great Writing Process
Creating high-quality content (no matter what type, e.g. marketing or documentation) is extremely difficult, but using automated content optimization can definitely help you tackle this challenge. I'd even go so far as to claim that optimization tools are part of a great writing process. Why? Because it's better for a writer to be able to concentrate on creating original content that attracts new customers or delivers crucial information in an engaging way, and optimization software supporting them by addressing such aspects as spelling mistakes, flawless grammar, consistent use of terminology and unchanging tone.
In specific, there are three authoring pain points content optimization software can significantly alleviate:
- Grammar and spelling
- Style, tone, and register
Error-free content – making a good impression
Professional content needs to be free of spelling and grammar mistakes if it is to make a good impression – a goal best achieved with content optimization software. Without correct spelling and grammar, the sharpest marketing copy won't be worth a lot as your customer can't easily understand a text that's littered with typos. And what use is high-quality documentation if incorrect grammar renders it illegible?
Spelling and grammar naturally fluctuate, especially if your writers have little capacity for editing and proofreading. Typos easily sneak into texts (can you find one in this blog post?), it happens to the best of us. However, no matter how common, it's an issue because to be effective, content has to be good. If texts aren't (at least!) well-written and grammatically correct, your audience won't engage with them, and you'll make the wrong impression.
Of course, using a tool for content optimization should make this pain point disappear almost completely.
No matter which content optimization tool you choose, it should have sophisticated spell-checking and grammar proofing functionality – ideally also recognizing context mistakes ('of' is a correctly spelled word, unless it's supposed to be 'if').
Style, tone, and register – speaking with one voice
Content optimization software enables writers to produce stylistically consistent content by automatically checking text for tone and register. This is a huge benefit if you want messaging to have one brand style: after all, what's the point in rewriting your marketing copy over and over again in order to make the right brand impression if the text on the help pages reads like it was written by a completely different company (every touchpoint contributes to forming the brand experience)?
Well, if multiple departments within an organization are involved in creating content, it can be tricky to have all writers employ the brand voice. Different authors and editors have different styles, skill levels, strengths, and weaknesses, and its only natural that people's writing should differ. Furthermore, stylistic errors and inconsistencies creep in when longer texts are written, no matter how many times someone goes over the content. It's human nature.
However, good text optimization tools let you create writing guides – which define rules on style and register – for different content types (such as marketing, techcomm, etc.), and automatically check texts according to those rules.
Automated content optimization is only as good as the defined writing guides. Be sure to spend time established what the right tone and style is for your brand's voice.
Consistent terminology – increasing comprehension
You can also use content optimization tools to ensure your terminology is consistent in all texts by defining term sets. This makes it easier for people to understand what user manuals, for example, are communicating. Inconsistent terminology can cause great frustration and confusion for your readers. For example: Documentation that alternately uses the words 'sidebar' and 'secondary navigation' to refer to the same interface element unnecessarily makes life difficult.
Unfortunately, using a specific set of terminology can be a real challenge, especially if content creators don't work in the same office or work for different translation agencies. To deal with this, companies often create terminology lists for authors and proofreaders but long Excel lists are cumbersome, proving ineffective and regularly going ignored or forgotten.
Sound familiar? Hopefully not, but if it does, introducing a content optimization tool should consign this problem to the history books.
A content optimization tool like Acrolinx, for example, lets you create terminology lists (where you define which terms should be used, and which you want to avoid), and then automatically checks copy according to your preferences. No need to spend countless hours combing through texts making sure everything's consistent.
Try out content optimization
Delivering consistently high-quality content is far from easy, which is why it makes sense to try out some content optimization tools.
One award-winning content optimization tool is called Acrolinx – featuring a scorecard regarding spelling, grammar, style, and terminology quality. You can even define multiple writing guides in 5 different languages to accommodate different text categories and audiences.
But seeing is better than believing. So if your organization authors content in Atlassian Confluence, you can try out the Scroll Acrolinx Connector add-on free for 30 days to integrate Acrolinx seamlessly into Confluence. This gives you a chance to really evaluate the product before committing to it.
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