The continual and increasing pressure of demand for personalized content in context is found everywhere that individuals have a situation they need to support with Content.
For content providers, this pressure means clearly identifying the case of usage that must be satisfied through a method of content delivery.
The difference between the concerns about Delivery and other content management issues is simple but profound.
With content delivery, the default assumption is always that there are multiple possible uses of any content item, and there are multiple possible intents by any content user. As a result, Delivery succeeds by providing the best immediate match of an appropriate content use for an appropriate reason.
The key aspects of delivery that will be evaluated by the user receiving content are:
– Explicit context
– Immediate relevance
– Effective utility
In sum, those represent getting the right thing. Given those success factors, the difference between “Personalized” and “Non-personalized” is about whether the particular content recipient actually gets the value or does not.
The party responsible for preparing the content delivery must anticipate the requirement for that value.
The mechanism for doing this is Publishing.
In publishing, planning to deliver value moves the emphasis from the content itself to the content provider.
User-centric Usage Planning
Pushing content out to targeted users is not new. Going from magazine subscriptions to the search-powered web to social sharing makes “delivery” of content something that evolved over decades without very much changing content itself.
Instead, the important changes have been in how to support the targeting.
Users might discover that some available content meets their value criteria. A quickly-occurring side effect of that discovery is some confidence in the mode of availability and the apparent source. It is natural to “try the same trick” again when additional similar content is desired.
The difference between user-initiated discovery and provider-promoted discovery is mainly in who does the work to assure the value of the content.
Interestingly, nothing demonstrates this difference quite as clearly as the occasions when we try to get content that we have earlier saved for our own later re-use.
In the heat of the moment, finding and accepting content that we didn’t already have may be a bit laborious, yet we get enough satisfaction with our moment of acceptance that, feeling rewarded, we often don’t mind the prospect of making the effort again in the future.
But when we have saved content ourselves and then still have to do the discovery work again, we know that something important had not been done about managing the content. The ease of determining the context, relevance and utility of the available content is our requirement in the moment, and realizing that we didn’t make it easy for ourselves is hard to ignore.
Also hard to ignore is when we try to use someone else’s content and realize that they have not made it easy for us, either.
The punchline is that the difficulty of that experience is the opposite of what we consider to be “personalized”.
This highlights the reason to be deliberate about support – about preparing the delivery of content in a way that already offers the value the recipient is going to require.
A “publishing” stance intentionally takes on the full formula for that required delivery. The user-centricity is established in terms of how a user gets satisfaction.
The Right Stuff
The full formula calls for preparation, giving attention to the three-part value (context, relevance, utility) of the content, along with the user’s ease and the user’s expectation in their content access effort.
Publishing provides for the following user experience that proactively contrasts with non-publishing delivery by supporting higher levels of:
– Predictability of access
– Probability of content propriety
– Efficiency of content recognition
– Sufficiency of use in purpose
An additional provision of publishing is its effort to help the user recognize themselves as likely beneficiaries of an opportunity offered through available content. In this scenario, the delivery mechanism calls out the situations in which a content recipient will be glad the content is available.
Getting It Right
If that last point sounds basically like marketing, the reason is because, well, it is marketing. However, marketing per se is not restrained by concerns about ease of use and value! Marketing can aggressively promote content that has little or none of those two features, as long as it has some reason to do so.
Instead, the two most important types of supporting activity that a publisher brings to personalizing delivery are cataloging and curating the content that is gathered for delivery.
Publishing wants a certain kind of content user to be the motivation for how content is selected and organized. Mainly, this is a user with a need to be deliberate and a desire to be discriminating. That may seem like the focus is on “targeted users”. But in reality, the objective is to produce targeted content as the type likely to be most valuable in that user’s discovery.
For that user, production includes two prior actions. Cataloging stages the recognition of the content. Curating establishes the content’s suitability to purpose.
Cataloging and curating is the proactive work that makes the arrangement of available content a personalized experience for users needing targeted content.
For those users, an absence of cataloging and curating presents a well-known problem. Content collections in which the value of the materials is not specified strongly enough don’t counterbalance the case-by-case effort needed to discover, within them, the decisive good choice. As a result, we look at that collection, and at much of its content, as not having known effectiveness in the circumstances of the recipient’s need for use.
With digitalization, the sprawling abundance of content means users are more often facing collections not overtly attending to their use cases, making it challenging to be satisfied with self-help. That makes prior selection and filtering increasingly valuable to a given person’s discovery of deliverable content. The test of its value is the contrast of the the experience that users have without it.
With publishing, the prior work concentrates on how content is appropriate to the receiving person’s situation. Meanwhile, organizing the storage of content can be dictated by matters other than future use. But an increasing demand for personalization mainly means arranging content for a user’s efficient effort to get the most effective content. That arrangement sets up the experience of delivery that satisfies the user.
With online content, a publication will serve well as the primary discovery interface for the recipient, while the content itself may also remain available across multiple publications.
Easily making a good decision to meet a need is the payoff for the content recipient. In effect, publishing is the broker of requester’s content , while at the same time it is the agent for the provider’s content . The match-making that it performs between the provider and the recipient is key to meeting the demand for personal benefit.