Content Dissemination

Subject: Content Dissemination
From: <anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 19:11:16 -0600 (MDT)

How do you all handle other departments reusing or re-purposing the
content that you put together. We are a relatively new company and we are
still 'implementing' processes.

Here's the situation:
1. Marketing materials that are inaccurate and actually have miss-truths
included in them.
2. No control over what information marketing/sales re-purposes.
3. Developers circulating information to marketing or sales. (I say
information because that's basically what the documents are, there is no
formatting or stylistic constraints and the information is left up to
marketing/sales to 'interpret').
4. Big Fat lies about functionality in our license agreements. Which now
means we have to bust butt to magically develop these things for delivery.
Additionally, we have included significant amounts of our source code in
the agreements.
5. The reason I found about this is I was contacted to 'get' a list of our
latest features and 'comment' on the benefits so marketing could turn this
into a document for sales. Someone in sales had gotten their hands on an
old list and were actually working from that. Marketing's last document
on this topic was over 7 pages - just a list, feature/benefit. That
document in my opinion should probably only be circulated internally/narrowed
down for external purposes. This document included two huge falsehoods on
the first page (if the client goes that far down the list of 20 or so things).

Unfortunately, being new to both the company and the field I am not sure
what I need to do. We are in the process of purchasing Adobe FrameMaker
and I have just started to create a style guide, (Hence, I can't wave that
under their noses). I probably sound like I'm ranting but this is the only
forum I feel comfortable doing that. To be perfectly honest I am embarrassed by
some of our marketing materials, editing and style aside (although...),
the information is too long and I don't really think appropriate to
provide externally. I like my company and I believe in the product and
the people working here. I am not a sales person so I have a harder time
understanding how you say something to them that's a real MAYBE and next thing you know
you can here them on the phone telling a prospective client. ARRGH!!

Here's what I have done so far:
1. I spoke with my boss and he hadn't even seen many of the marketing
materials and he's director of R&D, so he was all for my suggestion of
implementing a 'process'. This process would ensure that all
document/information requests from developers or R&D would go through me.
Additionally, we would have final say over designating internal/external
reuse of content. I sent out an e-mail outlining (briefly) this process
to all department managers (with my bosses backing of course).

So, where do I go from here? How do I implement this process, how do I
create the correct steps, company-wide? I know that I can get together
with my manager and we can determine which content gets tagged for internal or
external use, I don't foresee this as a problem. But I'm not sure what
criteria I can realistically expect marketing to follow, i.e. content,
style, format, etc... I want to be part of the solution and I think with
the e-mail that got people's attention, now I want to keep it. Have you
run across this problem or am I just being ridiculous.

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