Multi-Channel Publishing: A Case Study
Over the last year, XML Press and The Content Wrangler, a content strategy consultancy, have been producing a series of books about content strategy. The series currently includes five titles, which range in subject from authoring in content management systems to creating content audits to building an enterprise content strategy. Each title is authored by an expert in that field, but the series shares a common vision and content strategy.
That vision is best exemplified by the first book in the series, The Language of Content Strategy, which is a glossary of terms that define a vocabulary for this emerging discipline. Each of the fifty-two terms in this book was authored by a leading authority. Each of the fifty-two authors provided a one-line definition, an importance statement, and an essay explaining why that term is important for content strategists.
Developing the series raised challenges in authoring and publication. This article will look at the publication effort and the way that multi-channel publishing formed an indispensable part of our content strategy.
What is Multi-Channel Publishing?
At the most basic level, multi-channel publishing takes a single piece of content and delivers it through multiple output channels (web, print, ebooks, mobile, etc.). In practice, multi-channel publishing goes way beyond this simplistic application. Effective multi-channel publishing marries structure-intelligent content-with sophisticated software that enables organizations to configure a unified body of content-a single source-to meet a wide variety of output needs.
Technical writers already use these capabilities to create documentation for a series of products in multiple output media, creating a unique reference for each product model using only the information specific to that model. Many organizations further customize content for specific audiences, removing or adding content depending on the interests and skill level of each audience.
Multi-channel publishing is the basis of the vision for The Content Wrangler book series. From the beginning, we planned the series to take full advantage of the capabilities of multi-channel publishing using intelligent content and single-sourcing. Following are two ways in which the series leveraged these capabilities.
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