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Keep it Simple, Silly - 5 steps to highly engaging Confluence content

keepitsimplesilly.png
CONFLUENCE is a content collaboration tool...

but what happens when you find out there’s more content than collaboration going on? It might surprise you to hear that what you thought was an engaging piece of work is actually missing core components that drive interest, participation, and collaborative feedback. Read on to get yourself out of the writer's rut and into the light of a beautifully-crafted Confluence page.


1. Content should be highly-focused

  • Studies have shown that readers tend to lose interest in written work after the first 30-35% of an article. The best way to combat this dropoff is by using the inverted pyramid style shown below. This style takes into account that someone reading your work is likely trying to skim and solve an issue and won't have the time to read it all.

Blog_Garrett_ActuallyReading_Pyramid.png

  • An increasing number of people are interacting with content on phones and tablets, and the standard long-form articles are no longer as powerful as they were. Consider converting lengthy content to serialized pieces. Confluence makes it incredibly easy to drag and drop articles between folders, rearrange your folder hierarchy, and link new with existing pages to create cohesive bodies of work.

    6-Tips-to-Succeed-in-Business-for-Millennials-from-a-Millennial.jpg

  • Give readers a break... by including more white space between paragraphs. This allows readers a visual rest from what would otherwise be a wall of text - which increases the likelihood that they'll feel overwhelmed before they even start reading. Remember: big pictures, small words.

2. Use visuals to drive your story

  • Use Confluence's simple interface to templatize your articles. This will help with refining your style, building recognition, and growing trust with your readers. The best way to find your own style is to self-survey the sites you interact with and consume the most from.
    • Where are your eyes drawn?
    • Take note of fonts and styles within the article - do they use large headers, white space, and images to drive their story?

  • Visual content can contain important text like deep quotes (important sentences from your article) or compelling, funny, or dramatic images which keep interest through that 30% reader dropoff point.

  • Once you have a few standard templates in your toolbox, creating content is faster and more organized, allowing you to focus on the message. Below is an example of work that I've done in my own confluence page to organize a new project landing space.

    example.PNG

  • Readers who interact with plain text content typically retain only 10-20% of that content in the future. However, upwards of 60% retention is achieved when content is paired with relevant images and strong organization.


3. Your content should be easy to find

  • Content consumers are lazy (sorry person reading this article!) Which means that if they're trying to solve an immediate problem or are otherwise just browsing for interesting content, it needs to be delivered to them without a terrible amount of digging. Make heavy use of relevant tags, interesting headers, good hierarchy structure, and variations in textual style to draw the eyes to relevant information.

  • Confluence has some really great tools to highlight new and updated content, including the activity stream macro. This handy little tool will allow you to organize and draw the eyes of readers and as an added bonus, there are tons of ways to filter this macro so that only the most relevant items are displayed

    activity stream.PNG

 


4. Define the purpose of your piece - easy as PIE

The PIE acronym is used to convey the three main purposes of writing: to Persuade Inform or Express (engage)

  • If your article is intended to be an informational or how-to; are you enabling your reader to apply the information immediately? Are you thoroughly (but briefly) breaking your topic down into pieces small enough to ingest?

    DR-NewPartners-Cover-article-Article-201603101200.jpg

  • If the goal of your page is to express opinions and drive engagement to a certain topic, are you taking steps to ASK your reader for feedback or action?

  • Perhaps you are trying to persuade your readers or engage in a debate or feedback session. Take steps to examine your writing and make sure you're providing enough information to generate discussion while asking pertinent questions. 



5. Expand your readership

Great! You've crafted an awesome piece of content. It has visuals, there is cohesion and organization - possibly a bit of drama - now what? If the number of people who read your work is still lower than it should be, it's time to do some outreach and marketing.

  • Cross-link to/from articles of interest. If there is existing content that is being engaged at a high level, use that buzz to drive readers to newer content. A good way to do this inside of Confluence articles is to use navigation bars:

    navigation bars.PNG

  • Market your content! If you're writing for internal readers only, this could be as simple as striking up a conversation with your coworkers about what you've been working on and imploring them to check it out. Similarly, a well-organized and concise email highlighting the benefits of your article could be very useful.

  • When marketing to readers who are external to your organization, social media can be extremely powerful too. Send up flares from LinkedIn, Facebook, even Instagram! Use one of your article's highly engaging visuals to create multimedia advertisements.


    I hope this article has been useful in highlighting some of the powerful tools and strategies you can deploy to take your writing to the next level. Did I miss anything important? Let me know below!

15 comments

Thank you so much share info 

Like Meg Holbrook likes this

Hey @Meg Holbrook

Thanks for sharing. Especially the inverted pyramid is a helpful modell for me. Good tgat it was at the beginning of your article and had a great visualization ☺️

With kind regards

Mario

Like # people like this
Meg Holbrook Community Leader Jan 27, 2019

@Mario Carabelli - I see what you did there ;)

Thanks for reading!

Like Mario Carabelli likes this

Hi @Meg Holbrook

great read, but some thoughts...

What about page titles? We found out that just using eg. "Meeting Notes" as a title is not enough in large Confluence environment. If someone searches for "Meeting" one has to either redefine the search or crawl thru several search result pages of pages having "Meeting" in their title & you have to check the rather small space title to find out the correct one.

We try to enrich generic page titles with more information like project key, date, etc...

Otherwise you're completely right: Use images / screenshots / drawings to explain the content & don't create pages that are a fifteen minute read ;-)

Best

JP 

Like Meg Holbrook likes this

Great article Meg!! I sort of forgot about the pyramid structure which we learnt in school when writing newspaper articles, great to be reminded of it!

Like Meg Holbrook likes this
FUN MAN ANDY Community Leader Jan 29, 2019

#KISS 💋

Nothing else to say on the matter. GREAT ARTICLE @Meg Holbrook!!

Like # people like this
Meg Holbrook Community Leader Jan 29, 2019

@JP _AC Bielefeld Leader_ - great callout! I do think it's super important to come up with titles depending on what your end-goal is. 

If it's engagement, then you would need something 'clickable' to entice readers to view your article. 

How-to items would need to be pretty specific (or well organized in your hierarchy) so that the information is easy to find and illustrates the content without too much digging. 

Thanks for the read through and additional comments!

Like Stephanie Grice likes this
Meg Holbrook Community Leader Jan 29, 2019

Thanks @Michele Lim [cPrime] - keeping it short and concise is something I really struggle with, so I'm glad to bring it up to the top of our minds again!

Meg Holbrook Community Leader Jan 29, 2019

@FUN MAN ANDY - yes! 100%

Like FUN MAN ANDY likes this
Kesha Thill Atlassian Team Feb 01, 2019

yay @Meg Holbrook - this is great! For expand your readership, another tip is to flex your blogging skills and share it out as a Blog in Confluence! 

Like Stephanie Grice likes this
BiancaE Atlassian Team Feb 05, 2019

Super smart tips that I try to abide by!! Thanks @Meg Holbrook

Like # people like this
Meg Holbrook Community Leader Feb 06, 2019

Thanks @BiancaE!!

Like Stephanie Grice likes this

My apologies in advance if this question should be in JSD thread.

I am working on a knowledge base to enable customers to self-support Tier 1 issues.  We have an incredible amount of information which can be searched in different ways by customers. Our customers do not have access to Confluence and we want to utilize the knowledge base. I'm struggling finding an intuitive approach to a hierarchy browse option (similar to the tree in Confluence) in addition to using the "what do you need help with" search. 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We are using JSD & Confluence on a server.

I enjoy this refresher for creating valuable and meaningful content!

Like Meg Holbrook likes this

This article is helpful for beginners like myself. Thank you!

Like Meg Holbrook likes this

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