I've written before about how we use the Content-Purpose-Audience® Strategy to suss out the most important aspects of a content development project. And I've penned a few posts on using the Idea-Details® Strategy for writing short form stuff. Both are great tools to help you plan your content before you get too far down the old garden path.

Last week, I used the two strategies in tandem to plan a short e-book for a new client. With the holiday this week, the time frame for the work is seriously compressed and we don't have time for lost cycles. Combining the two strategies allows us to work as quickly as possible on the right track. Here's how:

Click image for larger view. Copyright 1995-2013, Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.

  1. First, we completed the CPA, agreeing on the target audience, what they needed to know about the topic and what we wanted them to think or do with the information. Then we broke down the actual content -- the main idea and the details that would support it.
  2. Then we did an I-D for each of the key details, which became the topic areas for the book.
  3. Click image for larger view. Copyright 1995-2013 Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc.

  4. Finally, we pulled source material from the CMS so we would not only have on-target background, but a set of links to videos, webinars, blog posts and whitepapers that could be presented as related content in the ebook.

We got the whole thing done in about five working days. You can download the final product here.

One big win is the clarity we get from the git-go. But this approach also makes it easier for us to distribute the content development across our team instead of relying on one writer to do it all. I assigned various chapters to our own subject-matter experts, so writers could work on what they know best. This makes for higher-quality writing from the start, and means we can share the workload so many chapters are in production at once. This is key to meeting the tight time frame.

This approach to content operations allows us to work smarter and faster. Want to give it a try? Download step-by-step instructions or email me with questions on how to do this in your shop. Good luck!