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Authoring and Publishing Software 2020: Beginner’s Guide

What is Authoring and Publishing?

New age marketing poses new challenges for any organization looking to create content that is tailor-made not just for a diverse target audience but also for the various media channels in vogue now. To top that, widespread cellular network penetration has led to a surge in the way content is viewed on handheld devices. It means that organizations can no longer just plan for content creation for print and digital formats, but also have to consider how to present it in this mobile-friendly environment. In this scenario, creating content by the old method of collaborating with third party agencies has become very challenging.

Smart organizations have begun to use technology as an enabler in this endeavor. Technology can reduce both, the turn-around time in creating content, and the cost of engaging with third party agencies. They have started adopting Authoring and Publishing environments in-house where the internal teams collaborate to create content. These environments are proving to be easy to learn and can be used by people with mixed, even meager, skill sets.

What is an Authoring and Publishing Software?

Broadly speaking, Authoring Software enables content creation and Publishing Software is used for content dissemination. ‘Content’ has to be created by an organization to convey a message or an idea by creating written, visual, and/or audio-visual content to appeal to prospective buyers’ mind-space, and then, to drive their engagement with the content in desirable ways. This content, once created, has to be made available and accessible in whichever way the buyer wants to consume it. Authoring and Publishing Software helps create such content to meet marketing goals by attracting potential customers through quality engagement.

They are easy to use compared to traditional programming languages. One can create and develop interactive content without prior designing experience. They have easy-to-use features guided by wizards. Once the content is prepared, it can then be processed for publishing based on the media that will be used to cater to the target audience.

As you read along, you will gather more information related to the features and benefits of this tool in the following sections.

What are the Benefits of Authoring and Publishing Software?

What are the Benefits of  Authoring and Publishing Software?

Benefits of Authoring Software

Quality Authoring tools simplify the content creation process and encourage collaborative work, making the whole process very intuitive and responsive, empowering the team to bring out the best quality content for the target audience.

Ease of Authoring

While writing on a word processor, the author has to manage every aspect of the layout of the document. Authoring tools help save time by providing numerous features to cut down on the design effort.

Improved Collaboration

Collaborative working on Authoring tools helps teams to review, communicate, edit, make revisions, or add comments instantly, making the whole system very efficient.

Improved Efficiency

Centralization of the content creation process helps smoothen Publishing.

Organizations prefer to feed the target audience with current and evolving trends or product offerings by making quick changes in existing documents. Authoring tools help create such new content in much reduced time.

Authoring platforms allow the use and reuse of content by creating and saving them duly tagged with metadata. The content can be searched and used in future projects.

Multichannel Support

Content can be created for a multi-platform environment, making it more convenient to access the content for reaching out to target audiences on many platforms. This enables and promotes similar yet platform-optimized content, which in turn, helps in improving audience engagement.

Cost-Effectiveness

Owing to the reduced need for particular design skill-sets, Authoring tools help reduce outsourcing costs.

Benefits of Publishing Software

Publishing Software can be expected to deliver the following benefits to the organization.

The future of publishing is about having connections to readers and the knowledge of what those readers want

S G

Seth Godin

American Author

Cost-Effective

With the reasonable acquisition of in-house ability and skill to learn and make use of a Publishing Software program, the use of the software can help organizations to limit or eliminate the use of third party printing vendors.

Better Layouts

While standard word-processing programs come with standard templates that are in routine use and do not come across as something which lends a unique look. Publishing software presents a multitude of templates lending a very professional and ‘stand-out’ look to the document.

Customization

It is not mandatory to use the templates provided in the software. Any amount of customization is possible on the templates or to create new templates that fit the exact requirements of the organization.

Revise and Reorganize

Organizations that print dynamic information on a regular basis can undertake revisions without needing the services of a graphic designer.

Which Industries use Authoring and Publishing Software?

Authoring and Publishing Software are a horizontal solution that cuts across industry verticals and can serve the purpose of any organization.

It is not so much the industry vertical as it is each organization’s unique business requirements that would determine the best choice of Authoring and Publishing Software. The choice would be based on which one or more of these content types and publications are seen to be necessary.

  • General Publications with text and graphics such as newsletters, posters, flyers, small booklets, brochures, and magazines.
  • Long multi-chapter voluminous documents such as books, manuals, journals, and academic publications.
  • Data-Intensive Publication material with scientific data, tabular data, technical data.
  • Virtual Tours which can prove very handy for Real Estate and Hospitality Industry
  • Audiobook Narration is now a new trend for easy learning and helps in Education and e-Learning business.

Who are the Users of Authoring and Publishing Software?

Using Authoring and Publishing Software involves the collaborative effort of many internal functions of the organization. Content would be gathered from the team that has a publication requirement and is the subject matter expert. The design and creative teams, along with the technology team, would give shape and form to it. The legal opinion would also matter to meet all copyright and statutory compliance requirements. Approval from all the relevant internal approving authorities in the workflow would have to be acquired before the content is published on various media as planned.

What are the Key Features of Authoring and Publishing Software?

These features of Authoring and Publishing Software are particularly enabling.

Templates, Wizards

Templates, which help maintain the same design language and consistency while creating content. While plenty of templates are available for free or at a minimal cost on the Internet, one can also create their own templates.

Wizards help in setting up the site, uploading, and managing content. Design wizards are available to provide step-by-step guidance while authoring and publishing a variety of documents.

The WYSIWYG interface (What You See Is What You Get) makes it far easier to create, assess, and modify the visual element of your design.

While creating content, authors can create modules from standard content types, such as sections, paragraphs, lists, tables, charts, and figures. These content modules can then be organized and dynamically assembled for any output.

Customization and Branding

Content validation can be on-demand and is completely customizable. Metadata support is provided, which makes it easier to customize content to make it publication-ready for specific audiences.

Content can be formatted and branded based on the kind of audience, geography, internal or external use, and based on whether it is required for printing, web, or mobile applications.

Stop writing about everything. So many brands create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe... Find your niche, and then go even more niche

J P

Joe Pulizzi

Content Marketing Speaker

Content Repository

Content created earlier can be stored in a repository and fetched in parts for insertion in new or forthcoming documents. Authoring tools can also integrate with CMS platforms for the central repository.

Collaboration and Workflow Management

In any large organization, many departmental users will be required to either contribute, review, grant permissions, finalize the content, and approve before a document is published. This internal collaboration and workflow management is not just possible, but intuitive, using this tool.

Reviewing tools are available to track changes during the review and approval process. A review pane provides for contributors or reviewers to add or suggest changes.

Change Control

If any changes are made in the master document or section of a master document which has been borrowed for use in other documents, the impact of this change will be displayed on every corresponding document.

Component pinning is a feature that enables authors to associate specific versions of a content component within a document. For example, any change in the stock price of a share on a particular day will be displayed only for that day and not the same data for the other dates.

Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks are used to navigate within the page or to move on to another page or a website with a click on the hotspot. Hyperlinking is to add emphasis to paragraphs and keywords and to add more meaning to the content. Several formatting options are available for the display of hyperlinks - bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, subscript, and superscript, all of which are available from the toolbar.

Interactive Content

Multimedia content pages can be made interactive, with text, animation, images, audio, and video files.

Interactive Web Forms can be set up to get user details and feedback.

Content Format Library

A large variety of fonts is available. Using the style options, one can choose the font, size, and colors, a large choice of colors to fill in a page, color text, for borderlines and other areas to make a standout impression. One can use various shades, tints, and patterns of colors to customize the content display.

Some of the software provide advanced ability to create and manage columns, especially for printing newspapers, newsletters, or any other content similarly arranged.

Publishing Format

The software can easily integrate and adapt to the existing IT System of an organization using standard web technologies like HTML, CSS, XML. The software comes with a feature to publish it in either a document format or publish it to HTML. The published content can work with any modern web browser.

AI in Authoring and Publishing Software

Natural Language Processing and AI can increase the speed and quality of publications. Other AI-enabled features include -

Data Analytics can be used for user engagement by using insights into which content engages with which audience categories and how. Information related to the frequency of page visits, age, gender, location, etc. can be used to present the relevant page to the user. Predictive Analysis can collate and review historical data with current data and provide forecasts, which can help organizations to make the right kind of investment. Sentiment Analysis algorithms help with relevant text tags to achieve better results in reaching out to the targeted audience.

AI can help study the personal preferences and behavior of users to drive content personalization.

AI is a great tool for content translation when an organization wants to reach out to an audience with varied geography and languages.

Automated Text Analysis is another subject area where AI can play a key role in the optimization of content, plagiarism detection, and grammar correction, thereby helping reduce editorial work.

AI can help in monitoring copyright violations.

AI plays a great role in formatting and reporting at the authoring and publishing stage, to create quality content along with several aspects - quality of writing, creativity, grammatical edits, and formatting.

AI is now being used for audiobook narration too.

Buyers Guide to Choose Right Authoring and Publishing Software

Choosing the right software that meets business requirements is not an easy task. As with any new enterprise software platform, adopting a new Authoring and Publishing Software involves making an involved buying decision, and then, successful implementation and migration to that product’s environment. Invariably, the process very much involves the ‘people’ perspective in addition to process and technology. Some of the key elements that can be considered are listed below.

Assessing Business Requirements

Organizations must also consider the aspect of editing, publishing, and re-publishing the content and how the tool would support the whole process. It would be prudent to check out a demo of the outputs and, if possible, a few examples of the work process and outputs that you expect before investing in the tool. The overall effort and cost involved to adopt the tool should be looked at. For example, checking out whether the tool comes with an asset library or is it incumbent upon the buyer to create the asset library. These factors help to assess the feature support in conjunction with business needs.

Ease of Use

Authoring and Publishing Software can come with a host of features to present outstanding results but they should not be complicated to use. The thumb rule should be that any necessary extra deployment of manpower and/or skill up-gradation must not cost so much as to defeat the very purpose of migration!

Capability and Efficiency

Check out on the features that would be required to develop the kind of content that the organization requires. Does the software allow collaborative working and how many people can simultaneously login to work on a particular document? It is as important to assess what the tool can’t do as it is to know what it can do.

Cloud vs On-premise

Is the tool cloud-based or is it installed on-premise? Each of the two environments comes with its own set of challenges related to data security, software upgrades, and patches, modularity and flexibility, etc.

Integrations

Authoring and Publishing are never standalone activities. The tools need to integrate with other platforms like CMS, Content Marketing, Marketing Automation, Social Media Management tools. The software should provide out-of-box integration to popular platforms. This eases adoption challenges.

Challenges in adopting Authoring and Publishing Software

Many of the challenges in using this software have as much to do with the very process of Authoring and Publishing as it has to do with software. As such, they wouldn’t be felt very much by a team that already has a well-entrenched authoring and/or publishing culture. That said, it is useful to be cognizant of potential issues nonetheless if only to steer clear of them from the outset.

Organization Process Maturity

The first challenge is at the beginning of the process of authoring, where one has to bring together a set of people - authors and designers - and tools, all to align with and imbibe the thoughts of subject matter experts. Adoption of tools will become easier if the organization has a higher process maturity - this could be related to the areas of peer review, collaboration, version control, change management, and document archival process. As long as the tool supports aligning the organization processes it becomes easier to adopt. Organizations can not retrofit their processes with what tool does.

Homegrown and Legacy tools

Authors like to use standard word processing tools like MS Word, out of habit. Any new tool could be met with resistance and inertia, which would have to be overcome. They typically tend to view their role as a thinker and writer, and may not wish to entertain the idea of learning a new technology platform. Of course, this isn’t a universal phenomenon, and shouldn’t be viewed as such.

Business Aligned Creative Process

Content creation is a creative process, but it needs to be aligned with business goals. It is important to know the target audience and publish the document/content based on how you wish to provide access to them – individual access, rights-based access, or dynamic filtering.

At the time of publishing, making the content discoverable by the target audience is of prime importance. Distribution of this content through multiple channels is central to the whole process. The information about the content has to be communicated through metadata to enable the most relevant search engine query results.

With the growth in the mobile audience, it is important that a mobile-optimized user interface is also created for intended users so as not to miss out on this important segment.

Authoring and Publishing Software

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