Submit a CERA Nomination to Recognize Content Creators

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Content continues to be increasingly important in customer purchasing decisions, and technical communicators, marketing professionals, and product developers focus more of their efforts on customer satisfaction. To this end, the first annual Customer Experience Recognition Awards (CERAs) will be held during Information Development World on October 23rd, 2014, in San Jose, California. The CERAs honor the people, teams, and projects that show proven results in delivering content that works for customers.

“Content creation is integral to product development, consumer education, purchase decisions, and customer support,” says Connie Giordano, Executive Editor for TechWhirl.com, which is coordinating the awards program. “The CERAs offer a unique opportunity for team members across multiple content creation disciplines to nominate themselves and their colleagues for content-driven efforts that achieve critical business objects, such as lower support costs, improved customer feedback, and increased customer engagement.”

Content professionals can submit entries online now through 5 pm (Eastern) September 19. The CERA website provides additional details on entry requirements and judging criteria. The six award categories for the inaugural CERAs reflect the growing importance of customer-centric content that drives top organizations throughout the world:

  • Accessibility: Content projects that enhance or create accessibility to content—either for all customers, or for a specific group of customers.
  • Customer Support / Technical Communications: Content projects that adapt or create content to enhance the overall customer support experience, and focus on making the customer comfortable with the product and their purchase decision.
  • Employee Engagement:  Projects that specifically use content to engage employees in support of organizational or business objectives.
  • Information Discovery: Content work that facilitates consumer or B2B pre-purchase discovery and supports the sales process.
  • Translation/Localization: Projects that adapt or create customer experience content for one or more languages, markets or cultures.
  • User Community/Social Media: Content-based projects that help customers interact with one another and with the organization, either through more traditional support-based communities, or through social media initiatives.

The 2014 CERA judges hail from across wide-ranging content disciplines. Rahel Anne Bailie, who has deep roots in content strategy and information architecture, believes that focusing on business objectives is integral. “Creating a superior customer experience has to begin with clear business goals and the content we create should always address those goals.”

As one of industry experts who will be evaluating submissions for excellence in customer experience, Tina Lannin, founder of 121 Captions, will look for content-driven projects that provide maximum accessibility. “The best customer experiences are those that provide the right information to every audience member, regardless of device or limitations.”

Joe Natoli, founder of Give Good UX, will look for CERA entries that “tie together design and content to provide customers with experiences that match their expectations and their needs.” He, like all of the CERA judges, wants to recognize content professionals who create compelling customer experiences “that differentiate their brands at every touch point with their customers.”

“We’re fortunate to have a group of recognized thought leaders with deep expertise in producing and delivering great content serve as judges for the CERAs,” says Al Martine, Director of Operations and Business Development for TechWhirl. “We’re thrilled that they can offer their time and talent to recognize content professionals in such a meaningful way.”

The CERAs will be presented on October 23, following a reception and dinner, sponsored by SDL, The Content Wrangler and Content Rules, at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, site of Information Development World (iDW), the conference dedicated to helping organizations create exceptional customer experiences centered around content. Tickets for the event can be purchased online via the iDW registration website.

Stacey Plowright

Stacey Plowright is the current Communications Manager for STC Toronto. A soon-to-be graduate of the Technical Communication program at Seneca College, she has deep roots in both publishing and customer support. Stacey advocates strongly for clear, concise communication and seeks to provide knowledge to those who need it when they need it. She can be found on Google+, and through LinkedIn.

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