Confluence tips: how to create more meaningful content

In this new series powered by Adaptavist, we explore several tips for making the most out of Confluence for your team – from meaningful content, to using templates and blueprints, to integrations and automations.

Confluence is your remote-friendly team workspace where knowledge and collaboration meet – if you’re new to this tool, read more about it here.

The way we communicate has changed significantly in the past year. With the recent lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19, instant messaging, video conferencing and documentation tools have become mission critical for keeping teams aligned, collaborating and productive. 

Atlassian’s overhaul of how Confluence Cloud looks and feels, coupled with its integrations have really set all teams up for success by making it more accessible than ever before.

So if you’re new to Confluence or have hundreds of pages under your belt, how do you create better and more engaging content for your team?

Focus your Confluence content

One of the most visible changes you may have noticed in the last year has been the introduction of the new page layout and editing experience. This new content experience has had a particular focus on making content the hero, that is, making content easier to create and consume. 

The days of having content look lost on a wide page are over. Now, by default, Confluence’s page layout is centered with lots of padding around it, drawing attention to your content. While this certainly will get your reader’s focus, it also makes it easier to slip into creating lengthy content that can just as easily reduce focus. Here are a few suggestions to keep your audience engaged:

Call out important content

Confluence Cloud has made it really easy to call out important content with built-in macros. You can highlight decisions (insert macro link), call out warnings or important notes for your reader and generally avoid the missteps of assuming that the reader will interpret the most important points of your arguments.

Make your mark with media

If you’re able to express your argument with a video or image, do. It’s now easier to manipulate the size and positioning of images than ever before, allowing you to embed them into your arguments. Confluence’s widget connector also makes it easy to add other rich media like videos from Youtube or Vimeo to your content.

Improved focus with apps

The Atlassian marketplace has recently seen an explosion of apps that are offering an even more powerful content experience on Cloud. Adaptavist’s app, Content Formatting for Confluence introduces tabs, allowing you to drastically cut back on page length and allow you to focus your readers attention on specific themes.

Templatise everything

One of the most valuable things you can do for your reader is to create a repeatable content structure. When your audience knows where to look on a page for the information that is most important to them, they’ll be more efficient in consuming it and you’ll get your point across more clearly. Confluence page templates allow you to do just that, and the recent expansion to have templates like Hubspot Creative Briefs, Mural Brainstorming pages and team plays from Atlassian’s team playbooks series have given your teams an even easier way to get started creating more powerful content.

Don’t agonise over creating the perfect template

One of the missteps that I’ve seen happen in teams is when templates become completely static. A template, like most content, should be a living piece of work that’s updated over time to accommodate the message that you’re trying to get across. Templates get abandoned when they’re not easy to use or make users complete fields that aren’t mission critical. The remedy to this is often not to agonize on creating a ‘perfect’ template and to allow for revisions over time to allow for your team to communicate content effectively.

Boost productivity by syncing your content across multiple communication tools

Adaptavist’s recent digital etiquette study surveyed over 2800 global knowledge workers on what some of the biggest challenges were in getting work done in a completely digital world. One of the key findings of the study was that the inefficient use of digital channels was increasing the complexity of tasks and threatening productivity. So, how can we counter this trend with Confluence?

A significant portion of survey respondents said that they spent a considerable amount of time going between different tools, attempting to find the relevant information to them. Some of the improvements that the team over at Atlassian have been hard at work on are integrations with their other products and third-party apps.

Confluence + Slack

Recently I’ve found myself going back and forth between Slack and Confluence fairly regularly. If you’re a team that’s focused on creating content in Confluence then you might want to consider setting up a few automations in Slack that will reduce this kind of tool switching. Take a look at Atlassian’s blog for more details on how to set this up.

In Slack, you can set up a notification that will message you about changes to important pages in a Confluence space ensuring that you navigate to important content quickly. You can also set up an automation that will allow you to respond to comments inside of Slack, keeping you focussed.

Confluence + Trello

Work often starts out as ideas or suggestions on a Trello board, if this sounds familiar to you, then consider bringing your Trello content into Confluence.

You can choose to display a single Trello card that will allow a reader to easily get more context about your topic or navigate to that card directly showing all of its detail. You can also choose to add an entire board to a Confluence page, this can be useful if you’re running retrospectives on Trello and want to explore any of the topics raised.

If your team finds that they work more in Trello then you can also add the Confluence Power-up to Trello, link pages to cards, and comment directly on pages from Trello simplifying tool switching further.

Confluence + Jira

Confluence and Jira has always been a classic integration but one that’s popular for a reason. The ability to link a work tracking tool like Jira to Confluence has helped teams across all different verticals to achieve success and communicate the progress of initiatives.

Being able to visualise the state that work is in and to easily navigate to work in progress from Confluence saves teams a huge amount of time. Equally linking a page to a Jira ticket allows for teams that are Jira centric, like developers to easily navigate to a Confluence page to get more context.

Iframes for anything else!

If you want to integrate one of your other mission-critical tools into your Confluence content but can’t find a built-in feature or an app for it on the Atlassian Marketplace, consider making use of Confluence’s Iframe feature. This feature allows you to embed a fully functional web page in the content that you’re creating, meaning that the reader of your content or your team doesn’t have to navigate away through a link to get more context.

Conclusion: create content that wants to be consumed

So, as we continue to move forward in this evolving remote working world, it’s really important to focus on our audiences and make content that’s easier to consume. By integrating existing tools, focussing content, and creating flexible templates we can drive towards making more engaging content.

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