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Goals, Guidelines, and Governance: How one association created a smart, sustainable content strategy

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A content strategy case study: Where we started, what we did, what we found, lessons learned. With a strong, solid foundation of knowledge, creating sustainable guidelines comes together more smoothly and easily

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Goals, Guidelines, and Governance: How one association created a smart, sustainable content strategy

  1. 1. Goals, Guidelines, and Governance How one association created a smart, sustainable content strategy Kristy McGreal Hilary Marsh
  2. 2. Our Agenda 1.  Where we started 2.  What we did 3.  What we found 4.  Top 10 lessons we learned
  3. 3. h"p://­‐chemicals-­‐of-­‐concern/substances-­‐of-­‐poten8al-­‐concern/svhc-­‐roadmap-­‐to-­‐2020-­‐implementa8on   Where we started
  4. 4. Before we started, we had a LOT of content
  5. 5. 5  h"ps://­‐back/  
  6. 6. Lots of links Event information FAQs Policies Course details Mission statement Job listings Scientific statements Press releases News stories Comment letters Executive bios Reports History Awards
  7. 7. Process to help us to learn about our content IFT is content rich, but… •  How is it being used? •  How is it organized? •  What do members want? All of these questions were tackled through this project Our Goal h"p://­‐your-­‐b2b-­‐content-­‐marke8ng-­‐challenges-­‐in-­‐2015/  
  8. 8. 8  
  9. 9. Just because…..
  10. 10. Because the board wanted it Because the committee told us to Because we have this program Because we do this thing Because we created the information Because we have no way to say “no” to the request Because we think we have to Because everyone else is Because this is how we have always done it Because…….
  11. 11. 11   What we did
  12. 12. Content strategy process Discovery ++ Compare current state with best practices and organizational strategy, dream together Create guidelines Paint the picture of the “better way” Make it sustainable Create new ways of working
  13. 13. 1. Discovery ++ •  Review of existing documents •  Stakeholder interviews •  Member survey •  Comparative content analysis •  Content audit/assessment •  Empathy-based audience personas
  14. 14. Stakeholder interviews Findings •  Content is lacking cohesiveness, relationships, and context •  Content is not created with users in mind •  Lack of effective organization is creating confusion and lost revenue •  No shared core audience •  Inconsistent content promotion •  Everyone knew there was an issue but didn’t see their role in it •  No clear, consistent definition of content
  15. 15. Stakeholder interviews Recommendations •  Collect content into clear categories defined and validated by users, and ensure that it is findable, cross-referenced, and has context. •  Incorporate user knowledge and data into decisions about content. •  Create a clear, flexible taxonomy for the ORGANIZATION (not department). •  Identify the organization’s top-priority audiences, and use this prioritization to drive content decisions. •  Create an organization-wide editorial calendar and promotion guidelines.
  16. 16. Member survey Recommendations: •  Improve the website’s usability •  Offer members the ability to opt in to specific email campaigns •  Better communicate the value of online and short courses •  Incorporate metrics into all future content decisions •  Tag content so it can be cross- linked more easily
  17. 17. Competitive audit recommendations •  Give people a reason to visit more often: Update content more frequently, feature current content more prominently, highlight for top- priority audiences •  Encourage on-site commenting and conversation •  Incorporate breadcrumbs and consistent sidebars to help navigation •  Use more creative presentations: organize videos into a stream -- promote regularly, feature a book of the week, add live chat •  Incorporate sponsored/underwritten content selectively (careful not to raise concern about the organization’s objectivity) •  Use section landing pages to highlight the full range of content in the section, rather than relying only on mega-nav
  18. 18. Content audit
  19. 19. Content audit The Game Changer! •  Detailed outside perspective of every page of the website and e- newsletters •  Topic, content type, audience, usage, date created/modified •  Look for content ROT (redundant, outdated, trivial/unused) •  Recommended actions: Keep, revise, archive, delete •  Typical proportion: delete/archive 50%, revise 30%, keep as-is 20% •  Presented to content owners for their feedback
  20. 20. 20   Empathy-based personas
  21. 21. Empathy-based personas § How do we bring focus? § Define our customer § Understand them as individuals, with real needs, concerns, motivations, and attitudes
  22. 22. Empathy-based personas Instead of discounting emotions, we use empathy as a filter, a lens Empathy roots us. It gives us context to distinguish meaning from information  VS.
  23. 23. Empathy-based personas The journey our personas take with the organization •  How do they become aware of our organization, develop a need for it? •  How does the organization satisfy their needs, engender loyalty?
  24. 24. Empathy-based personas When we see the whole picture •  We understand their pressures − At work and in life •  We approach things differently − Programs − New processes − Answering questions
  25. 25. •  sdf
  26. 26. Meet our personas… Henry  Nancy   Sarah  Ken  
  27. 27. Validated with member focus groups
  28. 28. 2. Develop guidelines •  Voice and tone •  Editorial style •  Taxonomy •  Content lifecycle •  Topic lifecycle
  29. 29. Identify the organization’s voice and tone
  30. 30. Best practices in digital writing
  31. 31. Taxonomy
  32. 32. New taxonomy • Two levels of tagging • 11 topics •  High level content buckets •  Remain evergreen • 55 subtopics •  Change with the industry •  Emerge, become popular, and eventually sunset •  Subtopics are flexible
  33. 33. New taxonomy • Topical structure carries through the organization •  Website •  Sponsorship buckets •  Scientific sessions • Speaking the same language, using the same terms •  Increases revenue potential •  Alleviates confusion •  Aligns various functions within the organization
  34. 34. Think through lifecycles
  35. 35. 3. Make it sustainable •  Roles •  Staffing •  Workflow •  Educate/train staff •  Build into people’s job descriptions •  Include training in on-boarding
  36. 36. h"p://­‐chemicals-­‐of-­‐concern/substances-­‐of-­‐poten8al-­‐concern/svhc-­‐roadmap-­‐to-­‐2020-­‐implementa8on   What we found
  37. 37. Staff knew what members wanted • Content presented more holistically • Eliminate content that is no longer relevant, timely, or accurate • Content that reflects who they are and what they need (not department) • An easy way to show what else exists on a given topic
  38. 38. Get people talking & collaborating • Hearing information as a group • Having a hand in creating the solution – together • Bringing realization that content owners own a piece of this
  39. 39. Create content with a goal •  Understand and articulate the purpose of each piece of content •  How will we know it’s successful •  Takes a partnership
  40. 40. Create content for an audience • What do they need from our organization? • We don’t have to be Google • Through which channels do they want to get the information? • What other considerations?
  41. 41. Department Audience Department Audience Department Audience Department Audience Old thinking Committee Committee Committee Committee Message Message Message Message
  42. 42. Organization: Programs, offerings Audience Messages Audience Audience Audience New thinking
  43. 43. h"p://­‐chemicals-­‐of-­‐concern/substances-­‐of-­‐poten8al-­‐concern/svhc-­‐roadmap-­‐to-­‐2020-­‐implementa8on   What we learned
  44. 44. Get buy-in early and often with colleagues whose process & work will change #1
  45. 45. #2 Make sure content owners play a role in crafting the solution
  46. 46. #3 Show them how to do things differently 47  
  47. 47. #4 Over communicate
  48. 48. #5 Remind people about the context for the project
  49. 49. #6 Use the consultant strategically to share stories, create tools, and provide instruction
  50. 50. #7 Be visual
  51. 51. #8 Learn from examples – good work in your organization, competitors, other orgs outside the association world
  52. 52. #9 Foster internal champions and honor their expertise
  53. 53. #10 Operationalize and socialize – make it stick
  54. 54. Thank you! Hilary Marsh President & Chief Strategist Content Company, Inc. @hilarymarsh Kristy McGreal Executive Director Moraine Valley Community College Foundation