The saying goes that “content is king,” but don’t you ever wonder who is keeping tabs on all that content after it’s unleashed into the world or parked on your website? How can you be sure that your content strategy stays aligned with what your audience needs as things change over time?
With the amount of digital content that’s being produced every minute of every day, I know I’m not alone when I say that I have an equal amount of enthusiasm and concern for how often businesses and institutions are managing to keep it all up to date, relevant to their audiences, and compliant with accessibility.
On October 22nd, I was thrilled to host an Evolving Web webinar, "Keeping your content relevant with digital governance.” In the panel-style session, we addressed common questions about content strategy and governance and got into some real-world examples from our expert practitioners, Suzanne Dergacheva and Andy Gregory.
After a lively discussion between Suzanne, Andy and myself, I can’t help but recall three recurring topics and themes throughout the webinar. Here are the main takeaways.
Three Insights on Digital Governance
1. Digital Governance Needs Strategy and Visa-versa
The first question I posed to the panelists seemed like an obvious one, but it’s commonly overlooked: “What’s the difference between content strategy and governance?”
While answering this question, both Andy and Suzanne emphasized their interdependence but there’s an order to it that can’t be ignored.
Think of it this way: “If content strategy is your north star, then governance is the roadmap.”
Content strategy entails clearly defined goals, objectives, and metrics. Once that strategy has been implemented, governance is the forward-looking vision to ensure that your digital experiences remain impactful and high quality over time.
2. Small Teams and Limited Resources? Prioritize
Our flash poll at the webinar revealed that most of the attendees belonged to small teams of three people or less. I made sure to address this fact when I asked our panelists if there are simpler ways to achieve results for smaller teams with limited resources.
The short answer is to prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. But where to begin? Here are some tips.
Prioritize Your Content
Rather than trying to solve all the problems at once, start with improving the content on your homepage and other high-visibility pages. This can lower the level of effort that content analysis and updating takes.
Invest in Your Best-performing Digital Channels
With all of the digital channels out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and overambitious. Instead of spreading yourself too thin, lean into your strongest performing channels and master them. Start with accurately evaluating how much time it takes to produce, edit, and deploy high-quality content, and make sure that there is a team member who is dedicated to these important tasks.
Use What’s in Your Toolbox
Are you using all of the materials you have to run a successful website? Maybe time is a scarce resource, but by collecting data from your website and your key audiences, you can get some “quick wins.”
When was the last time you organized a small focus group to give you feedback on your site’s usability and appeal?
A webinar attendee wrote in the chat that his institution hosted a website feedback session for undergraduate students and provided pizza for the occasion. The student insights ended up laying the groundwork for some immediate improvements to usability and engagement directly from the primary audience.
Emphasize Improvements in Your Existing Design
Rather than starting with a major redesign project, there are often a lot of improvements you can make within your existing design and Content Management System. Emphasize what’s manageable like adding HTML tags to existing content to highlight the most important or relevant texts or calls to action on your pages.
3. Avoid Content Pitfalls by Training Your Content Teams
I asked the panelists to describe the common pitfalls that websites and communication teams experience when content strategy and governance fall by the wayside.
Common pitfalls when it comes to content:
- Content expires or conflicts with other sites
- New content is posted without thought
- Tones drift off-brand
- Best practices are deprioritized
- Audience needs go unmet
While plenty of tools and methods are available to throw at the problem, it often boils down to supporting the team members who are responsible for editing, updating, and creating content for your websites.
Think of it in terms of your ROI (Return On Investment). Training the personnel behind your content strategy and governance is an investment into the success of your web presence, brand, and reputation. Since technologies and trends are constantly changing, training can give your team the tools to implement new skills and approaches that will keep your content strategy on track, and governance a priority.
We offer all types of training here at Evolving Web.