This video is the fourth in our Content Strategy Advent Calendar series.
Here, Padma Gillen shares his six tips for when you next kick-off a website refresh project.
Hello content people. My name is Padma Gillen, I’m a partner at Scroll which is a content services company and I head up the training side of the business and we provide training in all kinds of digital content related matters.
Quite often I get called in when a big web refresh project is about to start and I wanted to talk through a few of the things that seem to commonly need to be in place in order for that project to run well. So I’ve got six tips for you if you’re about to start a big web content refresh project for a website.
First one is, you need some principles in place. So agreed principles that your organisation has signed up to which are basically about putting user needs ahead of the organisations needs. Because if you don’t do that, you tend to produce much poorer content that doesn’t work for your audience.
Second one, you need a proposition document of some kind. So you need to agree what’s in and what’s out. What’s the scope of your website? What’s it for? And if somethings are just, there may be a user need for them, but that user need shouldn’t be met on your website. For instance, if you’re a music website and somebody wants to publish something about lawnmowers, people might want to know about lawnmowers but should they find that on your website?
Next one, you need a governance model. So you need to understand and be clear about who can say no to whom about what, and when. And what happens if there’s a disagreement about what should go on the website.
Next, if possible, you want buy in from as high up in the organisation as you can get, preferably the top. So that if people are resisting change, because web refresh projects usually involve some kind of culture change, and people are scared of change generally. You need to know that you’re taken seriously at the top of the organisation, so that if need be they can help you push through the changes that need to happen.
Next, you need to setup a clear workflow, so it needs to be clear to everybody when they get to input and have their say about the content and how long they’ve got to do that. Otherwise you can find that things quickly descend into chaos and your project grinds to a halt.
And the final one, I would strongly suggest having some kind of a central team in place that is responsible for the quality and has final say over what gets published on the site. Quite often in organisations of a certain size, the publishing model is fully distributed and you get editors all over the organisation publishing things onto the website without a full sense of what the overall strategy is or how things fit together. And there are conflicting aims and needs because of the pressures of the teams that they’re embedded in. So having a central team that can oversee the whole thing is very wise.
So those are my tips. Hope it’s useful. Have a lovely Christmas and Happy 2017. Bye.
Padma is a partner at Scroll – a specialist content company providing content designers and strategists to government and the private sector. Scroll also provides public and bespoke courses in all aspects of digital content.
As a consultant and speaker, Padma’s expertise in content design and agile content production allow him to support organisations to create quality content and maximise the effectiveness of their content teams. He also advises on how to set up and deliver successful web content projects, and coaches organisations through the process.
Previously, Padma was Head of Content Design at the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS).