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How mStoner develop web governance policies to move clients from a project to process mindset

How mStoner develop web governance policies to move clients from a project to process mindset

4 minute read

How mStoner develop web governance policies to move clients from a project to process mindset

4 minute read

How mStoner develop web governance policies to move clients from a project to process mindset

Becky Taylor

Product Marketing Manager, GatherContent

mStoner are a digital-first creative agency that have generated long term-success for university clients by embedding web governance policies within their digital projects.

We interviewed mStoner's CEO and Head of Client Experience, Voltaire Santos Miran to learn why mStoner recognise such value in web governance policies for universities.

Voltaire explains how web governance policies help break the habitual cycle of huge website redesigns - paving the way to work on proactive projects that support better progress towards the core objectives of a university digital presence: recruitment, retention and fundraising.

Why do universities need web governance policies?

mStoner believe formal web governance policies are essential for universities.

“Maintaining standards is crucial to ensuring digital communications remain accurate and engaging.”

Voltaire Santos Miran, Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Client Experience at mStoner

Through spending twenty years working with universities, Voltaire reflected that a lack of governance policy is a systemic issue with most universities. Without web governance, universities usually experience a lack of process and accountability leading to:

  • An organic sprawl of content, creating bloated websites
  • Inconsistent, poorer quality content
  • Weak user experience impacting the ability to support digital goals

When these problems become acute enough, large website redesign projects begin. But without governance being put in place at the same time, the same problem will only happen again. mStoner mitigate this risk by baking web governance into their working process with clients from strategy through to site launch and beyond.

What does a web governance policy cover?

Lisa Welchman defines digital governance as:

"Digital governance is a framework for establishing accountability, roles, and decision-making authority for an organisation’s digital presence—which means its websites, mobile sites, social channels, and any other internet and web-enabled products and services."

Voltaire has identified nine typical areas that web governance policies cover and uses this framework with their university clients:

mStoner's nine typical areas for web governance. These are listed in text below.
Nine typical areas of web governance. Image credit: mStoner
  1. Centralised responsibilities: oversight and support duties for Marketing and Communications, Information Technology, and Web Advisory groups
  2. Decentralised responsibilities: areas that content contributors and site publishers are responsible for within departments or offices
  3. Web content classifications: documenting the different external and internal web properties
  4. Website management tools: the CMS and related tools: calendars, forms, blogs, analytics
  5. Account access and required training: the process for requesting system access and required initial training across multiple disciplines, including accessibility, writing for the web, and technology tools
  6. Web standards and guidelines: guidelines for brand, visual, and editorial style, as well as policies surrounding accessibility, privacy, copyright, and acceptable use
  7. Domain name policy: approach to subdomains, redirects, and vanity URLs
  8. Content review cycles: agreed rhythm for reviewing and updating content
  9. Sites outside the CMS: policies and procedures for properties that aren't with the CMS or visual design templates

mStoner work on gaining consensus around these nine areas right from the beginning of new client relationships to operationalise the policies. Cyclical reviews help to ensure they remain up-to-date.

How do you get organisation wide buy-in?

Voltaire reflected that the optimum time to introduce a web governance policy is during a website relaunch project because of the collective energy focused on creating a better user experience.

Voltaire recommends starting governance policy in line with strategy kick-off.

"I usually say start your governance policy the same day you start strategy. So as you're doing your discovery sessions and talking with stakeholders, getting a sense of their needs and doing your focus group research and your quant research, this is a good time to find out what governance policies are out there and take stock of how well they're working."

Voltaire Santos Miran, Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Client Experience at mStoner

A web governance policy will need to involve a wide set of stakeholders from across the university. Senior leadership need to review and ratify the policy, but the people who draft the policy should be the people have to live with it on a day-to-day basis. That typically means your chief content contributors: Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Academic Affairs, Student Life, Alumni Relations, HR, administrative units and more.

By engaging stakeholders early and allowing them to play a role in the decision making process for the policy, you will gain much greater adoption and success for ongoing governance.

A process to create web governance policies

mStoner formalise the process by using GatherContent. The team have created a master project that maps to each of the nine areas outlined above and can be used as the source of truth when creating, documenting and reviewing the policy.

A project from mStoner in GatherContent for web governance policies. Shows items, templates, due dates, last updated, assignees, folder and status
mStoner GatherContent project for Web Governance Policies

In addition to using GatherContent as the technology to support their content creation process for web content and marketing campaigns, when a new client relationship begins, mStoner duplicates their master Web Governance Policy project to GatherContent accounts owned by their customers for customisation. Keeping the governance project within client-owned accounts solidifies the message that effective web governance should be adopted as an ongoing content operation process.

mStoner creates a custom content workflow in GatherContent that follows the key stages the policy needs to pass through in order to be created, ratified and maintained:

Web governance policy content workflow used by mStoner in GatherContent. Includes stages draft, ready for review, approved, published, needs updating
Web governance policy content workflow used by mStoner in GatherContent

Good governance leads to stronger results

With a strong process for content governance, the benefits are clear for both mStoner as an agency and their clients:

  • Clarity for roles and responsibilities
  • More efficient content operations
  • Higher quality content
"With good governance in place, our university clients continue to improve their web presence iteratively, and we are then able focus post-launch efforts on optimisation and experimentation. Our ultimate goal is to create a continual process of assessment and enhancement in service to the goals of recruitment, retention, fundraising, and friend-raising."

Voltaire Santos Miran, Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Client Experience at mStoner

To learn more about how GatherContent can help you move from a project to process mindset for your content operations, start a free 30-day trial or book a demo today.

mStoner are a digital-first creative agency that have generated long term-success for university clients by embedding web governance policies within their digital projects.

We interviewed mStoner's CEO and Head of Client Experience, Voltaire Santos Miran to learn why mStoner recognise such value in web governance policies for universities.

Voltaire explains how web governance policies help break the habitual cycle of huge website redesigns - paving the way to work on proactive projects that support better progress towards the core objectives of a university digital presence: recruitment, retention and fundraising.

Why do universities need web governance policies?

mStoner believe formal web governance policies are essential for universities.

“Maintaining standards is crucial to ensuring digital communications remain accurate and engaging.”

Voltaire Santos Miran, Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Client Experience at mStoner

Through spending twenty years working with universities, Voltaire reflected that a lack of governance policy is a systemic issue with most universities. Without web governance, universities usually experience a lack of process and accountability leading to:

  • An organic sprawl of content, creating bloated websites
  • Inconsistent, poorer quality content
  • Weak user experience impacting the ability to support digital goals

When these problems become acute enough, large website redesign projects begin. But without governance being put in place at the same time, the same problem will only happen again. mStoner mitigate this risk by baking web governance into their working process with clients from strategy through to site launch and beyond.

What does a web governance policy cover?

Lisa Welchman defines digital governance as:

"Digital governance is a framework for establishing accountability, roles, and decision-making authority for an organisation’s digital presence—which means its websites, mobile sites, social channels, and any other internet and web-enabled products and services."

Voltaire has identified nine typical areas that web governance policies cover and uses this framework with their university clients:

mStoner's nine typical areas for web governance. These are listed in text below.
Nine typical areas of web governance. Image credit: mStoner
  1. Centralised responsibilities: oversight and support duties for Marketing and Communications, Information Technology, and Web Advisory groups
  2. Decentralised responsibilities: areas that content contributors and site publishers are responsible for within departments or offices
  3. Web content classifications: documenting the different external and internal web properties
  4. Website management tools: the CMS and related tools: calendars, forms, blogs, analytics
  5. Account access and required training: the process for requesting system access and required initial training across multiple disciplines, including accessibility, writing for the web, and technology tools
  6. Web standards and guidelines: guidelines for brand, visual, and editorial style, as well as policies surrounding accessibility, privacy, copyright, and acceptable use
  7. Domain name policy: approach to subdomains, redirects, and vanity URLs
  8. Content review cycles: agreed rhythm for reviewing and updating content
  9. Sites outside the CMS: policies and procedures for properties that aren't with the CMS or visual design templates

mStoner work on gaining consensus around these nine areas right from the beginning of new client relationships to operationalise the policies. Cyclical reviews help to ensure they remain up-to-date.

How do you get organisation wide buy-in?

Voltaire reflected that the optimum time to introduce a web governance policy is during a website relaunch project because of the collective energy focused on creating a better user experience.

Voltaire recommends starting governance policy in line with strategy kick-off.

"I usually say start your governance policy the same day you start strategy. So as you're doing your discovery sessions and talking with stakeholders, getting a sense of their needs and doing your focus group research and your quant research, this is a good time to find out what governance policies are out there and take stock of how well they're working."

Voltaire Santos Miran, Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Client Experience at mStoner

A web governance policy will need to involve a wide set of stakeholders from across the university. Senior leadership need to review and ratify the policy, but the people who draft the policy should be the people have to live with it on a day-to-day basis. That typically means your chief content contributors: Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Academic Affairs, Student Life, Alumni Relations, HR, administrative units and more.

By engaging stakeholders early and allowing them to play a role in the decision making process for the policy, you will gain much greater adoption and success for ongoing governance.

A process to create web governance policies

mStoner formalise the process by using GatherContent. The team have created a master project that maps to each of the nine areas outlined above and can be used as the source of truth when creating, documenting and reviewing the policy.

A project from mStoner in GatherContent for web governance policies. Shows items, templates, due dates, last updated, assignees, folder and status
mStoner GatherContent project for Web Governance Policies

In addition to using GatherContent as the technology to support their content creation process for web content and marketing campaigns, when a new client relationship begins, mStoner duplicates their master Web Governance Policy project to GatherContent accounts owned by their customers for customisation. Keeping the governance project within client-owned accounts solidifies the message that effective web governance should be adopted as an ongoing content operation process.

mStoner creates a custom content workflow in GatherContent that follows the key stages the policy needs to pass through in order to be created, ratified and maintained:

Web governance policy content workflow used by mStoner in GatherContent. Includes stages draft, ready for review, approved, published, needs updating
Web governance policy content workflow used by mStoner in GatherContent

Good governance leads to stronger results

With a strong process for content governance, the benefits are clear for both mStoner as an agency and their clients:

  • Clarity for roles and responsibilities
  • More efficient content operations
  • Higher quality content
"With good governance in place, our university clients continue to improve their web presence iteratively, and we are then able focus post-launch efforts on optimisation and experimentation. Our ultimate goal is to create a continual process of assessment and enhancement in service to the goals of recruitment, retention, fundraising, and friend-raising."

Voltaire Santos Miran, Co-Founder, CEO and Head of Client Experience at mStoner

To learn more about how GatherContent can help you move from a project to process mindset for your content operations, start a free 30-day trial or book a demo today.

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About the author

Becky Taylor

Becky is a Product Marketing Manager at GatherContent. She has 10+ years working in marketing executing affiliate, content, display, mobile, search and social campaigns for high profile clients across various sectors including Travel, Entertainment and Oil & Energy.

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