The impact COVID-19 has had on higher education content teams

The impact COVID-19 has had on higher education content teams

3 minute read

The impact COVID-19 has had on higher education content teams

3 minute read

The impact COVID-19 has had on higher education content teams

Robert Mills

Head of Content, GatherContent

The higher education sector has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. University staff are adjusting to working from home, classes are having to be conducted online, in-person events are now digital tours, and the list goes on.

Some of the changes are easier to react and adapt to, whereas others require a lot more effort. It's also unclear at this stage what the lasting impact will be and if any of these changes are reversible.

We asked our higher education audience to share their experiences. There were 96 responses to our survey. Here are some of the insights gained into how COVID-19 has already impacted on higher education content teams.

Have the goals for your content changed?

We asked respondents if the goals for their content have changed as a direct result of the pandemic. This was in relation to their content in general rather than specifying a particular type.

The responses were:

  • Yes, the goals have changed - 50%
  • No, the goals haven't changed - 45%
  • I'm not sure - 5%

Here's an anonymised quote from one respondent:

Our content much more clearly has to connect to recruitment and retention efforts.

When it came to other reasons for the change in goals, some examples were shared:

  • Shift from marketing content to providing timely information
  • New focus on how to engage online
  • More clarity, reputation is so important now

Some of these new goals around university content go some way to explain the next insight gained around the importance of content.

Is your content now more business critical than before COVID-19?

Lots of our audience understand that content is an asset for their university. It needs to serve the business and the user. Often, their challenge is in convincing others of the importance of content and why they should be investing in content processes, people and tools.

We asked if content was now deemed to be more business critical for the university than before the pandemic tool hold.

A slide showing the stat of 58% with the text explaining this is the percentage of survey respondents that said their university content was more business critical due to the pandemic.

58% of respondents said that their university content was now more business-critical due to the pandemic. This is content as a whole, rather than a specific type such as course descriptions or website content included. 33% said it was the same, 1% said less critical and 8% weren’t sure.

Are there more or fewer people involved in content creation now?

For 52% of the respondents, the number of people involved in content creation has remained the same.

There are now fewer people involved for 9% of those who responded and so 39% shared that there are now more people involved.

A slide showing the stat of 39% with the text explaining this is the percentage of survey respondents who said there are now more people involved in university content creation due to the pandemic.

It isn’t known if that’s one more person or dozens, or anything in between. Nor is it known if the addition of people to the content creation process is temporary or something more long-term. That said, the results do reflect a change for almost half of the respondents.

Is content getting delivered more quickly or taking longer?

Next, we asked if content needed to be delivered more quickly or whether it's taking longer.

A slide showing the text: 43% of respondents said they now need to deliver their content more quickly.

43% of respondents said that they now need to deliver content quicker. 33% said their content delivery time was the same, 13% said it now takes longer and 11% weren’t sure.

So for some universities they now have to produce more business-critical content, faster, with more people involved.

Planning, creating and delivering content in a university is challenging at the best of times. With these additional constraints, requirements and uncertain aspects, it has proven to be even more of a struggle for many of the survey respondents. This really emphasises the need for efficient content operations.

But the results also show a willingness and ability to adapt and some of the content created as a result of COVID-19 circumstances has been very impressive and inspiring.

Additional insights

Download the full survey report to learn:

  • What content is now a priority for different universities
  • How content needs have changed
  • What changes have been made to content creation processes
  • If different content creation tools are being used
  • The different types of content now being created
  • If different channels are being published to
  • Whether universities have been spurred into digital transformation
  • How much digital transformation will be a priority long term

We've recently hosted some webinars specifically for our higher ed audience, some about the impact of COVID-19, and we have a few more open for registration too:

The higher education sector has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. University staff are adjusting to working from home, classes are having to be conducted online, in-person events are now digital tours, and the list goes on.

Some of the changes are easier to react and adapt to, whereas others require a lot more effort. It's also unclear at this stage what the lasting impact will be and if any of these changes are reversible.

We asked our higher education audience to share their experiences. There were 96 responses to our survey. Here are some of the insights gained into how COVID-19 has already impacted on higher education content teams.

Have the goals for your content changed?

We asked respondents if the goals for their content have changed as a direct result of the pandemic. This was in relation to their content in general rather than specifying a particular type.

The responses were:

  • Yes, the goals have changed - 50%
  • No, the goals haven't changed - 45%
  • I'm not sure - 5%

Here's an anonymised quote from one respondent:

Our content much more clearly has to connect to recruitment and retention efforts.

When it came to other reasons for the change in goals, some examples were shared:

  • Shift from marketing content to providing timely information
  • New focus on how to engage online
  • More clarity, reputation is so important now

Some of these new goals around university content go some way to explain the next insight gained around the importance of content.

Is your content now more business critical than before COVID-19?

Lots of our audience understand that content is an asset for their university. It needs to serve the business and the user. Often, their challenge is in convincing others of the importance of content and why they should be investing in content processes, people and tools.

We asked if content was now deemed to be more business critical for the university than before the pandemic tool hold.

A slide showing the stat of 58% with the text explaining this is the percentage of survey respondents that said their university content was more business critical due to the pandemic.

58% of respondents said that their university content was now more business-critical due to the pandemic. This is content as a whole, rather than a specific type such as course descriptions or website content included. 33% said it was the same, 1% said less critical and 8% weren’t sure.

Are there more or fewer people involved in content creation now?

For 52% of the respondents, the number of people involved in content creation has remained the same.

There are now fewer people involved for 9% of those who responded and so 39% shared that there are now more people involved.

A slide showing the stat of 39% with the text explaining this is the percentage of survey respondents who said there are now more people involved in university content creation due to the pandemic.

It isn’t known if that’s one more person or dozens, or anything in between. Nor is it known if the addition of people to the content creation process is temporary or something more long-term. That said, the results do reflect a change for almost half of the respondents.

Is content getting delivered more quickly or taking longer?

Next, we asked if content needed to be delivered more quickly or whether it's taking longer.

A slide showing the text: 43% of respondents said they now need to deliver their content more quickly.

43% of respondents said that they now need to deliver content quicker. 33% said their content delivery time was the same, 13% said it now takes longer and 11% weren’t sure.

So for some universities they now have to produce more business-critical content, faster, with more people involved.

Planning, creating and delivering content in a university is challenging at the best of times. With these additional constraints, requirements and uncertain aspects, it has proven to be even more of a struggle for many of the survey respondents. This really emphasises the need for efficient content operations.

But the results also show a willingness and ability to adapt and some of the content created as a result of COVID-19 circumstances has been very impressive and inspiring.

Additional insights

Download the full survey report to learn:

  • What content is now a priority for different universities
  • How content needs have changed
  • What changes have been made to content creation processes
  • If different content creation tools are being used
  • The different types of content now being created
  • If different channels are being published to
  • Whether universities have been spurred into digital transformation
  • How much digital transformation will be a priority long term

We've recently hosted some webinars specifically for our higher ed audience, some about the impact of COVID-19, and we have a few more open for registration too:

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About the author

Robert Mills

Rob is Head of Content at GatherContent. He is a journalism graduate and has previously worked as Studio Manager and Head of Content for a design agency and as an Audience Research Executive for the BBC. He’s a published author and regular contributor to industry publications including Net Magazine, Smashing Magazine, 24 Ways,WebTuts+, UX Matters , UX Booth and Content Marketing Institute. On occasion Rob speaks about content strategy and ContentOps at leading industry events.

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