Strategically coordinating digital content across your organization

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  • Key takeaways for this slideBiggest challenge when I see presentations like this is how to apply it to my context, what is your context?Not here to say we’re the best, offering some viable places to start.There is no one size fits all approach.
  • Further points to mention:Founded by business leaders seeking to fill a skills gap, very collaborative, very connected to industry, and very cross-disciplinary.Largest post-secondary co-op program of its kind in the world sends our students across the globe. Also we have 160,900 alumni in 144 countries. Intellectual property ownership is a key part of our culture, people are used to owning their work, that sense of ownership pervades throughout all of our activities.Key takeaways for this slideuWaterloo is very distributed in resources, geography and intent. Our potential web maintainers number in the thousands.We have a culture born of a tension between independence and the need for effective collaboration.
  • Web Redesign Project 2010-11Homepage and pathways launched in transitional design February 2011Waterloo Content Management System Project – 2009-2011First production sites were launched November 2011, currently 252 sites migratedHomepage relaunch – August 2012About Waterloo launched early June 2012Waterloo Stories launched late June 2012 Homepage and pathways launched August 16, 2012Further points to mention:Existing committees:Web Advisory CommitteeCommunications CouncilDedicated design/development team in IST allows a content focus.The teams responsible for these efforts are roughly only a year oldWCMS was a temporary project team, now a dedicated resource of 8 FTE in IST.Digital Initiatives did not exist before 2012, 5 FTE on digital communications.Key takeaways for this slide:There is a logical sequence of building consensus, identifying owners/champions and assigning accountabilities that follows (but is separate) from the technical and design processes.There are existing frameworks and relationships you need to take advantage of. Emphasize scalability, don’t worry about having a big team at the outset.You’re not just doing your current project, you’re laying the groundwork for better results overall.
  • Editorial calendar(s)A plan to free you to be reactive, not a hard and fast schedule.Clearly schedule the key pieces of your content strategy, turns them into work tasks with deadlines instead of abstract and conceptual.Make this a living document.Communications strategyMeet regularly with your key stakeholders. More, yes more, often with the audience champions.Content is a strategic asset, keeping it on the agenda and in front of key stakeholders solidifies it as such.Show off success, credit where credit is due.Training and support programTechnical training is an opportunity to talk about style and editorial direction.Writing training is an opportunity to talk about best practices and accessibility requirements.All training is an opportunity to identify people who can be champions and resources.  Further points to mentionYour editorial calendars are not a control system, it is a framework for the discussion, give it a friendly name. If you need to adapt it per audience or per stakeholder group, do so.Learn one, do one, teach one. Then get somebody else to teach it too. These people are now your champions and experts for others to turn to.Make your practice portable and scalable. Give away your work (e.g. CTA template, project management templates).The editorial calendar becomes cyclical, building more and more capacity for reacting to opportunity by filling in a little more of the expected info each cycle. Key takeaways for this slideGovern this centrally, but the work itself is not done entirely by a central team. In lieu of a formal governance structure it is training and communication that will get the job done.Training and support is absolutely key to all other facets of the endeavor.We don’t control the content delivery, we build the relationships through communications, training, and communities of practice to allow us to know who to ask.
  • Two different approaches to share:SSO – current student panel: curating all flavours of content for one audience. AHS – AHS and departmental sites plus uWaterloo homepage: curating one flavour of content for all audiences. Conduits and bridges to share content across campusHelp staff ‘fish for themselves’ – we set up content strategy, guidelines/governance, editorial calendars. Staff can contribute in a way that’s easy, streamlined and meaningful for them.Allows us to leverage content to all channels
  • Love our acronyms – CSPWG. Current Student Panel Working Group is a mouthful tooDiverse group from other student service units (12) First time this group has come together to talk contentNot everyone in communications – CMA, a Financial Aid Systems Analyst and a Health EducatorKnow content really well, even if they’re not always sure how to share it or frame itRelationships have been key to making this working group WORK
  • Plan a term ahead – focus on audience need Make it easy – provide planning document fordepts – consistent format for content has been keyLess meetings/ formal – more phone calls/informal now than at beginningStakeholders know what’s in it for them: relationships and collaboration Relationship with other units and central office – we have resources and know how to comm with students
  • Created two ed calendarsFirst: calendar that helps with larger student communications plan Helps us makeconnections across campus Basis for current-student-focused social media
  • Two ed calendars – other one is how we manage homepage contentBOTH are living documents/flexible – allow for content opportunitiesStarted with stories -- > students said they wanted JITAdapted – lower barrier to participating – not always asking for brand new contentSupport areas without comms (hp and sm)Varying participation levels – don’t forceInstead – show value and benefit - opportunity to get content on new channels and look at content in new ways
  • Working group: AHS comms staff and audience gatekeepers: prospective, current students and alumni Audience gatekeepers know their content and audience well, even if not comms roleA big difference: AHS is creating and curating stories, not just JIT infoFor certain audiences – content has to be new Multiple priorities: working group has to build content for AHS and ensure AHS has a place on uWaterloo homepage (central and local)Role of working group: just like student services surface content for me and uWaterloo homepage and elsewhere; AHS is working to surface stories that could be used for uWaterloo homepage and elsewhere
  • Planning 1-2 terms ahead so there’s time to create stories that fit with uni priorities and themes/prep interviewsMeet with central communications working group to determine where AHS fits into bigger plan (homepage)Then work to ensure AHS channels are filled out We make it easy on ourselves – create an editorial calendar
  • Calendar is a plan, not a scheduleCalendar lays out all channels and allows for planning and views at a glance to see where the gaps are Opportunities to leverage content on other channels (social media or media relations)Calendar helps ensure content is balanced because it’s easy to see at a glance
  • Ed calendar is a benefit as well as a planning tool.What else? We also create a story inventory. Kept on a shared drive with calendarKeeps weight of managing content off of one person
  • Track what’s been used in the past – have the history, can repurpose/reuse so we get the most bang for our content buckCan filter the inventory to see what exists (filter by date, department, story type etc.) Allow gatekeepers to fishDon’t have to have a massive database with perfect taxonomy, any scaleHelps others know that you’ve created a comms piece, instead of finding out later they’ve also created something similarIn both cases these tools and processes have helped us get ahead of the curve – feel like we’re proactive, not reactive and leveraging content to all foour channels
  • Higher Ed is cyclical, there’s your first editorial calendar.Inventory your existing content, everywhere. Don’t get hung up on 100%, just start.Learn one, do one, teach one. You will build the relationships you need to build the broader picture (and probably get someone to help you too).
  • Strategically coordinating digital content across your organization

    1. 1. Strategically Coordinating Digital Content Across Your Organization
    2. 2. Introduction Presenters: Kirsty Budd, Student Success Office Jonathan Woodcock, Communications & Public Affairs Outline • Establish an editorial calendar. • Begin content inventories. • Learn one, do one, teach one. • Start small, start now.
    3. 3. Context University of Waterloo: • Founded 1957 • 35,000 in full- and part-time students in graduate and undergraduate programs, 1,100 full-time faculty, 2,100 full-time staff • 4 campuses in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, Stratford • 6 faculties, 4 federated universities and colleges
    4. 4. Project history Web redesign 2010-11 Waterloo Content Management System 2009-2011 Homepage relaunch August 2013
    5. 5. Three foundational pillars • Editorial calendar • Communications strategy • Training and support program
    6. 6. So, how does this work in practice? • Student Success Office: a central student services unit • Applied Health Sciences: one of six faculty units • Fish for themselves
    7. 7. Current Student Panel on uWaterloo homepage
    8. 8. Working group • Working group: representatives from across campus • First time all talking content together • Not all comms-focused people • Relationships
    9. 9. How do we do it? • Easy – provide planning document • Less formal meetings • Incentives – what’s in it for them?
    10. 10. Results & benefits • Planning a term ahead: student-focused info creates editorial calendar
    11. 11. Results & benefits • Editorial calendar x 2 • Student feedback • JIT model • Support for areas without comms
    12. 12. AHS/departmental homepages & uWaterloo homepage
    13. 13. Working group • Representatives from AHS: comms staff and audience gatekeepers • Curating and creating • Multiple priorities: central and local
    14. 14. How do we do it? • Planning 1-2 terms ahead • AHS-focused information that fits with university’s priorities • Easy - editorial calendar
    15. 15. How do we do it?
    16. 16. Results & benefits • Easy – story inventory
    17. 17. Results & benefits • Track and repurpose content • Allows for discovery by audience gatekeepers • Ultimately, a timesaver and proactive approach
    18. 18. Conclusion

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