Web Content Strategy: Establishing the Workflow

Web Content Strategy: Establishing the Workflow

By: Daniel Jeffers - Search Engine Optimization - 2014

“Trying to fix an organization’s content problems by installing a content management system (CMS) is like trying to save a marriage by booking a holiday.”

 
We just need to be able to put up content ourselves, without calling the web design team all the time.”

Every client ever
 
A content management system (CMS) can be helpful. I’ll normally recommend something like WordPress or Drupal to someone who wants to regularly publish to their website. But a CMS cannot fill that gaping void that exists in many organizations; the void that comes from a lack of authority and process. Lisa Welchman, in 2009, reported that:

Somewhere in your organization during the mid 90s, someone purchased a domain name and put up the first Web page. Most likely, no one from the “C-Suite” was involved.  Now, 15 years later, except for the Amazons and EBays of the world (organizations that wouldn’t even exist without the Web), most organizations continue to manage their Web sites tactically, from the bottom up.
 
The lesson is still valid today. Top level management is disengaged from the web content workflow, even though the website is now often the main platform for the organization to communicate its goals, values, and direction. This gap is not something you can fill with a content management system
 

Creating a Workflow Process

I’ve run a number of websites and blogs over the years. Usually, I have the ability to post anything I want whenever I want. But if I did, I would have something that looks like my “everything drawer.” A collection of tissues, old cough-drops, change and tokens for random arcades, and envelopes for important letters—often without any sign of the actual letter. I may also get distracted and post nothing for years at a time.
You don’t want this. What you want is a clean representation of the web content strategy we’ve been working on, something that gets all those good ideas onto the website, and makes sure other things don’t get there by mistake or negligence.
There are several roles that need to be filled in order to do this. In my case, I occupy all these roles. However, I don’t do them all at the same time. Each one requires adopting the thought process appropriate to the role. You probably want to assign them to different people, but the idea is the same.

 

Web Content Editor in Chief

Somebody has to be aware of, and responsible for, everything. This person needs to set the guidelines, approve and enforce the editorial calendar, constantly drive for quality and timeliness. This person also makes sure all the other positions have the right tools, skills, availability, and attitude.

Web Content Editor

Setting up the editorial calendar, making assignments, reviewing and correcting content, and approving for publication are all part of this task. The person doing it needs to have authority to accept and reject articles, even if the content writers may actually be higher ups in the organization.

Web Content Creator

This person might be a writer, graphic designer, or videographer. She might also develop apps or create forms or other functional features. Sometimes the person is a subject matter expert, or a key decision maker within the organization. Alternatively, the writer might be relying on information from the subject matter experts

Publisher

This might be the IT person, or webmaster, but may also be the editor or final approver—depending on the content management system in use. This person is responsible for making sure the content is formatted properly and entered into the system for publication. She also needs to know what final approval is required to post.

 
It doesn’t matter so much whether all these roles are being performed by the same person, or perhaps if each role is divided over several people. The key is that the organization is committed to supporting the person in each role, and that this person has the resources, access, and authority needed to accomplish it.