Wednesday 10 April 2013

How to get content: 4 ways to avoid more meetings

Building relationships with content owners is really important. But one meeting can so often lead to another, and as a website manager you find yourself having the same conversation over and over again (sometimes with the same person).
Them: We need a website for our department.
You: Let’s start with some information about the services you provide and helping people to do useful things such as contacting you. We can put this on the organisation's website, where people are expecting to find it.
Them: That’s easy. I’ll have something for you next week.
In the majority of cases, the content never appears.

Rather than wasting your time repeating yourself, try to find out why the content is not being supplied, and if you can help.

1. Make it clear you don’t need a perfect polished product.

They may be great at their profession, but not everyone is confident in writing. Tell them that knocking off a few bullet points with the plain facts is fine, and that typos don’t matter. You’ll take care of the style and proofreading.

2. Offer to interview them.

You can do this over the phone or in person, with your lead contact and other members of their team. Then write up your notes into draft web pages, and send it to them for checking or filling in the gaps.

3. Find someone else.

Diplomatically ask if there is another person in the department who can take some of the burden. In a hospital context, consultants often want to take the lead, but may not have time. But junior doctors, nurses, administrators and even patients can do the job just as well. They just need time, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

4. Write it yourself.

As a last resort, if you really need some content and it is not forthcoming, gather what information you can from the internet and their publications, and draft something yourself. 
  • Walk round to the ward or department, and take copies of their leaflets. 
  • Use a person's (public) LinkedIn profile to draft a biography. 
  • Look at similar services in other countries or towns, to get ideas for headings and the types of content that users may find useful.
Don’t worry that there will be gaps for specific details such as email addresses. Then send the draft to the service manager and ask them to fill in the gaps, assuring them it will not be published until they have checked it. Be prepared for their outrage at any errors – but you’ll definitely get a reaction, and hopefully some publishable pages.

No comments:

Post a Comment