No tears or fears if you plan your post launch right. (Image via h.koppdelaney)
The breakdown: Congratulations. You’ve launched your brand new site and are getting accolades galore. But hey, not so fast. What’s your post launch content planning strategy? How will you ensure that customers are compelled to come back and engage with your brand? Arguably you’ve really got your work cut out for you now. Read on to see what some of our fine content strategist say you need to keep in mind going forward.
Cameron Siewert, Content Strategist
This may sound obvious to us, but to a lot of clients post launch planning is surprisingly low on the priority list. The determination of who’s responsible for keeping an eye on content post-launch—maintaining an editorial calendar, planning and executing updates, enforcing style guidelines, and governing the workflow on an ongoing basis—can’t be an afterthought. It’s not an extra task you can just figure out after launch and then pass around to whomever happens to have some time. It’s a critical issue that needs discussion and planning from the very start of a project, and it needs ongoing advocacy to maintain high visibility throughout. In other words, it’s an important job. No, you can’t just wing it!
Elizabeth Bennett, Senior Content Strategist
As my team prepares to launch an upgraded corporate website with a longstanding client, I have fresh content on the brain: How will we navigate the organization to consistently create, review, edit and publish fresh relevant content in a timely way? We have to support overworked business stakeholders, some of whom have never been involved with the site, to commit to regular meetings and deadlines for writing assignments that are not in their job descriptions. We’ll need to operate with an agreed-to editorial calendar for the first time in an environment with many unknowns, including whom on the client side will be the enthusiastic content wrangler we so desire.
We’re just at the beginning of this task and I’m counting on my team’s experience, persistence and creativity to take us to the other side. Our eyes are on the prize: Publish fresh meaningful content in a manner and on a schedule that’s achievable.
Erin Abler, Content Strategist/Information Architect
Since content management and archival strategy continue long after migration and launch, you’ll need to plan for the management and long-term preservation of your digital assets. Work with records managers and archivists, if your company has them. They’re practiced at wading through massive quantities of information and determining how to handle, classify, and determine the lasting value of your digital assets. If they’re used to working with corporate records and legal evidence, they might have to take a fresh approach to the world of ad images, user-generated comments, and product descriptions. But give them time. It would be a mistake to leave them out of a conversation that sorely needs their perspective on regulatory requirements, compliance, and the general ebb and flow of company materials.
Erin Kissane has written that most content strategy work “involves planning for the ongoing assessment, management, storage, indexing, distribution, and display of content.” Wherever content strategy involves process-building and planning, you’ll benefit from a solid understanding of the information lifecycle, from creation through disposition. Start early, think broadly, and tap into your organization’s existing expertise – because sharing responsibility for content maintenance and long-term preservation may make all the difference in ensuring the health and longevity of your most important content.
John Alderman, Creative Director
If your goal is to keep your customers engaged, then you better be sure that you are engaged as well. You can plant the prettiest garden in the world, but unless you water and tend it, it will end up dead or feral. Freshness and frequency count, both in a customer’s mind, and to search engines that are judging what’s relevant. But beyond the fear of failure, the exciting promise is that if you maintain your reliability and pertinence, you can create an ongoing relationship with your customers on topics that matter to you both. Demonstrating reliability earns trust, and publishing on a regular schedule can turn that first customer visit into a habit, whether it’s for video, news bits, white papers, or other compelling reasons to return. Whatever you deliver, it’s important that there is someone in charge who understands both your messaging priorities, and what keeps customers coming back.