Strategy and Transformation

Things Your Website Content Migration is Missing, Part 1: Goals

Let’s talk about website migrations.
Captivating, I know. If you’ve never experienced one, don’t worry – the digital world changes so quickly that, if you work in this industry, you’ll probably slog through a migration eventually. There’s a lot to think about – new templates, updated site navigation, technical architectures – but the hardest part? Ask anyone who’s been through this before – the hardest part is migrating your content.
If your company is anything like most, you’ll start the migration thoughtfully. (“We know many of our clients like to speak with a representative on the phone, so our contact information needs to appear in the sidebar on all of our product pages.”)
However, as the project progresses and timelines dwindle, it becomes harder to uphold the choices you made early on. (“Just add the product dimensions to the intro paragraph! We need to get done so the site can launch, darn it!”) So how do you keep the work on track and empower your team to make good content choices?
Well, let’s take it from the top. Every effective content migration starts with a few specific, targeted goals — three to four is ideal, and here’s why. Concrete goals:

  • Help you stay focused under unexpected circumstances.

Jason the Project Manager: “We’re behind on migrating the blog posts!”
You: “Yes, but they’re important to our goals. We should consider spending less time on another section of the site.”

  • Help you field questions and requests.
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Marsha from Sales: “We need to add two more pages explaining our product offerings.”
You: “Thanks Marsha, but that content doesn’t meet our goals for this launch. Let’s add it as an enhancement once we finish the migration!”

  • Keep your team focused on the big picture.

Susan the Content Manager: “What should I do with this page? I don’t know if the content is relevant anymore.”
You: “Does it meet our agreed-upon goals? No? Then maybe we don’t need it.”
Today, we’ll talk about crafting these useful goals so that the stage is set for content migration.
 

Building a Goal Statement

It’s actually a relatively simple formula. Each goal should be only one sentence long and should start with the following structure:
Our content needs to [statement about the primary purpose of your content] so that [user group that benefits from good content] can [desired outcome of having good content].
It can be that literal:
Our content needs to be straightforward so that a diverse group of users with varying degrees of industry knowledge can easily, quickly find content that meets their needs.
But you can also wordsmith your statement so that it sounds good but still follows the same structure:
Our content needs to be educational so that brokers, our company’s primary website audience, know and trust in us as an authority in our industry.
There are, however, a few cardinal rules:
1. Be as detailed as possible.
Our content needs to be straightforward so that patients with varying degrees of medical knowledge can easily, quickly find content that meets their needs.
vs.
Our content needs to be direct so that users can easily find information.
Not all users are looking for the same information. Which users are you targeting? What information do you want them to find.
2. Avoid compound statements.
Our content needs to be educational so that brokers, our company’s primary website audience, know and trust in us as an authority in our industry.
vs.
Our content needs to be educational, honest and direct so that brokers, our company’s primary website audience, trust in us as an authority in our industry and look to us as a reliable partner for their own clients.
While all of that may be true, there’s a lot going on here. Creating a one-sentence goal statement is difficult – on purpose. You may be tempted to set too many goals at once and, in so doing, lose your ability to accomplish them.
3. Balance user needs and business objectives.
Our content needs to be structured in a consistent, hierarchical way to help customers more easily browse a variety of otherwise very different products.
and
Our content needs to drive to our interactive portal, so that prospective customers can complete the complete the entire sales process online.
We might go through this exercise with a client’s entire content team, as part of a longer workshop. We would brainstorm a few goal statements and decide which ones pack the most punch for the most users. Then, we’d use these goals to create a more formal content framework. This process is great for sparking discussion, and it helps your entire team align on objectives and expectations before the migration even begins.
Next time, we’ll talk more about the content framework and you’ll learn how to create one. In the meantime, try crafting some goal statements with your team. You might be surprised by the results!

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Kate Billerbeck

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