My second post about UK GovCamp 2012 to try and capture what happened in the two sessions I co-hosted with Carl Haggerty on content strategy in local government.

Our session on Friday afternoon was a good chance to explain the work we’d both been doing and our thinking about content strategy (Carl is working on a content strategy for Devon County Council and I looked at content strategy in this sector for my MA dissertation last year).

In trying to think how we’d pitch this session we’d sort of ended up with the title ofย  ‘content strategy…WTF?’ as this seems to summarise nicely where we were and also the response when we tried to explain to other people.

In the end we had a busy session, well attended and with some great discussion which I certainly found useful and throught-provoking.

I think, as a group, we covered:

  • What do we mean by content strategy and what the heck is Carl going on about when he says web strategy is dead.
  • The roles within an organisation needed for content management
  • Models of content governance (devolved authorships, workflows, responsibility)
  • Content standards
  • Turning the current accepted content strategy on its head: no more following the eGov mandate of 2005 with publishing absolutely everything onto one website in an inherited structure like the LGCL (whether we subsequently organise by top tasks or not) but defining common standards so content can be presented in the space most relevant to the audience, whether that be the corporate website, MumsNet or Facebook.
    And no more measuring only quantitatively – increasing the number of visitors to your corporate site is not a valid measure on its own!
  • Evalutating the organisation’s digital footprint – content audit and mapping to get a hold on ‘where you are now’ in order to know your starting point on the road map to ‘where we want to be’.
  • Content strategy means lots of things to lots of people, will look different for each organisation but there are common elements and there was interest in sharing knowledge and practice around these.

The Saturday session was supposed to be more practical (as were all sessions on the second day) but as it was mostly different people to the Friday session some of the discussion was along the same lines. This was still useful to me – it wasn’t repeating the same for a different audience but let a few different questions and discussions surface for consideration.

As well as what we discussed on Friday our discussions in the second session also covered behavioural marketing, evaluating success through quantitative and qualitative means, using existing surveys etc for audience analysis and what the units which make up a content strategy might be.

The practical outcome of this session? Well, in both sessions it was clear that there are lots of people working on content strategy type stuff even if they aren’t calling it that or writing it down yet. What they do want is somewhere to ask questions, share knowledge and learing and perhaps even collaboratively come to a sort of content strategy checklist for local government over time. In short we need to find an online home for the Content Strategy Community.

And Carl and I are committed to doing just that – we’ve had a suggestion via Twitter that Google+ might be a good space for this but we’re open to ideas and want to try and find somewhere that most people can access from work.

Would you like to be a part of this community? Where would be the best place in your opinion? Leave us a comment or contact myself and/or Carl on Twitter and we’ll try and get something up and running asap!