38: Web Governance at DePaul University w/ Zoe Jacobs

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Zoe Jacobs, Web Content Manager at DePaul University discusses the pros and cons of different website governance and ownership scenarios in higher ed.

I would imagine it be really hard toestablish new governant's kind of out of Nowere, so I think it needs to betied to something you're. Listening to enrolment growth,university from helics education, the best professional development podcastfor higher education leaders looking to grow in Roman at their college oruniversity, whether you're looking for fresh and Roman growth techniques andstrategies or tools and resources. You've come to the right place. Let'sget into the show, welcome back to anroman growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect Evu podcast network ImarigolsonAVP of marketing at helicks education and we're here today with Zoi Jacob'sweb content manager at to Paul University. So we welcome to the showthanks so matter how me a thanks fat for being here, super excited to talkwith you today about the pros and the cons of different website governanceand ownership scenarios and high red. Before we dig into that Zo. We can youget the listeners a little bit better understanding of both to PaulUniversity and your role there checkthing yeah, so Depallin Niversityis a large university in the city of Chicago. We have around twenty threehousand students and I work in the Web Communications Department, which ispart of the University Marketing Communications apartment, which iswithin the division of Enroller, anagement marketing and so we're agroup of about ten people wore a mix of front and developers contest tratgists,like myself concept, producers and designers, and we actually use a custombuild of sharepoint for our cms, that's developed and supported by our itdepartment and then we're sort of the collaborative owners, and we consult on,of course, content youxui design, all that good stuff awesome. So, let's getstarted, Righ F, the bat with a really hard one who should own aninstitution's website it or marketing. No, that's a really good question tostart off with. I think it's sort of an overarthing question, I'm sure a lot ofpeople deal with thus with their institutions. So I think really. Itdepends on the organizational structure...

...both of the institution and of the CMS.So if your institution is using a cms, that's in house like we are, we have a.We have the custom built version of sharepoint, it's all self supported. Ithink it should be a collaborative effort with marketing owning thecontent, tbet design and the messaging, and it supporting it from a systemstandpoint. But if your cms is bended and supported externally by a thirdparty- and I think it should be owne entirely by marketing, the contentshould always be owned by marketing because of the importance of aconsistent brand voice, tone and overall content strategy. The web isyour institutions bigest marketing opportunity and should be treated assuch. I think so. It should be a collaborative effort, but the value ofcontent and the consistency of the content and tha design strategy shouldbe owned by a marketing department because of you know, enrollment goalsand frand stewardship. Keeping that in mind, I think, is ideal. I think it'simportant in a team to have people that kind of span both Ise Amercaing, thoughwe're really lucky that we have a lot of people who sort of straddle both of those lines. You knowunderstanding the technical aspect and how it how it connects to the endresult the marketing ED result. I think it. You know it depends on theinstitution, but overall I think it should be definitely collaborative ifnot marketing having most of the ownership there's a fantastic answerand I'm super excited to dig a little deeper into some of those littleoffshoots. Institutions who use a content management system, like youmentioned, inherently, have a somewhat decentralized web content governance,in that it gives stakeholders throughout campus, some sort ofempowerment to create data to publish what are the critical things toconsider from a governance standpoint when working with the CMS sut. I thinkthis is a really huge balance. I think it's something that every institutionprobably has a different approach, for. I think it's important to givestateholders and subject matter experts, the empowerment to create content, andI think it's important that they have their input. And you know these arepeople who really understand their...

...programs and really know what the endsand outs of what they offer is, but letting it be, the wild West would be ahuge problem. So I think balance is really crucial and one of the criticalthings to consider would be aside from functional training for the CMS. Ithink when it comes to content, is communicating your contrent strategyand establishing structures for approval, which is, if you have a largeinstitution, can be we do it at the college, level or department level orwhatever level is like a step up from the content creators. So we have a sortof hierarchical system where we have power users in age area who approvecontent and overseal larger pool of editors as a way to handle this. So Ithink it's important to consider the relationship that you, as like yourMarktin Department or Web Department, have with these areas and communicatingyour marketing strategy out to the power users as well as to the content.Creators is really important, but this can be tough because, as much as youknow, academics, professors, whoever these people are, are all aboutlearning. There are some who think that they already know everything there isto know about how to describe their program and that you know that might betrue, but they don't know how to do it, maybe for the online audience,especially remmobil audience people who are used to scanning people whoseattention spans or audience their attention bans are really short, and soI think communicating that strategy. Webwide best practices, that'simportant for maintaining consistent voice, but also for raining in thatlong overwritten content. So I think a teered approval structure, especiallyif your cms allows it is a great way to manage this without micromanagingeverything we're a really large institution. So it would be nearlyimpossible for us to like oversea every single bit of content that needs to beapproved across all of our properties, and so we really look to those powerusers and to sort of rain in all of the people who are subject matter. Expertsbut Wen, not maybe Wa. The experts, yeah thet power, user consept is reallyinteresting. So, in those cases where the power user has that kind of lastpast editorial control, is there...

...anything that your marketing team isdoing to empower those power users to understand your brand standards, to youknow: stake consistent with your overall voice yeah, so we have aresources website that we use to sort of give a like a style guide and bestpractices overview, and that really, that was a really great way for us toget sot of our own basis out there, but then also just regularly communicatingwith them. I think meeting with them regularlyface to face has really helped, especially when unique situations havecome up with content that we haven't thought of, and we need time to sort ofwork through them with with those people to make sure that the thenresult will be optimal but yeah. I think I think, just generalcommunication with those with those users with the with the power users andwith the content creators is really helpful, whether that's a resourcessite or workshops or ondemand training, or anything like that. What do you doif I'm trying to think of you know, do you believe institution should kind ofcreate a governance model based on the fact that they do or don't have peoplethat they trust to be? You know power users ar not, for example, if there arecertain faculty in program directors who are excellent writers who have agreat in Roman mindset, you might inherently trust them to write theirprogram. Pitce content, where in another department it's hard for you tofind a power user. Is it important to create a governent system that hasflexibility based on the talents that you find within departments, or are youtrying to create a governon system that that works? No matter what talent youhavein place, I think in a dream world it would be great to have standardizedevergreen governance model, but I think a lot of us have those more custommodels, especially when dealing with periods of time where resources arelimited or when there's high turnover. That's when you'll start to see theholes in the in those custom models, but I dealy a governance battle thatworks, no matter what the resources of the skills of the users would be themost sustainable and I think man hire...

...it, especially today we're resilient,and I think, for a long time there was this joke that was like, but that's theway. We've always done things and I think that's really changed. In thelast few years. At least I've seen it during my career over the last fiveyears. I've seen it change, and I've talked with other people at otherinstitutions at conferences, and I think that we're all sort of seeingthat we've become more flexible and we adjust. We implement solutions thatwork across the enterprise more and more, rather than those piece malsolution, because we've seen the value in them, and I think that's somethingthat I want to overtime, see more of a my own institution where we're notcustomizing governance models for each college, based on what they have right.Now we're looking at it in a bigger picture and making sure that there are,you know Fal, safes and backups in place so that when people leave- or youknow, people's job descriptions just change because sometimes it's you know,sometimes a power user will be a dedicated person. WHO's like amarketing professional from a college or department, and that person's wholejob is like everything didital marketing for that unit. But sometimesit's just a profestor who, like happens to have a knack for the web or, likeyou said, is a really good writer, and maybe that person you know either getspromoted to chaire and they just don't have enough time to devote to the webanymore. Or you know they had get an offer at another university. You knowyou never know. When people are going to Leaveo, you need to make sure youhave at least a process in place to on board new quoteunquote power users, ifnot a teared system, where there's more than one approver for every unit,there's more than one power user so that you know that person's out sick orif they leave. There's there's that back awesome awesome Zoli, I thinkyou've given us a couple clues along the way. But can you give us just ahigh level understanding of what Web Governance? What web content governancelooks like at Tapau from a bird's, ey view and what's working and what's notwith that specific kind of governance yeah? So we have sort of a model itlike a mix, so we serve as the central knowledge base of excerts for Webcontent. We own the information,...

...architecture and site structure for allof our sites, which is something that is buit into our cms where we controlyou know, tople of navigation, all that good stuff and we own and manage, ofcourse, all of the content on the main dapal university site, all the Du, andwe serve course in partnership with our it department as the source of supportwhen they have questions or they need help or something's not working werewere the people that they turn to. But each college in office has, of course,a group of site editors who can edit and create content and then thosecouple of approvers that are, you know like power users sidownnerse thatoversee those those edits before they go lie: they're the ones who approvepages for publishing, and so it's sort of a sort of a mix because we own youknow regular Depalle, that Edu content and then there's also these college andoffice sites that have maybe a mix of of set, maybe it' just one person.Maybe it's a whole group of people. Maybe it's a committee, you know soit's sort of a mix but we're recently we've tried to sort of take reallyclose. Look at the content that has an enrollment goal, tie to it. So That'sprogram pages and your degree description pages, and so we'verecently actually taken on a project where we're enforcing a new governmentstructure where we of the marketing department are writing and owning thatcontent. But we're really partnering very closely with the units, thecolleges and the departments to make sure that we're getting informationthat we need about the program so that we can organize it and structure it thebest way possible. So it's been it's been sort of a collaborative effortthroughout the university o partner with them and make sure that, eventhough we're going to be owning the content, but they still feel like it'saccurate and so we're using them. As you know, subject matter, experts tohelp us really form the structure of the content make sure we're hitting allthe good points about what makes our programs unique, but then we're alsocoming at it from the marketing...

...branding an CEDAT stragy perspective tomake sure that's going to work best on the web and it'v been working outreally well for us just recently, we're still getting through all the colleges,but we've been doing this and it's really working so anything outside ofthose program pages we're allowing the Department or the college to ownanything. That's non repruitment CAS it's a really interesting and en reallyclever line to draw Zoi. I can't than GAM ut for coming on and then andsharing your thoughts in the very thoughtful approach that you've takento Paul Web Governon such a landmind at some n institutions, ind kind of thisthird rail in the enhirer that never gets talked about, and there are somany opportunities left in the table. Because of that so super appreciate youhelping to you know, spread the good news of Web Governance. Any next stepsadvice you have for institutions who are listening, t o this and saying boywe got TA. We got to establish some sort of Web Governns at our institution,any pitfalls they should try to avoid Shhan yeah. So I meank it's a reallybig lift and I think especially, establishing governance outside of likeeither migrating to a new cms or starting like a really big project.Like us. With this big enrollment face project, I would imagine, be reallyhard to establish new governant's kind of out of Noweres, so I think it needsto be tied to something, and I think it's really important to be reallytransparent about. Why you're introducing a new governent structure.I think it's really important to make sure that the timing works really wellfor everyone. If you're trying to you know, implement a new governmentstructure and like the middle of a time when most of the people who edit thewebsite, especially if their faculty or super busy, either like the end of thequarter or the beginning of the quarter or semester that cand be reallydifficult to Ti. Miis really important e, but also just Yem getting gettingpeople on foard getting Byan from stake holders. Subject: Mada experts andmaking sure that you know when you're establishing governance, it's notpolice officer versus civilian. It's not like it's a collaborative effortand it should be transparent. It should...

...be. I don't know how to describe whatwe did, but I think the best thing to say is to be transparent about it andalso have it. Have it be something that's tied to a goal or tied to aproject and whether that's like? Oh we're GOINNA, you know revamp the Seoof all of our sites. Hey Marketing's going to come in, and you know, helpyou with all of your content, to make sure that you're hitting really goodkeywords that Y we're doing all the best practices for SEO and here's ourdates and and just sort of making that, like the the beginning point of why youneed to establish the governes O, hey we're going to help you with this and Ijestcirted to give a quick shout up to something that I thought was incrediblethat I heard at it was that confad Edu in two thousand and sixteen rest inpeace, Pan that edy tthousand and Sixteen Shelly Keith hadthis presentation about using ondemand training as it means to establishgoverance and so what she did was when they moved into, and I thi K think itwas when they moved into a newcms. But she provides ondemand training forpeople who want to be able to addit the website. So they have to go throughthis online training. That shes set up then take a test up the end of it, andif they pass the test, then they can get permissions to the website. And Ithink that's a really cool way to do it, because it's sort of like a reward atthe end of it, and you make sure that you're getting through that only thehow to o use the cms part of a training, but also she can put best practicesstuff in there and the quizit and can really give her insight into thatperson's strength without having to be like there all the time for impersontraining. So I think, if you've can establish sort of a reward like that,if you are going to implement governance, that is like yentatstructure like editing structure oriented, that's a really great way todo it. I just love that idea. I think it's so cool and I want to do that.Realy bad here we move into a cmstor, be upgrade or something I really wantto do that because I think it's brilliant. It's a brilliant way to you know, get people to understand likewhy I' not only why you're implementing this governance structure, while you'rechanging things but also like teach them make it like a knowledge, sharingexperience and then reward them with...

...the cormissions at than that experiencesuch good stuff. So we thanks so much for joining us today. What is the bestplace for listeners to connect you if they have any followed questions? Yeahsure? So my personal twitter is Zoe, I barker, but then you can also follow usat Depal Webcom with two MS and then you can also enfail me and Zbarker atdepall that dio awesome thanks agetnst, so much for joining us today. Zo Way.Thank you so much attracting today's new post, traditional learners, meansadopting new enrolmant strategies. Keeliks educations data drivenenterprise, wide approach to enrolment growth is uniquely helping colleges anduniversities thrive in this new education, landscape and Helox has justpublished the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook, with fiftypercent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's mostpressing enromant growth challenges download it today for free at Helocks,Educationcom playbook you've been listening to enromentgrowth university from helicks education to ensure that you never missan episode subscribe to the Showin Itunes or your favorite podcast player.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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