Managing UP the food chain

I’ve just done a series of workshops with some corporates and government clients.  The workshops were on writing for the online space and we looked at web management BEYOND the usual web writing stuff.

One part of my workshops which gets the best response is the approval side of things.  No-one really talks about it. The other part of the workshop that felt like a group grief counselling session was how to talk to managers about the value that content can provide. There are a lot of scarred web writers and content managers out there.

One thing has been very clear as I’ve spoken to various web writers, editors and content producers about their web sites and their organisations – managers can sometimes just not get the potential of the web and social.  Particularly if you’re in government, your manager will more than likely look at the web site and place a big fat tick in the ‘to do’ list if the web site is live.  In other words, if they can physically see it on screen, they can go to bed at night knowing their web site is just fine and dandy … which is insane. Or they’ll only be interested in it if they want a “refresh” … but then start talking about colour schemes like they’re a young homeowner decorating their first home.

The same goes with social media. Many clients talk about their social media in terms of ‘presence’ and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about going beyond that into ‘engagement’.

You can easily tell the value your organisation places on your web site and social by the buy-in you get from management.  If they don’t sign material off, provide you with fresh content, give you enough time or resources to adequately manage the web or simply say ‘just upload the whole brochure to the web site’, then you’ve got a very clear picture that your organisation doesn’t value its online platforms.

I often say in my workshops that I’m staggered at the level of nit-picking detail an organisation will put into a corporate profile or annual report that has a print run of 1000, but doesn’t care about a web site which is on show to potentially four or five billion people.

So how do you approach management? How do you get them to care and see the value in connecting with stakeholders or audiences via the online space?

There are a few ways I’ve embedded content into a company to help its own management understand the benefits of doing it. If this is you, let me know by posting a comment – I’ll be writing a follow-up post shortly about how you can address this.

Look forward to hearing from you.

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