When to start training staff content authors?

Web managers often ask us when to start training staff content authors for a new web site.

The simple answer is as soon as possible.

You, as a web manager, may want to wait until your shiny new content management system (CMS) is ready, but history tells us there are many problems with this approach.

  • CMS implementations invariably are delayed, sometimes even for more than a year.
  • During this time, your old, inaccurate and embarrassing content sits in a holding pattern, for the world to see.
  • Months on, your CMS project can lose credibility, and content authors lose trust and enthusiasm for any content rewriting process.

The painful consequences of delay
What happens next is predictable: the CMS eventually goes live and there’s no time left to rework the content into good shape. So your old, inaccurate and embarrassing content is migrated to the new web site. The new web site goes live, and everyone is so jaded and relieved that the project is over, that no one has the energy (or budget) to deal with that old, inaccurate and embarrassing content.

The new web site may look pretty, but it fails to deliver on its key objectives of better online service for your customers and better search engine rankings.

Now's good!
There’s no perfect time to deal with your web content. It’s always going to be a work in progress, even if your site has just gone live.

So conduct a content audit, evaluate your menu structure, empower your content owners and authors with our training, and start tackling your content issues—now!

Three scenarios: now, now and now

  1. If your CMS won’t be ready for ages, rework your existing content: this means your content will improve straight away. And by the time you migrate, you’ll have some great content to bring across.
  2. If your CMS is almost ready, design Word templates to match the CMS templates, and migrate this content when the CMS is live.
  3. If your CMS is ready, just get going—whatever dent you make to the content will be welcome.

How advance training helps workflow and PR
As part of your CMS project, you have to engage with business units. Content owners in the business units need to understand the project's goals and their own responsibilities. It’s important to get the relationships and the workflow right to ensure staff support.

Web managers tell us that Contented training brings some unexpected benefits.

  • Training imposes a useful structure on your engagement with business units.
  • Staff learn to write content to a common standard across the organization. All writing improves, not just web content.
  • Training breeds confidence. Confidence breeds enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the greatest PR for your new CMS.
  • Contented training is so affordable for groups (from $60 per person) that you can find the budget.

Group prices for Contented training
Image: You're right, that's a different kind of CMS. (c) CERN

Alice Hearnshaw
Alice Hearnshaw



Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine

November 25, 2011

We certainly recognize that problem! You’ve got a a great solution, Rebecca. We’re wriggling towards a similar solution with an annual enterprise subscription—for the same reasons exactly.

Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca Caroe

November 25, 2011

I’m sure your contented training is truly awesome – but the biggest problem we found was clients with occasional CMS users who got trained once and then forgot it all, only to need re-training when they wanted to edit the website.

So we created a ‘virtual training studio’ so users could log in at any time and refresh their knowledge on the bits they needed…. saves $$$ and clients love it!


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