In the last of a series of four articles covering 2020 planning, we’re going to look at some of the approaches to take to help bring your plans to fruition.
You’ve defined your strategy, got the business case approved and even worked out the detail of the KPIs. Now the real work begins – how are you actually going to make this all happen? Of course, this will have already been top of mind when you’re defining your strategy as you will have unlikely committed to objectives that don’t feel achievable. However, like new year’s resolutions that seem perfectly doable at the time when you make them, or objectives that sound great when they are discussed in your annual appraisal, implementing what you want to achieve is not always as straightforward as it seems.
While unexpected events will undoubtedly change priorities and plans through the year, you can maximise your chances of success by considering your approaches to execution and operation as part of your 2020 planning process. Here are ten approaches that may help.
Whatever your objectives to create a new website, achieve compliance or drive digital improvement, it’s important to embrace automation in order to achieve what you want to achieve. Manual testing and approaches will always play an important role, but automation can test and assess digital content at a scale and speed that humans simply can’t do, identifying the majority of issues that need a fix. The benefits of automation across a sector such as local government are obvious. Embracing automation will give you a head start on what you need to do.
When you’re a small digital marketing team – perhaps even just one person – the amount of work can be overwhelming. However, it is quite likely that some activities can be carried out by your wider network of content owners. Often the first step to this is providing clarity on who does which activity and define exactly what the central team does and doesn’t do, particularly in relation to your new objectives for 2020.
Even if you can’t make all your content owners sign up to their commitments, providing clarity and letting people know what is expected of them can make a seemingly impossible workload far more doable.
Trying to make sure that other governance is in place such as clear content guidelines, review and approval processes and clear ownership of pages can help to ensure the smooth running of your website and other digital channels. Consider it a layer of policies and rules that makes it easier to enable changes and deliver your objectives. Governance also helps to avoid mistakes and issues that you then need to spend your time fixing, and which can divert you from your strategic objectives.
Your strategic plans are likely to involve content or page owners starting to manage their own content better. One way to achieve more self-service for your wider publishing community is to upskill them so they are more self-sufficient. We’ve found that SItemorse’s ability to deliver bite size learning videos at the point of need and immediately embed what has been learnt by carrying out actions, is an excellent way to help your publishing community get more confident and proficient in preparing great, compliant content.
Many organisations execute projects to make things happen. The framework of a project, with milestones, check-ins and a project manager, is the obvious way to go if you are launching a new website or introducing a new CMS. But all too often other aspects of website improvement are treated as a project, with a finite end. While a project framework can work for major improvement to reach compliance, we see that more progress is made where improvement is continual and is an everyday part of somebody’s role. If digital compliance and improvement is treated just a project, then inevitably the changes you make will gradually be reversed once the project stops. Improvement needs to be ongoing.
If you are carrying out continuous improvement, you do need to set aside some time to carry it out. For example, you need so set up a process around it for measurement and then act to make any smaller, iterative changes that are identified. Particularly if you are trying continuous improvement as an approach for the first time, ringfence some time to commit to it and get results.
Most digital marketing teams have a plethora of tools at their disposal to help execute plans, both for carrying out digital marketing itself and in helping coordinate activity. Are you using all the tools available to you and to their full potential? For example, it’s not uncommon for Sitemorse customers to only use some of the functionality available. By fully leveraging your tech you may be surprised at what you can achieve.
If you have ambitious plans that will impact how your digital team or your content owners work, then make sure you have change management threaded into your plans. When your digital channels are focused on an external audience there can be a tendency to overlook the impact of a website on internal stakeholders. Training, support and early and open communication are just some of the ways you can make a change happen more smoothly.
Keeping your team engaged so they are motivated to do what is being asked of them is also key. In larger organisations this may be your central digital marketing team, but in smaller organisations this may be just one other person. It can also be the team in the wider sense, including colleagues from IT or content owners who you rely on. Keeping teams engaged doesn’t need to be about over the top gestures and hyperbole; it’s about recognising effort, celebrating success and giving support that helps people feel appreciated for their efforts and shows that contributions make a difference.
Have you got the right mindset to make everything happen? In our view this is very important. You need persistence and ambition to make things happen, as well as being prepared to roll your sleeves up. Many of our most successful customers have digital managers with the right mindset and characteristics that help them to focus on and achieve their objectives.
We hope you’ve found our series of four articles on planning for 2020 helpful. We’ve looked at defining your strategy, setting up relevant KPIs and measures and making the business case, and finally making it all happen.
Whatever your objectives, leveraging the power of the Sitemorse platform will help you on your way. We look forward to working with you this year and beyond. Here’s to success in 2020!