Tips to help your agency be ready for urgent requests.
To understand each other’s needs, connect with content creators, the media team, policy people and the minister in advance to:
- get to know their process
- find out their priorities for incidents or events
- be solutions focused
- give them clear processes and templates to follow
Meet with any new ministerial media advisor. Take them through standard government website processes and guidelines.
Create a list of go-to contacts and phone numbers. For example, the minister’s office, media team, communications team and publishing team.
Avoid surprises. Circulate a planning calendar across the branch for everyone to use. Raise awareness of upcoming events and related announcements. Have a weekly stand-up meeting with the media team and strategy leads.
Use the calendar to look for content opportunities. For example, the need for a media release, event announcement, news story, video or designed artefact, or social media.
Download this example content planning calendar (XSLX, 64 Kb). Use as an ideas tracker and to capture weekly, monthly, yearly events.
Be in touch with content creators to let them know you can help with messaging. Use a templated process to discover the who, what and why.
Offer communications skills and advice to help them craft their messaging. For example, to help them understand:
- the problem they need to solve
- why they need the content: who it’s for, and - who they may need to consult
- what needs to go where on the web
- other possible content types, like a news story, blog or social media post
Timing is key and advance notice is important. It will help to avoid any conflicting announcements and messages. It will also help to make sure you have staff on board to meet your need.
Develop and communicate a triage process to define what counts as urgent.
Use pair writing to create content side-by-side with a subject expert. For example, a technical expert, lawyer or policy writer.
Content production template
Publish content templates on your intranet for different content types. A template will give context for authors and reviewers. It also guides those not experienced in web writing.
Use a content production template to prepare, write and check for quality content.
Include fields for:
- the publishing date
- the location on the website
- user need or key message
- related links to policies and other content
- contact details (and an abstract if needed to go with accessible downloads)
- a readability rating check. Recommend they use SAS Writing Reviser, a free add-on for Microsoft Word. The tool highlights passive tense as you write.
- image alt text
- reviewers to use when checking for accuracy and quality
- video accessibility checks: i.e. closed captions, transcript and audio transcript. Add phone numbers of transcription services.