Content Resolutions for 2013

New Year's Celebration

What are your content resolutions for 2013?

With 2012 nearly wrapped up, we’re looking ahead. Whether you enjoy creating New Year’s resolutions or not, here are some content goals we hope are on your list for 2013.

De-Silo Social Media

We may feel like we’ve got this social thing down. We’ve built large communities via Facebook and Twitter, creating great content that spurs tons of engagement. Our student bloggers are going like gangbusters. And we’ve successfully experimented with building community around photo content through Instagram. We’ve even got a dedicated social media staff member. Success!

But the truth is, if you’re at that point, you’ve only made it halfway. The real magic begins when you find a way to tie together what you’re doing in social with what you’re doing across other digital platforms. Are we measuring how social media sharing and discovery impact our web content? Are we feeding ideas and leads discovered through social listening and conversation to the appropriate content partners? Are we smartly and contextually integrating social media content throughout our website? Are we appropriately cross-training all communications staff on social media, both awareness and execution?

In the coming year, make social part of the discussion for every web project from day one, be it a website redesign or online coverage of an event. Assert the value of social as a fundamental consideration for any communications strategy.

Less Sites, More Strategy

“We need a new website.” “We need a new homepage.” “We need a microsite.” “We need a new news site.” “We need a social media mashup site.”

These requests may sound familiar. You may have heard them from vice presidents, presidents, directors, or deans. But our job is not to fulfill these requests blindly. Our job is to ask “why?” Because asking and answering “why?” forms the foundation of a strategy from which the proper solution(s) will emerge.

This is not a new challenge. It is one we have always faced. But it is also one we are now better equipped than ever to address. We have the data. We have the research. We have the references. What comes next is take this information and use it to make our case in asking “why?” The next time an urgent “need” comes down the pike, don’t move forward until you’ve not only asked “why?” but explained to the stakeholder why a strategic approach will serve their goals—and the institution—more effectively in the long run.

Less Talk, More Action

If you love content like we do, it’s easy to become inspired to make big changes. However, as important as it is to plan for content, if that’s all you do, change won’t happen. Many of us this year have taken the torch at our institution to tackle messaging, content assessments, content guides, workflow and governance. Now we need to act.

Often, this is the hardest part because it requires that we change the way we work. And change is hard. When you look ahead to 2013, try and focus on small, manageable elements of your content strategy and put it into action. (Then, let us know how it goes! We’re looking for success stories to share.)

More Collaboration

Without a doubt, the change that will drive the most innovation and success on the web will be internal collaboration. Politics, competing goals, an lack of internal communication are some of the biggest deciding factors for your content strategy. Content and communication don’t exist within a single department or business unit—they exists in every facet of an organization.

To effectively drive change and bring your web presence to the next level, kick-off 2013 by building strong relationships in your organization. Walk over to your sister department and buy someone a cup of coffee. It’s worth the $1.50.

What are your big content goals for 2013? We’d love to hear them.

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About Rick Allen and Georgy Cohen

Rick Allen has worked in higher education for over twelve years, helping to shape web communications and content strategy. As principal of ePublish Media, a web publishing consultancy in Boston, Mass., Rick works with knowledge-centric organizations to create and sustain effective web content.

Georgy Cohen is associate creative director, content strategy, at OHO Interactive, a digital agency based in the Boston area. Previously, she worked in content roles at Tufts University, Suffolk University, and her independent consultancy to higher ed, Crosstown Digital Communications.


  1. Hear, hear! Great resolutions for the new year.

    If I could pick one aspect of your post that would be easiest to incorporate for my organization in 2013, it would be:

    In the coming year, make social part of the discussion for every web project from day one, be it a website redesign or online coverage of an event. Assert the value of social as a fundamental consideration for any communications strategy.

    That should be a quick win for most of us. But also for some of us, it means reorienting the way we think about web, event coverage and, yes, social media. Sometimes, rethinking how we do things is the hardest part.

What do you think?