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How AAAS Tamed the Content Beast - 6/5/2014 -

With broken links and content that hadnít been updated in years, AAAS committed itself to redesigning the organizationís website and migrating to a new content management platform.

By Amanda Jennison

Finding it impossible to manage the storage, access, and delivery of your ever-expanding wealth of online content? Youíre not alone. The American Association for the Advancement of Science shared its strategy for overcoming the content management challenge at Association Media & Publishingís recent Annual Meeting 2014.

Joey Spooner, web manager for AAAS, and Michael Spinosa, CEO of Unleashed Technologies, shared insight into how their two firms partnered together to lead AAAS to tame the beast that many associations know as content management.

Spooner started off the session by sharing the position AAAS was in when he began the endeavor of refreshing the associationís web presence. AAAS was looking for a higher degree of control and functionality for its website. With broken links, more than 25,000 pages, pieces of content that hadnít been updated in seven years, and several domains, AAAS brought its challenge to Unleashed Technologies to assist in migrating the site and content to Drupal, a content management platform that the redesigned AAAS site would live on.

A few key takeaways from the session include:

1. Digital asset management done right is critical for associations to manage all of the content/assets. DAM stores all of your content, which may include assets like articles, videos, photos, forms, etc. DAM helps you take the content you already have and reorganize it for your new website and other content delivery channels.

2. What exactly is a digital asset management solution? A DAMS acts as a funnel that you can push content to or pull content from. A DAMS hosts content that you may or may not need for your website; however, it does not host your website as a content management system does.

3. Unplanned DAM can lead to some unfortunate effects for associations, including:

∑ Duplicate content on websites

∑ Wrong versions being posted or editorial mistakes

∑ Delayed publishing

∑ Poor reviews for technical issues

∑ Missed opportunities to engage site visitors

∑ Uncontrolled versions of content on each site

4. What does an ideal DAMS look like? It should be used as the center point for all of your associationís content/assets. All contributors and managers should use the DAMS in this way.

5. What are the benefits of implementing an ideal DAMS?

∑ Revision control

∑ Central repository for all content

∑ Media assets management

∑ Global rights management

Spooner and Spinosa also addressed what associations need to contemplate when overcoming the content management challenge:

Be willing to make sacrifices. You might need to pull down content from your website that is considered low value to your audience, even if some employees still use it.

Data is your friend in this process. Use analytics from your website to convince others about what content site visitors are accessing and vice versa.

Understand and own your content. AAAS put together an infographic to audit its entire web environment. AAAS discovered that 80 percent of its content had a lifecycle of about seven years. This helped them introduce a content strategy and editorial calendar to align goals with the life span of the content.

Prioritize alignment. Meet with all division heads through every step of the process to ensure that all departments are aligned with the direction of the project.

Get leadership on board. Itís important that your leadership team acts as the voice of reason during this process. Be sure to keep them in the loop throughout the project phases so they can help you spread the word to all departments when needed.

AAAS says working with an expert provided the association with the deep understanding and strategy needed to successfully overcome the content management challenge. Through the strong commitment the AAAS team had to the project, AAAS now better understands the entire process of managing its content and is in a maintenance phase with a newly redesigned website.

Amanda Jennison is a marketing specialist at Bates Creative. Association Media & Publishing thanks her for volunteering to cover this Annual Meeting session for our members who were unable to attend.


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