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Editorial Response (Not Just a Calendar)

We don’t actually have an editorial calendar in our website support division; we do have an editorial response plan. We did have a calendar or at least tried to get people to write blog posts regularly on our internal blog, but we had to balance that with our real operations. It never really got traction, and now a handful of us post to our blog as we can. Instead, we focused on defining different levels of writing and editing, what people should do to address a variety of scenarios and who should be involved with our other content. It’s a great way to provide guidance and flexibility to support content production with a broader and more realistic vision.

The first level of response is addressing content errors. These include things like typos, grammatical problems, broken links, missing images or anything that just stands out as the completely obviously in error. It’s the kind of thing any visitor notices, so it’s important our team takes some time to notice as well. Anyone on our team that sees content errors such as these can address them immediately. They only need to get someone involved if it’s not obvious how to correct the error, such as the image is missing or the link to a site is due to the site no longer being live.

The second level of response is addressing confusing content. This largely means looking for inconsistency among pages or places where we address the same process but describe it in conflicting ways. These problems require that we first consult subject matter experts to clarify what is correct. Those who notice this confusion usually log a ticket in our issue tracking system, so they can track the correction process and document who they consult about the issue. However, the reporter can take the lead and address the issue according to whatever experts say is correct messaging.

The third level of response is service updates. This is when any project or on overall change in services requires updating our documentation. This usually includes a project manager, and it is up to that person to assign the work of cataloging and updating all documentation that must change or be added. If there is new content on the list, subject matter experts usually help draft the content. Then, there is an editorial process before publishing content at service launch. If it is a reduction in service, then it’s a simpler process of planning the removal of what will be outdated content and a communications plan to affected internal customers.

The fourth level of response is requests and reviews. Sometimes, we look for gaps in our content or hear from customers requesting changes to our documentation. We have a regular review process to identify gaps, draft content, publish it and announce the change to the broader team. If there is a larger amount of content to draft, it works similarly to the service update process. However, usually there are single topics or messages to add or edit. This just requires a single person to complete and report back later rather than trying to get a whole team involved for something that can be done more efficiently by one person.

While we do have a blog where we try to schedule some posts to keep our internal customers informed of our services and best practices for the web, the editorial response guide has been especially helpful for longer life content. Together with editorial guidelines, we can be fairly certain anyone on our team can help keep content relevant and accurate.

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