Case studies: how our clients benefit from training staff to write
Case study 1: Tamworth Regional Council trains website content authors
Contented training was highly affordable. Tamworth Regional Council began redeveloping their corporate website and needed to train a large number of content authors in a short, sharp burst. Of the 450 indoor staff, 60 received training. The successful strategy involved training 8 proficient writers, known as super-users. The remaining staff were trained away from their workstations, with the support and assistance of the corporate super-users. The website development team was thoroughly satisfied with the resulting website content for the following reasons:
- Flexibility: work was not interrupted by Contented training.
- They trained a large number of staff in a very short time.
- The quality of the product and the ease of use overcame resistance to web-based training.
- A very high proportion of learners said Contented training improved all their writing, not just for website content.
- The new website was an opportunity to improve the standard of writing throughout the Council.
Quotes from the website development team
- ‘This was of immense value to us, an important milestone in the website development project.’
- ‘Contented training was a solid foundation with a great capacity to reduce the number of enquiries we received from the public, because the information they see on the website is meaningful and understandable.’
DOC has purchased over 250 Contented user licences. Online training suited DOC’s business model because learners could access the training anywhere, anytime. ‘Our content editors are geographically spread throughout New Zealand so getting them in one place for a live workshop would be hugely difficult.’New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) offered Contented’s web writing training to its intranet authors during the redevelopment of its intranet. DOC’s policy is now to extend the offer to its web site authors too.
DOC staff find Contented’s principles a real ‘eye opener’
DOC’s authors have learnt a lot from Contented’s training: many find the principles of web writing a real eye opener, having never considered the unique challenges of writing web and intranet pages, and documents online. The principles learnt through Contented are also being applied to other written communication and documentation as well, making them clearer, more concise and easier to read. DOC also advocates plain English writing, and Contented’s plain language courses are helping DOC achieve this. Contented’s wide reach and impact on all business communications, makes DOC view Contented as real value for money and an important investment.
DOC builds authoring community to emphasize importance of content as a business asset
DOC’s intranet is the home for a wide range of content such as communications, policies, resources, templates and other information to support their core conservation work. Since the successful launch of the intranet, DOC’s strategy is to systematically improve its performance and usability section by section, function by function.
Integral to this approach is building an authoring community to support the people who own and edit DOC’s intranet content. When management supports and values the people who create content, the content will inevitably improve and become a valued business asset.
New strategy makes Contented training mandatory
Initially, Contented courses were optional but that changed with DOC’s new strategy. In future, content authoring responsibilities will be formally recognised in job descriptions and graduating from Contented training will be mandatory for all authors.
This case study was written by Alice Hearnshaw of Contented.com, based on a phone call with Pamela Minnoch, Senior Intranet Advisor, Communications Development and Planning, DOC and revisions by Katherine Jensen.