Look around your school and you’ll find many people who could be valuable contributors to your website. It could be that school secretary with a flair for writing; a teacher with a cool class website of her own; or an athletics director who wants more timely game recaps. Problem is, many schools have only a handful, a few, or even just one person responsible for managing all the content on the school website. Consider school website approval workflows.
So the big balancing act is how do you delegate content management responsibility while maintaining accuracy and compliance with school or district standards and laws. Enter approval workflows – the way to get websites done these days, and, among other benefits, share the workload for managing your website content.
Also known as draft approval workflows, school website approval workflows can improve school communications by establishing a system to keep your website content accurate and current. They also can assure your website stays compliant and consistent with district standards, and make it more strategic and informative while saving everyone time.
The approval workflows feature is the newest addition to the dozens of features part of the Campus Sites™ content management system by Campus Suite. It's designed to help non-techie users save time and share the workload by using a simple-to-use draft approval workflow built right into the Campus Sites dashboard.
1. Improve accuracy and accountability
Workflow approval tools enable you to involve more members of your school staff to get involved in creating and managing your web content. People with the knowledge and time to help tell your school stories, and help share the workload to keep your content fresh and up to date.
Very simply, designated staff members are given permission to create web drafts. Any web content – web pages, blog articles, news items, calendar and directory updates – can be checked before it goes live. Assigned publishers create a draft then submit it for review. Authorized site administrators are then automatically notified, and the content is either subject to revision or approved. It can now be scheduled or published right away. See how the Campus Suite approval workflows feature works here.
2. Maintain standards and compliance
The web publishing process can be quite ad hoc at many schools. Imagine being the website administrator and the following scenarios arise:
- A contributor emails you a Word document and wants you to post it to the website;
- A well-meaning teacher decides to go off on a sensitive, political issue on his classroom website;
- A web page addition, change or suggestion spring up at a staff meeting, and it winds up being posted to your site by an unauthorized contributor;
- A teacher forwards you some pics taken at the afternoon pep rally, but you’re not sure if the students’ parents have granted permission to use their photos;
- A staffer has already posted a new form or web page and fails to make sure it’s accessible according to federal accessibility standards.
There are liabilities associated with managing your school’s website and social media, and it’s ultimately up to you – the one in charge – to make sure you’ve all the ‘i’s dotted the ‘t’s crossed when it comes to permissions. Approval workflows can help you share some of that responsibility by involving those individuals responsible for certain content.
Approval workflows help schools establish a way to not only ensure your content meets your design and content standards, but assure it’s ADA compliant and otherwise legal.
With all your website’s critical information, ADA compliance regulations, and other legal requirements, you need to be sure everything’s accurate and consistent with the guidelines required by your school and the law.
3. Control messaging and save time
In addition to maintaining compliance and consistency, approval workflows can make your website a more strategic communications tool. Your school or district web standards can be maintained and incorporated into your school communications plan. Messaging and ‘campaigns’ can be managed more powerfully and in less time when your content is controlled and monitored using approval workflows.
“I don’t want everybody and their brother making web pages.” Truth is, while such caution may guarantee job security for the content gatekeeper, it’s also creating content bottlenecks.
In many school districts, the one-man band phenomenon is in play. That overloaded school staff member may be the communications lead or someone with the title of webmaster. All content is funneled through that one centralized point of contact – the gatekeeper of all web content.
If yours is a school that has that one or two individuals with the authority to manage all this, they might like that autonomy. “I don’t want everybody and their brother making web pages.” Truth is, while such caution may guarantee job security for the content gatekeeper, it’s also creating content bottlenecks.
Approval workflows are about spreading ‘assigned’ responsibility. The key here is that whoever is ultimately responsible for web content (i.e., communications lead, superintendent, school board) has more precise, thorough and constant content control using approval workflows.
With seemingly everyone these days having the ability to contribute ideas, opinions, facts – both substantiated and otherwise – via web communications, schools are in an especially vulnerable position to be liable for erroneous, non-compliant, or just plain sloppy content that might find its way to their website.
If you have the monumental task of managing your school website, riding herd on teacher websites (there IS someone doing that, right?), and being responsible for other web communications content, consider how approval workflows can improve your school communications. And while on the surface it may appear as if you’re giving up control, you’re actually improving the control. You’ll be using a system to make and keep your content accurate, fresh, compliant and more strategic, while saving everyone time in so doing.
Marketing director and content strategist for Campus Suite, Jay’s a former school public relations specialist who’s helped businesses, schools and colleges use the power of web communications to improve their image, generate support, and optimize relationships. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @jay4schools.