Podcast Episodes

Episode 23: Plan for Post-Launch Operations (w/ Meghan Casey)

September 20, 2023 | 40:14 | Meghan Casey

Corey and Deane talk about the idea of a web operations framework.

Then, Meghan Casey, content strategist and author of The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right, joins to talk about content governance and ongoing maintenance — how humans are nearly always the problem (but not the humans you might think), the things you can do to plan for post-launch content, and how to deromanticize the bit launch in favor of content maintenance.

The Web Project Guide podcast is sponsored by Blend Interactive, a web strategy, design, and development firm dedicated to guiding teams through complicated web and content problems, from content strategy and design to CMS implementation and support.

Show Notes and Further Discussion:


Corey (00:10):

Hello, this is the Web Project Guide podcast and this is episode 23, Plan for Post-Launch Operations. I'm Corey Vilhauer, director of strategy at Blend Interactive and co-author of the Web Project Guide. Later We'll Be joined by Meghan Casey, author of the Content Strategy Toolkit. First I'm joined by my co-host, Deane Barker.

Hi Deane.

Deane (00:27):

Hi Corey. How are you this fine, bright morning?

Corey (00:30):

I am great. Everything is just wonderful. There's somebody apparently cutting out a tree outside my window.

Deane (00:40):

That reminds me of when at Blend I had my office, there was this huge window right on the sidewalk and the city was replacing some of the underground transformers or something and they were literally jackhammering outside my office and I remember thinking, "Well, today's shot." I went out there to talk to them and I was like, "Are you going to be done by 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon?"

They said, "No, this project's going to last about three and a half months."

Corey (01:06):


Deane (01:07):

It lasted all summer. I had a jackhammer literally right outside my window.

Corey (01:13):

I remember when we first moved into the new office in downtown Sioux Falls, we were the first people in the building. We were the first inhabitants including all of the condos they were building upstairs, the apartments they were building upstairs, and so it was also like we had construction above us for the first two years we worked there. Blend bought everybody brand new headphones just to like, "Hey, sorry about all that up there," which is funny because now just nobody would show up. Everybody would just work from home.

Deane (01:45):

Now weirdly, the segues into our topic, this segues into governance. We have been talking, I think up until now, Corey, about the build, about actually building and constructing a web presence. Now we've got to talk actually living in it and getting stuff done, which is often much more difficult and frankly less glamorous than building it. It's the thing that nobody really plans for until there's a jackhammer outside your window.

Corey (02:14):

Right. When you were at Blend, encountered this so often that-

Deane (02:21):


Corey (02:22):

Well yes, jackhammers, and the fact that you would hand off a site and then you would kind of watch from afar as it slowly deteriorated into a pile of crumbled asphalt and you came up with an idea, you gave a talk at one of the first Now What conferences about ... You're going to have to remind me, you may remember the name, but it was Blend's ... It was the content operations.

Deane (02:49):

Yeah, it's web Operations Framework is what we had called it. Web Operations Framework? Yeah, I think that's what it was. I did a talk on it and honestly I'm embarrassed to say it didn't really go too far. But the idea was that we were going to come up with a methodology or philosophy for handling web operations and this was probably eight, nine years ago. Since then other people have done it better. Meghan's obviously talked about it quite a bit. David Hobbes wrote an entire book about web operations management stuff, but it's the thing that nobody thinks about. We have frameworks for builds, we have frameworks for creating new stuff, but we very rarely have a framework for managing the stuff that we have.

This is just endemic to the world, right? Startup culture, everybody wants to start up something new, but at Blend we kept it going for 15 years and after the glamour wears off, you got the daily grind of keeping this thing going and reaching your goals. I find that very rewarding but a lot of people don't and that's why you get people to call themselves serial entrepreneurs because they start something up and then they get bored, then they go do something else. That is really common.

Governance and management is something that not a lot of people think of and I think that we would be so well-served by reorienting ourselves to the idea of incrementalism. I think it's human nature just to let things deteriorate and then fix them in one fell swoop. This is the concept of we get in shape, so we got out of shape, now we get back into shape. Now obviously if you never get out of shape and you just put a little bit of effort to it and stay in shape, you don't have that problem, but it's human nature not to do that. Everybody is in some process of getting out of shape or getting into shape, not staying in shape, which obviously would be much, much healthier. That, I think, is human nature and it applies very much to what we do on the internet.

Corey (04:47):

Deane, you put yourself down a bit and you said that it didn't really go anywhere, the web operations framework. I think what we found being an outside agency is that we're not in a good position to maintain anybody's web governance or web operations framework. So much of web operations, I'm running into this with a client who has a lot of internal work that they're trying to figure out and they asked if we could manage it. Unfortunately there's not a lot that we can do to help manage it because it's your people and it's your knowledge and we can give some tips and tools as to, "Here's some things you could do to help maintain who's owning what and how are you going to manage content and how are you going to do workflow stuff," but ultimately as an outside entity, an agency can't really maintain it for you because it is so central to how you work as people within your own organization. Us coming in, we can't give incentives for people getting their work done. We can't rearrange your priorities in order to make sure that somebody cares about content.

Deane (06:03):

Yeah, it is tough to manage from the outside and it's also tough I think for a firm like Blend to really divorce itself from the build and the creation aspect of it all. There are people who specialize in this and I'm thinking about Meghan, who we'll talk to, David Hobbs, Lisa Welchman, these are people who have gone all in on this concept of web operations and governance and I think it's a lifestyle that sounds pretentious though, but I think it's a professional calling to do the work and divorce yourself from the glamorous part of doing the build and actually sit down and do the work day in and day out. It was something that I wasn't prepared to go all in on and I'm glad that other people have.

Corey (06:48):

Yeah, well let's get into this. Meghan Casey is a content strategist with more than 20 years of experience in communications and marketing and stakeholder whispering and she's also author of The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right which has just been published in its second edition.

But first, The Web Project Guide podcast is sponsored by Blend Interactive, a web strategy design and development shop dedicated to guiding teams through complicated web and content projects. Blend's been building great websites for over 18 years and we're always looking for our next partnership, so visit us at blendinteractive.com.

All right Let's, welcome our guest and friend, Meghan Casey.

Hi, Meghan.

Meghan (07:31):


Corey (07:31):

We have had quite an interesting run of issues trying to get Deane's mic working and you said something-

Deane (07:39):

You'd think we'd be good at this.

Corey (07:44):

Yeah and we're getting there, it's been 23 episodes, but you said something really interesting.

Meghan (07:48):

I usually do.

Corey (07:49):

We were talking about what chapter we're talking about and you said< "How to make your website suck less," or what did you say?

Meghan (07:55):

I think I said, "How to make your site not suck later."

Corey (08:00):

Yeah, so how do you do that?

Meghan (08:02):

Oh, that's just the question? Okay.

Corey (08:04):


Meghan (08:04):

Well, governance is one way. Consistently, often going back and checking content against your strategy to make sure that it's actually what people need and revisiting your strategy from time to time as well to make sure that what you decided your website should be is actually what will help you achieve your goals.

Deane (08:27):

I feel like every single conversation we have in this entire series comes back to, in fact, I don't feel like, it's an incontrovertible fact that every single episode comes back to human factors. Meghan, how much more often do you think websites fail because of humans over technology?

Meghan (08:47):

It's almost all humans really because we're the ones who make the decisions and do the work and even if we have the best technology, we have to have humans that know how to configure that technology to meet the needs of the strategy. I would say it's humans and it's often, maybe even not the humans you think. The humans on the ground doing the work are typically doing the best that they can with the constraints and the things that they have available to them. I often find that leadership humans are almost more often to blame than not because of they're not really invested and aligned and engaged and making sure the right resources are available and that kind of thing then it's really hard for the people doing the work to succeed.

Deane (09:38):

I think this is low key hilarious because I feel like at episode 23, we've kind of come back to episode one, right? Episode one was know your reasons, know the reasons why you want a new website and the goals for the new website. Here we are, we launched last episode I guess, and here we are to coming back to the reasons why we've launched. How often, Meghan, do you see clients lose sight of the goal and end up launching and forgetting why they launched the website in the first place?

Meghan (10:09):

I would say that happens quite a bit. Sometimes in my career I've been pulled in to get to launch and then I don't always see when that happens. But I will say quite often then I get called a couple years later and say, "Can you come back because we've lost the thread." I think it happens quite a bit and there are things that we can try to do to help ensure that that doesn't happen, but there's really there's no magic way to do that because, again, of people. You could have all of the things in place that will help you be strategic over time and have some people who ask you to do something that isn't on strategy but they are your boss or your grand bosses, Amanda Costello would say, and so you still have to do it.

Yeah, it happens quite a bit and I think the other thing sometimes it's not even the thread that gets lost on the strategy, the initial strategy, it's not evolving the strategy to match whatever's happening in your business or your industry or your organization. You're doing the stuff that was right when you initially set that strategy, but it might not be right anymore.

Deane (11:22):

We've got a new site and the new site means, say, new tasks and new responsibilities and new processes. How do you help clients understand or better understand that there's going to be changes to their existing governance needs or existing staffing, their existing strategy?

Meghan (11:39):

Yeah, I was actually just having this conversation with somebody and now I don't even remember who it was, but it was around when is strategy done. I was explaining that it isn't ever really done. Oh yes, it was Ross Unger who's working on the third edition of his book that is called something with UX in it now I can't remember. Anyway, so he's working on something and saying, "What should we tell people about when content strategy for your website is done?"

I shared a graphic of the content lifecycle from the second edition of my book and I was like, "It really never is." In this graphic I have started including learn kind of in the middle of the graphic, which is really that at every phase of the content lifecycle there are things that we are learning that help us do the work and help us refine the work and evolve the work.

I try to just show what kinds of learning we're doing throughout the lifecycle that can affect our strategy, the way that we do things. Maybe we found out that these content entry forms in the CMS based on lovely modeled content because everybody's learned from Deane, maybe they're not really working for the authors anymore, so you're learning in that regard. You're always continually taking in new information and figuring out how you might do better at any point in the content life cycle from deciding what you're going to create to creating it, to publishing it, to archiving it, evolving it, that kind of thing.

Deane (13:16):

I always feel like when you're talking about other people's kids, you see other people's kids at certain periods of time and so they tend to cement in your head as that age. Then you see them sometime in the future, you're like, "Oh my goodness, you got so big," you're amazed that they got so big because they're cemented in your head at a certain amount of time. We do that with web strategy. We cement our strategy at a certain amount of time. The goal would be the perfect strategy that adapts and morphs to everything in the world, but I always wonder how far out can you realistically create a strategy for?

Meghan (13:50):

That's a good question. I think it depends on what You're meaning by strategy too. I think you can probably have a strategy, potentially if there aren't major changes in your business, your users, your audiences, could span a few years even depending on how many changes there are, but the roadmap for what you're going to do to execute against that strategy, that to me is you have to think about it in smaller chunks, like three, six, nine months a year because then you can ... Let's say your strategy stays the same, you're trying to sell this kind of a product to these kind of people, but then somebody else comes on the market. Well then you're shifting. You're still trying to achieve the same goal but you have to do something slightly different because now you have a competitor you didn't have before, so the strategy might be a little bit more longstanding but the ways in which you execute against it can change with variances in market conditions, leadership, all kinds of stuff.

Deane (14:54):

I like what you just said, you differentiated strategy from roadmap. My strategy might be get to the East Coast but there are several different ways I can do that depending on if I want the most efficient route, if I want the fastest route, if I want the scenic route. Your overall strategy might be a five-year plan, but I would defy anyone to keep an accurate roadmap more than six months out.

Meghan (15:15):

Yeah, I think you can have ideas, you can be like, "We're going to focus on this for the next three months," but I think you always do need to be regrading, otherwise you end up doing things that just don't make sense anymore.

Deane (15:29):

Organizations tend to fetishize the build but they just get obsessive about the build, we get obsessive about making stuff and I think this is endemic to technology. We are so romantic about the startup and everyone wants to be a serial entrepreneur. We're less interested in keeping something going for a long time. I worked at Blend for 15 years. Corey, you've been there for what, 17 now?

Corey (15:53):


Deane (15:54):

13, okay, whatever.

Meghan (15:56):

Since he was born.

Deane (15:57):

Right, keeping something going isn't nearly as interesting or as romantic, as glamorous as starting things up.

Meghan (16:03):


Deane (16:03):

I think when it comes to web projects we fetishize the build and we put all this work into the build and then we get the keys to the website, we don't know what the hell to do after that.

Corey and I can tell dozens of stories about I was launching a website and a year later the customer asking us how to log in. They literally hadn't done anything for a year and it's like, "Oh, that's great."

Meghan (16:23):


Deane (16:23):

It's like giving somebody a Ferrari and then they forget to come pick it up.

Meghan (16:27):


Deane (16:29):

When you work with clients, Meghan, how do you de-romanticize the build?

Meghan (16:33):

Yeah, I think it's really just sort of early and often conversations about, "Okay, we're going to work toward getting this thing launched, but let's figure out what you need to be successful to keep it going over time." A lot of that really comes down to building relationships with the different people in the organization that are subject matter experts who may or may not actually be responsible for the content and getting people really to think about the impact of whatever kinds of decisions that might be happening that could impact content on your website or in your app or in your thing.

Here's a perfect but awful, not awful, but Twitter and then that guy bought it. Right now, here's something I noticed and this is an ongoing maintenance problem. They were like, "Oh well we have to change our language so we are going to say instead of 'retweet' here's your 'repost,'" but then they did not change in the place where you retweet something or tweet your reply, it still say, "Tweet your reply," there in the app on my phone versus, "Post a reply." Those are the kinds of things that we just have to really train or uplift how changes in your organization, in product names, and all kinds of sorts of things affect the content in your applications on your websites.

I think it's more just it's talking about it. I just tell people, "This is not going to be easy. You are going to launch with some really great new content that we did a lot of work on and you're going to have to care for it over time or you're going to end up exactly where you are now where you called me and said, 'Our website is a dumping ground, can you please help us?'" I think it's a lot of just conversation but then also setting people up with processes that are as simple as possible for them to actually implement and complete so that it doesn't become this really overly burdensome thing that people are just like, "No, no, no. I'll deal with it later."

Corey (18:41):

We've started this entire podcast, we've started this entire series talking about how people are always the problem, but now listen. X or Twitter is a good example of a situation in which the people weren't necessarily the problem because the people all got let go.

Meghan (18:57):


Corey (18:57):

The situation where there was probably just somebody who was in charge of changing that label-

Meghan (19:03):


Corey (19:03):

... and they're not there anymore and nobody ended up taking care of it. It fell off of somebody's list.

Deane (19:10):

That's what Meghan called leadership humans.

Meghan (19:12):

Yeah, yeah.

Corey (19:14):


Meghan (19:14):

The people was still the problem.

Corey (19:18):

Yes, right. Different people I guess were the problem.

Meghan (19:21):

Right, exactly. Yeah, that's a good point. That's another thing that I think has become apparent over the years is there aren't always people whose jobs it are to do these things that are super important. We've seen so much lately in the content design world, content designers just being let go and people not realizing the implications of not having those people who are thinking about that holistic content experience, for lack of a better word.

Corey (19:51):

How often do you encounter a situation in which somebody wants to do something and they just don't have enough people to do it? The answer of course is always. Everybody always wants more people to do the work they're doing. I'm glad that we segued into this because I think it's less about how many people and more about which roles are being filled. Are there specific roles that you find are underrepresented when it comes to a web governance team or a web content team or an ongoing development team?

Meghan (20:20):

Yes, I think what I find is so often that just content generally, and I feel like we've made strides but now I almost feel like we're stepping backwards a little bit in some cases where content just isn't really considered. There are still teams out there that don't seem to understand that the experience that you're building is content. 90% of it is information that people need, not in every circumstance but in a lot of them, and what I'm seeing a lot of happening right now with a couple of my clients is that there seems to be a backward slide where content is not integrated with design.

I saw a big move toward that and now I've seen it getting separated out again and I think it's because it's hard and people just really want to say, "Okay, we designed these beautiful boxes for you to put some words in," or the joke among content designers, if you ask a content person, "What should the text be on this button?" and their response is going to be, "Well what does it do?" There's this lack of integration between with content and design right now and they're so necessarily integrated. I just think there's often not someone's job to really think about that big picture from a content perspective or to really have ownership and empowerment to do that content governance work over time. It's always the last thing that is on somebody's list if it's even on the list at all. I think we just have some work to do to get some of those things better integrated into the way that we do our work.

Deane (22:10):

I'm going to use a pejorative term here and then I'm going to walk it back, so give me some grace on this for just a second. It's considered a soft skill whereas development is considered a hard skill.

Meghan (22:20):


Deane (22:20):

I hate using those terms because terrible, but when you look at building a website like technical skills and programming, there's an idea in our head that only a certain person can do that, that's a very defined skill. When you look at content, an executive somewhere is like, "Well I can type on a keyboard. I can open Microsoft Word, anybody can do that," and so It's considered a soft skill. Soft skill is used for a skill that technically everybody has just in varying degrees like communication. Everybody can communicate, you're either better or worse at it.

Meghan (22:49):


Deane (22:49):

It shouldn't be a soft skill, it should be a spectrum skill. It exists on a spectrum.

Meghan (22:55):


Deane (22:56):

Because it exists on a spectrum, someone thinks that since they can do it at the lowest end of that spectrum then everybody can do it.

Meghan (23:04):


Deane (23:04):

It's always the last thing to think of which is sad and unfortunate.

Meghan (23:08):

Yeah, I think that's definitely true. But then the people who are saying, "Well everybody can do content so we don't need content people," but then also Aren't even giving the people who they're expecting to do the content the directives that they also need to do that. I work on a lot of higher ed websites and you end up with content that hasn't been updated in four or five years because the people who technically should update it don't have that as a priority in their workload and they've got 18 million other things to do. I always still feel like it's just added to some people's lists without any real, "This is important that you do it."

Corey (23:48):

I see a lot of universities specifically where the issue is also that there's so much turnover in that industry, there's so many people, that it isn't so much that there isn't anybody doing it it's that the person who did know it was so deeply knowledgeable about that one thing and now they're gone.

Meghan (24:06):


Corey (24:06):

Now what do you do because it's higher ed, so it takes two months to hire a new person and they've got to learn all that stuff.

Meghan (24:11):

At least, right, yes.

Corey (24:13):

What do you do to help people get through that? What are the tools that you've used to help them understand what they're walking into when they get hired into a new position?

Meghan (24:21):

Yeah, I think what's sad is that there are so many ideas that I have and content playbooks and procedures and strategies and guidelines and all of those kinds of things, and very rarely do I actually get to do all of the stuff that I would like to do. I would do a lot of recommending and a lot of outlines for things, but then very often it's like, "Okay, well we ran out of money so we got to launch, thank you." I always have ideas for what those things can be.

I think part of it, and you brought up a really good point, is having some at least lightly documented procedures for how we go about different things. A faculty member calls you and says, "I want a section on the website about this." What's our process for doing that? One, deciding whether we will and then all the way through to it gets published or maybe it doesn't. So often it's just in people's heads and it's like, "Oh well if a faculty member's asked me for something, then I'm going to do it." I think having at least lightly documented processes and expectations and guidelines and considerations is one of the best things.

I see so often where the person who publishes content on the website is just one person and they leave and literally nobody knows how to do it. Nobody. In some cases it's like, "It's job security, they will never fire me because they won't be able to do anything," but what happens if you leave or heaven forbid something happens to you?

Deane (25:57):

Surprise. They fired you and they just stopped doing stuff.

Meghan (26:00):

Right, exactly. Yes.

Deane (26:03):

How do we reorient our clients towards what I would call incrementalism? We're so obsessed with launch, but we're also obsessed with Big Bang cycles. Launch, do nothing for three years, and then redesign the entire website. My wife and I have done that with our house too. Every two or three years we're like, "Oh crap," then we got to fix a bunch of stuff. We don't fix it as it goes.

Meghan (26:25):


Deane (26:26):

I always thought the greatest web operations strategy would be one that maintained and did routine maintenance so you didn't have to fight these fires all the time and I don't know how to get clients to totally understand that.

Meghan (26:40):

I think a lot of it is just doing it with them. If you can get through at least one round of we're going to take a look at the content quarterly and we're going to figure out what might need to change from different types of content, having some proofs of concept. Again, I don't always get the budget to do this kind of thing, but I think a lot of it too is just doing it and then seeing how it works and seeing how it actually makes life easier. Like, "Oh, what if we did look at this every year instead of every five years being like, 'Oh, shit, look at all of this content that nobody cares about.'" I think it's a lot about and then showing the effects of it, and I think money talks, time talks, so if we can really demonstrate the effects because I think a lot of times too people start to do it and then leadership or whomever priorities change. It's like, "Okay, I don't want you focused on that. I want you focused on this new thing we're launching." Yeah, I don't know I don't have all the solutions, but I think a lot of it is demonstration versus just saying, "This is important."

Deane (27:55):

There's a feeling their website can just kind of exist frozen in time and that'll be fine. It's not like a car that you have to keep filling with gas. A car runs out of gas, you got to put gas in it. The website never runs out of gas. It can sit there and it'd be fine and so they think, "Well we can the web team or put them on other things and what we have out there is great and so we don't need to kind of incrementally weed the garden at all."

Meghan (28:19):

Well, and I will say it, not every website is the same. There are probably some companies, organizations, whatever, that can get away with a little bit longer ignore cycle, for lack of a better word, if things don't change very much. But for most that's not going to be the case. Even I'm looking at my one page website about my little consulting company, I don't have to do a lot to it, but I do take a look at it every six months and think, "Oh, do I want to talk about this other sort of way that I'm thinking about offering my services," or, "My new book just came out so I have to update it with that information." Just the other day I discovered that I still had a pre-order button for the new book, even though the book's out. There's always very likely little things that need to be addressed.

Deane (29:10):

Meghan, what are you up to lately? What can we help you promote? Any big projects, things you've got going on? Tell me about your new book.

Meghan (29:16):

Well, yeah. I've got the second edition of The Content Strategy Toolkit. I think I see the first, oh maybe it's the second edition on Corey's shelf behind you.

Deane (29:24):

You know what I love is that on Amazon, my first book, the Web Content Management, the O'Reilly book, for the longest time on that page it would said, "People frequently purchase these together," and it was your book and my book.

Meghan (29:39):


Deane (29:40):

I always thought, "Oh, Meghan and me, we're book buddies."

Meghan (29:42):

Aw. I know Natalie Dunbar sent me something the other day saying like, "Look, we're together on Amazon." It's very cute.

Yeah, so the second edition of The Content Strategy Toolkit just came out in May or June. I'm really excited about it. It's got some, I would say probably about two thirds is lightly edited, maybe a half to two thirds lightly edited, a few things added or changed or whatever, and then a good third of it is brand new content on some topics that have been coming up more and more, one of them being cross discipline collaboration and building your cross discipline team, thinking about change management and how you're going to get people to think about things differently and actually implement new processes and stuff going forward. Content design is broken out into four chapters instead of just one overview chapter from the first edition, and then there's a short chapter at the end about building out a content playbook that does help with all of these things that we're talking about today. If it's used and if it's able to be ... One of the things that I think is one of the hardest is figuring out a format for those kinds of things that's easy for people to use and as integrated as possible in what they already do. In CMS guidance around certain things whenever it's possible so that it's not like you have to go open up a separate thing to do something. Some of those kinds of things.

It was exciting to write a chapter more on structured content and content modeling because it's become more and more exciting to me. I'm on a panel right now with three of the smartest content modeling people in the world, which is weird. That's fun, with Noz Urbina and Jeff Eaton, Carrie Hane, and Bruce [inaudible 00:31:48].

Corey (31:48):

None of us know him by his first name. It's just-

Meghan (31:50):

I know, right.

Deane (31:53):

Yeah, right? It's just Eaton.

Meghan (31:53):


Corey (31:53):


Meghan (31:54):

That's fun. That's been a cool little thing to do more from the non-techie side of content modeling and structured content. Yeah, hopefully I'm providing some value in that. I kind of sit there and I'm just like, "I'm with these people. What do I have to say?"

Deane (32:13):

Well Meghan, thank you for joining us, giving us your insight. Your new book is available now.

Meghan (32:21):

It is, it is. Yes.

Deane (32:22):

Now we have a running commentary on our show about how our book is so sturdy it could be a good self-defense weapon.

Meghan (32:33):


Deane (32:33):

Just curious, yeah, you have one there. You can't see her, but Meghan's on camera. How do you think your book would fare in self-defense? Compare and contrast the two. She has a copy of each of our book in her hands.

Meghan (32:47):

Okay, so here's the one thing I'm going to say. Your book has the best paper, whereas mine, and I hope that they don't get mad at me, they've gone to a much lighter weight paper, probably supply and all that kind of stuff, and I don't like it.

Deane (33:05):

It's like trying to highlight a Bible. Tissue paper.

Meghan (33:08):

Yeah, you can see through it. It's just, yeah. I love your paper quality, it's really nice. So nice.

Corey (33:17):

Yeah, you've heard it here. If you're measuring this book based on paper quality, the Web Project Guide is the better book. Meghan Casey said it.

Meghan (33:23):

That's it, that's it.

Deane (33:25):

I think That's a perfect place to end it. Thank you.

Corey (33:26):

Thanks Meghan.

Deane (33:26):

Appreciate it.

Corey (33:36):

Hi Deane, we're back. I didn't really know where to go. Deane in the break says, "Do the Law and Order thing," and so then I did it and then I didn't really know what to do after that. Dun, dun.

Deane (33:45):

Do it again.

Corey (33:46):

Dun, dun.

Deane (33:47):

Yeah, that's really good. You did it better than me. Love Meghan. You couldn't see her obviously, but we could and she had the most spectacular pair of glasses on, like absolute brazen Cat Woman classes on. She looked absolutely amazing. But love Meghan, love her book. I read the first edition of it years ago. I need to get the second edition. As I mentioned when we talked to her, for the longest time, her book and my book were paired on Amazon. It's like, "People who bought this often also bought this." I'm happy because I didn't talk about content strategy at all in my book and you need both so I'm glad that someone was there to hold up the content strategy end while I yammered on about content management.

Corey (34:30):

Yeah, a lot of the books you're going to find out there are so theory focused and I love Meghan. Literally when you buy Meghan's book, you get a folder of files that you can use to adapt and steal from. Yeah, her book again is The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right. You can order that at let's see, Do Better Content is her organization, and you can order the book from dobettercontent.com.

Meghan mentioned Russ Unger in the interview and we were trying to figure out what the name of the book that he is currently doing a third edition on, and that is A Project Guide to UX Design for User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making. Boy, web books have long titles, don't they? They've all got colons and they've all got dashes.

Deane (35:23):

They do. Why aren't they just like The Web Project Guide? That's the easiest thing in the world.

Corey (35:28):

Which Deane has a colon, From Spark to Launch and Beyond or whatever. I don't even remember what it is.

Deane (35:35):

Does it really?

Corey (35:35):

But we have a subtitle.

Deane (35:37):

It does. Love the fact that Meghan gets tactical. I think one of the, I almost hate that this got all lumped under content strategy because really let's coin a new term, Corey. Let's coin content tactics.

Corey (35:54):


Deane (35:55):

Tactics is the opposing word to strategy and I think content strategy is great and you need a strategy, but you also need tactics. You also need plans and it's enough to come up with a strategy to start with, but at some point you need a tactical plan for getting the work done and not enough people do that. I don't know if that should fall under the banner of content strategy. I want to call it content tactics. People would probably just call it content governance but when you say governance and maybe it's the root form of government and people just have negative ideas of government, but governance is so boring. Who wants to deal with governance? Strategy, that's sex and glamorous, design, build, that's awesome, but governance, even the word itself is a huge downer, but it's absolutely critical to getting the work done and not enough people to pay attention to it. Hats off to Meghan for expanding the umbrella of content strategy to take into account operations and tactics. That doesn't happen enough.

Corey (37:02):

Lisa Welchman talks a lot in her book, which I'll link to and I can't remember the name of it now. Oh, Managing Chaos-

Deane (37:08):

Managing Chaos, yeah.

Corey (37:09):

... is the name of her book. She talks a lot about policy, about digital policy when it comes to governance, and I think that's also a reason that people hear governance and they think, "Ew, what a gross thing," because it's so close to the word policy and nobody wants to talk about policy.

Deane (37:24):

Right. Hats off to people who have specialized in this because you're trying to make a living in a very, very unglamorous but critical topic. But here's the one thing I learned about being in business. The one thing I learned at Blend, I learned many things, but one of the things that I've learned is that the boring industries have all the money. You find this. Very glamorous like startups and everything, I did work for an NFL team once. None of them want to spend any money and the corollary of that is that the boring disciplines have value.

Corey (38:00):


Deane (38:00):

The boring day in and day out disciplines, those are the things that have the value to the organization. I like to think of myself as an incredibly boring man. I just turned 52 and my goal is to be the most boring man on earth, and maybe I should go into governance, Corey. Maybe governance and policy is my future.

Corey (38:20):

Maybe. Why not? Find a more boring topic than I guess, well, your web development to me is kind of boring too.

Deane (38:29):

Well, Corey, I think we've bored our listeners enough with this episode.

Corey (38:32):

Great, that wraps it up then. Let's thank our guest, Meghan Casey. Again, her book is the Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right and you can get that at our site, dobettercontent.com. The Web Project Guide is a product of Blend Interactive, a web strategy design and development shop that builds websites and guides teams through complicated web and content problems from content strategy and design to ACMS implementation and support. We are dedicated to making great things for the web, and this podcast is one of those things.

This is also episode 23 of the Web Project Guide, which also corresponds with chapter 23 of the book, Plan for Post-Launch Operations. You can read the full text of this chapter at web project.guide/operations. Plan for Post Operations is the second to last chapter of the book and so if you want to read ahead and get some spoilers for the last chapter, you can read it. You can read that at order.webproject.guide and get your own copy of it there. Yu should do that.

Deane (39:28):

We had a long conversation with Meghan about the relative utility of each of our books being used as a weapon, so I think we have to mention again that it makes a handy personal defense.

Corey (39:38):

Yeah, and this is our second to last chance to be able to try to get this book sold, so you should just go buy as many of them as possible.

Deane (39:46):

It is.

Corey (39:46):

Anyway, as always, rate the book, rate the podcast, rate anything else. Thank you for joining us this month. Subscribe and share and we'll be back next month for the last chapter of the book as your website project turns into a website product. Until then, go do amazing things.

Deane (40:00):

Good luck.