I am currently in the middle of reading Clout, a book by Colleen Jones, and a sort-of-companion-book to Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson. First, if you haven’t read these two books and work with web content at all, you should pick both of them up and read them. There is so much great stuff in both of them that I cannot possibly recommend them highly enough.
However, that’s not the point of this post. The point of this little post is to put down my current thoughts on content and mission and where they intersect. It came to me in the shower (where most of my decent ideas come), and I’m kind of ashamed that I didn’t have this in the forefront of my mind to start, but here I go.
To set the stage, my current job is to complete “revamp” the website for Martin Luther College. The college is not just from where I graduated, but also resides in the town I grew up in and provides pastors, teachers and staff ministers for the synod I am (and have been) a part of. To put it simply, I have a vested interest in the institution.
One request has been to include a Bible passage on the homepage (the new one). While a worthy goal, and something I hope to incorporate in some fashion, it got my brain working for the past couple of months and I never really understood why it was working. My mind tends to do that.
Finally, it hit me. The talk was about a specific piece of “content” on the homepage, but it never went any farther than that. People were so caught up in the minute details that they has missed the forest in front of them. The idea was to incorporate the mission of the college (to train people for the public ministry) onto the homepage. But, it stopped right there and no one talked about it any further. From that point forward all of the talk was of portraying us as “just another college.”
However, the mission should not stop as lip-service on the homepage (for anyone) and should permeate all of the content on every page to portray what makes you, you. This goes for a college, for a business, for a government agency and for you individually (and for me as well). The content and the mission are so vital and intertwined that to try and separate the two is both foolhardy and dangerous.
Do I have the answers? No, of course not, but I’ve at least calmed that part of my mind for a little while. Maybe I can devote some of that to solving some other issues.