So I work for a company that deals a lot with events and emphasizes social media outreach, and I handle the company website. I recently remade the website and made it easier for editors besides myself to add new content to the website. Originally, the webmaster handles all the website content him/herself, but I asked my coworkers from other departments (e.g. events committee) if they can contribute new information to the website (shortly after the website was released). My logic was that they can contribute information themselves faster than having it be disseminated to me, while I would handle all the server-side technical work of maintaining the website.

That being said, I suspected that my coworkers wouldn't be on top of updating the website with new information (since it's still technically my responsibility), and it's starting to become the case. I think it's because the website is still new and isn't viewed with legitimacy, and also because the Webmaster is a historically isolated job within the company. With that in mind, I have two questions:

1. Is it okay to partition the website work as I've done, or should I personally handle all the work?

2. If so, how can I politely ask my coworkers to voluntarily contribute new information without being a total prick about it? How can I get them to view the website with as much legitimacy as other social media outlets (e.g. Facebook)?

  • 3
    I have never seen a company website being updated regularly without one person (or a small team) being responsible for it and actively asking for new content. For everyone not directly responsible updating the website is low priority.
    – user29390
    Jul 10, 2017 at 10:38
  • Employees are generally wary of participating in social media on behalf of their employer. It is too easy for individuals to go "off message" and get in hot water because of it. You should not expect help from rank and file for stuff like that. Instead, why not solicit help from marketing or sales? They actually thrive on such activities and are trained to stay on message.
    – teego1967
    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:35

2 Answers 2

  • Provide a skeleton

    It being easily editable is one thing, figuring out what the edit should look like is quite another.

    If it's possible for you can provide some basic structure with a few headings which they can start from, that might help.

    If you can make this a template for every page (and that actually makes sense to do), awesome. If you're doing it on a per-page basis, that can still work.

    This depends on the editor, but there could also be a whole lot of formatting specifics that need to be learnt to be effective at editing - providing a template which includes some of the basics can be very helpful to allow others to hit the ground running.

  • Ask for specific edits

    "Can you add all information?" is an overwhelming request.

    "Can you add information on SuchAndSuch in ThisLinkHere?" is nice and specific request that one can actually complete in a reasonable timeframe.

    This (and the suggestion above) is not ideal if you require a large number of edits.

  • Get the ball rolling yourself

    Providing a few key edits yourself can help your case a lot no matter which approach you choose.

  • Split it into phases

    Try to think whether some content is more important than other content, and whether it might be viable to focus on adding that to the website first, so you can get the website looking decent (information-wise), at which point everyone else (your coworkers as well as management) may become a whole lot more interested in making sure the rest of the information ends up there.

  • Speak to management

    You have to keep in mind that (presumably) none of the people you're asking has been scheduled to do what you're asking them, so they have to do this between their other responsibilities, and this would, at worst, be considered a favour to you or a trade-off between doing this versus more important work and, at best, be considered going above and beyond for the company.

    If you discuss this with your boss, mentioning the website is now easily editable and others may be better suited to providing the edits, since they have easier access to the information required, the problem of no-one contributing might solve itself.

    Make sure to phrase this as a question - ask them how you should handle it, whether you should try to gather up this information and make the edits yourself or let others do this. Also make it clear that this will take you a whole lot more time than it would take others who already have the information. Do you have other responsibilities or things to do? "Should I prioritise X or Y" can be a good way to phrase this.

  • 2
    +1 I was about to say you're looking to go from Webmaster to Chief Editor, speak to your boss but I see you cover that here.
    – rath
    Jul 10, 2017 at 9:13

One approach would be to show there's a good return on investment for their time in providing quality content. Have a look at the traffic metrics, and see if there are areas where the website wins out over the other channels. For example:

  • Does the website get enough traffic in comparison to other social media channels?
  • Do you get more detailed demographic or psychographic information about your visitors that would allow the team to tailor content to be more effective?

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