Museums and the Web Asia Conference 2015

Content Audit and Digital Strategy for Museums: Insights from the 4th Museums and the Web Asia Conference 2015

Rereeti founder-director Tejshvi Jain was a participant at the recently concluded 4th Museums and the Web Asia Conference 2015, held from October 5 to 8, at Melbourne, Australia. Here, she shares highlights from the pre-conference workshops.

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at barriers to accessibility and the challenge of producing materials, data and content. In some ways, information itself can become a barrier if disseminated at the wrong time, without any context. As Anthony Lincoln rightly points, “The resulting abundance of information has come to be perceived in some circles, paradoxically, as the source of as much productivity loss as gain.”[1] With information being ‘bombarded’ at us every minute, we (the consumers) become selective about the content we want to read. Hence, it is imperative to have a strategy planned for our (museum) content. Is your content fit for the purpose? How is content consumed and prepared? Are we thinking of content or channels of content delivery while we create content? Is our content cycle virtuous or vicious?

Hands-on Content Strategy Workshop’ by Conxa RodàImage: The session on content strategy was facilitated by Conxa Rodà of Museu Nacional d’ Art de Catalunya, Barcelona. Photo courtesy Tejshvi Jain.

As an organization working directly with museums and leveraging their collections as an educational tool, Rereeti has a direct stake in the content generated by museums. The ‘Hands-on Content Strategy Workshop’ by Conxa Rodà, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona threw light on the need for online and onsite content audit and the ways to go about it. In the age of information overload, another barrier to accessing relevant content is finding it in the first place. A question applicable to all kinds of content – be it labels, signage, brochures, blog posts, website blogs, updates or social media feeds is whether institutions are merely delivering information to audience, or are we responsible for imparting meaning, analysis and insights as well?

What can be done with content accumulation and content gap analysis are some of the other areas that were discussed. The importance of storytelling in every sector is increasing and this is applicable to museums as well. What’s more, content creation is certainly not the job of one person or even one department: collaboration across different departments, audiences and stakeholders leads to content with many layers and meaning. In museums with a huge staff, this cross-fermenting becomes a challenge, however, small museums, too, fall prey to this. Try asking these questions to yourself and discuss this with your staff:

  • Is your organization effectively communicating, engaging and inspiring visitors through content?
  • Is your organization creating evergreen content that takes into account SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing) and SMM (social media marketing)?

importance of storytellingImage: The importance of storytelling in every sector is increasing and this is applicable to museums as well. Photo courtesy Tejshvi Jain.

Awareness of a museum’s mission and its goals for content development and dissemination across the staff is important. Is there an alignment between the two? Has every department’s opinion been considered? Examples shown, proved that information gathered about audience influences the plans for creation, distribution and promotion of content. Back home, do museums in India have this kind of information? If no, how can we work towards gathering this kind of basic, important data? This kind of data feeds into other areas as well, for instance, the kind of exhibitions the museum should work with, the learning programs to be designed, the public impact, the kind of visitor services required, and interpretation systems best suited for the museum.

The second pre-conference session, ‘Developing a Digital Strategy for Your Organization,’ led by Steven Smith, KPMG Australia kickstarted with an activity that stimulated discussion on what is effective digital strategy? Is it providing a framework for digital services or getting the buy-in of staff on the importance and benefits of digital strategy? Or does it involve identifying and addressing factors critical to the success of digital activities? Key issues that impact digital strategy could depend on anything from the changing ecosystem, customer behavior, to technological advancements, leadership, and all the above.

Think museum shops and the potential to leverage consumer behavior and marry it with those interested in culture, the arts and heritage.

According to a report produced by Sensis in May 2015, India has the highest percentage (40%) of e-commerce sales through mobile. In the next few years this trend is going to increase, with huge VC funding being pumped into startups whose business model is based on e-commerce. How are museums harnessing this mobile-mostly segment and what kind of strategies can it deploy to target (reach out to) users who are quite interested in shopping? How many museums in India engage with their visitors through a smartphone or app? Can museums upgrade themselves with an online and on site shop?

What comprises digital strategy?

Effective digital strategyImage: An effective digital strategy is about transformations and not transition.

Transition is mainly upgrading your technology or staff. However, transformation is about creating something totally new and better from the existing resources. As part of the steps for an effective digital strategy we were made aware of a maturity level worksheet, drafting and action plan worksheets. The maturity level worksheet is further divided into details for governance and leadership, people and culture, capacity and capability, innovation and technology. The one page draft concisely included every relevant detail required for an effective strategy.

Key issues impacting digital strategyImage: Key issues that impact digital strategy could depend on anything from the changing ecosystem, customer behavior, to technological advancements, leadership, and all the above.

The action plan tool helps to identify high-level actions and goals related to developing, implementing and reviewing process on the roll-out of digital strategy for a certain period, say two years. To nail the action plan, a prioritization tool helps in prioritizing potential digital projects on four key criteria: mandatory criteria, benefits, easy to execute and risk. Last not the least, a regular review with feedback incorporated is a step in the right direction.

ReReeti’s blog will shortly complete a year and we will definitely use the content audit tool in our annual review to set the goals for the year ahead. Our digital strategy will be fine-tuned and the learning of the workshop will be incorporated, especially the prioritization action plan. These tools are especially helpful for non-profits that work on limited resources. When we work with museums, we aim to focus on creating evergreen content for our modules and workshops that can will remain relevant in the future as well. We will also align these workshops and modules to the museums larger goals for higher impact as we market them digitally.


About the Author

TJ - profile shotTejshvi Jain is the founding director of Rereeti and worked at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore prior to setting up this non-profit organization. Get in touch with her info@rereeti.org.

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