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How to Execute a Seamless Content Migration Project

Picture it, you’re a higher-ed marketing professional who is nearing the end of a website redesign and you’ve just gotten the keys to your new kingdom. You feel a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that all of the pieces have fallen into place to get you this far in the project, but there is still something looming over your head that is preventing you from feeling true excitement–Content migration.

As with most things in life, a little bit of planning goes a long way. We often advise marketing teams to plan out the content production and migration project and ask themselves these questions:

Question 1: Are we producing new content for the redesigned website? If yes, who will be responsible for copywriting? If not, who will be responsible for content migration? How many people can we count on to help migrate?
Question 2: How will we train our content migrators? What are the foundational skills they’ll need?
Question 3: How will we track our progress and manage our content migration team?
Question 4: How long will it take to migrate all content with the resources available?

Finding the Right Content Migration Team

When a college or university is in the midst of a website redesign, often their marketing teams take on their own responsibilities pertaining to the redesign. While some teams will do all of their migration in-house, others might find success recruiting students from their campus community to help.

Regardless of who the college or university enlists for help–this could include your own marketing team, a team of students, or an outsourced team entirely–you should be aware of the technical skills necessary to be a successful content migrator. Here is a full list of content migration principles:

1. Preparation:

Before the migration team can even begin copying and pasting content, they need to be trained on how to use the new website. This step will vary depending on whether the team is already familiar with the content management system. New users need to be thoroughly trained on not only the fundamental skills of operating the system but also the brand guidelines and styles specific to their college or university. This ensures that all content migrated fits the organizational standards of that institution.

2. Deadline Review:

Once the content migration team has received the preparation they need to be successful, there should be honest conversations about how much time should be spent per page. Of course, this will vary depending on the content on the page, but this estimate gives migrators an idea of the time they should be investing per page, and overall how long they expect the entire process to take.

3. Organization:

The system of the organization should be known to all content migrators and monitored by managers. This ensures that no matter the migrator, the content will be organized and labeled in the exact same way. All digital assets should be labeled and saved in the same way to ensure seamless organization throughout the entire process. Content should not stick out as being migrated by separate migrators; rather, content should be migrated uniformly on both the front end and the back end.

4. Management:

Successful migration projects have great project managers. Project managers can help teams meet deadlines and offer updates to stakeholders on how the project is progressing. Project managers are also responsible for communication between teams. This means they can be the go-between for reporting bugs and functionality issues. This helps minimize confusion and information silos.

Project managers can also help identify areas where particular migrators can thrive. Some higher ed websites have hundreds of pages spread out over dozens of subsites. Identifying sections where content migrators can be entirely responsible for content migration can help them become familiarized with content and helps eliminate any confusion with multiple individuals migrating a single page.

5. Access & Permissions:

With any content management system, layers of access and permissions allow certain users to perform specific actions on the new website. Higher education marketing teams are responsible for assigning these roles in accordance with that particular user’s website responsibilities.

To ensure a seamless content migration project, higher education marketers should consider the content migrator’s workload so they are able to complete their responsibilities.

6. Quality Assurance:

Website redesign projects have multiple moving parts and when development is in progress, there can be multiple code pushes in a day that can affect the overall content migration project. While necessary, these code pushes can sometimes affect or halt the overall content migration progress. At times this can seem frustrating, but having content migrators consistently interacting with the new website is a great way to catch bugs and other errors.

The more users are involved with content migration, the more bugs and functionality errors are likely to be caught and corrected early. The content migration process provides assurance that the website is functioning as it should.

7. Take a Deep Breath:

Content migration can be an overwhelming element of a website redesign, and its full extent is often miscalculated and underestimated. It can also be a tedious process that can lead to frustration and potential burnout. It is important for content migrators to take a step back, breathe, and focus on their mental health.

We have found certain tricks to ease this process:

a. Podcasts: As mentioned earlier, a content migration project can be tedious. Once migrators get into a routine, they often find themselves going through periods of thoughtless content migration that can feel tedious at times. After getting into a groove of content migration, it can be beneficial for content migrators to listen to podcasts to help break up the tedious process.

b. A Great Playlist: Music breathes life into the soul. Finding a content migration soundtrack can help liven up the migration process. At ERI, we enjoy sharing our migration playlists with other members of our team to help share our favorites and inspire our fellow team members.

c. Group Migration Huddles: We are firm believers that two minds working together are better than one. We also find that frequent content migration huddles are essential to our migration process. During these huddles, we can talk amongst fellow team members to learn about their personal processes, take advantage of their insights and learn from their mistakes.

Executing a Seamless Content Migration Project – In Conclusion

A content migration project is no simple task, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the mounting tasks and responsibilities accumulated with pressing deadlines. However, when the content migration is thoroughly planned out and strategized, the overall process is much less painful, often useful, and sometimes even, dare we say, enjoyable.

Our analytical and expertly executed content strategy services can help you with content migration efficiently and effectively. Contact us today to get the conversation started.



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