How Sikt created a successful content production system

How Sikt created a successful content production system

When the three large, state-owned service providers to the knowledge sector were to be merged, painstaking work began to collect all communications on one digital platform.

Sikt, which is the knowledge sector's service provider, was established on 1 January 2022. Then NSD (Norwegian center for research data AS), Uninett AS and Unit - Directorate for ICT and joint services in higher education and research - merged. There are approximately 400 employees spread across offices in Trondheim, Bergen and Oslo.

At the same time, there were three business cultures, a lot of specialist knowledge and more than 70 different services, big and small, which were to get a common platform. Merethe Bentzen was given the responsibility of making this work.

- It has been and still is an exciting challenge. Many have expectations of how this will turn out, says Merethe Bentzen, who is project manager for sikt.no.

The importance of anchoring

It is one thing to get new colleagues and professional groups to work together crosswise, but here Sikt also had to collect all information and all services on one platform in a new website. The website must communicate on a uniform level with partners, users of Sikt's services and other customers.

- The technical aspects are one thing, the message conveyed is another. During the web project, we saw the need to create many of our pages anew and almost from scratch. Our goal is to mirror the entire width of Sikt. At the same time as we were developing a new design and building a completely new CMS, we had to start work on content. To succeed with that, we needed a good process and dedicated writers, Bentzen explains.

In consultation with Frontkom, which is a supplier of technical services and content services, Sikt established a process for content production that involved the entire breadth of professional groups under the Sikt umbrella. In addition, sales and customer service were closely linked to the content process with first-hand knowledge of what users and partners need.

Editorial structure

It all started with recruiting the right content producers and writers with specialist knowledge internally in Sikt. Then these, approximately thirty in number, were gathered for a "writing room" and kickoff for the content production. It took place physically in Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim, which were linked together on Zoom. All the content to be created was structured in Airtable with shared access. Senior communications advisor Margit Wagnild was given the role of "strict" duty manager and responsibility for driving the process forward and meeting deadlines.

In advance, Frontkom created a template set and a checklist for the various pages to be produced, so that each individual writer had something to deal with. These templates ensured that the content matched the design and a uniform expression of everything that was produced.

- The writing room was a good start where we went through the strategy, but also got very specific with templates for the various pages and texts that were to be created. We also had specific writing tips that we shared with everyone. In addition, we started production, says Wagnild.

At the same time, Sikt launched an editorial structure with writers - subject editors - supervisor and editorial board. The goal was that everyone who contributed should have someone they could go to if they were stuck or needed sparring. Such a structure drove the writing process forward with clear frameworks for responsibility.

Uniform communication

All the content for the new web was to be created in one month(!). At least enough for a launch. Several people thought it a neck-breaking pace, but it worked. Structure is alpha and omega - in addition to broad anchoring and clear tasks. Wagnild and Bentzen agree on why they succeeded.

- We really have to give praise to all employees who have contributed. Across previous company structures we have had uniform communication, and many say it has been nice to be able to contribute. As a writer, you will have to look at what you are dealing with from the outside in order to explain it as best as possible, says Wagnild.

- We have had the users' needs in mind throughout and are first launching a version 1.0. So we are aware that Sikt's pages and services are developed in consultation with the users and therefore the website must keep pace with developments. Then we constantly get new and updated versions. It's a hectic project and there has probably been a bit of blood and toil along the way, but we reached the finish line with a smile on our faces, concludes Merethe Bentzen.

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