Content Strategy and Governance
Ideas for managing a LiveWhale Calendar community— including some key decisions that communicators have to make about workflow and process, and some models in use at other schools.
LiveWhale Calendar was built to require only a minimal amount of care and feeding. People post events on calendars because they want attendance at their events; thus your content creators have a built-in incentive to keep your calendar fresh. As long as a calendar is easy to use as LiveWhale, you’ll never run out of content.
There is one important area where attention from communicators and web teams can really make a difference: content strategy, also known as “which content to show where, and to whom.” Your community will create lots of events; are some more important than others? Which events are useful or interesting to your external audiences, and which are only needed by your campus community? Which events help tell the story of your college to the world, and how can we maximize their impact?
These are the sorts of content strategy decisions that can turn functional and effective calendars into powerful storytelling and marketing tools.
Your “main calendar” and other calendars
Most of what we’re discussing in this section presumes that you’ll have a main calendar— the calendar displayed on your calendar homepage— that shows only a subset of the events being created at your institution. Most of what we’ll discuss here involves the choices you make about exactly what gets shown on your main calendar, and what events will live only on group calendars.
No matter how you choose to make these decisions, visitors to your calendar can get from the main calendar to the rest of your events in a couple of ways:
- By using a “Jump to calendar” dropdown list in the LWC interface and switching to a different calendar.
- By searching (if you have the search_all_groups setting active, meaning a search will include results from all groups).
- By visiting the webpages of individual departments and seeing events displayed on those sites via widgets.
Five decisions you need to make
Here are some of the basic things to think about as you embark on a calendar implementation.
When visitors arrive at calendar.yourschool.edu (or the URL of your choice), what should they see there?
There’s nothing wrong with a calendar that’s clean, straightforward, and functional. Many of our customers deploy LiveWhale Calendar in its default configuration, with basic theming to match their sites, and are very happy with the results. A good basic calendar goes a long way.
Other customers have chosen to invest more time and energy in the first impression their calendars make. Some add featured event widgets to their calendar homepage, or even create a custom “home” view that puts their most important events up front in a visually striking way.
(list some examples of each of these; nicest basic calendars, and then more striking choices like SFU, maybe Syracuse?)
At large universities (and even some small colleges), there can be dozens if not hundreds of events happening every day. If all those events are shown together on your calendar, it’ll certainly demonstrate your active community— but also risks your most interesting events getting lost in a flood of primarily internal events. Here are a few strategies that have worked for our customers:
- Limit events on your main calendar to a single “campus calendar” group, and encourage other groups to submit their events for promotion on the main calendar. We’ll discuss groups and group calendars below.
Only show events on the main calendar with a public audience, or that have been marked as featured by their creators. Assuming you’ve got an “Open to the Public” event type or audience, you may choose to only display those events on the primary campus calendar, and use other calendars for internal events. Or you could choose to only show starred events by default, thus limiting the calendar to events which have been marked as featured.
This will let you limit the volume of calendar events without needing to maintain a special campus calendar group. But it does put some important decisions in the hands of your event creators; if your career services center decides to mark all of their events as featured and public, that can have an impact on your calendar’s first impression. So these solutions do require some degree of internal conversation with calendar managers.
Departments and offices posting their own events is the key to a sustainable, flourishing campus calendar. You may not always want all these events on your main calendar, but there should be some return on the investment of time your people spend posting events; if departmental events are of public interest, they should appear on your main calendar.
You can also solicit event submissions directly from your community, who may not be registered users in your system. LiveWhale Calendar includes a public submission form that can be used by any visitor to your calendar. (Read more about the available options on the public submission form here.)
These final two decisions might have answers big or small, and we can help you find the approach best for you in the process of your calendar build and roll-out.
Sample governance models
Let’s talk about how governance and workflow happen at a few LWC institutions.
What we’d do if we were you
We love to give advice! While we’re still fleshing out our general recommendations, feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk through how LiveWhale Calendar can work best for your institution.