What is a digital estate?
We define a digital estate as the websites, social media and other online content collections that an organization owns or is technically responsible for.
Global corporations, higher education institutions and government are most likely to build substantial digital estates as they address their audiences and tell their stories with large amounts of content.
At the same time, audience information needs change, as does the organization’s. The tasks they want to perform evolve. Their content and channel preferences shift: text on a website, social media posts, TikTok videos. And internally, digital professionals measuring engagement and content effectiveness make continual adjustments to improve both.
Over time, these large, complex digital estates fragment and become cluttered with rapidly decaying digital content.
Digital proliferation. How many websites do you own?
While agile organizations experiment with and seize new digital opportunities they often ignore their legacy of digital channel and content proliferation. In practice, a typical digital content snapshot might show:
- Websites agencies built for past campaigns
- Landing pages hosted on a cloud platform (somewhere)
- Videos on Vimeo before moving to YouTube (or vice versa)
- Podcasts you haven’t yet moved to Spotify
- Corporate presentations on SlideShare
- Tumblr posts (still have those?)
- Blogs on Medium that were meant to move to WordPress (or vice versa)
- The 2014 conference recordings on SoundCloud
Meanwhile, digital content creators are experimenting with GitHub-based content for websites or testing if engagement is higher for Substack or Revue content. All of which will eventually be added to the list of “the old”.
The first step to boosting online effectiveness is understanding digital content proliferation
Digital estates are complicated. And the component parts tightly interconnected. Decisions about changes, simplification or content elimination should be evidence based. One part of accumulating the evidence is accurately mapping digital estates: their websites, microsites, social media accounts and content hosted on third-party platforms.
With a clearer understanding of their digital estates organizations can focus on making their online presences better meet their audiences’ needs and more effectively tell their stories.
[To see how discovering the components of a digital estate works in practice have a look at Digital eQ* Insights]