Setting Standards and Documenting Processes


TEN7 Interactive


Agency working with higher education, nonprofits and small businesses


Content Strategy
Technical Writing
Social Media

Description: TEN7 creates and improves websites for higher education, government, nonprofits, and small businesses. I was initially contracted to edit write software manuals for the Drupal websites TEN7 built for their clients.

Over time the company discovered my capabilities and started asking me to do other projects for them.

Since I like to leave contracts better than I found them, I also created some additional projects to create standards and document processes, and to resurrect the agency’s social media presence.

Work I Did

Original Project: Write Drupal Site Documentation

When TEN7 created/improved client websites, I wrote documentation for clients on the new website’s functionality. 

Ghostwriting Content for the CEO

In a small company, the CEO often writes website content. But as the company was growing, the CEO wanted to do more CEO work and less blog writing. The CEO had seen my writing, and liked how straightforward it was, and we had the same sense of humor (one that they wanted on the website content). So I started writing blog posts, case studies, and other marketing content. 


Site Content & Social Media Audits

Before taking on new website clients, TEN7 would usually want to do a comprehensive site audit (including UX and back-end functionality and code) and present the findings.  


Social Media Resurrection

After I’d been writing TEN7’s website content for a while, I started looking at their social media content. The posting seemed random and inconsistent, and the voice didn’t really match what I knew to be their brand voice. The company was at a point where they were considering stopping social media posting altogether.

I asked if I could take a stab at writing social media content for a while. If they didn’t like it, they could still kill the social media, no harm done. I did some posts for a few weeks, and they liked it, so I kept doing it.

I also created a social media calendar with regularly scheduled posts for different categories (blog posts, case studies, podcast promos, event content, partner content, etc.) 

Updating and Standardizing Podcast Content

I’m obsessed with content consistency, so when I started working on TEN7’s podcast content, I could see that some things needed work.

Issue: Non-descriptive and inconsistent podcast titles and summaries

  • Podcast titles: Since there are a million podcasts in existence, you need to grab the potential listener with details so they can decide if they want to listen or not. Most of the time the show titles only had the guest name and sometimes their company.
  • Podcast descriptions: Most of the podcast descriptions started with “In the [number] episode of the TEN7 podcast…” or “On today’s podcast, Ivan sits down with …” So when you were viewing the descriptions in the podcast app, they all looked the same, and didn’t tell you much at a glance. 
  • Highlights were sometimes vague bullet points
    (screenshot below is the “before”)

Solution: Shorten and Standardize

Podcast titles

I proposed a standard format for podcast episode titles. 

[Episode] + [Guest name] of [company] : [10-word max topic description]

This forces us to come up with a succinct description of the episode (which we can expand upon in the summary). Over time it was just shortened to be the guest name. 

  • Rob Harr: I Got Into This for the Humans
  • Michael Koppelman: An Amateur Everything
  • Claire Lew: Transforming Managers into Leaders
  • Kenji-Lopez Alt: A Life of Fortunate Accidents

Podcast Descriptions 

Podcast descriptions were rewritten to a concise sentence or two.

  • Self-described know-it-all and founder of many Minneapolis things, Michael Koppelman chats with Ivan about his multiple careers and plethora of interests.  
  • Food writer, cookbook author and restauranteur Kenji-Lopez Alt discusses his science-based cooking, how the pandemic is changing restaurants, and his “say yes” approach to life.
  • Johannes vom Dorp explains the results of his team’s 2020 Home Router Security Report (spoiler alert: it doesn’t look good).

Podcast Highlights

Previous podcast highlights were a too-long list of sometimes vague phrases. We shortened them to a handful of more descriptive phrases.

Over time we shortened the number to four bullets per show, with one complete sentence for each highlight.

Document Standards and Operating Procedures

Because I had been working on all the above processes, I saw the need to capture all the things that need to be done for each. For example, there are multiple kinds of social media posts, with different rules for images and short links. 

When I left the company, the person who took over the social media said they were “very thankful” that I’d left such precise documentation, that it made their job so much easier!

Charlene started off by writing software user guides, but we’ve found that one of her superpowers is being the voice of TEN7. She now ghostwrites our blog posts, newsletters, case studies and also edits our podcast transcripts. She has the gift for “skillful capture” when interviewing people, noting and following the details that make a good story. She’s also helped give us a consistent social media presence, and she’s nailed the voice we were hoping for: friendly, clear, smart, and a little sassy when appropriate. Charlene now writes the bulk of TEN7’s marketing content, and I trust her to know my voice. It’s possible that she wrote the bulk of this recommendation.

Ivan Stegic

CEO and Founder

TEN7 Interactive

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