Every statewide website needs fresh content to respond to emerging issues and to keep their users informed. But creating new content can be difficult for admins, who are so often pulled in many directions, and may not have much time to devote to content creation. This post will give you a few more resources in your toolbox to create meaningful and useful content for your users.
At this year’s TIG Conference, Vince Morris and Kim Marshall presented “How NOT to Write Content for Your Statewide Website: Legal Information Content in Minutes” a mini cookbook which broke down content creation into four easy-to-follow recipes — if you were there, it came replete with a spatula and pot!. If creating content is something you routinely do (or would like to start doing), this is a great place to begin.
Within our own community, there are plenty of opportunities for folks to share content between sites. One of the major repositories of content, ShareLaw.org, allows users to find shared resources, share their own resources out, and create a personal collection of resources. This can provide an easy jumping off point for state-specific (or very general) content for your site.
There are also resources available that you can post whole cloth, or adopt to fit the needs of your site. Consumer.gov was launched in January by the FTC and contains a library of easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand consumer information for low literacy users. You can create a resource with a link out to various pages on their site that cover budgeting issues, using credit cards and what to do about scams and identity theft.
As part of a TIG Grant, Legal Assistance of Northeastern New York and staff at LawHelpNY.org created 10 plain language guides on general legal issues, such as the differences between civil and criminal court, and language access rights. These are currently available on LawHelp.org in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Chinese. Partners are invited to post them to their sites as is, or to adopt them as they see fit. The published versions can be found at LawHelp.org, and can also be downloaded in Word from our library.
If you are looking for interactive content to post to your site, a collaborative project between Kansas Legal Services, Texas Legal Services Center, Maryland Crime Victims Resource Center, and Pro Bono Net has yielded 3 LawHelp Interactive interviews to help users address identity theft issues. These are available to post on statewide websites and the materials (found here) include staging pages, FAQs, and the urls for 3 FTC ID theft letters that have been automated as online forms. LawHelp.org/SC is one of 7 states that is currently hosting these forms, so check out how they work here. For more information on how to post these interviews, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.