According to a report from our pals over at Semrush, 84% of B2B and B2C brands have a content marketing strategy.
According to that same report, only 11% consider their strategy to be excellent.
Worse still, 30% consider their content marketing strategy to be merely average.
Perhaps it’s time to talk about content governance.
Content governance can help you do it by the book, modernising, organising and optimising your content approach to drive your team towards your content goals more effectively.
Basically, your business should care about content governance. Here’s why.
What is content governance?
Nowadays, content is everywhere and your business is likely creating a lot of it day to day.
Content governance is your blueprint for this content creation, providing a framework and process by which you can manage the creation, publication and distribution of the content you produce.
“But isn’t that just a content marketing strategy?”, we hear you ask.
No, not exactly.
While content governance is similar to a content strategy in that it’s focused on the planning, development and management of content, the two aren’t synonymous.
That’s because content governance informs how a content strategy will be executed and, as such, needs to be in place before a content strategy can even be developed.
Allow us to explain.
Content governance defines the internal processes, priorities and responsibilities within your content production line. It focuses on the practicalities of branded content creation in an aim to answer questions like these:
Who will create the content?
Can additional work be outsourced?
Where will the ideas come from?
What is the editing process?
Where will it be published?
How will it be tracked?
Content governance should also provide a support framework for how this content will be created consistently and strategically. This includes governance tools such as content calendars and writing style guides.
Why do you need content governance?
Without a content governance model in place, your content strategies will be a bit like the Wild West - no rules, no accountability.
And while being the Billy The Kid of content marketing might sound pretty cool, it won’t be long before your strategy falls off the saddle.
That’s because content creation is a cyclical process and, as such, needs to be governed by a set of processes and systems. This content cycle is continuous and never-ending, and typically includes:
Developing a strategy
Creating your content
Editing your content
Publishing your content
Measuring your content’s performance
Updating and repurposing content
Without an effective governance model in place to manage this cycle, your content strategy is likely to lack efficiency and, worse still, purpose.
This only becomes more important as your business grows and you begin to scale up your content creation.
For example, without a content governance system in place, how will you maintain efficiency and uniformity when facing upscaling challenges such as:
More team members creating, editing and publishing content
More departments requiring content
More promotion and distribution channels
Content governance, then, becomes invaluable in ensuring consistency in your content strategies and messaging, enhancing your creative process by:
Providing a clear, scalable structure
Defining roles and responsibilities
Establishing processes and workflows
Asserting consistent brand standards
How do you implement a content governance system?
Content governance systems combine people and processes to establish a purposeful and goal-driven framework for successful content marketing.
These systems can be defined and implemented in 4 simple steps.
1. Establishing roles and responsibilities
For your framework to be purposeful, teams must be working towards a unified goal. This means it’s essential for everyone to understand their role and responsibilities.
Define the roles within your content governance system based on three key areas:
Strategic - e.g. a content strategist who creates long-term content marketing plans
Operational creative - e.g. a content creator who implements content strategies day to day
Specialist - e.g. a Head of SEO who provides expert insight into best practices and optimal outcomes
The key is ensuring each individual role is clearly defined by specific tasks and responsibilities.
This meticulous approach will help to make sure that systems and processes run efficiently and effectively.
2. QA your workflows
To implement a successful content governance system, you need to first understand the current landscape of your content creation.
This means performing a quality assessment of your current workflows and processes to better understand what you’re getting right and where you’re going wrong.
Look to put your planning, creation, distribution, promotion and tracking processes under the microscope to identify gaps and hurdles in your current content cycles. Consider the following:
How long does each stage in your workflow take?
Who are the stakeholders in each step of the process?
How are quality and consistency ensured?
Is one approach working consistently well or poorly compared to others?
How often are deadlines missed?
Look to analyse your current content workflow from a number of perspectives to paint the most comprehensive picture possible - for example, by combining data deep-dives with employee feedback and managerial insight.
3. Create processes and standards
Successful content governance is all about upholding exacting processes and standards.
Informed by the outcomes of your workflow QA, create new processes with clearly defined policies and procedures.
Be as specific as possible, detailing tasks thoroughly and assigning them to the relevant role. Again, it’s vital that every member of your content team knows their purpose.
Remember: content governance is concerned with more than just the output, meaning you shouldn’t be focusing solely on your content cycle.
Instead, focus on the practicalities of your processes, detailing rigorous workflows that ensure efficiencies across each stage. For example:
How much time is allocated to each task?
How are documents shared?
How is feedback communicated and actioned?
4. Document, document, document
Finally, to achieve consistency and reliable quality within your content governance model, documenting is an absolute must.
This means ensuring all your shiny new processes and standards are internally recorded and accessible to your content team in a central location.
Content governance is integral to any goal-driven content strategy. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is a one-time job, though - it’s far from it!
Instead, your content governance systems should be regularly revisited and refreshed to ensure you’re never creating content for the sake of creating content.
Sound like a lot of work? It can be. If you lack the time, knowledge or resources to implement a proper content governance system, why not outsource your brand’s content creation instead? Get in touch with Paragraft today to find out how we can help.