Content governance—possibly the driest term ever to circulate the world of content marketing (thank you, content gods, for that one). But important nonetheless. At its best, governance helps drive business growth by ensuring your content strategy gets executed well. At the very least, governance can help you avoid getting sued or shamed (or both).
Regardless of whether you’re creating content in-house or outsourcing it, you should have a content governance plan. Governance accounts for how content work gets done and ensures everyone is on the same page, whether they’re new to your organization or not.
Since you may have to justify drumming up some funds to develop a governance plan, let’s talk about what a good governance plan will do for your content efforts.
Planning & creation
A content strategy will account for what content needs to do, who it’s for, where it’s published, and how it’s amplified, but it won’t come with a list of content topics to execute on now and forever. Those decisions will have to be made ongoing, and a governance plan will account for that by determining who is involved in planning future content that aligns with the overall strategy, as well as who is involved in creating that content.
Having the right people and processes in place will ensure proper execution of the strategy you’ve invested in, no matter who touches content along the way.
Review & Approval
Speaking of content creation, it’s not as simple as finding someone to write the content. You’ll need someone to vet each piece of content prior to publication to ensure it’s on-strategy and represents your brand well. This is especially important when working with a freelancer who’s not super familiar with the people, processes, goals, and assets that can impact your content.
By now you may be noticing a pattern—when it comes to your content, nothing is as simple as it seems. Even hitting “publish” requires a documented process (ugh, process, I know—trust me, it’ll save your butt). Decide upfront who is allowed to hit “publish” and what needs to happen before content is published—who needs to review it, what needs to be added to it? Doing so will prevent unauthorized content from going live on your website (if it can happen to us, it can happen to you).
Contrary to popular belief, content work isn’t over the minute content goes live. Your content will require ongoing maintenance to ensure accuracy, consistency, timeliness, and relevance. For instance, your webinar outlining industry forecasts for 2016 doesn’t need to be available forever (especially if your predictions were wrong). The moment it stops being relevant, it needs to come down. The only way it will is if you have a plan for how that gets done.
Another part of ongoing content work is evaluating the content you’ve published to determine whether it’s working for your strategy. Your content strategy should be a living document that gets updated to reflect what’s working and what isn’t. Capitalize on the parts of your content plan that work well and cut the parts that don’t. Simply executing the original strategy without stopping to see if it’s working won’t allow you to maximize your ROI on your content. So plan for how and when content gets evaluated as well as how that information gets communicated to your content team.
Document, document, document
Meeting to discuss your content plan is a step in the right direction, but the most successful content projects are well documented. From strategy, to people, to processes, you should have a record of who’s doing what, when, and why. Apart from serving as a reference point to keep your content team organized and on-strategy, it also ensures that your content strategy won’t be completely derailed by a change in staff. Think of it as insurance for the investment you’ve made in your content.
Do words like content governance and subject matter expert get you fired up? Us too. Drop us a line if you’d like to talk content some more.