Content governance is a scary term for a simple concept: giving your content strategy the momentum it needs to succeed. Here’s how to get it right in every market.
How many people does it take to write a blog post?
Copywriters, editors, subject matter experts, designers, project managers, content owners, maybe even translators… the list goes on.
And that doesn’t just apply to blog posts. Content creation is a messy business. It’s not surprising 72% of marketers feel their brand struggles to manage content strategically – and only 12% are in any way successful. Because the more people are involved, the more potential for conflicting opinions and deviation from the original strategy. If one link in the chain breaks, the whole project can be delayed.
That’s where content governance can help.
It’s a fancy term for a simple process determining how your content is created and distributed. It allows you to define clear roles, responsibilities and guidelines for your content creation and distribution, so you can keep the show on the road.
HOW CONTENT GOVERNANCE WORKS
Content governance isn’t rocket science. All it requires is some thought before jumping into content creation.
1. DESIGNATE ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
Fundamentally, content governance means deciding who does what at each stage of the process.
This can take many forms, depending on the size and scale of your business. But to start with, avoid the temptation of becoming too complicated too quickly – a surefire way of grinding your content strategy to a halt.
Instead, develop a minimum viable product. Who’s absolutely essential? We recommend starting with these four roles:
1. Strategic director
They set the agenda. They’ll define the content strategy and make sure your brand sticks to it. They probably won’t be directly involved in creating content, but they will have final sign-off.
2. Content manager
They’re responsible for the day-to-day management of your content creation and distribution, in line with your strategy. And they’ll deal with ad hoc content requests from other departments.
If you’re writing a technical piece of content on a particular topic, you’ll want to make sure it’s accurate. Unfortunately, subject matter experts often don’t have the time (or ability) to write content themselves, so you’ll need to get their input another way. Outline what you expect from them, and at which stage you’ll need their help.
4. Content creator
This role will probably apply to several people, depending on the nature of the project. It can include copywriters and editors, but also designers, photographers, videographers… anyone involved in bringing your content to life. Define what is (and isn’t) their responsibility. Then, it’s up to the content manager to make sure they stick to it.
Once you’ve mastered the basic roles and responsibilities, you can go back and fill in any gaps.
2. DECIDE AND DOCUMENT CONTENT WORKFLOWS
General rule of thumb: creating content takes longer than you think.
Before sitting down to create any content, consider the following questions:
- How long does it currently take you to create content?
- Do you have the skills and time you need to create content in-house, or will you need to outsource?
- What is the current content creation and distribution procedure on each channel?
- Where could you streamline your process?
Use your responses to build content workflows per channel. Be as specific as you can. Include:
- The stages you need per channel
- What’s involved in each stage
- Who’s responsible
- How long it should take
Don’t forget to document your decisions with written guidelines and policies. This gives you something to refer back to and makes sure everyone is on the same page. It’s also useful when it comes to training people on the new workflows.
Pro tip: use a tool like Trello to manage your content workflow. It gives everyone clear insight into which stage the content is at, what’s left to do and who needs to do it.
3. DEFINE CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS
After all that, how do you know if your approach is working?
By determining what success looks like. It goes without saying your content will serve different purposes on different channels. So decide what you want to achieve and set clear KPIs. Do you want more engagement on social media? Lower bounce rate? More form completions? Use these standards to review the effectiveness of your content.
HOW GLOBAL CONTENT GOVERNANCE WORKS
Building a content governance model for your home market may feel daunting. When you throw in multiple languages and markets, it can be downright overwhelming.
Don’t be disheartened. It’s perfectly possible to integrate all your markets into a wider governance model. Start by answering these questions:
- Who’s responsible for content creation and distribution in each market – HQ, the local market, or a mixture? If it’s the latter, who’s responsible for which content?
- How much content will you translate, and how much will you create from scratch? How can you ensure consistency and quality? (Here are a few tools that can help.)
- Which local market contacts will sign off on content? Train them up in your governance model.
- How will you measure success in each market? (Read our recommendations here.)
You can then build a global governance model that allows your content to travel seamlessly and consistently across borders.
Global content governance may sound scary, but it doesn’t have to be. When done well, it’s a great way of turning your content strategy into results – in every market. And all it takes is some planning, forethought and commitment.
If you’d like help putting together a global content governance model or content strategy, get in touch – we’d love to help.
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