What is Content Governance?

Content governance is a system of organizing the entire content production process, from goals and objectives, project management processes, to all steps and tasks required to complete it. It covers everything from content creation to content management, to content routing.

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Are you struggling with managing an ever-growing content production? Have you heard of content governance, and wonder whether it’s something you should consider implementing?

FACT: We need to produce more and more content to support all kinds of marketing and sales activities. And that volume is only going to increase further. 

It’s not a bad thing, of course. But having to publish so many new content assets every day brings on a serious challenge – The necessity for a proven system to manage the content production. 

Enter content governance, a system that determines how your organization creates and publishes content. 

In this guide, you’ll learn all about content governance. You’ll also learn why content governance is a must-have for any brand, and we’ll even show you how to get started. 

Intrigued? Let’s get right to it, then.

 

What is Content Governance?

The term – content governance – refers to a system that defines and organizes all aspects of a company’s content production process. 

Think of it as a blueprint, one that you use to plan, create, and distribute every single content project from start to finish. 

And that’s where the power of having a system to govern content. It ensures that your content creation process runs smoothly. Everyone involved in a particular project knows their role and responsibilities. These people also know what they need to do at every stage of the project, and what processes to follow to complete each task. 

At the risk of sounding too grandiose, content governance brings order to your projects. 

Challenges with content production

We have quite a serious challenge in front of us. As modern brands, we need to produce more and more content. What’s more, that volume increases at an astonishing rate. 

That, in itself, creates a whole range of problems:

  • The content team has an unprecedented volume of content assets to manage with new projects being added to the list every day. 
  • There are more people involved in the process too, including 3rd party content creators and remote teams who contribute to each piece of content. 
  • More departments request content as well. It’s no longer just the marketing team that needs content. Sales, customer success, website, product, and others require new assets on a regular basis.
  • Teams have more content workflows to follow. Unfortunately, without a clear system, these workflows often end up clashing with each other.
  • Finally, you have to distribute that content across an ever-growing number of channels. 
 

As a result:

  • It’s easy for anyone involved to lose track of their responsibilities. It’s quite common for content teams not to be certain about what tasks they should be focusing on.
  • It’s harder to manage assets in an organized way. As a result, teams end up using older versions of files, or can’t even locate relevant assets quickly enough. 
  • Content quality suffers too, particularly if the company doesn’t have a clear production process. 
  • Finally, long approval process and sign-off cycles result in project delays and much frustration for everyone involved. 

Content governance overcomes all those challenges and, in most cases, once implemented, the system becomes indispensable. 

Here’s why. 

Why Implement Content Governance: Benefits and Goals

There are three particular reasons for implementing a system to govern content:

Improved consistency of content

Your organization’s content, should, in theory, match the style guide and follow brand guidelines. 

Unfortunately, that’s quite challenging to do, particularly if you don’t have complete control over the production process. 

The situation is quite different when there’s a system behind content production. Then, suddenly projects not only get done faster, but they also retain a consistent quality. 

Sky-high quality

Improved consistency will automatically increase the quality of the output. But that’s not the only way how content governance contributes to producing better content. 

With a clear process and system in place, it’s much easier to expand the expertise level of your content. For example,

  • It’s easier to collaborate on content with external vendors, and invite top talent to contribute to projects. 
  • You can involve more subject-matter experts from within your organization too. 
 

Increase in productivity and output

That’s another benefit of having a formalized process behind the production. With it, everyone involved knows what they need to do, when, and to what standard. Your content supply chain is clear too. 

The result is far greater output without having to increase the production levels.

 

Fewer mistakes

Mistakes happen, of course. However, with the content governance model in place, they become a rare occurrence, rather than the norm. For one, the system organizes all aspects of content production, so there is little to no confusion about it. Assets are in place, too, and everyone involved knows what is what. As a result, your organization not only gets more work done but reduces the cost of producing the content.

How to Implement a Content Governance Plan: The Basics of a Content Governance Strategy

Before we discuss how to implement a content governance strategy, we need to cover one other thing – What a typical content production process looks like, and what elements you’ll be governing with the system.

So, typically, content production follows three stages:

Create. This stage focuses on the actual production – From planning to creating content for any point of the customer journey. As a result, at the create stage, you work with anything from file sharing to production, proofing, approvals, and more. 

Manage. This stage is dedicated to managing content end-to-end and fully utilizing your marketing assets across all digital touchpoints. The focus here is on uploading and storing files, managing metadata to ensure that anyone involved can find relevant files easily. 

Route. Finally, the third and last stage is all about overseeing the delivery of the content to all the required channels – social media campaigns, website, sales and marketing campaigns, and more.

CELUM offers SAP Content Management within the create, manage, and route content approach.

Content governance strategy is about taking complete control over those production stages. Here’s how we recommend you get started. 

Step 1. A complete workflow audit

Before you can dive into creating a content governance strategy, you should first understand all your existing processes for creating, managing, and routing content. 

Start by auditing how content production happens at the moment. Talk to content teams, and other project stakeholders to find out: 

  • What are each team’s responsibilities, 
  • What steps do they follow when creating content,
  • What processes ensure content quality and consistency, 
  • What is the review and approval process, who is involved, and so on?

 

Furthermore, review processes within your content planning software, if the organization uses one. Take note of the typical tasks and actions assigned, deadlines, and feedback processes.

But remember, at this stage, you’re not looking for any problematic areas or common bottlenecks. Instead, you are only building a picture of how content production happens in the organization right now. Your goal is to understand the process as it is. 

Why? Because it’s only when you understand it completely, you are able to start looking for ways to improve and streamline the production. 

 

Step 2. Define your content supply chain

A content supply chain is a process that defines the core elements of content production. 

But unlike the information you collected in the previous step – The supply chain does not focus on the process you use right now. Instead, it is the optimal setup of how you ensure a continuous flow of content from production to (potential) customers. 

What’s more, the supply chain includes the complete process, showing what should happen to take a raw idea and transform it into a finished content asset, like this:

Content supply chain.

Note that the chain, apart from outlining tasks to be done, also defines content suppliers, stakeholders, routing, and even maps out how you’re going to monitor the performance of your content. 

Step 3. Assign responsibilities

One of the biggest benefits of defining the supply chain is that it allows you to see everything that needs to be done to complete content projects. That includes tasks, actions, and processes to deliver those. 

As the next step, you need to decide who does what and assign responsibilities to various stakeholders. 

TIP: You don’t have to make this overly complex. Your list of responsibilities can be as simple as an outline of different tasks that various team members would be responsible for, like this:

Position Writer Strategist Editor
Responsibilities Content research, outlining, writing content Planning content calendar, creating content briefs for writers, conducting keyword research to identify new opportunities Editing content, managing content production, overseeing freelancers

Step 4. Define brand voice and content quality standards

This step includes two elements. 

The first one is all about defining brand guidelines so that all content looks universal and presents your organization exactly how it wants to be presented. 

The other, however, ensures that everyone involved knows exactly the quality levels you expect from them and delivers it consistently across various projects. 

Having clearly defined standards will help speed up review and approval processes too. They will make it easier to establish which assets meet its quality standards and which ones do not. 

Your standards could include formatting, file formats, sizing for different channels, color modes, and anything else that you want to keep consistent across different projects. 

 

Step 5. Create project templates in content management software

Unfortunately; your process will improve the content production only if teams implement and follow it. So, this last step is all about ensuring that the governance strategy gets embedded in every content project from the get-go. 

There is no better way to do it than by setting up templates for various projects. This way, anyone adding a project would automatically trigger a relevant production process. 

For example, CELUM – our content automation platform – allows users to define workflows and use those for each new project.
What’s more, with the platform, you can also:
  • Create personal templates for a variety of content projects and predefine workflows based on a type of project. 
  • Define responsibilities at a granular level. You can specify how team members process tasks in the platform and who can approve or move tasks forward. 
  • Automate repetitive processes with AI automation. 
 

Unlock the power of your content today.

Simplify workflows, reduce errors, and spend more time with your team working on the next big thing. 

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