What Is Content Governance?

Jason Smith

We all need rules to function in society. You need to follow specific rules to drive a car and move on the street, and you need to follow certain rules when opening a business. Well, the same is true for content.

However, according to a recent survey fielded by The Content Marketing Institute, 63% of the respondents don't take a strategic approach to content management because of the lack of processes set in place to handle content production.

This causes C-suite executives and business owners to have a misguided belief that content marketing "does not work." But that kind of blanket statements aren't true, and most of the time, what happens is that there weren't content governance processes in place. A lack of governance can render great content useless. And before you even think about hiring a content creator, you need to create a content governance model to support your initiatives.

This article will help you to understand what content governance means, why it's important for marketers, and how to create a content governance plan for your own business.

What Is Content Governance?

At its most basic level, content governance is a series of guidelines and manual or automated quality control processes that ensure that every piece of content you produce and publish is on-brand, accurate, and of good quality.

Content governance is the cornerstone of every content strategy. A governance plan enables marketers to manage content throughout its entire lifecycle, from ideation to consumption. Similarly, it makes sure that all of your content assets are aligned with your organizational goals.

Why Should Companies Care About Content Governance?

Simply put, without a plan, creating ad hoc digital content without editorial guidelines will result in both a confused content team and a poor content marketing ROI. While pumping a lot of content might sound like a good idea, it might end up costing you more.

Left unchecked, unmanaged, and without an editorial calendar, content introduces a host of potential problems including:

  • Poor quality, badly written and formatted content,
  • Inconsistent brand voice and mixed messages,
  • Content that can damage your reputation,
  • Poor content journeys,
  • And duplicate content.

Who Is Involved In The Governance Process?

While there isn't a cookie-cutter approach to a successful content workflow and content governance strategy, some stakeholders should be consulted before starting your governance journey. Let's take a look at the people involved in the governance process:

  • Salespeople: Salespeople know about the customer. They need to be a part of the governance process to ensure that every piece is speaking directly to the customer.
  • Content writers and editors: More than just writing the content, writers need to work with editors to ensure that every piece of content is error-free and produced within schedule.
  • Marketers: The marketing team has the responsibility to oversee the content lifecycle from beginning to end and make decisions about what gets published next.
  • Subject matter experts: When writing specialized content, you need subject-matter experts to review each piece to make sure it is on-point and factually correct.

Implementing A Content Governance Strategy

Content is, in itself, a quite abstract concept. That alone is part of the reason why content governance can be difficult to implement. Content is a faceted effort, which means that it is a living organism within your company that depends on people to work properly.

That's why governance can be so important for companies. You need to be able to articulate the relevance and value of your content in clear terms so every stakeholder can understand it. To help you do that, we're sharing some tips on content governance so you can take control of your content workflows.

Set KPIs

A content strategy needs to set KPIs to establish what successful content means. It depends on what function that particular content piece has and what part it plays in your company's grand scheme. Each piece of content needs to be intentional and have a purpose; otherwise, it won't work for you.

Define Content

Defining what content means and what constitutes content is the first step in the governance process. Take into account every potential piece of content in your workflow, from videos to blog posts, to infographics, to guides and sales content before you've written a single word.

Establish Ownership and Roles

While each stakeholder needs a clear role in the governance workflow, there needs to be a content owner whose work is to organize creators, editors and subject matter experts to ensure that the final content product follows the brand guidelines. However, this doesn't mean burdening your stakeholders with the responsibility for the content; it means empowering each person to contribute to the process.

Document Content Processes

This step involves creating a shared set of expectations about how content will be planned, produced, and published. Without a clear workflow and repeatable, documented processes, your content will be a messy bunch of unconnected pieces. Before that happens, you need to sit down and formalize a content workflow to enhance accountability and make governance possible.

Train Relevant Staff

Content creation is often seen as something that everybody can do. But top-performing content is harder to create, and it goes beyond the words that make it. To achieve a consistent content production, you need to train your collaborators and show them your content process. The tools you're using, the systems that support content creation, and the compliance guidelines they need to follow.

How dotCMS Workflows Enable Content Governance

For C-suite executives and business owners, the most important goal of content is to make sure that every part of your organization, from subject matter experts to marketers to content teams unlock the potential of timely, cohesive content.

Content management systems like dotCMS have the tools to empower your stakeholders; a CMS can ensure content quality and an active content governance. With a CMS, collaborators can create, author, and —most importantly— own content.

dotCMS can support you and your team and help you assign ownership to every part of your content, from content blocks to static and dynamic content, documents, images, and contact forms. Plus, our CMS has granular permissions to help you group stakeholders into a role, split your websites into different sections for different contributors.

With dotCMS you ensure that your content gets an appropriate sign-off. You can manage your content policies,archive your content, and handle versioning and history to make sure you can always go back to a previous edition.

Plus, dotCMS includes a list of built-in sub-actions that act as steps in your content approval process. You may select any number of these sub-actions, and execute them in whatever order you wish, for each workflow action. The CMS also acts as a content governance system that allows you to specify how content moves through your system, from initial creation, through to publishing, and even to archival, deletion or other final disposition.

dotCMS can help you ensure that your company has set proper content governance guidelines in place. If you're interested in learning more about this subject, read our guide dotCMS Workflows.

Jason Smith
Chief User Experience Officer
April 04, 2021

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