Digital Interactive Services

Do you have your Content Governance in place?

As intimidating as the title of this article may sound, content governance is nothing but a hygiene check that brands and organizations need to check off starting today if they’re not doing it already.

It’s not really that complicated if you think about it. Like most practices within an organization, content must also follow certain principles and discipline for it to be an effective strategy. Content marketing is indeed a powerful tool for any brand; but the secret behind its potential success is how well it is organized, managed, and implemented – make way for content governance.

Simply put, content governance is the process of organizing your content operations, from planning to scheduling. Let’s explore these concepts in more detail.

Planning is key

Let’s start with the basics and answer the questions on why we’re creating content, who we’re creating it for, how many times we put it out there, and what we expect all this to do for the brand.

As with any other function, content marketing also needs to tie back into the larger business objectives, especially on building top-of-the-funnel metrics like brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand loyalty. The target audience becomes the next most important thing, as knowing your reader or viewer, in deciding the kind of topics or the style of storytelling to pursue.

Frequency must be ascertained at this stage because that’s the key to any content governance plan. If you’re not consistent with your delivery or doing too much of it, it is just as easy to dilute the brand image in the minds of the end consumer.

Setting up a flow

Who writes the content; who approves it; and who puts it out there; should be some of the questions that should be answered during this phase. Content doesn’t necessarily need to come from content writers, almost anyone within the organization who is an SME in their field can start putting pen to paper. Maintaining a brand content [editorial] calendar with details of authors and the topics assigned, along with their publishing dates can go a long way in achieving discipline in the content strategy. The calendar can be maintained, managed, and leveraged to drive a regular and consistent funnel of content that can be pushed out on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

There is no specific one-size-fits-all approval cycle that exists, and it’s really at the discretion of the content lead to figuring out what works best for their organizational size and defined goals. There are robust tools available in the market today that make organizing the entire content creation-approval flow easy for large-scale organizations with sizeable teams. Yet, at the same time, there are simple excel-based formats also that professionals use to maintain the entire cycle.

Time for action

Any piece of content is just as good as the eyeballs (read as views) it grabs. Scheduling and phasing are crucial to determine the right channels, time, and frequency for the content to realize its full potential.

As mentioned before, there are a plethora of tools that exist out there that help in scheduling and publishing content across platforms, communities, forums, or social media. Unlike in the previous stage, using tools and integrating them with your website and content channels are absolutely essential in this phase, as it becomes nearly impossible to manually maintain a successful publishing schedule. The tools facilitate additional features that are useful, such as reading brand sentiment online, making quick changes to the content on the fly, and providing important engagement metrics.

Measuring the success

ROI is everything for businesses today. Now with content marketing, it would be foolish to expect any immediate tangible returns. It is a medium that insinuates and grows, appealing to the intellectual in the readers. Affinity is built over a longer period, unlike other core performance-based channels, such as social media ads, native display, CPM based advertising, and SEO. Having said that, it is important to keep a track of each piece of content put out there and its performance to measure its impact over a stipulated period.

An immediate need for evaluation becomes pertinent to the ongoing content creation and publishing schedule, as looking at engagement metrics for your content will let you know if it’s performing the way it should or if you need to make changes to your tonality, strategy, and frequency. Review, learn, and adapt should be the ultimate objective in this critical stage.

A good content governance process can take you closer to your expected results.  What is mentioned here in this article is probably just the “tip of the iceberg”, and one must realize that the larger the size of the organization, the more complex your content governance plan can get - right from following specific channel-based brand guidelines, to meeting statutory or legal standards, and having a crisis management content plan built-in along with your PR responses.

Whether you realize it yet or not, content marketing is as essential a function today as your traditional marketing and communication (internal or external) plans; and is very much a part of that ecosystem and beyond. Setting up a good governance system can be a daunting task, and one shouldn’t shy away from getting experts onboard to help in driving a stellar content strategy on an ongoing basis.  

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