Content Governance

Content governance defined

Content governance is the process of planning, creating, managing, and enforcing policies and guidelines for creating, publishing, and maintaining digital content. It involves establishing rules and standards to ensure content accuracy, consistency, quality, and compliance across various platforms and channels. Content governance aims to maintain brand integrity, enhance user experience, and mitigate risks associated with content creation and distribution.

How content governance works

Content governance applies to both internal and external content. Companies develop and apply content governance strategies to ensure that their content always aligns with their goals, values, and brand image—whether the intended audience is employees, customers, prospects, shareholders, or the general public. These strategies are also intended to facilitate collaboration, coordination, and efficiency in creating and publishing content.

In some cases, content governance may be intended to manage risks associated with legal compliance, data privacy, and reputation management. It makes sure that all published content is both true and compliant, and it seeks to ensure that outdated content is removed.

Benefits of content governance

The list below includes a range of benefits that content governance can offer, but not every content governance strategy touches on every possible benefit. Some strategies might be designed only to mitigate risks, while others may be centered squarely on SEO. Each strategy is unique, designed to support the specific needs and business goals of the organization.

  1. Consistency: Content governance helps maintain consistency in messaging, tone, and branding across all of an organization’s content.
  2. Quality: Guidelines and standards for content creation ensure that content always meets a certain level of quality. This leads to more valuable and engaging content for the audience.
  3. Streamlined workflow: Content governance provides a framework for the content creation process, including roles and responsibilities, approval processes, and workflows. This helps streamline and optimize the content creation process, reducing inefficiencies and ensuring smooth collaboration among team members.
  4. Risk mitigation: Processes and guidelines help mitigate potential risks associated with legal issues, compliance requirements, and corporate reputation. This helps organizations avoid costly mistakes and maintain a positive brand image.
  5. SEO and searchability: Content governance may include strategies for optimizing content for search engines. This can lead to more web traffic, higher search engine rankings, and improved online visibility.
  6. Less duplication of effort: With content governance in place, organizations can effectively manage and organize their content assets. Employees can see what is readily available, maximizing the value and reuse of existing content—and reducing duplicative efforts.
  7. Collaboration: Content governance promotes collaboration among different content creation teams and departments. By establishing clear communication channels, organizations can foster better coordination and cooperation, leading to more innovative and impactful content.

8. Measurement and analysis: Content governance establishes metrics and analytics to measure content’s performance and impact. This helps companies to make data-driven decisions about what works and what doesn’t, continuously improving their content strategies.

Key elements of content governance

The process of developing a content governance model generally considers each of the following elements or steps.

  1. Clearly defined goals and objectives: Identify what the content governance model is meant to achieve—such as improving quality, ensuring consistency, or enhancing user experience.
  2. Roles and responsibilities: Determine who on your content team will be responsible for different content governance tasks, such as content creation, approval, and maintenance.
  3. Content standards and guidelines: Establish clear guidelines for content creation, including style, tone, voice, editorial guidelines, and branding. This ensures consistency across all content channels.
  4. Content creation and approval processes: Develop efficient workflows for creating and approving each type of content, from social posts to videos. This may involve content briefings, editorial calendars, and review cycles to ensure quality and accuracy.
  5. Content inventory and audit: Conduct a comprehensive audit of your existing content to identify strengths, gaps, redundancies, and areas for improvement—including where you might need to find subject matter experts.
  6. Content lifecycle management: Define the stages of content creation, publication, maintenance, and retirement. This ensures that content stays relevant and up to date.
  7. Content performance measurement: Establish metrics and analytics to track content effectiveness. This helps in optimizing content strategy with data-driven decisions.
  8. Compliance and legal considerations: Address legal and compliance requirements to ensure that each piece of content meets industry standards and regulations.
  9. Training and education: Provide training and resources to your content creators and stakeholders, ensuring they understand and adhere to the content governance strategy.
  10. Continuous improvement: Review and update your content governance strategy on a regular basis to stay up to date with evolving industry trends, technologies, and user needs.

Best practices

Companies should regularly audit and update content, both internally and externally. Regular content auditing is an ongoing process to make sure that new content is in line with company goals. Internal content audits can also monitor employee responses to news and announcements, providing a real-time barometer for employee sentiment.

Effective content governance should also include a centralized content repository. This ensures easy access, version control, and consistency across every communication channel, both internal and external. The content library or content management system should allow metadata tagging for easy content discovery and re-use.

Obstacles to content governance

In practice, there are many obstacles to content governance. Here are just a few:

  • The constant influx of new content in a wide variety of content types
  • Ensuring consistency across multiple platforms and channels
  • Managing user-generated content, over which companies often have little control
  • Maintaining compliance with legal and regulatory requirements
  • Handling the complexities of content localization and translation
  • Rapidly changing technologies and customer demands

All of these factors contribute to the challenges and complexities of implementing and maintaining a successful content governance framework.

The role of content governance for businesses

Content governance plays an important role for businesses—for both internal and external audiences. Internally, content governance ensures that employees see and hear consistent messaging about everything from product launches to strategic goals at every level of the organization. Content strategies should ensure that every employee has a single, reliable source of truth for internal information.

Externally, content governance helps maintain a strong, unified brand image by ensuring that all external communications, such as marketing materials, website content, and social media posts, align with the company’s values and messaging. It also helps in maintaining compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, ensuring that the business operates ethically and responsibly.

Ultimately, content governance helps establish credibility and trust with both internal stakeholders and external audiences, contributing to the long-term success of the business.

Strategic planning with content governance

Strategic planning is essential for businesses to manage and control their content effectively. Strategic content governance involves creating guidelines for content creation, approval, management, and distribution. With a well-defined content governance strategy, businesses can make sure their content is aligned with their goals, brand identity, and target audience. This improves the overall user experience and maximizes the impact of content marketing efforts.

Effective content governance also includes monitoring and measuring content performance to make data-driven decisions and continually refine the content strategy.

Reducing risks through content governance

Content governance is crucial for reducing the risks associated with content creation and management. By implementing proper governance processes and guidelines, organizations can ensure that their content is accurate, compliant, and aligned with their brand values. This helps avoid legal issues and reputational damage. Risk-based content governance requires strict review and approval processes as well as regularly auditing and updating content. Through effective content governance, organizations can mitigate risks and maintain control over their content ecosystem.

Implementing content governance in your organization

Implementing content governance requires targeted consideration of both internal and external communications. While most companies spend time thinking deeply about messaging when it comes to marketing teams, it’s not uncommon for companies to underestimate the importance of content governance for internal comms.

While internal communications might not affect sales directly, it does affect employee satisfaction and engagement, employee ratings on job sites, employee retention rates, and other employee KPIs that can ultimately affect the quality of a company’s talent pool, customer satisfaction rates, and the company’s bottom line.

Creating a content governance framework

To create a content governance framework, companies walk through each of the key steps one by one, with special attention to the following:

  1. Defining goals and objectives: In defining objectives, companies need to consider the wide variety of content uses and functions, from blog posts and social media posts to internal announcements or crisis communication and management.
  2. Determining roles and responsibilities: Creating a content governance plan should take continuity and scalability into consideration, defining the roles that will exist in the content governance process for both internal and external content.
  3. Setting standards and editorial guidelines: For external content, companies create brand guides and style guides that apply to design as well as the written or spoken word. This ensures consistent branding and content quality. Internal content often conforms to similar design rules, but the look and feel of internal content is often less formal and more team-oriented.
  4. Designing content processes: From designing content briefs to setting content policies regarding editing and review, content governance plans include specific strategies and content workflows for all pieces of content, from videos and help articles to product packaging.
  5. Conducting a content audit: Content teams can easily produce thousands of pieces of content every year, making a thorough content audit a real challenge. Content management systems can help, organizing content by channel, topic, function, and more.
  6. Setting up the content lifecycle: Content calendars should define more than just publication dates—they also need to include dates when various pieces of content should be seasonally refreshed or reviewed for possible deletion. 
  7. Choosing performance KPIs: Content strategists need to choose the right KPIs for the right kinds of content. SEO specialists may set content goals around clicks and traffic. Internal comms specialists may set goals around employee engagement for internal communications.
  8. Ensuring compliance: The content approval process will often include legal review as a required step in the content approval workflow. Lawyers check each content piece for potential issues, requesting changes as needed from content stakeholders. 
  9. Provide training: Content style guides often take the place of live training. While guides can help ensure quality standards, face-to-face walkthroughs and video examples can help content writers and designers provide consistent content across all aspects of content production.
  10. Continuously improving: The content governance process should include a regular review of the governance plan as part of content operations, ensuring effective content governance strategy in a constantly changing environment.

Modern intranet and content governance

Modern intranets are incredibly powerful platforms that can help companies manage just about every aspect of content governance, both internal and external. Below are just a few examples of how a cutting-edge intranet can support and facilitate an effective content governance plan.

Benefits of content governance in a modern intranet

  • Use AI to surface personally relevant content to individual employees
  • Integrate with multiple content libraries and search them all in one place
  • Give employees a reliable source of truth for all internal comms
  • Measure employee sentiment and reactions to content with AI insights and engagement analysis
  • Use auto-governance to notify content authors and managers automatically when it’s time to review content for updates or deletion

A modern intranet platform is designed for smart content management, helping employees manage internal and external communications at scale—and so much more.

To see everything Simpplr can do for comms, productivity, company culture, employee engagement, retention, and more, request a demo.