The word, “Governance” may make your eyes feel heavy, and your brain clench up to protect itself from oncoming boredom. We get it.
While this sounds like a supremely unexciting thing, the result is incredibly satisfying and can have a huge impact on your business.
Put simply, content governance is a system to help you standardize content creation. Why bother with it? So that your social media posts, blogs, website content, newsletters, etc. adhere to brand standards and achieve their intended purpose… namely to connect with your audience and help you win more customers.
How do you know if your company needs it? In our experience, most companies do need some level of content governance. We know because we've struggled with this stuff too. Every item on this list is something we've been guilty of ourselves at times, so rest assured that we're not preaching from the mountaintop. We're in the trenches with you and deeply understand how easily these issues can arise.
If you’re still unsure, let’s go through some of the most common symptoms of a lack of content governance.
Visual Brand Guidelines Are Haphazard or Nonexistent
Visual brand guidelines cover stuff like exact brand colors, logo usage, fonts, icon style, imagery and more. Do you know how some brands have a visual style you’d recognize from a mile away? That doesn’t happen by accident. Behind the scenes, they have documents that spell out exactly how their brand should be portrayed from a visual perspective.
Not only does this ensure a consistent look online, but it makes the job of content creators a heck of a lot easier. They don’t have to guess or make things up as they go along. When they need to find a stock image, they know exactly what they’re looking for. When it’s time to create a graphic with text, they don’t spend an hour looking for the right font. All that guidance is provided in their organization’s content governance materials.
There’s No Consistent Voice or Tone in Written Copy
For many organizations (especially large ones), several different writers will be creating content on a regular basis. That can work just fine as long as all the writers are on the same page about voice and tone.
If you’re not quite sure what those words mean, there’s an easy way to remember. Voice in writing is just like your actual voice because it’s how you always sound. But you use different tones depending on the situation you’re in and the people you’re talking to.
When you formalize your brand’s voice, tone and grammar usage then it’s a lot easier for multiple writers to create content that’s consistent. Otherwise, you end up with content that sounds like it’s all coming from different sources rather that one brand that knows its identity.
You can absolutely have content with different bylines, especially if there are writers on your team who are known for different styles. However, they should all comfort to some general rules from general language usage (AP vs. Chicago style, for example) to more nuanced points such as acronym usage or using active voice.
You Have Multiple Accounts and No One Knows Who Has Access
If you groaned when you read this, then your organization could use content governance for sure. We’ve worked with many companies who have multiple
domains and social media accounts floating all over the internet.
But how does such a thing happen? Easy. An employee creates an account and uses that account for the company. Then they move on to a different job without providing access to that account to anyone else at the company. So, someone just creates a new account. The vicious cycle continues and things get out of control.
These phantom accounts can be problematic because they can confuse your customers and result in people going to the wrong place. It can be a pain to track everything down and make it right, but it’s possible and important.
One Piece of Content Takes Months to Produce
There’s certainly value in taking your time, doing proper research and getting input to create a winning piece of content. After all, rushing can often lead to errors that reflect poorly on your brand.
But being too meticulous and using an overly-cumbersome editorial process can hold you back from publishing on a regular basis. So, where’s the middle ground?
The answer will be different for each organization. However, everyone can benefit from keeping a couple of key things in mind. First, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. That means perfection is basically unattainable, so you should recognize when something is good enough to be put out in the world.
Second, is the juice worth the squeeze? Everything your brand puts out feels super important, but try to retain some perspective - it’s just one blog or one social media post. Will more review and input over weeks or months make a measurable impact?
Content governance can help you streamline this process in a way that ensures sufficient review while prioritizing a consistent publishing schedule.
Your Content Isn’t Connecting
Who is the audience for your content? If you ask most companies, they’d tell you that it’s their customers or clients. This may seem like a silly question with an obvious answer.
However, taking a look at their actual content might tell a different story. Let’s say they post an album of 25 photos from the company holiday party. Who’s that content for? Do their current or potential customers care about that?
Or let’s imagine their website copy focuses entirely on the company’s history and what makes them so great. Is that what potential customers really want to read? Content governance can help you answer these questions.
The point is, your company could be spending lots of time and effort on creating content that’s more geared toward the people on your staff or other companies in your industry. So, it’s no wonder it’s not connecting with your intended audience.
Lay a Proper Foundation
If all this sounds frighteningly familiar, then you’ve got a content governance problem. Don’t worry too much; lots of organizations do. It's easy to gloss over this stuff as we attend to the day-to-day operations of our business. At some point, though, we have to stop and lay a proper foundation rather than just stacking bricks and hoping they don’t topple over.
Starting with a solid content governance foundation is key, but it's not a magic bullet. You'll still have to work diligently on an ongoing basis to ensure that new content is, in fact, meeting the standards you set. It won't be a perfect system that guarantees success, but it will make success a whole lot easier.
And we can help. Get in touch now to learn more about EDUCO’s content governance services and we’ll get your workshop on the calendar.