Content governance is not simply a written a policy or document; it should be intertwined with all of the marketing systems and processes within an organization. Your content strategy will govern how content is created, who creates it, who owns it, how it is managed, how it is structured, and how it is stored when it is deemed no longer useful.
If you are creating content, you have a strategy in place—you just may not be aware of it, which means it could be the wrong one for you. There are four main common content governance models that we most often see in our clients' organizations, and that we might recommend incorporating into their content strategy:
A distributed or decentralized content governance model is where content is created and drafted throughout the organization and there are often no guidelines in place for how content is written or published. This makes it difficult for those technically responsible for content as they have no real control over content practices, yet might get blamed for its current state. There are benefits to this model: content is often created by those close to the end users and initially, it will have a lower cost. However, in the long term, this model can hinder communication and result in unprofessional and inaccurate content. This model often best works for small start-up companies that do not have the resources for a designated content team.
2. The Central Team
A central team content governance model is where a small group of people creates and publishes content which allows for easy content management. Having one central team leads to good internal communication within the team, ensuring content is not duplicated and errors are caught before being published. Furthermore, the content team can create and grow its own culture and identity that will enhance the overall brand. When using this model, research is often of high importance to ensure the content is relevant to users, as this team is often remote from the user. The central team model is not realistic for a large municipality or organization that requires more support but is better suited for a medium-sized organization with up to 50 employees.
3. Hub and Spoke
The Hub and Spoke content governance model has a large team with everyone focused and centralized around commonly held content principles, allowing consistency and culture to flourish. It scales well and can be used for large municipalities or organizations that create a large amount of content. This model will only be successful if clear governance, workflow, management structure, systems, and processes are in place. Each team member needs to be on the same page and have a deep understanding of the overall goal and brand. This model is well suited for large corporate or government organizations with a structured system.
This matrix content governance model distributes people based on the different disciplines required for content creation: drafting the copy, service design, UX design, user research, etc. This model works well on a large scale and relies on teams with specific, in-depth knowledge, but it does not have a clear structure, which can result in confusion regarding who is responsible for which content when overlap occurs. This model is best for large municipalities or organizations with many different product or service offerings and departments, and internal capacity dedicated roles to carry out writing, design, and UX testing activities.
Content governance should not be an afterthought; instead, incorporate it into your everyday workflow. Here at Upanup, we think of content governance whenever we are creating content, whether it be a social media post or website redesign. An intuitive and maintainable flow and transfer of information before, during, and after content is created should be the foundation that your web presence is built upon.
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