Why you need content governance

By Elin Salekärr

Why you need content governance

So, you have your content strategy set? That's great! But it's also just a theory until you do something with it, which brings us to the topic of this article. Do you have a clear view of how who, and where to handle the content creation, workflows, and documentation? Because if you do, it will be easy to get that strategy to take off. If not, it will be exponentially harder the more you try to scale without it.

You need to be creative and exciting to engage your audience. This means thinking outside the box and offering something unique to grab their attention. Content governance ensures that what you create and communicate stays consistent and on message over time.

What is content governance?

It's about appointing the ownership of the content process and its roles.

A company's content governance framework is the set of rules, processes, and tools that help ensure the quality and accuracy of its content. It can include everything from style guides and editorial processes to authoring tools and content management systems.

Effective content governance is essential for any organisation that wants to create and publish high-quality content. But it can be challenging to get right, especially if your organisation is large and decentralised. Content production, significantly when scaling, can quickly add much work. If you start small, you will notice a big difference when growth hits, and you suddenly realise that no easy hacks or shortcuts will solve things out of the blue.

Establishing a content process, assigning the right people, and setting the right cadence to the workflows are usually challenging. And then there is the maintenance part; documenting, operating, and ensuring you stay well-staffed and retain knowledge if someone, for instance, suddenly quits their job.

You will need to give it time to grow and evolve to be efficient. The sooner it's implemented, the sooner you can find the spots for improvement.

What to think about

There are a few crucial components when talking about content and content management. First, it would be best to have structure, relevance and a publishing plan for one thing. But it would be best if you also had the workflows and the governance to get the whole matrix, with all its dependencies, to work like a charm.

The human factor is vital. This new AI kid is on the block, but it has not overtaken everything that needs human brains (at least not yet). Assets do not create themselves; they don't distribute without steering and someone pushing the publishing or sharing buttons. If there is no plan to rule it all, your content may appear in all sorts of contexts - or not at all, for that matter.

It's good to have a multi-faceted approach towards assets and channels and what content to create but start by looking at it from the top to get an overview of whether you have what you need in the right places.

As soon as there's a plan - please formalise it, and let everyone know that they are assumed to be part of the content eco-system. You can continuously optimise and refine as you go, so don't wait too long to get going just because you want everything to be perfect.

Ownership and roles

Establish clear ownership and accountability for content. Who is responsible for creating and approving content? Who is responsible for ensuring that it meets quality standards? These are essential questions to answer upfront so everyone knows who's responsible for what.

Preferably, you also have one or multiple subject matter experts on your team (or at least easy access to them).


Then what? Define your editorial process and the workflows! It would be best if you had a strategy, but you also need the content creation plan and the framework for the optimisation and publishing schedules.

What steps do you go through to approve or reject content? What are the criteria for publishing content? This will vary depending on your organisation's needs, but it's essential to have a transparent process in place so that everyone understands how content is created and approved.

Guides and templates

The next box to tick off your list is the documentation and standardisation chapter.

What brand guidelines are there to comply with, and what editorial standards and policies do you have? If there are none, you need to create the style guides and templates to avoid ad hoc creation and chaos building up on the horizon.

A good style guide will help ensure that all your content looks consistent and professional. Templates help ensure that all your content is formatted correctly, regardless of who creates it.


Finally, do you know if everything is documented, adequately stored and easy to share and access for those involved? Implement practical authoring tools and CMSs.

If you want your team to produce high-quality content, you must give them the tools to do their job effectively. Authoring tools should be easy to use and allow writers to create well-formatted articles quickly. Likewise, a good CMS should make it easy to manage and publish content quickly and easily.

You've come a long way if you have answers to the things in this article. But there is always more to be done – don't hesitate to reach out if you're open to bouncing ideas for the next level of improvement.

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Elin Salekärr
Project Manager 2011-14 and 2017-23.
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