If you’re the head of marketing for a large organization, you probably view yourself as a publisher. At least that’s what 93 percent of the CMOs we talked to as part of a recent survey said, noting that they’re responsible for creating, managing, distributing, and measuring the effectiveness of content. The reason for this is that content’s essential for growing your business. Among other things, it’s what you rely on to help develop and differentiate your brand and increase sales effectiveness.

The problem is that at large organizations (let’s say companies valued at $500 million or more), there tend to be a lot of people creating content. In fact, according to our research, at that size companies have an average of 150 content creators, many of whom don’t report into marketing. We’re talking about the folks in product, customer services, and training and skills development, among other areas, not to mention any third-party content creators who’ve been engaged through agencies.

Staying on top of that much content across departments, offices, and geographies is virtually impossible. All the more so when you’ve got to localize all of that content for different audiences. That’s why if you’re the head of marketing, you’ve really got to be focused on content governance. It’s the only way to help you bring order to what you’re doing while helping ensure that you consistently create successful, high-impact content.

Structures, Systems, and People: The Path to Content Governance

In the United States, the Federal Government is responsible for governing 320 million people. It does this through a combination of laws, legislation, and executive orders that are designed to balance each other out. While they don’t give the government complete control, they do help create order.

When it comes to content governance, it’s a similar story — you can’t expect to control everything. After all, just because you’re the head of marketing, that doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to be a dictator. Having said that, what you can do is put a framework in place that gives you key points of control over the quality and compliance of your company’s content. That framework should consist of a combination of structures, systems, and people.

Let’s take a closer look at each of those components.

Structures

Just as you can’t build a house without a blueprint, you can’t manage all of your company’s content without a plan. That plan needs to encompass several structures, including a content architecture, universal targeting taxonomy, content distribution rules, and content performance tracking. Among other things, having these structures in place will help you ensure that your content can be found, that it can be contextualized for specific personas, that it addresses relevant pain points, and that it supports your sales process. They also help to ensure that your content is breaking down big themes and brand messages into smaller elements that can be repackaged and repurposed throughout your organization.

Systems

While technology isn’t the end all be all for content — we’re still a ways off from the day when robots start writing great content for us — it still has an important role to play. First, it can help automate workflow so that the dozens or even hundreds of people who are involved in your content efforts can work faster and more efficiently. The other big value that technology provides is that it helps you facilitate collaboration so that it becomes a seamless process.

To facilitate all of this and more, you look at content marketing systems and content automation platforms. There are tools available that will help you manage your content, distribute your content, measure your content, and, in the case of Acrolinx, even improve its quality.

People

If you take a look at newspapers or magazines, they tend to have hundreds or even thousands of writers who report up into a much smaller team of editors. Those editors manage assignments, ensure quality control, and help keep the content machine running.

Marketing executives are adopting a similar approach. They often put one person in charge of content operations (things such as systems, tools, measurement, etc.). On the other side of the house, they typically install an editor-in-chief who’s responsible for overseeing teams of writers who help them create all of the content that the business needs.

Thinking strategically about the people who contribute to your content operations, and how to organize them so that they can work most effectively, is essential.

The Way Forward

Content governance is a big and important job. It takes a lot of upfront work, but once you’ve done that work it will pay dividends for a long time to come.

While there’s no one silver bullet for getting content governance right — you’ve got to use the appropriate combination of structures, systems, and people for your business — hopefully this post has given you some things to think about. Ultimately, the idea is to systematize, streamline, and automate as much as you can to make content a much faster and more efficient process for everyone.

If you’d like to learn more about content governance, check out this recent webinar that we hosted with Acrolinx.

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About Stephen Diorio:
Stephen Diorio is the founder of the Brand Publishing Institute and an established authority in brand publishing, go-to-market strategy, and sales enablement. Stephen is an expert on how technology can improve sales and marketing effectiveness — he authored Publish or Perish: CMO Roadmap for Managing, Systematizing and Optimizing the Marketing Content Supply Chain, and Beyond “e”: 12 Ways Technology is Transforming Sales and Marketing Strategy (McGraw-Hill).

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About Grant Butler:
Grant Butler is the founder and managing director of Editor Group, a leading corporate writing and content marketing firm with offices in Sydney, Singapore, and New York. He authored the book Think Write Grow (Wiley), which explains how experts can become thought leaders and grow their business through great writing and marketing. Grant and his team have helped over 100 global businesses, government, and not-for-profit clients with editorial services and strategic guidance on publishing and content creation.