Today I’d like to take some time to talk about two concepts that are very important to us here at Acrolinx: governance and guidance. Let me explain what we mean by each, and why we think they’re essential for creating high-quality content at scale.
Governance is a pretty straightforward term. In the world of content creation, it refers to the people, processes, and systems that you have in place to manage how your content actually gets created. For example, perhaps in your organization every piece of content needs to be peer reviewed by someone else before it can be published. Or maybe you have a corporate style guide that you’re supposed to adhere to. There could be any number of other guidelines that you try to enforce, too. All of those types of procedures, and the corresponding rules they represent, are part of your governance and they’re critical for ensuring quality and consistency.
The challenge with governance is that it can fall short for a variety of reasons. Writers can choose to ignore your style guidelines. Or maybe the team of editors you’ve hired to review all of your content doesn’t have the bandwidth to look at everything. As a result, things can slip through cracks, with your organization potentially publishing or distributing content that just isn’t up to scratch. Even with the best laid plans, this is something that happens all of the time.
So while governance puts all of the rules in place, it can’t always ensure that they’re followed. That’s where guidance comes in. You need a way to actively guide your content creators as they’re writing so that adhering to your standards isn’t an afterthought, but rather becomes part of the process.
Bringing Governance and Guidance Together
I didn’t plan on making this post a sales pitch — and I don’t want it to become one — but I feel like I do need to tell you about how Acrolinx brings governance and guidance together.
Our content optimization platform is fully customizable, giving you the opportunity to change its guidance however you see fit to meet your company’s specific style guidelines. So, say for example that you want to ensure that your content always adopts a conversational tone, or that your writers always use the Oxford comma. You can set those preferences (and thousands of others) within the platform. Likewise, you can enter all of your company’s preferred terminology into the system, including things like brand and product names, preferred spellings, and other words and phrases that are unique to your business.
Once all of that information (i.e., the governance around how you want your content to be written) is stored in Acrolinx, we use our sidebar to help your writers implement all of those preferences. It works right within your favorite content authoring tools, providing real-time feedback as you create and review your content. For example, beyond simply identifying spelling or grammar mistakes, it will tell you when you’re using the wrong term or when what you’ve written doesn’t align with your company’s brand voice.
Effective Content Creation at Scale
It’s this one-two punch of having governance and then being able to enforce it with proper guidance that allows large companies with hundreds or even thousands of writers to create better, more consistent content that’s always on-brand and on-target. It’s the secret to effective content creation at scale. That’s because when you’ve only got one or the other, things tend to fall down. If you’ve only got governance, people don’t necessarily follow the rules. If you’ve only got guidance, you’re not necessarily all going to be singing from the same hymnal.
By bringing these two concepts together in a user-friendly way, you get better results with your content. And that, at least in my book, is pretty compelling.