Top 4 content governance Q&As

We field a lot of questions about content governance.

Many of them come from conference attendees who take our governance workshop, Aligning People to Your Processes.

This spring, CSI’s Kathy Wagner and Melissa Breker presented the workshop at Confab Central in Minneapolis and Collective in Atlanta.

If the following Q&As resonate with you, stay tuned to our Events page for upcoming conferences (or connect with us directly for a consultation). 

Melissa Breker and Kathy Wagner Content Strategy Inc

We’ve done some content governance work in the past, but it’s hard to get everyone on board. A lot doesn’t get used. How can we make sure that our content governance recommendations actually get implemented?

We find that organizations often have trouble shifting from a deliver-and-drop mentality to evolve-and-sustain. They find it easy to come up with ideas for creating and publishing content, but don’t have the organizational structure and accountability framework to make things happen.

One tool we use to help companies create sustainable change is the five-stage Content Maturity Model. The model helps companies understand how mature their content practices currently are, and what they need to do to continue to evolve and progress in a sustainable way. There are certain foundational requirements that need to be met in any one stage, before you can be solid in the next.

When companies try to skip a stage, take shortcuts, or adopt solutions that are too far away from where they currently are, they run into problems.

Ultimately, governance is about content leadership. If you want to the evolve your content practices and actually get things done, consistently over time, strong leadership is essential.

If you want to the evolve your content practices, strong leadership is essential. Click To Tweet

In our workshop, we’ll go through the model in detail, so you understand how to progress by creating a strong foundation. We’ll also touch on different techniques and tactics to get people on board with change, so that your efforts are supported.

There’s no clear ownership of content decisions in our organization. It’s every team for itself and nobody sets boundaries. How can we get better content leadership?

Lack of content leadership is probably the number one governance problem we see in the companies we work with. Sometimes, leadership exists in isolated pockets throughout the company. In other cases, it’s lacking entirely.

When no one takes the content reins, the result is inconsistent content and horribly inefficient processes. Roles and responsibilities are unclear, so people end up creating whatever content they want, however it makes sense to them, without understanding the broader implications.

The only way to address the vacuum is to fill it with a strong leader. Somebody who will “own” or be accountable for the success and consistency of content, and create a positive energy around it. If that’s a new concept in your organization, you’ll need to create a business case that clearly demonstrates how problematic your current cowboy-on-the range approach is, and the business benefits of having a strong content leader.

In our workshop, you’ll gain a better understanding of common problems caused by lack of leadership, and the value that a strong leader brings. We’ll discuss what good leadership looks like, what’s involved, and how leaders can fit within your organization in different ways.

We have a completely decentralized content team and almost no oversight. Where do we start? Is there any hope at all?

Content teams are relatively new in large organizations, and the different lines of businesses are historically entrenched, so this is unfortunately a common scenario.

The fact is, there are advantages to decentralization and the odds are, your lines of business are very aware of them. But the benefits don’t extend into quality of content, customer experience, or organizational efficiency.

On the other hand, unless the primary purpose of your business is to create and sell content, such as an online magazine, a fully centralized model is rarely the right answer either. Certainly not if you’re looking at things from an enterprise-wide perspective.

We find that what works best is a thoughtful blend of both worlds, or a hybrid model. A hybrid content governance model creates a balance between meeting the needs of decentralized departments while having some degree of centralized control over the content quality and consistency in areas where it’s most critical to audience or organizational goals.

We’ll cover the pros and cons of centralized and decentralized teams in the workshop and share examples of companies who solved the problem through various hybrid approaches. And because we like things that come in threes, we’ll introduce you to the  matrix model, a style of centralized governance that is really good at meeting the needs of distributed lines of business.

How can we solve world peace?

Yes, this is a real question we’ve had from attendees!

If you want to know the answer, you have to come to a workshop (or just send us an e-mail). 

Further reading

Content teamwork: Aligning your people and processes [Workshop slides]

Understanding the content maturity model

Two ways to share content ownership in large organizations