When content marketing first entered the scene, most b2b marketers were quick to jump on the bandwagon. Excited about the potenial of taking more control of our own brand stories, we started writing and publishing like our lives depended on it.
Fast forward a bit over a decade and the majority of b2b companies are sitting on vast libraries of content - and not all of it is still relevant, on brand, driving traffic or generating leads. It’s a common problem which is the result of a key missing element in our content strategies: a content governance plan.
Now, we know that the idea of creating a content governance plan is about as exciting as sorting and folding socks on a Friday night, but hear us out! Content governance might not be sexy, but boy is it mighty.
So, before we go any further — what exactly is a content governance plan?
Hubspot defines a content governance plan as:
“The framework and processes your company uses to manage its content and determine how you create, publish, and maintain it. It defines priorities, provides guidelines, and assigns ownership to people within an organisation to execute your company’s content strategy.”
Basically, a content governance plan makes the process and creation of content more efficient, strategic and — if you ask us — altogether more enjoyable. By putting a concrete plan in place you can create content that’s consistent (think tone of voice), relevant (think on brand) and feeds into your overall marketing strategy by targeting the customers that you want to reach and providing that first touchpoint to build awareness of your brand.
With a content governance plan your team can wave an enthusiastic goodbye to scattered, outdated and unwieldy content that goes against your brand guidelines and ultimately harms your SEO efforts.
What should a content governance plan include?
- Clearly set goals
- An audit of existing workflows
- Processes created with your goals in mind
- Clearly assigned and defined responsibilities
- Comprehensive editorial and style guidelines
- A physical content governance plan that all stakeholders can access
What are the main benefits of a content governance plan?
To create a cohesive brand that is easily recognisable, your content must be consistent. This means that things like your word choice, tone, and even grammar rules are applied to every piece of content you create. That way, prospective customers can form a proper opinion of your brand, rather than feeling confused by constant changes in how you communicate with them.
With a content governance plan and a clear process for maintaining and updating your content, you can avoid older, irrelevant blogs from resurfacing. What’s more, having clearly defined roles and responsibilities within your team ensures that errors and mistakes are caught before the content is published, allowing your expertise to do the talking, rather than your typos.
With clear guidelines in place, productivity increases because the team knows exactly how content should be created. Blurred lines cost time, risking failed drafts, long editing processes and less time spent creating brand new content. These guidelines should cover everything from tone of voice, to how to format your blog headlines. The tighter the guidelines, the less room there is for inconsistencies to creep in.
What happens without a content governance plan?
With any sense, you won’t wait to find out first hand how not having a content governance plan can be detrimental to your content marketing strategy. But, if you still need to be convinced before taking the plunge on a content governance plan of your own, pay close attention to what comes next.
As our strategist Amanda pointed out in our most recent webinar, keyword cannibalisation is when your website unintentionally targets the same keyword across multiple posts or pages.
“With keyword cannibalisation, Google may rank a less desirable piece of your content above a primary piece of content you want to rank for - if they’re both targeting the same keywords. Say one of your blog posts has a higher conversion rate - this is the one you want to rank for the keyword you’re targeting and it may be harming your business if a low performing piece of content is ranking first.”
Definitely something you want to avoid.
Without a comprehensive content governance plan, your older and even some of your more recent content won’t be getting checked up on as often as it should. This means that problems like broken links can go unnoticed which is terrible for your user experience, and subsequently, your Google ranking. If links are broken, it means that Google’s bots can’t crawl your website in its entirety, and the pages they can’t get to will be the pages that fall out of the SERPs (search engine results page).
Irrelevant content can harm SEO
Whether it’s old content that doesn’t reflect your brand values anymore, or content that gets clicks but is unrelated to the rest of the content on your site — irrelevant content can seriously harm your SEO. What’s more, if a user lands on your site and finds a blog or a webinar that they deem out of place or out of character for your business, it’s damaging for your brand too. As Amanda explains:
“If you’re not conducting keyword research as part of your content strategy and organic traffic is minimal, chances are that your content is not relevant for your audience.”
A content governance plan combats this by ensuring someone is responsible for maintaining and updating old content, as well as clearly outlining the content creation process to avoid irrelevant content from being published.
With content creation, maintenance and analysis, the long and short of it is that it’s infinitely more manageable if you implement a content governance plan. Ensure you and your team have a clear idea of your goals, your strategy and your processes to really level up your output and delight your prospective customers.
Still unsure whether you need one? Take our free Inbound Marketing Assessment.
Brand chemistry creates brilliant content to get your brand in front of the right people. With lifecycle strategy, whip-smart word wrangling and striking visuals, our content marketing gets you results.