Content Governance: Building The Team

In part one of this epic tale we addressed the elephant in the content team room: governance. In this, part two, of the content governance tale, let’s look at building a team that will help ensure the right content, gets to the right channel, at the right time, to meet the needs of its audiences. As an added bonus, this team will also help the company avoid litigation by not using the wrong content, ever.

Success in digital and content marketing comes from the quality of the content being managed. This requires the team tasked with creating, managing, and regulating the content to be empowered to execute a clearly defined mandate. This is probably obvious. But what you may not have thought of are all the others’ contributions required to keep the flow of content, well, flowing.

The good news is that your organization doesn’t need to be filled with content specialist – you only need a few. To be create and use great content what it needs most are smart people who understand who you are as organization, what you do, and what your customers/audiences/client/etc. are looking for. And you probably have lots of those. You just need to find them and tap into their subject matter expertise. And don’t forget to include them in your governance model.

Setting a plan to get the elephant moving

Planning is often the easier part of getting from here to there. Where things can get complicated, cumbersome, and messy is the execution of the plan. That is why breaking the execution down into more manageable chunks, as well as the associated roles for each layer, can make things go smoother. When identify who will do what in the content stratas, keep in mind that not all content has equal value and not all areas of the business make the same use of, or place the same level of importance on, content. So be sure to consider the role and impact of content to the various facets of the business (sales, marketing, research and development, operations, services, etc.) when carving out content related roles and responsibilities.

The following is a three-level governance approach with three distinctive tiers intended to establish clarity in roles and responsibilities, as well as enables action and decision making.

Level 1: Strategical

This layer, as the name implies, is responsible for the strategic direction and overall ownership of content, it related processes, and management within the organization.  

This layer understands the importance of content to the various parts of the organization and sets the content strategy accordingly to align the content with business purpose. As strategy owners, this cross-functional “team” ensures the content goals align with other critical objectives – customer experience/satisfaction, corporate, community – of the organization.

Key Players:  Marketing technology owner(s) that impact content (content management system, marketing automation, digital asset management, social tools, etc.), as well as roles responsible for smoothing the path for content creation – senior management, CMO, etc.  

Level 2: Tactical

This execution tier are the doers. The layer includes the roles involved in the end-to-end content management process – content generation, maintenance and technology. These roles are sometimes all found within a defined, centralized content team, or conversely, as in a decentralized or hybrid content model, could be spread out far and wide across functional areas, brands/lines of business, and geographic regions.

Key Players: Content managers, content owners, content contributors, editors, copy writers, subject matter experts (SME), analytics specialists, social media managers, etc.

Layer 3: Advisory

The advisory layer, while they may not be directly involved in day-to-day management and curation of content, are the go-to resources the Tactical and Strategic tiers tap for their subject matter expertise.

Key Players: Designers, UX specialists, SMEs, involved in other related projects, or directly affected by the content.

Having committed resources at each of these layers will help identify a clear business value, which in turn will help ensure that the organization’s content gets the time, attention and resources it needs to help the company succeed.


Author: Cathy McKnight
As a founding partner of Digital Clarity Group and leader of its enterprise consulting practice, Cathy helps organizations transform the way technology can enable business strategy and performance. In her current role, Cathy has helped dozens of companies realize their digital transformation objectives. With more than 15 years of global experience and expertise in digital partners, content management, intranets, marketing technologies and customer experience, Cathy has led strategic business transformation initiatives as well as the detailed execution of enterprise technology implementations. Prior to DCG, Cathy served at Aon Hewitt as the Innovation Lead and a Senior Associate for the Communications Consulting Team, building an innovative Web solutions practice for the company and leading communications and organizational change initiatives. As Director, Client Services at Prescient Digital Media, Cathy led a team of consultants delivering enterprise strategies and technology and agency selection projects for an array of global clients. As Senior Communications Advisor for IBM’s Global Services division, Cathy led the overall change management strategy and messaging of IBM’s values and mission to internal IGS audiences. With her background crossing technology, emergent business trends, and change management, Cathy focuses on working with clients to bridge leadership, business process, and technology acquisition and adoption. Cathy is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator at numerous events around the world.