I recently hosted a webinar called Building a Solid Content Foundation about how to set up a content review workflow. Since then, it has occurred to me that there can be no content review without content governance.
This short article will provide some brief background on content governance, why it’s important, and how proposal automation and knowledge management software can help.
What is content governance?
Content governance is the framework and processes you use to create, store, and maintain your content. But before we dive too deep, let’s start with a bad joke and a Top Gun analogy…
What do you call it when an entire population is satisfied with its gubernatorial leadership? Content governance. Ha! I know, it’s terrible.
How is content governance different from content management and content strategy? I could just tell you, but that would be boring. You can find all sorts of places on the Internet that can give you the glossary version. We’re going into the Danger Zone.
We’ve been in a Top Gun mood around here. Anticipation around the release of Top Gun: Maverick is ramping up faster than that titular character’s need for speed. In a Top Gun analogy, content governance would actually be the U.S. Navy. Content strategy is “Top Gun,” or the Navy Fighter Weapons School (I hear it’s frowned upon to use Top Gun terminology while at the school). Here’s how it breaks down:
- Content governance = U.S. Navy. This is the universe in which all organizational content exists, from its creation, storage, and access, to its moderation, and, ultimately, to its archival. All content is subject to the laws of the content governance universe.
- Content strategy = Top Gun. There has to be a framework in place to create world-class content. Everything from rules of engagement to battle tactics to overcoming pushback must be taken into consideration when determining what to create when and for which targeted audience.
- Content creators = Pilots. In case you’re wondering who the best is…well, it doesn’t really matter. Like the real Navy Fighter Weapons School, there is no room for ego. Within the parameters established under content governance in your content strategy and style guide (see below), content creators are free to do what’s necessary to connect with their audience.
- Content management system (CMS) = Aircraft carrier and crew. It’s a team effort, and effective content cannot exist in a vacuum. Any successful content endeavor needs technology and subject matter expertise in its earpiece. You can think of the CMS as the execution phase of content governance, where theory is put into practice when buyer-facing content is created, reviewed, stored, and accessed
- Style guide = F/A-18C/D Hornet (aka, the jet). Content governance only works when creators have guidelines to follow. They need a cockpit from where they can work their magic, otherwise they end up in a flat spin out to sea with content that is off-brand, off-message, and possibly off-putting to the buyer.
Why do you need content governance?
While content governance is often associated with marketing content, it’s time to think bigger, like sales content bigger. According to the April 26, 2021, Forrester blog, From Monolithic to Modular: Kicking Your Sales Content Engine into High Gear, “Because marketers produce more monolithic than modular content, 70% of sales reps spend between one and 14 hours every week customizing content for their buyers.”
Sales reps understand that their competitive advantage comes from personalizing content to customize a solution around buyers’ specific pain points. Releasing these content creators into the wild without any content governance is a recipe for disaster, in accuracy and efficiency.
4 benefits of content governance
I’m still adding to the list. Seriously, content governance is a huge benefit to all of my clients. Here are the top four:
- Better content: It’s always created with accurate information and undergoes peer review (none of us are adept at proofing our own work).
- Efficient workflows: When everyone knows their roles and content governance is being driven by technology, then the content runs through its lifecycle with less friction.
- Greater productivity: Automation, accurate content building blocks, and the democratization of content creation makes it easier for creators and reviewers to move faster.
- Improved outcomes: Breaking down monolithic content into buyer-focused customized content improves the overall buying and customer experiences.
How to create a content governance workflow
As is the case with most new process implementations, the pain is frontloaded. Trust me, the long-term payoff for proposal managers, sales representatives, content editors, subject matter experts, and all content creators is well worth it.
Conduct a content audit
You need to rein in out-of-bounds content first. Get your house in order by ditching redundant, outdated, trivial (deal- or client-specific), and off-brand content.
Identify content gaps
Now that the content bin has been cleaned out, you should have full visibility into what you need. Break it down by buyer need, not product need. According to the December 16, 2020, Forrester blog, Happy B2B “Contentukkah”: Spinning the Editorial Dreidel, “We encourage content creators to join forces and push back on the company’s tendency to sing the praises of its portfolio when it should be waxing poetic about its audiences’ challenges.”
Create a style guide
Specify the writing and graphic standards for content. You can go high level and just cover fonts and color palettes, or you can get down to a level of detail where you provide standards for individual content types (e.g., videos, presentations, data sheets, blog articles, etc.). Also, consider creating templates to make it easier to create that content that always has to be personalized according to your style guide.
Implement a CMS
Unless you want to go the manual route of spreadsheets and checklists, you’ll need a CMS for automation, auditing, and reporting.
How can proposal automation and knowledge management help with content governance?
Creating content on the fly—which is the preferred method for sales representatives creating content—can be challenging in a content governance environment rife with bottleneck risk. Manual processes are the biggest culprit, but an ill-fitting CMS can be just as dangerous.
Proposal automation and knowledge management software such as RFPIO presents a huge advantage to sales teams and other content creators because it breaks content down to its lowest common denominator: questions and answers. These are the building blocks of all content. When these accurate, curated questions and answers are accessible from anywhere, then content can be created from anywhere.
Beyond the advantage of creating content within your content governance model, proposal automation and knowledge management helps in three primary areas:
- Let the system drive your workflow. Assign content owners, establish content moderation teams, and set up content review cycles from an intuitive dashboard.
- Govern from a single, closed-loop system. Ditch the spreadsheets, checklists, and risk of human error. Once the workflow is established, you have an audit trail for every entry in your Answer Library. You can also keep all collaboration in the system so that even emails to external collaborators can be monitored within a project.
- Robust reporting out of the box. Being able to monitor the health and hygiene of your Answer Library is essential to adhering to content governance. Monthly and quarterly reporting to leadership gives them a window into the value of content governance, its efficiencies, and its ability to guide content creators to better sales outcomes.
Ultimately, content governance gets you that single source of truth. RFPIO makes sure you can provide the right content (sales, marketing, corporate, financial, solutions, etc.) to the entire organization.
If you’re interested in having RFPIO as your wingman, schedule a demo today!