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How Content Governance Will Facilitate Media Company Transformation

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Creating a content governance plan - defining what type of content is created and when it’s shared within each channel - can be the key to success for your business. This chapter explains what content governance is and how you can build your own strategy.
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  • “Tweetable Moment: Content governance ensures that there are controls in place so that consistent brand storytelling is told across all channels.
  • —#nextmediaco

Facebook is Red Bull’s largest audience segment with more than 37 million fans and makes up nearly 90% of its community. This has been a key network for Red Bull, which now currently ranks among Facebook’s top 10 fan pages.

Visually stunning content has contributed to Red Bull’s success on YouTube, where it has cultivated a subscriber audience of two million, and on Instagram, the brand’s smallest but most engaged audience. Twitter is the brand’s most active channel and serves as a vehicle for distributing content from each network to an audience of nearly one million followers.

Red Bull’s network of highly engaged audiences are valuable channels for content distribution, and it is growing each one by providing a stellar customer experience coupled with compelling content. Figure 10.1 shows Red Bull’s growth from March to April 2013.

Figure 10.1

Figure 10.1 Red Bull’s audience growth rate

On Facebook, Red Bull added more than 200,000 fans in the same reporting period, according to Kevin Shively, Marketing Analyst for Simply Measured, a leading social media measurement and analytics vendor. Although Facebook accounted for the most new fans, YouTube has been Red Bull’s fastest growing channel, with a 4.5% subscriber growth rate month to month. Red Bull’s YouTube channel was established in 2006, but the brand’s steady stream of professional, highly produced video continues to build its subscriber audience.

Red Bull’s Instagram channel is also growing quickly; during the reporting period, it was the second fastest growing channel with a community growth rate of 2.8%, outpacing longer established channels Twitter and Google+ (see Figure 10.2).

Figure 10.2

Figure 10.2 Red Bull’s Instagram growth rate is 2.8%.

It’s clear that visual content is a major contributor to Red Bull’s success in social media and continues to serve as a model for other brands that want to engage with customers using visual storytelling. Visual content captures our attention, and it’s often what comes to mind when we think about Red Bull and what they do in the marketplace.

What makes Red Bull successful is more than just their brand story or the epic content the company creates each day for the community. Their ability to make this happen is largely because of a content governance plan that controls what type of content is created and when it’s shared within each channel.

Defining Content Governance

Content governance is a strategic imperative when deploying an enterprise-wide content strategy for the purposes of the following:

  • establishing content and workflow accountability
  • auditing content engagements
  • managing risk
  • setting content permissions

Every contributor to your brand’s storytelling initiatives, whether employee or customer, has a specific role when it comes to managing the content supply chain. The content workflows that facilitate ideation, creation, approval, and distribution must be built to ensure consistent storytelling across paid, earned, and owned media.

By implementing a content governance framework layered across the entire organization, teams are enabled to collaborate through an approval process with distinct workflow and established audit trails, ensuring the right content is being utilized in the right channel. Audit trails through all processes and actions are an overall best practice for all large and small brands and must be a requirement regardless of what industry you work in. These audit trails should always be referenced for the purposes of displaying content and user action history with corresponding approvals. Documenting a governance hierarchy reduces risks during a crisis and can be used to “lock down” publishing access across all social accounts if certain situations arise.

Content governance can also be defined as a detailed framework of content delivery and management that ensures there are documented controls in place that facilitate consistent brand storytelling across paid, earned, and owned media. A content governance model should include

  • Collaboration models for internal teams complete with audit trails
  • An approval workflow for proactive content (unplanned and planned content)
  • An escalation workflow for reactive content (crisis, customer support)
  • Workflows that mitigate risks, such as access to social properties, employees leaving the company, accidental messages being sent, and so on
  • Processes to handle rogue accounts and the creation of new branded accounts
  • Enterprise-wide, single-point password control systems
  • Establishing user roles within a content strategy (contributor, approver, publisher, administrator), which is discussed in Chapter 11, “Structuring Your Teams to Become a Content Driven Organization”

It might be easy to confuse content governance with a social media policy. Usually, content governance is a subset of a larger policy but it can certainly stand alone within an editorial team or department. A social media policy (sometimes referred to as social media guidelines) is a corporate code of conduct that provides guidance for employees who post content on the Internet or engage with external customers either as part of their specific job functions or just as employees. My book Smart Business, Social Business walks readers through the process of creating a policy, step by step.

Content governance is just as important as it ensures that there are controls in place that govern when, what, and why content is being created, approved, and distributed. It’s a strategic imperative that enables a brand to tell a consistent story across all forms of media.

The first step at deploying content governance is to build a collaboration model that helps facilitate internal communications, integration, and best practice sharing between all of your internal stakeholders.

Building a collaboration infrastructure is important to ensure consistency and that everyone involved in the content supply chain understands the business and marketing goals and proactively shares knowledge. This is more than just a conference call. It must be a collaborative, ongoing working session and a place where new ideas are welcomed with open arms.

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