Content Governance Models for Global Marketing Teams

Roles and responsibilities in centralized, hybrid, and decentralized content teams

Andreea Macoveiciuc

Written on 17th February, 2020 |

7 min read

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Content governance means exactly what the term implies: a system or a set of guidelines, processes, and roles that determine how content is governed — how it gets created, published, and maintained within an organization.

Choosing the content governance model is the first step in developing a global content strategy. For the full framework, see my previous article, Building a Scalable Content Strategy: A 5-Step Framework.

In this article, we’ll go through the most common governance models and look at the general setup and at the roles and responsibilities for the hybrid model, as this is the most common.

If you’re familiar with these models, you can skip the reading and get the template here:

Hybrid content governance model — template

Governance Models: Centralized, Hybrid, Decentralized

Although there are variations in the models adopted by enterprises, we can distinguish three generic content governance models:

1. Centralized model

In this model, one authority manages all the content and one strategy is implemented across regions, regardless of local particularities.

In this scenario, one set of processes and standards is used, and most decisions need to be approved by one command-and-control center. Not the most democratic model, but it does have the benefit of keeping the systems and tools aligned and of presenting one brand face to the public, with a consistent look and feel across markets.

2. Hybrid model

Just like before, there’s once central authority for most top-level decisions, but there is also flexibility in the markets, with regions having the freedom to create and distribute local content. Processes and standards are mostly aligned, but local particularities are possible.

Infrastructure tends to be the same, although legacy systems and tools are also common in the beginning. In this scenario, the countries or regions involved may publish on different websites and platforms, but the look and feel stay the same across markets.

3. Decentralized model

Unlike the previous two scenarios, in this case, the regions have almost complete freedom to create, publish, and manage their content.

The look and feel can vary, the tools and systems used can be different, and there are several sets of procedures and standards. Central coordination, in this case, is tedious, if not impossible.

Hybrid Content Governance — Setup and Roles

Below you can find a detailed description of the roles and responsibilities involved in content lifecycle processes. Feel free to adjust this model based on your team’s composition.

Content governance board

The CG board is responsible for strategic decisions regarding content processes. It includes representatives from all the teams involved in the creation, distribution, and maintenance of content.

A sample setup can include:

  • A content strategist — part of the central team

  • A corporate representative — part of the corporate team

  • Region representatives — part of the regional marketing teams

  • Product Owner

  • Content manager — part of the central team

  • Business Unit representatives

  • UX / Graphic designer

For content processes to run smoothly and to avoid misalignment and siloed work, the CGB should meet regularly. This meeting should be organized by the CS, or in their absence, by another board member.

The CS gathers the requirements before the meeting and makes sure all members provide input based on the agenda. The CS decides which topics proposed for the agenda should have priority, in alignment with stakeholders.

One CGB member takes notes and shares the summary at the end of the meeting. The CS follows up on action points and provides updates to the team between meetings.

In case of absence, CGB members delegate their responsibilities to the appropriate team member.

Responsibilities per role

Content strategist

  • Defines, creates, and maintains the content strategy across internal and external channels

  • Defines content processes, workflows, and roles

  • Ensures the maintenance of documentation, including policies and guidelines

  • Gathers input from all CGB members regarding content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

  • Organizes and leads CGB meetings

  • Gathers and distributes CG documentation, including CGT composition, guidelines and policies, training materials, and reports

  • Organizes training sessions and workshops with CGT members

  • Proposes new initiatives based on technology advancements

  • Represents the company at CS events

Corporate representative

  • Represents the corporate team in the CGB meetings

  • Gathers requirements and input from the corporate and branding teams regarding content initiatives, as well as training, guideline, process, and tooling needs

  • Ensures the compliance of all content assets to brand guidelines

  • Ensures the distribution of insights and knowledge within the corporate and branding teams

Inside the corporate team, the following roles might be present:

Branding specialist

  • Defines, creates and maintains the brand guidelines regarding the style, tone of voice, and house rules per distribution channel

  • Reviews content before publishing, to ensure compliance with guidelines

Brands coordinator

  • If more independent brands are owned by the company, the BC coordinates the activity of the brand content across the entire lifecycle 

  • Organizes and leads work groups for documentation and guidelines 

  • Gathers requirements and ideas from owned brands regarding content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

Business unit representative

  • Represents the BUs in CGB meetings

  • Gathers requirements and input from BUs regarding content initiatives, as well as training, guidelines, process, and tooling needs

  • Ensures the compliance of content assets to industry standards, as well as the technical accuracy of content produced

  • Ensures the distribution of insights and knowledge within the BU teams

Within this team, the following roles might be present:

BU manager

  • Coordinates the content lifecycle for the BU

  • Organizes and leads work groups for documentation and guidelines

  • Gathers requirements and ideas for content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

  • Provides insights into the latest trends in the field of expertise, as well as into competitor initiatives

  • Ensures good relationships with suppliers and gathers content assets from them

Innovation/R&D manager

  • Coordinates the content initiatives of the innovation/R&D departments

  • Organizes and leads work groups for documentation and guidelines

  • Gathers requirements and ideas for content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

PIM

  • Coordinates the activity of the product information management team across the content lifecycle

  • Acts as a gatekeeper for PIM content

  • Organizes and leads work groups for documentation and guidelines

  • Gathers requirements and ideas for content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

Region representative

  • Represents the regional marketing team in the CGB meeting

  • Gathers requirements and input from the local team regarding content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

  • Ensures the compliance of content assets to local guidelines

  • Ensures the distribution of insights and knowledge within the regional team

  • Shares insights regarding content focus, goals, and targets

In the regional teams, the following roles might be present:

Content marketer/writer

  • Coordinates the content marketing initiatives within the region

  • Acts as a gatekeeper for content created and distributed within the region

  • Provides input regarding content focus, goals, and targets

  • Ensures the compliance of published content to brand guidelines

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Social media marketer

  • Owns the country SM channels and ensures compliance to brand guidelines

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

  • Provides input regarding content focus, goals, and targets

CRM specialist

  • Provides input regarding target audiences

  • Provides insights regarding customer performance and behavior for content initiatives

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Email marketer

  • Owns the email marketing channel

  • Ensures compliance of content to brand guidelines

  • Provides input regarding the channel performance, customer performance, and behavior patterns for content initiatives

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Customer support

  • Shares insights into customer pain points and needs

  • Provides insights for content mapping

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Sales representative

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Legal representative

  • Gathers requirements and ideas and provides input for the CGB meetings

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Content manager

  • Represents the central content team in the CGB meetings

  • Acts as a gatekeeper for all content that goes into the CMS

  • Develops and maintains the central content creation and distribution calendar

  • Ensures compliance of content to brand guidelines

  • Supports the other teams throughout the content lifecycle, from research and ideation to content creation and archiving

  • Gathers requirements and input regarding content initiatives, as well as training and tooling needs

  • Ensures the distribution of insights and knowledge within the central team

In the central team, the following roles might be present:

SEO/SEA

  • Provides input for SE optimization (on-/off-page)

  • Performs keyword research and topic research and provides input for content initiatives

  • Organizes training sessions and develops guidelines, as needed

  • Provides input regarding the performance of channels, for adjusting the CS

  • Supports the paid distribution of content

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

CRO

  • Provides input for content optimization based on conversion rate optimization experiments

  • Ensures the development and implementation of CRO experiments

  • Provides input for/organizes training sessions and develops guidelines, as needed

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Marketing automation

  • Develops and maintains automation flows

  • Develops guidelines and templates to ensure compliance with brand guidelines

  • Acts as a gatekeeper for the channel

  • Gathers input regarding targeted industries and audiences

  • Provides insights into channel performance and user behavior patterns

  • Ensures the availability of performance reports and provides input for experimentation

  • Organizes training sessions, as needed

Remarketing

  • Provides insights regarding the channel performance and audience behavior

  • Supports the distribution of content

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Localization

  • Ensures the localization of content

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Data analyst

  • Provides insights into user behavior and patterns for content initiatives

  • Ensures the availability of data in multiple formats

  • Organizes training sessions and supports the development of guidelines

  • Provides input regarding training and tooling needs

Product owner

  • Identifies requirements for content initiatives and coordinates the development activity

  • Prioritizes content-related stories based on business value

  • Provides input for content architecture, as well as insights regarding the content performance

  • Ensures the proper communication between content and dev teams

  • Supports the development of documentation for content initiatives

UX / Graphic designer

  • Provides input regarding the user experience and acts as the gatekeeper for UX

  • Supports the development of graphic assets

  • Supports CRO initiatives

  • Provides input regarding content training and tooling needs

I hope this gives you an overview and guides you in setting up a content team as well as in creating and implementing a governance model.

If you need help in developing a digital governance model for your team, get in touch with our team.

We'll map the roles and responsibilities and define workflows and processes that work for you.

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