5 Ways to Keep Your Content from Getting Stale

Andrew Kaufman | October 20, 2015

Everybody likes creating shiny new things.

Whether it's a new customer help document or a complete website redesign, hitting the PUBLISH button and finally sending your creation out into the world is an exhilarating experience.

Unfortunately, we often spend so much time and energy creating content that will engage our customers to help achieve our business goals that we forget to set up a process to ensure that our content continues to do what we want it to in the long term.

Without a clear, realistic and actionable content governance plan, your content can quickly become stale, out-of-date and ineffective. This can lead to things like:

  • Broken links
  • Inaccurate information
  • Wrong tense (e.g., "Attend our upcoming webinar...")
  • Duplicate content
  • Inconsistent branding After a few years of neglect, you're right back where you started when you decided to update your content in the first place.

So how do you make sure that your content gets the love and attention it deserves?

Here's a five-point content governance plan to ensure freshness:

  1. Content Ownership: Assign an owner to every piece of content. This person is responsible for reviewing it and, if necessary, coordinating with subject matter experts to keep it updated on an ongoing basis.
  2. Style Guidelines: To ensure consistency, create clear rules for tone, voice, message architecture, branding and content formats (this really should happen before you start creating any content in the first place).
  3. Workflow: Establish an efficient, repeatable process to ensure that all new content meets editorial, style and technical guidelines.
  4. Editorial Calendar: Create a content calendar to plan out new content initiatives as well as schedule reviews of current content.
  5. Stakeholder Buy-in: Even the best governance plan can fail if the people implementing it don't take it seriously. Socializing the importance and benefits of governance is key. Content governance may not be sexy. It may not be exhilarating. Yet it is crucial to ensuring your content helps serve users' needs and achieve your business goals.