blog Post

What is a Content Charter + Why You Need One

Case Studies
Content Strategy

I recently signed up for Notion, a one-stop workspace where you can organize and manage your work. Shortly after I signed up, Notion sent a series of articles to help me understand all I can do with it and how to get started (you'll get the same email series if you sign up, too). The first article I received was titled, “A project charter template that’s clear and effective,” a fitting article because along with the ability to collaborate on projects, Notion allows users to create all sorts of templates. 

Since I’m not a project manager and I’m not using Notion with a team, I didn’t expect much use from the article. Still, I clicked on the link in the email and began to read. The article talked about the importance of a project charter, defined what it, why they’re important and helpful, and what’s included in one. 

It made a lot of sense, and then I realized something. You could easily interchange the word “project” with “content” because every piece of content deserves a charter, too. 


Why a Content Charter?

Every piece of content you put out should have a mission. Otherwise, you’re only creating content for content’s sake. A content charter not only helps you realize your content’s mission, but so much more. 

In the article, Notion explains that a project charter spells out the goals, deliverables, budget, timeline and people involved in a project. It gets everyone on the same page about what the project is and what it needs to achieve. 

Now, let’s think about a content charter. Before starting down any content creation’s path, what if you created a document that spells out the goals, deliverables, budget, timeline and people involved with that particular piece of content? Oh, how lovely that would be!

But you say, that’s a brief. 

I say a content charter flies at a higher level. I also say it’s semantics. 


Content Brief v. Content Charter

A content brief often gets into the weeds of the content being produced. It contains excellent guidelines for the writer, such as:

·      Target audience

·      Messaging and voice

·      Calls-to-action to include 

·      Its place in the marketing funnel 

·      Number of subheads and external links

A content charter, on the other hand, includes higher-level, organizational information, such as:

·      How the content fits into the organization’s goals

·      Overall objectives and goals of the content

·      Team members and stakeholders involved

·      Possible roadblocks

·      Timelines

By creating a content charter, you are giving consideration to each piece of content you create. It spells out the reason behind its creation, the overall role it plays, who’s involved and why, and it puts everyone on the same page. 

Let’s look at each item in the charter a bit more.


Goal of the content

The worst thing you can do is create a piece of content for content’s sake. In other words, each piece of content you create should have a reason to exist. Spelling out the goals of the content in your content charter brings clarity to that content – why are you spending time and resources to create it, and how does that fit into the overall organization?  It also justifies you doing so. 

Example: A case study about a happy customer who had a common problem you helped solve and the quantifiable results they are now enjoying. This case study will go on the company’s website, but also be offered as downloadable PDF for prospects who land on a specific landing page. 


Overall objectives 

What do you want this piece of content to achieve? How will you measure its success? What call to action are you using and how will you track it?  

Example: The case study has a call to action to fill out a form to request more information from a sales rep. You will track how many people click on the link to the form, how many fill out the form, and what happens when the sales rep follows up. 


Team members and stakeholders involved

This part of the content charter spells out everyone who is involved, from the person creating the content to the editors signing off on it. If there is legal and compliance involved, they are included in this, too. And, of course, any and all SMEs and other sources are part of this, as well. 

Example: To compile this case study, the writer needs to speak with all the internal people who were involved with the sale and delivery of the product/service. In addition, the writer needs to speak to the customer to get their perspective. 


Possible Roadblocks

What are the factors that will make this difficult? Are there SMEs who are out of pocket and unavailable for an interview? Do other mitigating factors exist that may make the targeted deadline hard to meet? 

Example: A potential roadblock is connecting the writer to the customer for an interview. 



Here, you outline the timeline for the piece including the targeted dates for:

·      the interviews 

·      the first draft 

·      approval from the customer 

·      editing process

·      second draft

·      final editing and approval

·      legal and compliance (if needed) 


Benefits of a Content Charter

Content charters bring focus to the content that’s being created, and just as important, can help determine which pieces of content don’t make sense to pursue. They keep everyone involved on the same page, and hold all parties accountable. 

Interested in creating a content charter and need help? Click here to contact me and let’s get everyone on the same page when it comes to your content. 

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