How to be a Good Content Owner

As a continuation of our last Ask Sympraxis, focused on nudging along content owners, this week we’ve deep-dived into being a good content owner. Review our previous session Content! Content! Content! Nudging along reluctant content owners to learn more about why good content matters and the impact it will have on your intranet.

Why being a good content owner matters

Organizations are never static. Do you feel like your company is constantly reorganizing? Has your business focus changed? Content is a never-ending job as you need to adapt your content to fit these changes. As time progresses and focuses change, some content becomes obsolete. For example, a document that outlines this year’s health plan is no longer valid next year. This point leads to a common complaint about SharePoint regarding the search function. Often intranet users have difficulty finding the information they need via search. However, the issue isn’t in the functionality of the search, it’s in the management of the content available. If an employee is searching for their current health plan and pull up one from years ago because it is still available on your intranet, they’re either going to gain the incorrect information or lose trust in the ability to find the information they need. Obsolete and out-of-date content must be removed from your intranet.

Another key reason to be a good content owner is that reworks are expensive. The time and investment taken to implement an intranet is not minimal and if there is no maintenance to that site, then a year or two later you’ll have to rebuild the whole thing. In addition to the rework, you will be investing in change management to help build back all the trust you lost with the inaccurate content. Remember that maintenance is what makes everything work and if you’re asking people to provide feedback/suggestions, be sure you’re transparent about the feedback you received and how you’re going to implement those changes.

The role of a content owner

What good content owners know can be broken down into (3) sections - the what, the when, and the how. They need to know:

  • What content they own, what is the best format for each type of content, what information should be shared with the organization, and what structure best supports reading on the web. They need to know who the lead on each piece of content is.
  • When strategic changes are happening and how those impact the content base. The “when” is essentially overall lifecycle management. When to review the content and how often on a recurring basis to do that.
  • How to support other content owners. Supporting others is a key part of being a good content owner. Sharing tips and tricks and best practices is essential. One site being out-of-date does negatively impact another very up-to-date site so you want to make sure all content owners are working cohesively.

Tools to support content owners

There are a few internal tools that we suggest implementing in your organization. Develop clear roles and responsibilities between SharePoint Admins, content owners, and site members. We strongly recommend if someone is designated as a content owner to add that to their job description. Another incredibly useful tip is to have a Champions Community. This refers to the idea of having a team or place where all site owners can connect with each other to share their updates, roadmaps, best practices, etc. This gives an open platform to learn from one another as well as providing a space to showcase accomplishments.

There are a few external tools you may consider using as well. We suggest installing Microsoft Learning Pathways to embed all Microsoft 365 training content in context in your intranet. Instead of documenting how to work in Microsoft 365, focus on your one unique scenario and add that to your Learning Pathways playlist. Let Microsoft do the rest of the work for you through their documentation!

The Microsoft community as a whole has a ton of incredible resources such as a free Writing for the Web course, resources in Microsoft Community Content, and various other blogs. If you don’t have a champions community in your organization, we highly suggest joining a user group as that’ll be your place to reach out, ask questions, and learn best practices.

If you have any other questions about being a good content owner, or any suggestions for another Ask Sympraxis topic, please submit those to our mailbox. We will address those in our August 10th session!


Do you have any questions for us? Continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #AskSympraxis and mention @SympraxisC.