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Content marketing is good for many things, namely capturing and converting online customers.
However, it’s not easy to scale.
Think about the steps that are involved in producing an engaging, shareable piece of content that people are falling over themselves to read.
Firstly, you need to come up with an idea for the post, then a focused topic and title. It then needs to be researched, written, edited, formatted, and published. The work doesn’t stop when it’s out there, though. Then comes distribution and social sharing. And this is just for one piece - imagine trying to do this for three, four, or five pieces a week.
The thought is exhausting, right?
The majority of organizations use content marketing. Source.
Creating and pushing out epic content time and time again is never going to be a walk in the park, but there are ways you can make it ten times easier. If you plan ahead, you can drastically cut the amount of time it takes to produce content as well as the costs involved in creating something amazing.
If you do this, you’ll instantly rise above your competitors.
This is because, according to the Content Marketing Institute, less than half of B2B brands have a mature content production system. The vast majority are winging it, maybe pushing out a post or two when they remember.
Let’s take a look at how your team can produce engaging, valuable content quickly and easier than ever before.
1. Define Your Purpose
First things first, you need a purpose for your content creation.
Without knowing what you want to achieve with your content, you won’t know what to create and you’ll end up missing the mark every time.
The best way to go about this is to think about what your brand needs to accomplish: what is the biggest goal you have for the next year? Your content shouldn’t be an add on to your marketing strategy, but instead it should be an integral part of the process.
Start by breaking down your content marketing plan into set campaigns that revolve around different pieces of content, and then set key performance indicators (KPIs) for each campaign. This gives every piece of content you create a purpose.
For example, you might want the piece to:
Improve your brand’s search engine visibility
Get more leads
Raise awareness for your brand
Generate more sales
Retain previous customers
Build trust and authority
2. Define Your Process
Once you’ve defined what the purpose is for each campaign and the individual purposes of your content, you need to create a process.
At the moment, you might have a loose idea of what happens when a topic idea gets the go-ahead. But, if you want to create a scalable solution, you need to have a fixed process that everyone knows and sticks to. Basically, this process will outline who is tasked with what and when they have to do it by.
This is also known as a content workflow.
When you’re managing large volumes of content, a workflow is absolutely essential. A very simple workflow might look something like this:
If you drill down further, you might come up with a more to-do list-style workflow that might involve things like social media graphic creation, image sourcing, and scheduling social media statuses, too.
It can help to have a tool of some kind, like Trello (shown above), that will help you move pieces through the workflow as and when each step has been carried out. This provides an overview of what pieces of content are where in the creation process.
3. Communicate and Collaborate
If you want to create a successful and scalable content creation process, you need to have everyone on board.
You’re going to have a much easier time getting things done if every member of your team knows what they’re supposed to be doing and when they’re supposed to do it by.
Really think about the best way to do this.
For example, email might seem like the obvious option but, by the end of the week, you’ll end up with a 50-message thread that’s almost impossible to sift through.
Instead, consider a team communication tool that everyone can login to that has a designated space to chat solely about content creation. This might come in the form of a professional messaging app like Slack, or it might involve implementing a project management software like Asana.
4. Generate Ideas
Now you’ve got your purpose, your process, and your communication methods in place, it’s time to get to work.
One of the hardest parts of the content creation process is coming up with topic ideas. A lot of businesses get stuck at the ideation stage and end up procrastinating for weeks or even months, which results in them publishing absolutely zero pieces of content.
Avoid becoming one of these businesses by using a technique like topic clustering. This is essentially a content creation solution where you decide what your primary focus topics are, create cornerstone pieces of content for them, and then brainstorm a series of smaller posts that link to these umbrella topics.
Not only will this give you a focus for coming up with ideas, but it means you’ll be able to come up with multiple ideas at once, which you can then plug into your content calendar.
5. Create Your Content Calendar
Everything comes together in your content calendar.
Your content calendar does exactly as it says on the tin: it’s a reference of what content is being created and published when, complete with accompanying deadlines. This gives structure to your content creation and lets you see the bigger picture of when things need to be done by.
It’s not enough to just put the publish date in your content calendar, though.
If you really want to succeed, you also need to add briefing deadlines, draft deadlines, and social sharing dates, particularly if you’re outsourcing any of the writing or marketing to freelancers or agencies.
6. Create Content in Bulk
Moving from one task to another can waste a ton of time.
So, instead of working through each stage of your workflow for each piece of content, why not bulk process each step?
For example, you can spend one day writing the drafts of next week’s pieces, another day editing them, and a third day formatting them and uploading them into your content management system.
7. Outsource if You Need To
You might get through this whole process and realize you still don’t have the time to create the kind of amazing content you want to on a consistent schedule - and that’s totally fine.
Smaller businesses with a limited amount of hands will struggle to produce regular content at a ridiculously high quality, which is why outsourcing the process might be the best option.
You can still remain in control of your workflow by only outsourcing parts of the process (like the writing stage or the editing stage), but it might give you the extra time you need to work on other parts of your business.
The More You Create, the Easier it Gets
Like with anything, the more consistent you are with your content creation process, the easier it will get to maintain.
But you need a system in place first for it to work. Start by assigning a purpose to each piece of content, communicating with your team, running it through a workflow, bulk processing certain parts, and even outsourcing stages if you need to.
Once you find a process that works for you, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Lorie Loe - Executive Director of Content & Client Development
Lorie is the Executive Director of Content & Client Development at Elevation Marketing. An acknowledged industry leader with over 20 years experience in content marketing and strategy, Lorie’s deep expertise integrates a highly creative and intuitive approach to B2B storytelling with practical implementation and measurement throughout all organizational tactics and channels. Lorie is a sought-after expert on the topic of practical content strategy and applying real-world marketing to the art of B2B storytelling and digital marketing.