Content marketing is more competitive than ever. While 78% of organizations are approaching content strategically, more than half do not or are not able to due to workflow issues, lack of resources, and failure to prioritize either.
In this article, we want to show you how to scale content creation with minimal to moderate time and monetary investments. You’ll improve your team workflow, the quality, and the quantity of your posts, and learn how to repurpose content for widespread marketing success.
How to Create a Step-by-Step Workflow for Content Marketing?
Many businesses make the mistake of failing to allocate the appropriate number of personnel and resources to creating great content. You are often seeing one individual left with the responsibility of researching keywords and topics, writing 3,000+ words, proofreading their own content, finding or creating graphics, uploading the content, addressing SEO, etc.
Not only does this overburden make it impossible to scale content creation, but it also ensures that each of these processes is not optimized and lowers the quality of your post overall. While you may have staffers that are capable of these tasks with varying degrees of skill, you want an expert to oversee the various steps of content creation to ensure the best results possible. By breaking down the process of content creation into multiple steps, you can better visualize the process and delegate tasks as necessary to your team.
The typical process of creating a single post entails the following:
SEO Keyword & Topic Research → Gathering Data to Outline the Post → Writing the Post → Editing the Post → Creating Graphics or Selecting Images → Formatting the Post on the Site → Proofreading & QA → Revisions → SEO Page Optimization → Schedule for Publishing → Scheduling Your Emails or Social Posts for Content Sharing
Assigning all of these tasks to one individual is not ideal for scaling. Instead, take each step as a unique task and assign it to a person that is capable of accomplishing the task efficiently. For our team, we lean on our SEO specialists to perform research well in advance. This gives us a content calendar complete with keyword research so that our writers can plan their writing efforts.
Graphics and images are also assigned to an appropriate specialist capable of producing high-quality content. Assigning a separate individual for editing and/or QA provides a highly-valued second or third look to remedy all errors. An SEO specialist will then format and schedule the post, while ensuring that the page itself follows SEO best practices on the front and back-end. Finally, the social media team can utilize our calendar to coordinate their posting to promote the latest posts.
By appropriately divvying up your workflow, you ensure that your experts can do what they do best, while giving your writers more time to produce additional posts. Your workflow does not need to mimic ours, but instead should reflect adequate use of the resources your company has at its disposal.
1. Research in Advance and Create a Content Calendar
With your new and updated workflow processes, you'll need to start generating your keywords and topics well in advance to avoid unwanted interruptions. Your old method of looking for one or two topics at a time will do little more than leaving other members of your team with no ability to help push the content creation process further.
Instead, you need to create your company's content calendar immediately. This can be an actual calendar or a company-wide spreadsheet that details numerous topics and the supporting keyword research. We recommend dedicating several days to research, so that your writers and media team can plan months in advance if necessary. Instead of listing 2-3 posts at a time, start thinking 2-3 months worth of posts at a time.
The content calendar provides a host of benefits including the assurance that you will always have new posts moving through your workflow pipeline. As your writers push their post for editing and graphic creation, they can begin working on the next post immediately. This reliability works its way to each team member and ensures that no backup occurs that could delay your posting strategy.
A calendar also allows your team to better visualize opportunities to enhance your strategy beyond the benefits of a single post. Many companies utilize an approach called clustering where multiple posts within a given period relate to a central idea or theme. It's easy to internally link these posts due to their relevancy and helps promote returning visitors that express interest in the initial post. This type of momentum is what you need to ensure that you get the necessary readership to support your content scaling.
Visualizing your future posts in advance also allows your team to identify any potential problems long before they interrupt your processes. If you identify a problem with your calendar at any point, it's easy enough to supplement these posts with others that are planned for a different date.
In short, the content calendar allows for clear and effective communication between all departments. Communication prevents issues and work delays, which presents the greatest opportunity for the successful scaling of content creation.
2. Write on Topics with Firsthand Experience
The best way to ensure that your content is unique and of high quality is to allow your writers to focus on topics where they possess firsthand experience. While it's not always a possibility, it provides a litany of benefits that are key to expediting the process of scaling your content marketing.
If you were to ask a writer what type of content they like to write best, it is certainly going to be materially related to a subject to which they have familiarity. If someone is an expert in programming custom style sheets, it would take little to no research to create a quality piece of helpful, informative content that demonstrates their expertise in the area. Conversely, that expert would likely have a very difficult time writing something authoritative about HVAC equipment without additional, extensive research.
There's nothing inherently wrong with the latter approach. In fact, most content on the internet is created this way as companies lack the ability to write or the resources to create content with firsthand knowledge and experience. However, performing that research effectively enough for content adds a substantial amount of time to your content creation workflow. What can hurt worse is that content written from a third-party perspective is generally apparent as nothing can substitute for hands-on knowledge. It will be that much more difficult to tap into what that audience wants, so that you can answer their most pressing questions.
For that reason, you may want to rethink who on your team can fulfill the role of a writer. For example, an article on advanced SEO tactics would fare better if scribed by an actual SEO expert on your team. You'll still have your editors and QA personnel available to ensure that the piece is presentable for audiences. In exchange, you'll have the unique insight of a seasoned expert, which is far more valuable to your success than a particular writing style.
3. Where You Lack Experience, Do Your Research
The reality is that many companies will lack the resources to write content with firsthand experience, at least all of the time. However, you can still give your content the best chance of success by using your content calendar and looking into future topics well in advance. Rather than starting on a foreign topic a week in advance, give your writers what they need, so that they can appear as authoritative as possible on the subject matter.
If this is your business situation, you'll want to revisit your own workflow process we explored in step one. You'll want to account for this additional research time and incorporate it into your regular process. Failure to create content that demonstrates authority and is backed by the appropriate sources will do little more than clutter your blog and harm your overall website value.
Your writers should also look to work with an expert for an opportunity to ask questions and get a little hands-on. For example, if an HVAC business from the previous example hires a freelancer, it would be worthwhile for them to work closely with the content creation team to ensure they have a strong understanding of the topic they are writing about. The expert can provide the unique insights you need, while your writers can adequately translate their thoughts into well-written articles.
An alternative method is to network and partner with experts on the subject matter that do have the time and resources to write content. This not only provides your blog with excellent, unique content, but presents new opportunities to establish relationships and support a link-building strategy. These types of partnerships aren't typically paid, but are transactional by providing guest content for one another to obtain the coveted SEO benefits.
4. Start Writing Content with an Outline
The act of writing a content piece requires deliberate strategy and planning. Making the mistake of starting with a blank document and attempting to write beginning to end will likely result in a confused mess of unrelated thoughts. Even if there are good ideas to be found within, it will be difficult to trace a throughline and even harder to focus your ideas around the relevant keywords.
Instead, you should always begin the process of writing by creating a solid outline of what the article will contain. This way, you can plan your ideas out in a list even if it is initially disorganized and unstructured. I, personally, will create bullet points that capture the key concepts that should be expressed for the topic at hand. With a clear visual, I can look for any elements that may be lacking and look for ways to incorporate them into the overall picture. After I'm satisfied with the elements I have, I then look to align them in a way that helps the content flow naturally to the reader.
SEO experts recommend a blog post to contain at least 3,000 words of high-quality content in order to boost the page value. With our outline, that large document suddenly becomes many, interconnected smaller ideas that are more approachable. While you build out these ideas, you'll keep your guideline handy to ensure you're writing those thoughts in a way that connects to other ideas and the greater subject. Even if you need to step away from the article and create it over the course of a few days, your guideline will always ensure that you stay on track.
An outline not only helps you to stay on task, but ensures that your content complies with SEO best practices. This outline should contain each of your H1 headers, any H2s or H3s if applicable, which keywords to highlight in each section, and any other technical notes of importance. The outline creates the blueprint and all that's left to do is fill in the blanks with your ideas.
5. Expand Your Team with Content Creation Experts
We broke up our typical content workflow in the first step, so that we could determine who we needed on our team at this point. With your content calendar planned, your research complete, and the content written, you're well on your way to publishing your content. However, instead of leaving your writer to deal with the technical aspects of finalizing the post, you need to delegate the remaining tasks to content creation experts that can help you get the most mileage possible out of your article. If you do not have these individuals on your team, you need to start looking if you want to take scaling your content creation seriously.
The number of people your content department needs depends entirely on how large you plan to scale and how quickly. Skilled individuals that are able to focus completely on content marketing may be able to generate several high-quality posts per week so long as the necessary roles are covered. You are likely looking at writers, editors, graphic designers, SEOs, social media managers, and a project manager to oversee everything. It's possible to see some of these areas fulfilled by one individual, but consider the impact it may have on your unique team and their ability to produce.
An expanded team will enable your writers to focus on writing to the best of their ability. Your graphics experts will boost the value of your content by creating unique images instead of using boring, stock photography. Your SEOs will ensure your website receives the maximum benefits, and your social media expert will look to boost your post around the web.
6. Utilize a Variety of Content Delivery Methods
When you invest all of the above time and resources into creating high-quality content, it's a waste to let it die after hitting publish. The top-ranked websites for content generation utilize the strategy of repurposing their high-performing content for use on other channels and in different formats.
Think of a great piece of video content you love that's well scripted and well-rehearsed. There's an excellent chance that the script, or at least parts of it, began as a blog post. Efficient companies do not generally have teams creating editorial content, video content, and social media content separately. Instead, they repurpose ideas that they've already put together and reformat them to fit a different medium. A high-performing blog post that's run its course can suddenly get a new lease on life as a well-edited YouTube video.
Understand that despite your best efforts, even your greatest content may not appeal to your entire audience in long, written form. By converting your hard work into unique formats such as videos, PDF eBooks, an email series, or a series of social posts, you get more out of your investment by reaching out to new audiences.
The key to successful scaling is increasing your output and returns while spending as little additional resources as possible. Therefore, you need to capitalize on the various content delivery methods available to help you maximize your ROI out of each new piece of content that comes out of that department.
7. Revise Your Outdated Content
Carrying on from the point above, you don't want your existing, older content to go to waste either. Furthermore, older content that's outdated or contains irrelevant or inaccurate information can actually harm your website's overall SEO value. It's in your best interest to ensure your content team dedicates time to revisiting and revising older content on your website or social media channels.
Revising older content requires a minimal time investment. As long as the article was previously well-researched and optimized, the bulk of the content should still be applicable in the current time period. Instead, you'll want to comb through the content and look for any facts or figures that have since changed since the time of posting. Additionally, you could update the article with news or discoveries that directly impact the material that is discussed in the body.
This is especially important for content that previously performed well and has tremendous SEO value. When users search for that keyword, there's a great chance your article will still appear high on search engine results pages. Google will recognize updates to the page and potentially push your article higher among its list of relevant content. You can also alert users that may have previously read the post that it contains new content by adding ā€�Updatedā€¯ or ā€�YEAR Updateā€¯ to the page or post title.
Keeping an organized content calendar for every year or every period will help you to easily keep track of any content you have that's relevant to a topic or keyword you're researching. If there is an opportunity to boost your existing content library by making simple updates, you need to do so to continue extracting additional ROI.
8. Optimize Your Content for All Devices
Most, if not all of your company's content creation likely occurs on a desktop or laptop device. However, those engaging with your content may utilize technology with much smaller viewports and slower processing such as mobile devices or tablets. For this reason, you must ensure that your content, videos, and web pages are optimized for on-the-go viewing.
In fact, a Statista study indicates that over 50% of all worldwide web traffic comes specifically from mobile devices. As content generally takes longer to load on mobile, especially if it's complete with high-quality images or video, your content creation must include mobile optimization to ensure your scaling efforts are worthwhile.
To make your mobile experience better, be sure to highlight your most important ideas in smaller paragraphs that can fit completely on a mobile viewport. You can also utilize lazy loading methods to hide bigger files such as photos from view until the reader scrolls closer to that section of the article. If possible, you'll want to use AMP (accelerated mobile pages) to enhance the content viewing experience.
If you're unsure if your page is properly optimized for a mobile experience, be sure to use Google's free tools such as the Mobile-Friendly Test. You can enter any URL and the software will automatically scan for errors and recommend options for improving your performance and eliminating errors.
Scaling Content Production with These Easy-to-Follow Steps!
By following these guidelines, any business can begin to take steps to scale its content creation. These ideas will guide you along the process of not only coming up with and writing new topics but how to squeeze every last bit of engagement you can out of both your new and old content.
If you take nothing else away from this post, ensure that you have a plan in place both via a monthly content calendar and through a guideline for each individual piece of content. To enable your writers to create at a high volume without sacrificing quality, you'll need to expand your content creation team to include experts in SEO, editing, graphic design, content planning, and content promotion be it through email marketing or social media.
To become a content powerhouse, make sure your library is a living, breathing entity that continues to foster engagement and empower the community. If you create content worth reading, it will take a life of its own and continue to circulate around the web. The more engagement you attract, the easier it will be to continue growing your audience and to justify expanding your content team even further.