Content marketing professionals understand the amount of time and effort that can go into planning, creating, and promoting content. A single article can take weeks or even months to move from ideation to publication—and the complexity of moving processes can often cause frustrating delays.
Successful content marketing can be inherently difficult to increase in scale. Learn how better managing your resources, developing more efficient processes and concentrating on quality control can help you improve your content efforts at a larger scale.
Efficiently Manage Your Content Resources, Before Scaling
Before increasing the velocity of your content creation and distribution, you should first learn how to more efficiently manage your current resources. If members of your team are already juggling the duties of two or three employees, then the thought of scaling may cause uneasy tension and ultimately lead to failure.
Whether limited by budget, knowledge, executive buy-in, or a combination of other reasons, there is often a laundry list of challenges that can hinder your content marketing efforts at scale—so it’s often best to clean up your current efforts before increasing workload.
Start by identifying any tasks, marketing tools, or meetings that seem out-of-place, ineffective, or overly time consuming. Consult members of your content team, your project managers, and any third-party or outsourced resources such as freelancers or agencies.
Tactfully ask about how they spend their time, what tools are essential to perform their duties if they have any frustrations or any recommendations on how to make their jobs easier. The key is to offer support and empathize with your team to learn more about how your resources are honestly being allocated.
Look for these common signs that your resources are being strained:
- Poor communication between team members and third-party professionals.
- Missed deadlines from employees with too many priorities.
- Exceptionally long turn-around time on content creation.
- Declining content quality
- Diminishing performance metrics / KPIs.
If you’re using a time-tracking tool such as Harvest or project management tools such as Jira or Trello, open the software and look for any noticeable time sinks.
Next, make a prioritized list of your organizational challenges and suggest three possible solutions (a free solution, one that requires minimal resources, and a perfect scenario solution is best) to take action on your findings.
By identifying current team challenges and putting measures in place to solve them prior to scaling, you can help ensure that your organization is ready to execute your content efforts more efficiently and increase your chances of finding success as you ramp up.
Be sure to ask yourself the following to better make sure that you can scale smoothly:
- Is there an opportunity to optimize paid ad spend to improve cost-per-click and customer acquisition cost?
- Can you improve your search engine optimization efforts to increase organic traffic?
- Is working with an agency, freelancer, or internal hires more effective?
- Are there user-generated content opportunities to assist promotion efforts?
- Are there universal tools in place to help the team? I.e. Community password keepers such as LastPass or 1Password, etc.
- Are subject-matter-experts and industry influencers helping promote your content efforts?
Asking these questions can help inform your content marketing strategy and improve your processes moving forward—meaning that you’ll get more bang for your buck as you scale.
Develop Processes That Work For Your Team
The more we repeat a task, the more efficient we become at accomplishing it; however, with content marketing, we tend to learn more from our execution and then apply our findings to future processes. This can often make our processes unnecessarily more complicated.
To effectively scale your content marketing, you’ll need to create repeatable processes that can, over time, become more efficient and streamlined.
First, identify how often you should be creating and distributing content.
Think about the content pillars and themes that you plan to cover, how effectively your competitors are covering similar topics and your team’s production capability. Next, create weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals.
Typically, the more competitive or cutting-edge the industry, the more quality content you’ll need to produce (and creatively promote) to make a splash—but no matter how ambitious your goals are, you should concentrate on realistic goal setting.
For example, if you typically have the bandwidth to produce an article once a week, shoot for 5 articles the following month. Encouraging realistic goals can help your team meet deadlines, identify challenges before they become too severe, and scale more smoothly.
Next, use the goals that you create to inform a universal marketing calendar that all marketing team members are privy to.
A universal marketing calendar incorporates all editorial deadlines such as drafts, approvals, and publish dates and distribution components such as paid advertising, social publishing, email marketing, and more.
Other considerations when building your universal marketing calendar and processes:
- Keywords and search engine optimization.
- Content length, tone, and style.
- Graphic production and design time.
- Distribution, social, and paid promotional elements.
- Nurture campaigns and automation.
- Content theme rotation; saturation.
Organizing your processes into a calendar that all marketing teammates have access to can inter-team collaboration and surface any conflicts. Consider color coding different processes based on type or responsibility and implementing RACI ideology where appropriate.
For smaller teams, creating your calendar in Google Sheets or iCal should suffice. More mature marketing teams should consider a more robust solution such as ClearVoice for content planning or piecing together relevant tools such as SproutSocial for community engagement, etc.
Proactively Monitor Your Content Quality
Maintaining quality is a common challenge when scaling content marketing processes. Whether it’s cutting too many corners, trying to get a better deal on costs, or simply wearing your team too thin with increased demand, degrading content quality can happen to even the best organizations.
In order to help ensure that your quality standards remain while scaling, create a checklist in Google Sheets that aligns with your brand guidelines and content strategy.
Your checklist should include the basics such as proper grammar, spelling, and image use policies, but it should also delve into more technical specifics such as customer journey mapping, brand tone, and keyword considerations.
Consider asking the following questions for ensuring quality content before publishing:
- Does the headline, sub headers, meta description, and anchor text align with SEO needs?
- Does the paragraph content meet the expectations of the headers?
- Are all third-party resources accredited?
- Does your content match the persona’s needs for this stage of their journey?
- Is the content too self-serving?
- Does it inspire the reader to take a desirable action?
- Does the content meet company compliance?
You should reference your content quality checklist before approving or publishing any new or updated content.
Remember, to create consistent quality content, you’ll need ongoing quality control. Be sure to communicate your content expectations and review process with everyone in your content team and any key stakeholders to keep everyone in the know. Your checklist and brand guidelines can also be used to get freelance copywriters or content agencies up-to-speed when working on your projects. Additionally, it can serve as a point of reference when identifying problems in your creation processes.
For example, if you find that your target personas are seldom or shallowly considered through the execution of your content, it may be a sign that you need to allocate more persona expertise for your content team.
What processes have you created to scale your content marketing efforts? Have you run into any unique scaling challenges? How did you overcome them? Put your feedback in the section below.