As with anything in life, the best results are achieved when you have methodological processes in place. And although content marketing gurus Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose tell us that “the processes you put in place to manage your content marketing will be unique to your organisation”, here are some key general processes (to go along with your content strategy) to take on board to maximise your entry into the content marketing arena.
The size of your organisation will dictate the number of tiers and staff that make up your content marketing team. If you’re already small in number, chances are you won’t have the necessary sources existing in-house. This means you’ll need to either recruit new people (yay!) or consider outsourcing your content creation to a content agency.
Especially in smaller teams, one person might wear several hats. Here are the roles that need to be filled – either by one person or many:
• A managing editor who will be in charge of overseeing the entire production of content, from strategising and staffing to client liaison.
• Creatives for putting together dazzling content. It’s more than likely the majority of your writers will have a journalism background and are looking to break into the digital sphere, rather than traditional marketers. However, it is important to remember that content marketing is no longer just about the written word. Therefore depending on the type of content you are creating, you’ll also need quality videographers, video editors, etc.
• A sub-editor to put the finishing touches on any written work. Never underestimate the power of proofreading, and never trust your word processor’s spell checker to pick up all your gaffes.
• A web developer – or, if you’re lucky enough, a team – for designing the platform the content will be hosted on.
• An SEO specialist for ensuring the content is visible and actually being seen.
• A designer for ‘beautifying’ the content, or for creating visual content assets, such as infographics, when required.
As is the case with most endeavours, planning is the absolute key to content marketing success. Once you’ve assembled your team and worked out who does what, you’ll need to come up with a sustainable plan to keep content flowing freely. Sustainable really is the key word here. Just as grass grows better with regular watering than a drowning every once in a while, content marketing is only effective with a steady stream of updates.
Here are a few things to consider to keep yourself moving in the right direction:
• Content calendars: What topics should you cover to ensure you meet your audience’s needs? How can you align your content to key events in your industry so that your content appears timely?
• Review processes: After the first draft – be it written, video or infographic – is created, who needs to have input into what the final version looks like? What order should these reviews be in? Depending on your organisation, the review layers might include a sub-editor, content manager, compliance and legal stakeholders. You might even decide it’s best for your process if legal signs off on topics before the content is even created to avoid spinning wheels with a piece of content that’s never going to actually see the light of day.
• Version control: Whether you use a newfangled file-sharing system or a simple series of folders and document filenames, it’s important to keep track of who made what changes at what stage of the process. It’s not about pointing fingers if something goes wrong, but rather keeping the lines of communication open amongst your team members.
Once you’ve brought together your content troops and you have your workflow in place, it’s time to ensure other departments within your organisation are aligned with your content strategy and are aware of what you’re aiming to achieve with it. And we don’t mean by simply sending out an inter-office memo.
It’s smart to align internally – it lets you identify people who could contribute content or help come up with ideas that are in keeping with your organisation’s ethos, but just from a different perspective.
Almost every industry expert agrees that communication is key. It’s that simple. And although it can be difficult to find a time where all your stakeholders are available to come together, it is essential you make a concerted effort to do so, and on a regular basis – be it monthly or quarterly.
If you keep up communication with all members of the team and stick to the plan, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth content marketing journey.
Lucy Sutton and Leigh Credlin