Content is the lifeblood of your content marketing strategy.
It’s not just enough to create engaging content. You need to create content that delivers business results- consistently.
This guide will help you set up a scalable content production process for your organization.
How to set up a scalable content production process?
Your business needs to have efficient processes in place for better ROI. You should be able to scale up or scale down your content production with ease.
#1: Identify content gaps
The first step in creating a scalable content strategy is to identify content gaps.
A content gap analysis will tell you what is missing from your content. Use this as a starting point for your content generation strategy.
It’s tempting to try and model your content strategy based on your competitor. If they are doing it, it must be working for them. Right?
It’s always best to identify the gaps in your business first. Fixing these deficiencies will give you better ROI compared to blindly copying your competition.
#2: Brainstorm content ideas
Once you have an idea of what content themes you need to focus on, it’s time to generate content ideas.
Here are a few ways to brainstorm content ideas.
Talk to your customer support or sales teams
No one knows your customer like you do.
Client facing teams know what concerns your customers have and what excites them the most about your product.
Some of the best content I have created were customer questions answered via blog posts with proof to back my claims. It has had the highest conversion rate among all the content.
Because these content pieces address customer concerns directly. As long as it’s not an annoying sales pitch and delivers real value, people will engage with it.
Here’s are a few examples of companies addressing customer concerns through detailed blog posts.
Don’t go overboard, though. A blog which looks and reads like a detailed FAQ section will not leave readers wanting to come back to read more.
Surprised to see YouTube here? Don’t be. Content isn’t just text. It covers everything your company creates- text, audio, video, presentation, etc.
YouTube is the big daddy of all video sharing sites. It’s also the second largest search engine. If you plan to use video content, YouTube is a research goldmine.
Seed your search with keywords related to your industry. What’s popular among your audience, what’s trending? Watch the top videos in your industry. They’ll give you an idea about the budget required and popular presentation styles.
Buzzsumo helps you identify trending topics. It will also help you understand what’s working for your competitors.
You can generate tons of content ideas by looking at what has worked well in your industry. Don’t make all your content decisions based on this data, though.
Content that works well on social media are often ideas that are showcased for the first time. Or it has an interesting angle to an existing story.
Basing your content on an already popular idea is unlikely to produce the same results.
Like Yahoo Answers, Quora is a popular Q&A site.
It’s especially useful for doing content research. The variety of intellectually stimulating questions and the depth of answers on some of them will leave you awestruck.
The last part of brainstorming session: Use a spreadsheet app
Once you brainstorm and come up with content, use Excel or Google Sheets to create a data dump. Create a fresh list of ideas without filtering or adding any more data points.
#3: Identify content meta-data
By now, you have some idea about what kind of content your audience likes. But what format should the content be in? Should it be a simple blog post, video, or an infographic?
Before the creation process, you need to figure out the content format which works best for you.
Text-based content is the most popular since it’s the cheaper and easier to create and distribute. While images and videos are costlier to produce, they are more engaging.
You’ll also need to assign owners and budget to each content.
Owners assume responsibility for content production. A budget helps owners decide the resources they can hire to produce the content. Budget is critical if you involve freelancers or agencies.
#4: Create an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar is a curated version of your brainstorm list. It will give you a snapshot overview of your current content production pipeline.
It’s important for content owners to know which of their content is on track and which gets delayed. Identifying bottlenecks early on will help teams stick to deadlines.
#5: Produce content
The rubber finally meets the road. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and make all the planning effort count.
Here’s a golden rule to follow. Any content that you create should pass the UREA test. Content should be Useful, Relevant, Engaging, and Actionable.
If you have the budget, you should have an in-house team to produce content. After all, it’s a core recurring business activity. In-house teams are often better for predictability and controlling budget spikes.
Here are a few tools and services to help you supercharge your production process.
So you want to create written content, design an infographic, and animate a whiteboard video for cheap?
There’s a good chance you can find a relevant service provider on Fiverr.
Fiverr offers “gigs” which offer various levels of services. The base price for each gig is $5. You can purchase multiple gigs or gig extras for added services.
Textbroker is an on-demand content writing service. They have a huge pool of writers, graded based on the quality of writing.
The process of placing an order is simple and straight forward.
- Create a project
- Provide brief of the content you want to be delivered
- Choose the quality of the writer (Higher the quality, higher the price per word)
- Pay for the content
- You’ll be notified when your order is complete
- Review the content. You can send the content back for changes if it does not meet the content brief or quality guidelines
- Accept final work and use the content anywhere you want without attribution
Here are some tips for getting the most from Textbroker based on my experience.
- Always choose writers with at least four stars
- Be as detailed as possible while giving a brief. Provide style guidelines if any
- Focusing on on-page SEO is OK. Try not to add too much SEO details to your order. Content quality can suffer because of the split focus
- Place the first few orders as open orders. Once you find good writers, start placing direct orders
- Do not try to work with writers outside of the platform. It’s against Textbroker TOS
- If the topic is complex, give a brief outline for the writer to follow
To create video animations, Videohive has thousands of templates. You can purchase source files and make the required changes to suit your business.
There’s a downside, though. You need to have relevant software and have a working knowledge to make the changes.
If you are not tech savvy enough for DIY, here’s a better way.
Browse through all the available video templates. If you like a particular style, buy the source file. Then approach a freelance editor and ask them to make the necessary edits.
It will be much cheaper and scalable this way since the freelancer has a clearly defined scope and lower effort.
Canva is a free web-based design tool. You can use canva to create banners, social media images, landing pages, etc. You can also edit your pictures and add filters.
Canva’s business model is based on you purchasing premium design elements from them. They have beautifully designed templates which you can edit and publish.
Canva is by no means a replacement for a good graphic designer. It’s a quick and easy way to create professional looking content if you don’t have the budget for a designer.
Infographic design tools
There are several DIY design tools available to create infographics. However, in my experience, none of them are intuitive enough for non-designers.
If you want to create an infographic, but don’t have enough budget to hire a good designer, use Fiverr.
If you want to try out infographic design, here are a few sites to try.
#6: Set up an approval process
In traditional publishing, once the writer creates the content, it goes to the sub-editor. Then it goes to the editor who finally approves it for publication.
While your business will have unique requirements, have an explicit approval structure. If the content is technical in nature, have a subject matter vet the content before publishing.
Your team has toiled hard to create content your audience will find useful. It’s time to let people know that you have something worthy of their attention.
Publish the content to your website’s content management system. Make sure to polish your content. Ensure on-page SEO, internal linking to relevant content, supporting images, etc. are all taken care of.
Yes, you may now receive a standing ovation in your mind for a job well done. But remember;
Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley.
So, what’s the next piece of content you want to create?