How To Create more EPIC content in LESS timeWhen you’re just starting out, it’s easy to handle all aspects of content creation yourself. But as your business grows, so does the need for more content. Let’s look at why it’s important to scale your content operations as your business grows and how to do it – without burning yourself out.
Here’s the thing. Just as with other business systems, your content creation process needs to evolve as your business grows.
I know. “Content operations” may sound a little too corporate or too high-tech for your small business. Maybe you think it doesn’t apply.
But the truth is – no matter how big or small your business is, if you want to publish enough content that’s on brand and high quality as your business grows, streamlined content operations is a must.
Let’s start with the basics.
What Are Content Operations?
This may be a term you’ve never heard before. But here’s what it really boils down to:
Content Operations is how you manage the tools, people, and processes that go into planning, creating, distributing, and optmising the content you produce.
That’s a mouthful, I know. Just think of it as the umbrella under which all the parts and pieces of your content creation process reside.
Now, for a large organisation pumping out tons of content every day (such as, say, Buzzfeed), this would include many people, processes, and tools.
Whereas for small businesses, it likely only includes a few people (or even just one), and a handful of tools.
But either way, even if you’ve never heard of this before, you’re already practising content operations in some way if you publish any type of content.
Why Your Content Operations Need To Scale As Your Business Grows
You might wonder why we’re even talking about this. Can’t you just keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing all along?
Unfortunately, that’s likely not the best approach. Because as you grow, you’ll need systems and processes that support the creation of more high-quality content faster than ever.
So, your simple fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants content process is likely to just fly apart as the pressure of more content creation builds up.
Whereas strong content operations will help you:
- produce content faster
- optimise your processes
- track and analyse content marketing performance
All so that you can produce content quickly and efficiently while still putting out higher-quality content that resonates with your customers and prospects.
What Does Content Operations Include?
Content operations include everything involved in your company’s content lifecycle, including:
This is where you ideate and decide which marketing projects to work on. Which ideas will move forward and which will be saved for later?
Prioritise and Plan
Once you’ve chosen your projects, you must decide in what order they will be completed. Which ones will best support your business priorities and what are the deadlines? This is also where you plan out production so that the end results meet all your needs
Workload & Resource Management
Okay, you have a plan for the what. Now it’s time to look at the how. Which content creators will work on each project? How can you assign and produce projects in a way that maximises everyone’s efforts?
Calendar & Distribution
When you produce a lot of content, an efficient content approval process is key. How do you ensure content is approved and ready to share on schedule? How do you keep everyone involved in the project up to date? And how will your audience discover this content? Where will you publish and when?
Do you know which content performs well with your audience and what doesn’t? What can you do to optimise existing content and tweak it the next time you create something new? Do you need to update your content strategy?
Content Audit & Asset Management
What content is currently out in the world? How does it relate to your audience’s content journey? Where do you keep all of your content marketing assets? And how can you get more use from each piece you create?
Look at these stages as a lifecycle, not a list. Every piece of content you create should go through each of these stages. And each stage feeds into the next.
How To Scale Your Content Operations
As with anything, there are a million ways to tackle a project like this. But let’s keep it simple and stick to just 3 best practices you can use to scale your content operations.
1) Centralise your data – and keep it that way.
The bigger your content teams, the more likely this is to be a problem. You may start out with all your data in one central location. A spreadsheet for example.
But the more people you have working on it, the more likely they are to have imported the data into another tool they prefer to use. They may share that with someone else and so on.
And every time that happens, it gets further and further away from the original source. In this way, incorrect or outdated information causes issues down the line.
How to fix it:
Make sure your team (and any stakeholders) can access the one, true source of correct data. And make sure that data is ALWAYS up to date. To manage this:
- Limit the number of editors of that single source and give “view only” access to everyone else.
- Create automated reminders for your team to update the information.
- Discourage data duplication. Instead, set up integration between necessary apps.
- Use filtering and customisation options in your main source so people can find the data they need.
Use our Content Planner Template to create a centralised content strategy including planning, production and analysing documents for your whole team.
2) Automate, automate, automate
Did you know that the average leader spends up to 13 hours per week on manual, operational tasks?
Not only does automating repetitive tasks save you time, effort, and energy but it also reduces opportunities for human error. And, it gives your brain back the space it needs to get creative.
Automation ideas to get you started:
- Automate update notifications to your team and/or stakeholders when anything changes in your primary data source.
- Create an automated approval workflow for your content creation process to keep things moving.
- Setup integrations between tools to reduce duplication errors and make sure everyone has what they need, where and when they need it.
Need help automating your content creation or distribution process? Give us a call, we can help.
3) Create a centralised dashboard
Our modern problem isn’t having enough information – it’s finding what you need when you need it. We’re drowning in information!
Stop digging for manual reports or requesting updates from your team. Instead, pull data from across your tool stack into your primary data source.
Then make sure it can provide the insights you need for every part of your content creation process. And make it available to everyone on the team who may need to see it.
So, Why Do You Need Efficient Content Operations?
When it comes to creating content, you may struggle with how to scale your operations.
Maybe it’s because you don’t have a clear understanding of what successful content operations are or what you need to do to support your marketing strategies.
Or perhaps you just don’t have the tools or resources necessary to create scalable, effective content.
Either way, if you’re struggling to produce enough high-quality content that meets your standards to keep up with demand, it’s probably time to work on your approach to content operations.
We get it. It can be tough to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis, especially when you’re busy running your business. That’s why so many business owners struggle with content marketing.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things you can do to make the process easier and more efficient. We’ve covered a few in this article, plus you can find many more on our blog.
Or, make it easy on yourself and get in touch with one of our productivity experts for help whipping your content operations into shape so you can scale with ease.