It’s one of the most fundamental questions for any business: how do I scale up what I’m doing without losing quality? That question applies particularly well to content marketing, because the higher output and related pressures can make cutting corners a lot more appealing. There’s far more to resisting a drop in quality than just promising not to, however. Without clear plans and a strategy for how your content will scale, you’ll find it far more challenging to maintain the same quality and satisfy your earlier followers and clients.
Without maintaining quality, a content marketing campaign could easily kick up its costs and run into diminishing returns. No business wants to disappoint and lose its earlier, passionate customers and followers because it’s “sold out” or “gotten stale,” and yet it happens across every industry in the world. Here are the keys to making your content marketing campaign bigger and better in every way, both within your business and in customer satisfaction.
Choose the Right Way to Scale
This may seem basic, but it’s too often ignored, which sets the scaling efforts off on the wrong foot. Consider, for instance, a website that supplies recipe articles for healthy and eco-friendly diets. While more content of this kind might be welcomed by a few people, the website might experience diminishing returns by watering down its most desirable and effective content pieces in a sea of similar work. This would make it less noteworthy within its content community.
Polling your audience is one of the best ways to know exactly what they want. Give your customers and subscribers the option to choose what things they’d like to see more of, and you’ll get a more specific picture of the best way to scale. The creators of that recipe website, for example, might find that vegan pasta dishes are the most popular and appealing type of content they write, followed by vegan cheese alternatives. Scaling content production with these high-demand types in mind would be more effective than just making more of everything equally.
Establish a Content Creation Chain
Image via Flickr by jdlasica
If you’ve been hiring one or two writers to write your content and one editor to proofread it, that may be just fine for a blog and the occasional e-book. To really scale your efforts, however, you’ll need a full team organized into a chain of tasks.
A typical content creation chain will go something like this:
- Ideation: Individuals come up with ideas for content fitting an established theme or format, which must be approved before proceeding.
- Assignment: A project manager familiar with the available writing and editing talent either assigns or offers separate roles for writing and editing. No one person should be doing both jobs on the same content piece, to be certain that the maximum number of critical eyes examine the work.
- Writing: The content is composed in an early but ready draft by the assigned writer.
- Editing: The assigned editor reads and edits the work, ensuring that it follows the style guide, company standards and goals, proper grammar and usage, and any other criteria. The editor may request changes for the writer to make before final editing and approval.
- Quality Assurance: This is a wise final step after editor approval that could be performed by managers or others familiar with the content campaign. This is more or less a final editorial glance, with the authority to bring work back to the editing or writing stages.
Consider the type of roles you feel are important for how your business creates content, and then build or contract an expert team to fill these roles. If you were ever coming up with ideas, writing, or filling other roles by yourself, it’s extremely liberating to scale up by moving these responsibilities to a large team. You’ll still have the final say, but if your team is wisely chosen, you will likely not have to speak up very often.
Style Guides and Standards
A style guide is a great idea even before you scale your content, because it outlines your goals for the campaign and the style, voice, mechanics, and other standards for the content. Standards can’t be ignored in online business, and even if you think you have high standards, it will help other team members understand yours if you outline them in a simple, organized rule set. Style guides enforce consistency and can reduce misunderstandings, so that content has to be returned for re-writes and edits less often, saving time and freeing up talent to compose and edit more work.
Style guides don’t necessarily have to kill creativity, either. If your business wants articles that feel natural and have the voice of their writer, no problem. Just establish a looser style guide that only has a few key requirements for each piece. What matters is having a set of standards, because otherwise you could lose your vision and start writing content that doesn’t suit scaling or doesn’t satisfy your audience.
Don’t Rush Into It
Scaling should be the goal of a business that has no other pressing goals regarding its content. Before you try to scale your content, be absolutely certain that you’ve already perfected a certain standard of quality, regular output, marketing, and other factors. Much like a successful brick-and-mortar business that franchises into other locations, content marketing should only scale once it’s been proven to succeed in its smaller-scale arena.
You’ll also need a clear plan for how much you want your content to scale, and it should be something attainable and not too risky. You can always scale further if your smaller expansion succeeds, and a series of smaller bursts gives you more chances to poll your customer base to see if they’re happy with the direction you’ve taken.
There are several pitfalls of scaling content that can be largely addressed or avoided by following the tips above. Remember that if your business doesn’t have the size to handle the kind of scaling you want, you shouldn’t force it to be bigger just for that. Hiring a large team of curated experts is the ideal choice for most businesses. Teams like CopyPress have experience designing and following style guides, holding team members to high standards, and passing content through an ideal chain of development.