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Whether you have a business to consumer (B2C) or business to business (B2B) company, your high-quality content needs are never-ending. After all, both individual consumers and businesses consume ever-increasing quantities of online media. When you rely on a single writer or a small content team, keeping up with production demands can seem impossible.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be left behind in the race toward peak content production. Follow these six tips to scale high-quality content.
Image via Flickr by vpickering
All effective attempts at scaling start with a plan, and when it comes to increasing content production, a content marketing strategy is critical. After all, you don’t want to produce and market blog posts and white papers just because you can.
Start by sitting down with your marketing team and developing a forward-thinking content strategy. Refer to your company’s marketing plan, and anticipate your clients’ needs and desires. Brainstorm blog posts, long-form content, and digital media to appeal to those needs, and you’ll make your content worth everyone’s while.
You’ll also save endless time and frustration by creating an editorial calendar in advance. By mapping out publication dates, you can make sure content aligns with seasonal demand, product launches, and overall company goals.
When you start to scale production, keeping writers on message and generating a consistent product is key. To do this, you’ll need to create a company style guide. If this sounds overly involved, remember that when writers adhere to a style guide, clients will focus on the great content instead of on the inconsistencies among articles.
An effective style guide typically starts with the basics, such as brand guidelines, standard heading styles, word count, link and keyword frequency, and image quantity. Style guides can also establish marketing personas, which direct writers to consider specific sets of interests and needs for different clients.
Make sure your style guide covers all the bases by testing it out on select writers. Ask at least two to use the style guide to create test pieces, and then evaluate the articles carefully to be sure they’re both consistent and effective.
Don’t despair if your content team is impossibly small. Your next step is to seek experts in your field to grow your team. Keep in mind that your team doesn’t need to consist solely of full-time employees. Instead, try expanding creatively.
If you already keep up on industry news and follow the latest headlines, chances are you’re familiar with writers who are experts in your field or influencers who hold substantial clout. Reach out to them via email or social media, gauge their interest in producing content for your brand, and propose a way to work together.
If scaling content quickly and effectively is critical, consider hiring a content production company. When you have a clear marketing strategy, editorial calendar, and style guide in place, a content production company can serve as an efficient, effective, and indispensable asset.
Automation is the name of the game when it comes to scaling content. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to adopt tools to save time and build internal systems to increase efficiency.
Start by identifying pre-existing tools that your team can put to work. For instance, communication platforms such as Slack enable your team to discuss strategy, projects, timelines, and more in designated channels. You can even upload documents such as style guides, and you can search for project updates much more easily than you could in any email application.
To collaborate on documents like editorial calendars, brand guidelines, and style guides, try using Google Drive. When you rely on this application, you can rest assured that your team members have the most recent version of every document at their fingertips, and they can even comment on and update spreadsheets and text documents as necessary.
Because scaling is easier when you repurpose content you’ve already produced, develop your own internal system for stretching your content further. For instance, a strategic series of blog posts can turn into a high-quality e-book, or a great infographic can take on new life with a few focused articles that delve into the data-driven details.
Even the best content scaling plan might need adjustments along the way, as you learn what works and what doesn’t for your business. Track your website’s Google Analytics to understand your most popular pieces of content, your biggest referral sources, and your most successful sales funnels. Along the same lines, pay close attention to your social media analytics to know how clients engage with your content and which types resonate the most.
Make time for quick analytics checks daily, and take a closer look at more involved metrics monthly and quarterly. Don’t hesitate to incorporate the changes you need to meet the key performance indicators you’ve established.
Just because you’re scaling production doesn’t mean you can afford to let quality slide. Increasing content production doesn’t give you a pass to skip critical quality assurance (QA) steps. That means you’ll need to expand your editing and QA teams to keep up with your writers. Make a point of getting two sets of eyes on each piece of content. The first should confirm that the content doesn’t include easy-to-spot problems such as typos, run-on sentences, and grammatical errors, while the second should make sure the content adheres to the style guide and achieves the marketing and sales goals you’ve outlined.
As you continue to scale, don’t let your team fall into the trap of excessive automation. Remember that bigger isn’t always better, and a larger library of mediocre content won’t necessarily attract the eyes you want or drive the sales you need. Incorporate as many automated steps in your process as possible, but always take the time to make sure the content you publish delivers the value you need.
Growing pains are never easy to deal with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put systems in place to produce more content that gets attention and drives your sales goals. Keep these tips in mind to scale content and stay on top of your industry.