By: Matthew Kabik
Want to get a head start on your company’s content? Don’t look for snappy headlines – look for clear organization.
All of us have been on the receiving end of a request to make a viral video, tweet, blog post or any other number of impossible-to-make-viral pieces of content. This line of thinking is a good example of a what often goes wrong in content creation: thinking only about the finished product rather than the process of creating those assets to begin with. It removes the value of organization, resulting in an unpredictable and unreliable process.
Content creation is certainly king. Even so, marketers can overlook – or simply don’t have the time – to take care of the kingdom. Without planning, process and routine, content creation suffers.
Organization is the key to creating a thriving, successful and sustained content marketing effort. By creating a framework of organization around content creation, your efforts will be productive and further reaching, saving time and money.
Content creation might be a marketer’s sandbox, but it’s likely there are people on your team who can bring some much-needed expertise or fresh thinking into your content creation process. Consider having an easily accessible, online document that anyone can contribute ideas to. Whether it’s a link to a news article, a series of blog post ideas or even something as simple as a note sharing what the field is interested in currently, these insider ideas can prove to be invaluable for planning content in advance.
Who to invite: SMEs, writers, managers in your organization – anyone who has their ear on the ground and pays attention to the pulse of your industry.
How to do it: Simplicity is key: Share a Google doc or any other easy-to-use, easy-to-access document that people can throw ideas into. It might seem daunting to have everyone suggest whatever they want, but brainstorming is a great way to find some unexpected, successful content ideas. Once a month or so, go through the list and gather up the best ones.
Maybe it’s an article you shared on Facebook, or maybe it’s an infographic from six months ago that became popular on LinkedIn. Whatever it was, don’t consider any content you’ve created as a once-and-done piece of collateral. Through tracking and metrics, it should be clear to you what was successful. Identifying these items is the first step, with the second step being repurposing to reach more people and increase potential business.
For instance, if you had a very successful article, consider creating a simple infographic or micrographic that uses the best parts. Maybe an interview with an SME can become a bulleted list of best practices. The more you do this, the easier it will become. And the best part about it? You’re not searching for brand new material: You’ve got it already!
Who to invite: past content creators, your analytics pros and your past content, of course.
How to do it: Investigate what blog posts, articles or other materials were widely shared or commented on. Determine the best cycle for reintroducing this content in a different way. This is a good point to create a process for determining what might work best each time or how to determine when a piece of collateral can change in presentation or delivery.
What content types did you produce the month before? What topics were discussed? Who wrote the material? There is a trap marketers can fall into where the mindset of simply producing content overtakes the strategic elements of the work itself. Keeping topics and content types diversified helps hold the attention of your audience and carries your message further.
It might seem daunting at first to add this step if you’re not doing it already, but with proper organization, it can become easy and valuable. By simply documenting what material will be produced for the month before creating it, you have a record to readily look back on and consider. This helps identify if you’ve been infographic-heavy for three months, for instance, or if you’re spending too much time posting about only one subject.
Who to invite: content creators and content planners.
How to do it: Have only one document that houses every month’s planned or executed content. Review this at the end of each month just before planning for the next month’s material (ideally, within the same meeting). This helps guide your planning for the upcoming month and strengthens strategic thinking.
Your marketing team is great. They are superstars. They know what to do and how to do it. But it’s easy to go a little bit off course. In content marketing, going off course can result in some costly realignment. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward way to make sure your team gets little course adjustments along the way rather than having a big surprise a day before any piece of content is supposed to go out the door.
Even with a content calendar and a monthly review, having weekly meetings is essential. These meetings don’t have to be long and can help you adjust your planned content creation efforts with unforeseen content needs. Consider it more like a check-in with your team: How is the content coming along? Are there any questions? Any opportunities?
Asking these questions often reveals small problems with small solutions, saving you from dealing with a time-consuming question later on.
Who to invite: content creators.
How to do it: Going out of the office for coffee is nice, but this can be as simple as checking in one-on-one or with a standup meeting for everyone involved. The size of your team dictates what’s the most effective. Make sure the meeting stays on the topic of current content creation and questions – leave the larger, strategic questions for more in-depth meetings.
These suggestions are just the beginning of organizing your content creation, and chances are high that there are elements that are unique to your own business. But by utilizing these tips, you’re making sure the foundations of content creation are solid, reducing the likelihood of finding yourself empty-handed when asked for that next big content idea.