If you've been reading this blog for more than a hot second, you've noticed I write an awful lot about process. I love creativity and strategy as much as the next marketer, but the truth is, those are the places is where good ideas go to die unless there's a process for executing them.
And, importantly, process is frequently what separates successful content marketing and brand journalism from the rest.
It's not skill -- I can teach you how to be a better writer, or I can hire in help who already is.
It's not capacity -- Again, I can usually find the dough to fund an important writing project.
Content operations isn't sexy, but it's where the action really is.
If you're not meeting your goals or getting the results you want, take a closer look at how you make content. That's the best way to stop grinding your gears and start producing more and better content.
Content Operations Audit Step One
Start at the beginning, before the writing even starts, to evaluate how you find and form content ideas and sources.Key questions include: Where do good ideas come from and how can we vet them faster? How do we find the best sources? Who furnishes KWs, CTAs and meta data?
Content Operations Audit Step Two
Then consider every step along the writing process to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies and opportunities to be more effective. Key questions include: How do we pre-write, draft and revise? Can we create templates for the formats we use most? Do we know how to consistently create good writing?
Content Operations Audit Step Three
Don't forget to look at what happens to the content after it's written. Key questions include: What does the revision and approval process look like? How does the content get published?
Content Operations Audit Step Four
Compile the list of findings and recommendations. Then discuss them with core members of the content team and other stakeholders who are required in the process. Create steps and take them for a test drive till you find the right operational flow for your team.
I used this process to help The Recording Academy understand how its various content teams produced content and to create a shared process that worked for everyone and produce better results. We involved managers, writers/producers, tech and internal clients in investigating the existing procedures and developing new ones. The result was a work flow that improved creativity, speed to publish and crucial KPIs.