Content Marketing Operations: Five Essentials for Consistent Success

So far, most marketers understand the tremendous impact that content marketing can have on a company – 55% of marketers say creating blogs is the top priority of inbound marketing, according to HubSpot.

But the content puzzle is more than just writing, even if no one is going to read a blog or other boring, dry or malicious content. The ability to write good content is an essential skill, but it is very different from managing a content marketing strategy and program.

With the main content, marketers have a lot to think about: the topics to be discussed, the keywords to be included, the frequency of posts, and the tone of voice of the content are obvious considerations.

But much of content marketing that generally doesn’t get enough attention goes beyond basic campaigns. Investigate how the content engine works – it takes care of the entire content marketing operation.

Clearly, the challenges for content managers are many.

Well-lubricated content cannot happen quickly; and people, processes, and technology can change over time; but the following five building blocks will help lay the foundation for success and get businesses on track to create consistent, engaging, and effective content at scale.

  1. Develop a content marketing strategy

In total, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but only 37% have a documented content marketing strategy, according to surveys by the MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute.

For small content marketing teams, a documented strategy cannot fly: after all, many content marketing managers follow some type of strategy; it is not always documented. But for larger companies, this approach is really ineffective.

The problem with a strategy and not documenting it is that it is not scalable. If the only person who knows the strategy is the content manager, that person must always communicate, speak and align with everyone.

But with a documented content strategy, marketers can effectively inform interested parties and individual employees about whom they are targeting, what role content plays in the overall marketing strategy, which channels are priorities, and more.

  1. Create and share a style guide, employee guidelines, and brand guidelines

Many people write in their own voice, in their own mood, in their own words, and their own sentence structure. As companies increase their content production and more people contribute to their blogs, websites, or other material, writers can stay on top of brand representation by reading a style guide and other guidelines before writing.

Marketers will spend less time communicating by email; and, most importantly, the content produced will be accurate and maintain the right voice and brand identity.

Content style guides can contain a lot of information, but the basic principles to include are your preferences for terminology, tone, word count, topic ideas, and image requests. A content style guide is probably based on the company’s brand guidelines and should include examples to help employees better understand their work.

  1. Create a production workflow

A content production workflow helps you understand what needs to be done and when you’re in the production process, it saves time and responds quickly to questions from stakeholders or employees.

Nothing detailed is necessary, but it is good to have a summary of the different steps and activities, how to assign a topic and a keyword, write the first draft, a specialized overview of the topic, the content manager, the design/origin of the images, publication, and distribution. You can include the estimated duration of each step and provide information on where to store the content drafts.

The other big part of a production workflow is the file structure and resource storage. Companies often create content but do not maintain an updated index or where to store assets such as text and images. By documenting where resources are located and where they can be accessed, marketers can save time by reviewing, reusing, or reposting content.

  1. Describe the technology needs

A stack of content marketing technologies likely includes a content management system (CMS), a marketing automation platform; save files for resources; project management software; authoring tools; keywords, search tools for social media and content marketing; and design tools.

Keep your account credentials together (in a safe place, which is another technology) and watch when it’s time to update each technology so you don’t unexpectedly run out of important resources.

  1. Make sure your people are right

Content operations can never take place without the core: people. Again, depending on the size of your organization, the number of people involved can vary widely, but you need writers, employees, marketing managers, content marketers, videographers, developers, designers, and, of course, professionals.

The key here for content marketing managers is to think like a project manager and look for opportunities. If the goal is to publish three long posts a week, how long will it take for a writer, designer, and subject matter expert?

When marketers don’t take into account the amount of time and effort required to produce specific content, they often have subpar results and a frustrated team. Make sure that your content marketing goals match the number of resources available.

Conclusion

If you’ve run a content marketing program, you know all the challenges that come with it. It is not just about producing excellent and attractive content (although this is essential); it also tracks many moving parts and sometimes even moving parts.