One of the most important aspects of a successful content strategy is having a solid content operations process in place.
A smooth content production process saves you and your staff time and energy. Additionally, it results in higher-quality content that resonates with your audience.
If you haven’t thought about how your content operations will support your content strategy, now is a great time to think about it. In this article, we’ll discuss content operations and how to optimize them for your content marketing.
What is Content Operations?
Content operations are the collection of processes you use to create content. It includes all the people, systems, and tools you manage to produce, publish, and distribute content.
If content creation is the creative, content operations is the structure.
A robust content operation process is essential to any successful content strategy. It ensures your team has the resources to produce high-quality content. And that your content is distributed effectively.
An efficient content production operations process will allow you to scale your content without issues like duplicate content, inconsistent quality, and missed opportunities.
There are four key areas you need to focus on:
- Financial planning: Make sure you have the budget to support your content strategy. That includes not only the cost of producing content but also the cost of promoting and distributing it.
- Production process: Streamlining your content production process will make it more efficient and effective. That includes everything from content ideation and writing to editing and publishing.
- Distribution strategy: Develop a distribution strategy to ensure the right people see your content. That may include using paid media, social media, and email marketing.
- Reporting and analytics: Setting up a reporting system will help track your progress and measure your success. This data will be essential in deciding your content strategy going forward.
How Content Operations Differ from Content Marketing
While content marketing and content operations share common goals, they’re distinct in their focus and execution.
Content marketing is the umbrella. It covers:
- Content strategy
- Content creation
- Content production
- Content distribution
- Content operations
Content operations are a fundamental piece of that umbrella. It covers the behind-the-scenes infrastructure needed to support content marketing. It’s about optimizing content workflows, ensuring quality, and enabling scalability.
Optimizing Your Content Operations
Whether you already have robust operations or are just starting, this step-by-step process will help you review and ensure your content operations are top-notch.
Start with an internal survey
As you review your content operations, getting input from your team is essential. Send out a survey to your colleagues whose roles intersect with content.
When you do, ask questions like:
- What are your current pain points?
- What parts of the process are working well?
- Is there anything we could be doing better?
- What takes the most time?
- Any suggestions for streamlining or automation?
- Is the current budget adequate, or are adjustments necessary?
- Is the current reporting system helpful? If not, what would be more valuable?
Share your findings
Once you’ve gathered and reviewed the feedback from your content operations surveys, it’s time to share the results. Share your findings with your team and then use them to create a plan of action to refine your processes next year.
Additionally, make sure to involve your team in the decision-making. They’re the ones who will be implementing any changes you make, after all.
Set SMART goals
After completing your survey and collating and sharing your results, it’s time to set some goals. But not just any goals — SMART goals.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, a SMART goal for content ops might be: “By Q2 2024, we will reduce content production time by 40 percent. We’ll do this by outsourcing ideation, writing, and editing to a managed content production team.”
This goal is:
- Specific (reduce content production time by 40 percent)
- Measurable (staff can track and report time savings)
- Achievable (based on the previous quarter’s data)
- Relevant (content production efficiency is a pain point for the team)
- Time-bound (the team will hit the goal by Q2 2024)
By setting SMART goals, you can ensure that your content operations improvements are tangible and achievable.
Review your content budget
One of the most important aspects of content ops is financial planning. You need to ensure you have the budget to support your content strategy. Start by reviewing your existing content budget.
Then ask yourself and your team some critical questions:
- How much are you spending on content production?
- How much are you spending on promoting and distributing your content?
- Is this in line with your overall marketing budget?
If you don’t have clarity around your content budget, now is the time to create one. Work with your finance team to develop a budget to support your content strategy.Optimize your tools and processes
Here are some tips to take your content production operations to the next level and help you work at scale:
Decide on one system
Every team within your company probably has its own system of communicating tasks, priorities, and information. However, vital information can get lost over time when your content planning is routed through various systems.
To save time and trouble, keep everyone working from the same system. That will reduce confusion, improve communication, and make it easier to track progress and deadlines.
Automate where possible
Use technology to automate mundane content operations tasks whenever possible. That will free up your team’s time to focus on more important work. For example, your system should automatically assign deadlines and send reminders to team members when tasks are due.
Use templates and guidelines
When creating a lot of content, it can be helpful to use templates and offer your writer a clear set of editorial guidelines. That will help ensure your content is consistent and aligned with your brand voice. It will also save your team time by giving them a starting point for each brief or piece of content they create.
Create clear and concise briefs
When assigning a new project, provide your team with a clear and concise brief. One that outlines the goals, deadlines, and expectations for the piece. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and minimize the need for revision.
Implement a review and approval process
Write out a clear review checklist. A checklist will ensure that any staff member who reviews the final content follows the same procedure. That will speed up the content approval process without sacrificing quality.
Work with a content partner
One of the best ways to improve your content operations is to work with a content partner. A content partner can help you with all aspects of your content strategy, from content creation to distribution.
When choosing a content partner, look for a company that offers a simple workflow and easy-to-use tools. You should also ensure the company has a team of experienced content creators who can produce high-quality, engaging content.
ClearVoice is an excellent option for companies looking for a managed content partner. We offer simple workflows, easy-to-use tools, and a team of experienced content creators.
Common Pitfalls in Content Operations
Implementing content operations can transform your content marketing, but it’s not without its challenges. Here are some of the most common ones:
Overcoming Resistance to Change
Challenge: People are often comfortable with existing workflows. When you introduce a new system or process, you might face resistance from employees who don’t want to adapt to a new system.
- Communicate the benefits of your new content operations clearly
- Show how it streamlines processes, improves efficiency, and contributes to achieving broader brand goals
- Involve key stakeholders early, provide training, and address concerns proactively
Navigating the Technology Landscape
Challenge: Choosing the right tech stack for your content operations can be overwhelming. There are so many tools and platforms for content management, workflow automation, and analytics.
- Assess your company’s requirements and goals
- Ask for recommendations from experts and peers within your network
- Identify the specific areas in your content marketing that could use technology support the most
- Always stay current on the latest trends and developments
Maintaining Consistency Across Diverse Content Channels
Challenge: Content must stay consistent and aligned with your brand’s voice and messaging across all your channels.
Solution: Develop detailed brand guidelines that define your brand’s tone, style, and messaging. Implement a centralized content management system (CMS) for easy workflows and distribution. That will ensure consistency across all your channels. And always regularly audit and review your content for quality and consistency.
Ready to Create a Well-Oiled Content Machine?
Now that you have a primer on content operations, remember that working with a managed content partner can further streamline your production. At ClearVoice, our content operations are already in place. Discover our solutions or talk to us today to learn how we can help you maximize your content marketing’s potential.