Maybe you own a business that operates online. Maybe you work for such a business, and have a fancy title like “Marketing Director,” “Digital Brand Manager,” or “Internet Lady.” Or maybe you are just the unlucky employee who gets saddled with managing the website on top of your other responsibilities (see “Internet Lady,” above).
If any of these are you, you have no doubt heard the phrase ‘Content is King.’ Unfortunately, producing great content isn’t nearly as easy as thinking “Gee, I should produce some content.” Whether you want to produce content yourself or pay someone else, you’ll need to have the workflow planned out in advance if you want to succeed!
Content Isn’t King
For starters, let’s put one tired idiom to bed: Content isn’t King. Content is fuel. On its own, a piece of content won’t produce any results at all, just like dousing your body in gasoline won’t make you run much faster. To make content work you need to have an engine (a strong, fully-optimized website with a great sales team behind it) and you’ll need to refuel (publish new content regularly and often).
For the best and most knowledgeable writers in your niche, you don’t need to look far! Chances are, you and your employees have more insight into your industry than any agency and a huge library of common questions to answer. The problem, of course, is getting employees and managers with full schedules to find time to write the kind of high-quality blog posts, case studies, and white papers you need. Deadlines get missed, momentum falters, and soon you are back to square one, saying “Gee, I should produce some content.”
Maybe you are paying a digital marketing agency for SEO advice and website help. If so, great! Agencies can be a great resource for market research, content strategy, and editorial calendars. When it actually comes to putting pen to paper, however, you need to ask a few questions:
Is this agency qualified to write for my industry?
Is this the best use of their (often expensive) time?
Is content creation where I want my agency focusing their attention?
If you can answer a confident “Yes” to all three, great! If not, you should sit down with your agency team and work out a streamlined workflow.
With tools like elance.com and zerys.com, it’s becoming easier and easier to find great writers outside of your company to produce your content. At just a few cents per word, you are probably going to save some money over having your agency write in-house, and with a good team established you can produce posts on tight deadlines and with little hassle. However, this is far from a hands-free process. You will still be on the hook for providing topics, research and direction, editing, posting, and managing the whole schedule from beginning to end. Multiply this process a few times per or week and it becomes less of a time-saver and more of a headache!
So, what’s the ideal workflow for producing great content without wasting time all around? Here at Iterate, we use the following process, which divides the responsibilities and uses the strengths of each party to enhance the whole. I call it (unofficially) the
TRIFORCE OF CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESSFULNESS
Your Company: Provides the industry expertise. You provide common questions, technical insight, and you review and approve each piece of content before it goes live.
Your Agency: Provides the strategy and management. These are the flight traffic controllers of the process. They set the schedule in tune with the larger content strategy, communicate with the writers, and, if they are really hands-on, manage the payment and editing for all new content.
Your Writers: Provides the words. They put the pen to the paper and write the content that keeps your engine running. With a strong platform for management and a deep pool of writers to pull from, you can be confident that your content will come out on time and well done.
Do you have a content production horror story? A workflow that works better for you? Tell us in the comments!