Content creation demands on marketers are intense. In fact, 85% of marketers are facing more content requests—and it often takes a week or more to execute them. Or worse, they don’t get completed at all.
The traditional content creation process is inefficient because it relies on time-consuming steps, manual work, and disconnected procedures. This outdated approach is an even bigger problem now because marketers are under pressure to create more content than ever.
In its 2022 State of Content Marketing Global Report, Semrush revealed that 97% of marketers said content formed an important part of their overall strategy.
Fortunately, you can streamline your content workflow in a number of ways. Following are five steps to evaluate, simplify, and improve your processes:
1. Evaluate Your Content Creation Process
The typical content creation process involves six key steps:
- Planning: Developing ideas and setting up a content calendar.
- Creating: Assigning the creation to writers, designers, and producers who will follow through with development.
- Reviewing: Having stakeholders review, share feedback, and approve content.
- Managing: Naming, organizing, and storing content assets so they’re easy to find, update, and archive as needed.
- Publishing: Distributing content through various channels using scheduling, sharing, and promotion features.
- Measuring: Evaluating content performance and optimizing where you see opportunities for improvements or updates.
Each of these steps may involve different team members and tools, some of which don’t integrate well with each other, creating the potential for communication problems and long development timelines. With even more assets to create in today’s content-reliant marketing world, manual and disjointed processes make it too time-consuming and resource-intensive to scale content production.
2. Optimize Each Stage of the Content Creation Process
Start creating a more efficient workflow by identifying areas for improvement. Ask yourself and the rest of the content team questions at each phase of the process to find out where projects get stuck or fall through the cracks.
- Planning: Do you struggle to kick off assignments? Clearly define content creators’ roles and responsibilities. Creators should also have access to templates so they’re not starting every project from scratch.
- Creation: Do projects ever stall or fall off the grid completely? If so, it may be because your team is overwhelmed with work or because it only takes one unanswered email to leave an entire project in limbo.
- Review: How long do review cycles take? If it typically takes more than a week to review a piece of content, consider whether there are too many reviewers or whether workloads are too heavy. Ask content creators and reviewers what obstacles they encounter during the review process and look for opportunities to simplify or expedite.
- Management: Does your team waste time looking for the latest version of an asset? The more content you create, the harder it is to manage. The right content management software and digital asset management solution can simplify organization and management.
- Publishing: Can you easily schedule and publish content? Manually publishing content to each channel or platform can take a lot of time. Scheduling and publishing tools prevent the tedium of having to log in to multiple platforms and follow different posting procedures.
- Measurement: Is it difficult to check content performance because the process is complicated or time-consuming? Consider choosing a tool or team member to distribute performance reports.
By uncovering where your teams are spending the most time and why it’s happening, you can begin to address hang-ups in your content creation process. It also helps to find out where content creators are repeating or duplicating work unnecessarily. For example, if you’re not using templates and content briefs to start the most common types of projects, you’re likely wasting time.
3. Simplify Your Content Creation Process
Once you’ve identified inefficiencies, you can start making changes. Here are some of the ways you can make content creation and digital marketing easier right away:
Repurpose and Upcycle Content
Don’t waste your content creation efforts by publishing assets only to forget about them. Share, reshare, update, repurpose, and upcycle content. Repurposing or upcycling involves reworking existing content for a new audience or medium. Creating infographics from an eBook, turning a blog post into a podcast, and sharing snippets of a longer video on social media area all examples of repurposing and upcycling content. Updating older reports, white papers, blog posts, and eBooks with fresh stats, quotes, and graphics are simple ways to breathe new life into a dated piece.
Use Content and Branding Templates
Develop templates for the types of assets you create most frequently, and templatize your branding so you’re not repeating work like adding logos, inserting boilerplates, etc.
Automate Content Creation, Distribution, and Analysis
Use tools that allow you to forgo the manual work of personalizing, distributing, and analyzing your content and its performance. Using dynamic content to personalize emails, publishing posts across several social media channels from a single location, and scheduling recurring analytics reports are three examples of automating across the content process.
4. Automate Your Content Creation Process
Automation will make your content creation process easier, but first you have to find the right tools. When researching solutions, look for features that align with your goals. These may include:
Digital Asset Management
A digital asset management (DAM) solution helps you organize and manage digital assets so they’re easy to search, distribute, and update. And their ability to automate review workflows speeds up the approval process. Be sure to read user reviews when shopping for a DAM solution.
Brand templating helps improve production and efficiency by allowing people outside of your Creative team to develop content without deviating from brand guidelines or best practices. The essential branding components are locked down in advance, while customizable elements can be modified for a specific use and audience by the creator. Canva, Lucidpress, and Adobe are a few platforms that offer brand templating solutions.
Using a tool that lets you schedule the distribution of content to social media channels, websites, and email saves time and trouble. Platforms like CoSchedule and HubSpot offer convenient one-touch content scheduling and distribution of this nature.
Content curation is the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting or sharing digital content that surrounds specific subject matter. This is extremely time consuming for a person to tackle manually. There are free, paid, and enterprise-level content curation tools that let you find and save content to collect and share.
The power of personalizing content is widely recognized across B2C, B2B, and D2C communications. From addressing the reader in an email to serving up landing page content that speaks to their needs or previous actions, personalization is a highly successful way to connect with customers on a deeper level, up your engagement, and boost conversions. Popular email platforms like MailChimp, Eloqua, and Hubspot all provide personalization capabilities, and tools like Optimizely and Unbounce offer landing page personalization.
With solutions that let you see how content is performing, you can optimize existing content and create more of what resonates with your customers. You can also make educated decisions based on predictive analytics to make the most of your content efforts. Google Analytics is perhaps the most commonly known analytics tool, but CMS, CRM, social media, email, and advertising platforms have their own, built-in analytics tools with unique and valuable metrics to leverage in your content creation and refinement efforts.
5. Select Solutions Based on Your Ideal Workflow
Once your team has pinpointed workflow pitfalls and decided on the best solutions, you can narrow your technology options further by documenting what your ideal workflow looks like. Consider questions like:
- How long should reviews take?
- How long should it take to find the latest version of an asset?
- How often should your team update content?
With those answers, you can narrow your choices to the solutions that align with your goals. For example, if forgetting to hand off work slows down you content creation process, seek tools that grant task access to the right people at the right times. Often, you’ll be able to commit to fewer but smarter tools by choosing those that integrate and offer multiple features.
Seek Progress, Not Perfection
You’ll never finish improving your processes because content creation is always changing. However, every improvement in efficiency will help your team create more content in less time and use resources more wisely.
Want to add even more efficiency to your content creation processes? Learn more about establishing timelines and designing organic workflows by watching this presentation by Sharon Bournes, Senior Director of Marketing at National Dentex Labs.