Do We Have the People and Processes in Place to Sustain Our Content Initiatives?
Your new content initiative is off to a great start. The content is resonating. Your audience is converting. The first few months of content have been pretty easy to produce, but it’s starting to get a little harder. A question starts to creep into your mind…
Can we SUSTAIN this long term?
Sound familiar? It’s very common for a new content initiative to have a strong start, but over time other responsibilities start to take priority, excitement and passion fades, writer’s block creeps in, and frequency sputters. The best way to combat this is to have a plan in place: documented processes, dedicated resources (people, in clearly delineated roles), good tools built for this process, and accountability. Voila! Your team turns into a well-oiled content machine.
Documented Processes & Workflow
As you start narrowing in on the topics and format of content for your new initiative, get your team together to discuss several things:
- How often do we need to meet for editorial planning (specific to this initiative)
- The agenda and expectations for those planning meetings.
- The various steps that will be required to get a single piece of content done from start to finish.
- The amount of time that should be allotted for each step. When added up, you should have a good idea of how much lead time you need to complete each piece of content (your start-by date/time).
Who is responsible for each step in your process? Most content-related mishaps stem from either fuzzy role clarity, no prioritization, or a lack of accountability. Do any of this sound familiar?
- Am I responsible for this section of the site, or is he?
- Does she even have the skillset to handle the design work on this piece?
- Wait, who is proofreading this?
- Sorry, I had other things on my plate.
Not only can issues like these lead to heated office politics and wasted time, but they also can result in shoddily-produced content and could send mixed messages to your audience.
The following is a standard set of roles for content tasks that can be shared among multiple people or departments (keep in mind these aren’t necessarily job titles but functions):
- Editor: Your editor strategizes and oversees content projects, assigns content creation work (to outside or freelance resources if necessary), and bears the ultimate responsibility for the integrity of your content.
- Contributor: This can be anyone, be it a writer, photographer, graphic designer, or proofreader who is contributing to your content.
- Reviewer: Reviewers are often stakeholders or subject matter experts who review and perhaps approve content before it’s published. These individuals can reside within or outside the organization, and may be looking at the content from a unique perspective (i.e. a legal one or only to proofread).
Certainly your content production process may require more narrowed roles (specific SMEs, proofreaders, and so forth), but this base set of roles is essential for outputting the great content that will align with your strategy.
Want More Tips?
Every team will hit roadblocks when trying to sustain a high-quality content initiative. Hopefully the tips above will help you overcome some of those challenges. Want more? Check out our free eBook, The Definitive Guide to Planning a New Content Initiative, for more guidance into honing your content processes, governance and accountability. While this aspect of content planning isn’t the most glamorous part of the job, you’ll be thankful down the road once you have these established processes in place.