While many would likely say content marketing is a creative field, there’s also a lot of logistics involved. Content creation starts with imagination and ideation. Then there’s the operational side — all the workflows and processes that go into production, publishing, and promotion. You need both in enterprise content marketing. Faltering on either won’t deliver value. Content operations is really the foundation of your content marketing efforts.
Streamlining how you conceptualize, create, and execute content projects allows you to publish high-quality content to attract and convert buyers consistently. In this post, we’ll explore content operations, the importance of its many facets, and how to build a successful program.
What Is Content Operations?
Content operations describes the processes, people, and technology required to plan, create, manage, and analyze content marketing across all formats and channels. It’s the framework for the entire content creation funnel.
Why Is Content Operations Important?
Content operations helps content teams be efficient and productive. It also ensures that you meet your frequency goals. Your brand needs a full library of content resources to meet buyers at every step of the buyer’s journey. Prospects continue to consume more content in various channels before they’re ready to purchase.
The operational side of content marketing is also the backbone for your content strategy. Without operations, all the goals, objectives, and guardrails for content aren’t achievable. Further, developing the processes, people, and technology provides visibility around every project. Standardizing the tasks and steps necessary to go from ideation to publication to promotion will make your team more productive and accountable.
So, what do you need to define or update your content operations?
3 Steps to Develop or Enhance Content Operations
Content operations is tactical in nature. It consists of actions that need to happen to keep a content project moving. As noted, it involves your people (i.e., creators, subject matter experts, strategists, reviewers, etc.), processes/workflows, and technology.
To get started or improve what you’re doing, follow these steps.
Implement a Content Operations Platform
Getting to the point of smooth operations starts with technology. By using a platform purpose-built for content marketing, everything can happen in the same application. It tackles planning, creating, scheduling, collaborating, and measuring.
When comparing options, look for these must-have features:
- A dynamic content calendar, which is your content plan blueprint and includes every task for a project.
- Content workflow builders that define the steps for projects, who is responsible for them, and timeframes.
- Content collaboration capabilities that allow for different teams to contribute and fulfill their responsibilities within the project.
- Integrations with other applications to automate things like publishing and promotion.
- Content analytics hub that aggregates data from multiple places into one easy-to-understand dashboard.
Develop Your Content Workflows
Once you have a content marketing platform in place, you’ll want to design your content workflows. To do this, you should look at each content type and determine the steps for each. For example, a blog post would include research, writing, editing, review, and publishing. An infographic would consist of all of these and graphic design.
In building these flows, keep these things in mind:
- Consider all parties needed for each type of task (e.g., writers, editors, designers, approvers, etc.).
- Cover everything even though it may seem too granular; you don’t want to forget important things like the creation of tagged links.
- Anticipate bottlenecks in the review process, especially if legal or compliance must approve, and how to deter them.
- Ensure that contributors to a task understand their roles and expectations.
Your workflows should also align directly with your content plan and strategy. They are the tactical part of the ecosystem. Misalignment here can impact content operations.
For instance, your content strategy has a thought leadership focus. You’ve determined content types and SMEs for that part of the strategy. If you don’t account for this in process development, you won’t be able to execute or reap the benefits.
Assess Your People
The last part of operations is the people. They are, of course, your most valuable assets. Your enterprise content team includes those with niche skills and others that are generalists. Now that you have your processes in place, you need to align your people to them.
The most common roles are:
- Creators, which includes writers, designers, developers, and producers: These are the people that provide the content, whether that be copy, graphics, interactive web pages, or videos.
- Strategists for SEO, competitive insights, PR, social media, amplification, and more.
- Collaborators, such as product marketers, sales, customer service, and SMEs.
- Reviewers, which includes editors, brand marketers, legal, compliance, or executives.
- Operations specialists that build out channels, set up tracking, define targets, and manage the technology.
The roles necessary for content production are inside and outside your content team. You are still reliant on other departments to complete projects. While not exactly within your control, you have strategies and workflows to create parameters. Communication with external collaborators is also key. They need to know upfront the expectations so that it doesn’t become a barrier down the road.
You may also discover in your evaluation that you have gaps. If so, you have options:
- Find an existing team member that can add another responsibility to their list.
- Hire new people to fill the role.
- Outsource that task to a contractor.
Most go with option number three, especially if it’s a highly technical or specialized skill. According to research from CMI (Content Marketing Institute), companies outsource creation and distribution the most. That could be hiring a developer to deliver interactive widgets or social media marketing experts to optimize those channels.
Content Operations: Three Parts, One Platform
Content operations merges technology, processes, and people. When you get it right, your throughput and quality remain steady. When you’re at this level, content marketing contributes to leads, conversions, and revenue.
You’ll find this much easier by taking all three parts and putting them in one powerful platform like DivvyHQ, designed by and for content marketers. Experience how it works by starting a free trial.