I get it. Like anyone in the leadership ranks of corporate marketing, you need great content – and you need it yesterday. However, never put content creation frequency ahead of quality – or your brand reputation will suffer.
For just a moment, step into the shoes of your creative teams. If you’re like most content marketing leaders, you’ve probably been in those shoes early in your career.
Content Marketing Institute’s Jonathan Crossfield compares the creative process to the five stages of grief. It starts with denial – of the deadline, of course.
Philosopher Gary Percesepe likens the process to yearning for a love who remains forever elusive. He puts it well: “Years of silence. Years of terror. Years of yearning. Years of searching, desperately…to thus forge a style.”
But your content teams don’t have the luxury of years. Condensing that terror into days, even hours, makes for stress levels that reach the stratosphere.
Half dance, half fencing match, the creative process rarely produces a happy marriage between deadlines and creativity.
So, help your creatives shoot for the friend zone. Teach them to think of deadlines more like a helpful best friend than a controlling spouse.
Here are some tips to help your content marketing teams deliver world-class quality while maintaining optimum content frequency.
Embrace the Draft
A significant part of the terror that your creatives experience is their underlying angst. Let’s label it “Is it good enough?”
So, instead of letting them experience that paralyzing fear, encourage them to resist the impulse to edit on the first round of content planning and production. Let the creative blood flow.
Remind them that they can always tighten their content up on the second and third rounds. Even if they have to edit out one of their initial ideas, assure them that their erased idea will usually give rise to an even better one.
If they can’t let that idea go, encourage them to jot it down in your ideas for future reference. Having a content “sandbox” on your content marketing platform can help your creatives move on from their “darlings” and tackle the task at hand.
Those of us who have been in the content marketing industry for more than a few years already know the benefits of turning every piece of content into a story – replete with hero, villain, and a happy ending. However, storytelling also can benefit your creative teams.
Research shows that when people get involved in a story, their attitudes and thoughts shift to align with their characters. In content marketing, the heroes of your stories should be your customers.
When your creative teams identify with their stories’ heroes, they’re able to create content that resonates with your prospects’ needs. And, when they “lose themselves” in the story itself, they will reduce stress and increase their productivity, studies show.
While the general public thinks of creatives as a moody lot who retreat – alone – to their freezing garrets to do the bulk of their work, the true story is anything but.
It’s less La Boheme and more Mad Men in reality (Well, maybe minus the debauchery). Especially when it comes to creative teams in marketing agencies.
Yes, most creatives do need some uninterrupted time to dig into their work. However, running an idea by another person can give you a whole new perspective on a story – whether it’s a blog post, a video, or a well-researched infographic.
Content collaboration gives you the chance to have that perspective. Whether it occurs at a meeting with one of your company’s engineers about how your gadget works for an explainer video or a brainstorming session with your colleagues at a client’s restaurant, collaboration is always worth exploring as you roll through the creative process.
Accommodate Individual Work Styles
A one-size-fits-all approach rarely enhances productivity. That goes doubly true in the creative professions.
Distraction, for instance, is one of the biggest time-sucks in the workplace, as research shows.
Allowing your teams to work in relatively distraction-free environments can help them focus more on the task at hand.
The recent coronavirus pandemic has opened the world’s corporate eyes to the benefits of alternative working arrangements. As much as you can, accommodate your teams’ needs for custom working environments.
For instance, forcing an introvert to work in a clear cubicle in a roomful of people probably isn’t the best use of your content marketing budget. On the other hand, stationing an extrovert in the office equivalent of a third-floor garret won’t do much for their need to bounce ideas off their colleagues.
Empathy for every one of your team members’ needs will do more than increase productivity. It will build the kind of loyalty that keeps employee churn at bay. In today’s competitive environment, your company needs every advantage it can get in attracting – and retaining – top-quality creative teams.
Get the Most Out of Your Editorial Team
Research shows that writers and other creatives tend toward perfectionism. Of course, if you’re leading a creative team, you know that all too well.
All too often, they fiddle with a perfectly good piece of content while the deadline burns. All because of that one paragraph, that sentence they just can’t get right, or that word that doesn’t exactly convey the meaning they want.
Whatever it is, they can’t make themselves press the “Submit” button on time. Or, they take longer than necessary to turn in a project.
A supportive editorial team can ease their fears. Of course, writers and other creatives should strive to eliminate as many errors as humanly possible.
But knowing that an expert pair of editorial eyes has their back can make your creatives less fearful of turning in their work on time.
I know this from personal experience. I can’t tell you how many times a savvy editor has saved my backside. No doubt that’s true for you and your teams as well.
Use Your Content Calendar to Boost Publication Frequency
A content calendar can serve as so much more than a list of looming deadlines. Ideally, it should connect seamlessly with all your content activities – from ideation to analyzing how each piece performs.
Make it the central hub for all your creative teams to reference as they wind their way through their workload. Transparency and the ability to communicate with both internal and external teams is an essential ingredient in speeding up the creative process with no loss in quality.
For example, let’s say that you’re a content manager and you receive a request from an executive. Your company’s newest healthcare device just received FDA approval and they need a white paper to promote it to physicians and hospitals.
The writer you choose to handle the project will need to collaborate with your development teams, medical professionals, and engineers to collect the technical information your target audience will want.
Of course, the writer will need a designer to turn all that information into attractive infographics and graphs. Don’t forget to partner with your sales team to learn what questions their prospects want your company to address.
You might also want to create a parallel project where your videography team transforms the piece into an explainer video. You’ll also need to plug an editor or two into the mix.
Finally, you’ll need to alert your digital and content analytics teams so that they can keep a close eye on how well the new white paper performs on your website.
That’s a lot of people and deadlines to coordinate. A massive headache, in other words.
However, with a content operations platform that gives everyone a real-time view of the project’s progress, coordinates every phase of the process, and analyzes the results, you can simplify your life. You’ll finish even the most complex projects with a smile, not a headache.
DivvyHQ gives you that kind of power. The power to produce top-quality content at a frequency that puts you miles ahead of your competition.
Try it free with no obligation for 14 days. Start your DivvyHQ trial today!