written by
Dayana Mayfield

How to Speed up the Content Creation Process

Content Marketing Marketing Automation Content Collaboration 8 min read

Without a rock-solid content creation process, your agency will struggle to maximize its resources. Sure, you might still meet deadlines, keep clients happy, and make payroll on time, but you won't be to get the most out of everyone on your team.

Speed up the Content Creation Process
Speed up the Content Creation Process

The wrong process can waste time, hamper creativity, and make it really hard to execute on your strategy the way you imagined that you would.

And as an agency, time is money. 💯

Table of contents:

What is the typical content creation process?

A content creation process involves assigning content to writers or content creators, receiving the assignment, reviewing it, making edits, approving it, publishing it, promoting it, analyzing it, and maintaining the content over time.

With written content online (especially since much of it is intended to be evergreen), we don't stop at publishing. Promoting the piece and making further optimizations to it after the initial publication is also part of the process.

Note that creating content is different from strategy and planning. That should already be done before we get to the first step of the content creation process.

Content Creation Process Infographic
Content Creation Process

Where and why do bottlenecks occur?

Obstacles, inefficiencies, and blocks can happen at any phase, but they're most common here:

  • Writers aren't given all of the details they need to succeed (particularly when it comes to SEO)
  • Writing and reviewing is done in Google Docs, causing major operational delays
  • Unorganized promotion plans and keeps promotion from actually getting done
  • Publication and promotion isn't handled in one central location, leading to unnecessary manual work
  • Results aren't analyzed by campaign or content category
  • There's no strategic process for maintaining or optimizing content post-publication

The content creation process

Let's take a look at the old ways and the new ways of doing things. The old way is inefficient. The new way is optimized to save time and get better results.

Assigning

The first step in the content creation process is assigning content to writers.

The old way:

The old way of assigning content to writers is random and handled largely via email. You go back and forth via email to decide on a topic and title, and then you wait for the writer to get back to you with the content.

You have no idea how it's going to be submitted.

Maybe it will be a Word Doc, maybe a Google Doc.

Maybe the writer will have done their own independent SEO research to add secondary keyphrases and check what competitor content includes, maybe not.

The new way:

With the new way, you invite writers to a story using the content tool that you want them to write and submit with. This way, you're working collaboratively right from the start.

While written content has many purposes, one of the important ones is to gain SEO traffic. In so many industries, it's harder than ever to position in search.

We can no longer sit back and cross our fingers.

Use an SEO tool like Surfer that includes keyphrase research and SEO content brief creation. In your brief, include at the very least the content length, target audience, internal links to include, and target keyphrase.

You can also use a Google Doc or spreadsheet to communicate further details that will help writers optimize their content for SEO. We're not saying Google Docs isn't great for sharing information — it's just not a smart place to write blogs that you plan on publishing.

Assigning writers a topic alongside resources and important SEO information not only speeds up the writing process but also vastly increases your chances of ranking.

While many writers are skilled at SEO copywriting, they may not have the software subscriptions or the expertise to be a true master at SEO research.

Submitting/receiving

The next part of the process is when a writer submits content and a manager receives it.

The old way:

Yup, you guessed it. The old way is receiving content via Google Docs or Word Docs. The absolute worst is when you receive different file formats from different writers, based on their individual preferences.

The new way:

The new way is when a writer submits a post using the same tool that you use for...

  • Assigning
  • Content and campaign planning
  • Publishing
  • Promotion

Make it easy for writers and content editors and managers. Writers can submit their content by requesting approval.

Then, editors will receive an email notification and can login to review.

Reviewing

Next up, reviewing!

The old way:

Yet again, the old way involves using Google Docs, which has great reviewing features but causes problems later in the content creation process when it's time to publish. (Or horror of all horrors, dealing with the version control issues caused by sending Word Docs back and forth.)

The new way:

The new way is reviewing and editing content collaboratively in the same tool you use for assigning and publishing.

This way, whenever anyone makes changes, there's no need to re-enter them in your CMS after publication. It happens automatically!

And during the initial review process, it should be super easy to add comments, tag people, and make edits collaboratively.

Approving and publishing

The old way:

With the old way of doing things, you'll need to email the writer letting them know that the content has been approved. Then you have to make sure you have all of the photos from the post (getting them out of Google Docs is a pain but not impossible). Next, you either need to upload the post on your client's site or give the content to a VA or webmaster to upload.

The new way:

With the new way, as soon as you approve the story, the writer is notified via email. Then you can do publishing in one-click.

Either publish right away to your client's CMS, blog, website, and/or Medium account or schedule the content to be published later.

Promoting

As all content marketers know, we can't just release content into the wild without helping it fly. We need to promote it using social media, employee advocacy, email marketing, and press and influencer outreach.

The old way:

The old way of doing things requires that you set up promotions after you publish. Once something is published (or the draft is final), you give it to a social media content creator to set up posts.

The new way:

The new way of doing things is much faster for your content creators and your clients. When the content manager publishes the content, they can set up all other aspects of promotion.

Social networks, influencer and blogger outreach, employee advocacy, and email marketing can all easily be set up in one place.

You should make promotion a part of your content creation process instead of leaving it to later.

Either the writer can supply emails and social media posts, or your content manager can create these based on the content and then trigger them to go out.

Even better, you can keep your evergreen content alive and well by scheduling posts and emails to go out a few weeks or even a few months after the initial publication date.

Reporting and analyzing

Sure, it might seem that reporting and analyzing content comes after the content creation process, but because content marketing is so competitive and audiences are so picky, we view this as part of the process.

It's like an agile feedback loop. Let your analysis inform content edits for previous content as well as topics and concepts for new content.

The old way:

With the old way of reporting and analyzing content, you're stuck looking at individual pieces of content or the content hub as a whole. It's easy to review traffic and page time inside of Google Analytics for individual pages, but managing campaigns can get complicated. It's very hard for content teams to sort and review content according to individual campaigns.

The new way:

With the new way, you can not only get total views and reads for individual pieces of content, but for campaigns as well.

Let's say you're publishing customer stories, and you want to see how well these perform. You could also review how different content categories stack up against one another.

Maintaining

Content isn't a one and done thing. You need to update it when you discover that it's not performing as you had hoped, and just to keep it fresh and relevant.

The old way:

With the old way, you have to make guesses about what posts need to be updated, or use tons of different software to come to a decision about what to prioritize. You could go through client sites and update the oldest posts first, but that's not very strategic is it?

The new way:

A better content creation process includes maintaining and content based on data.

For example, you could check which posts have the most amount of reads. These might be great pieces to make small edits to (to ensure relevancy and accuracy) and then re-promote using organic and paid social media.

You could also sort your posts using different filters in order to find which posts need to be updated and optimized.

Here's a list of posts that are published but have an SEO score that is less than 60%. All of these would be a great opportunity to go back and either change the target keyphrase or improve the optimization.

As you fill your client sites with more and more content, you're going to need better ways to sort, analyze, and maintain that content.

When full-service content marketing agencies use the right tools, they can save time for themselves and get better results!

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