Marketing Strategy

Ask the Experts: On Creating Content at Scale

By October 19, 2016 No Comments

Scalable. As in, “Will this scale?” Perhaps one of my favorite cheeky questions from 10 Tricks to Appear Smarter in Meetingsfollowed closely by encouraging everyone to “take a step back.”

But in all seriousness, scale is a major concern for many organizations because true scale is more than just growth—scale means a process can be optimized, shared across teams, and, perhaps more importantly, repeated.  As Carlos Hidalgo points out later in this post, a major issue is marketers viewing “content at scale” as producing more and more, instead of producing more efficiently and effectively.

To learn more about creating a scalable content operation, we again turned to best-in-class marketers. Here’s what they had to say.

What are your main tips for creating content at scale and executing efficiently?

Ask-the-expert-ardath-albee

Creating content at scale takes planning. For example, if you take a topic and consider how it can inform the development of multiple assets, all the research can be consolidated. Likewise, if you create the social media posts at the same time, it’s easier because the subject matter is fresh in the writer’s mind.

Additionally, some content can be repurposed across personas by altering the introduction and conclusion, but reusing the body text. Sometimes different roles need the same information but for different reasons or in a different context. With effective planning, all of these considerations can factor into becoming more efficient with content production and doing more with less.     Ask-the-expert-joe-chernov

Start with sales, and move up the funnel from there. In the classic “inbound” model, sales has to try to sell to whomever marketing happens to convert. I think that’s upside down for many companies. What we do is the reciprocal. We start with conversations sales is having with actual accounts, and we create content that supports those bottom of funnel activities. Then once we’ve met that specific need, we work our way up the funnel and “editorialize” the sales enablement content, so it appeals to a slightly larger audience. We’ve effectively turned that “inbound” funnel upside down.

Ask-the-expert-carlos-hidalgo

I think this is part of the fundamental problem. Too many organizations are creating content at scale and have become content producers and not true content marketers. If organizations want to execute content efficiently and more importantly effectively, they need to stop producing, get into the world of their buyers and customers and align the content accordingly.

Ask-the-expert-sam-osborn

Know when to stay in house and when to partner with either consultants or outside firms. I believe that for maximum efficiency and effectiveness, content marketers should eventually strive to be a hybrid between an editor in chief and an air traffic controller; between long form, short form, videos, ebooks, web copy, social content etc. there is simply too much content that has to be created for one person to do this effectively.
At some point, you have to either scale your team or farm work out to partners; however, this should all pass review by ONE key decision maker who ensures that voice is maintained and your content remains on target. My final tip is to beware of having too many cooks in the kitchen; teamwork is essential and of course content affects multiple teams, but a streamlined, minimalist approval structure is essential for efficiency.

Ask-the-expert-dennis-shiao

Be careful not to scale too quickly, because you may find your execution compromised. It’s hard to scale from one blog post per week to ten posts per week, even if you add nine team members. Instead, ask yourself why you need to 10x your blog posts and, will your business benefits increase by an equal proportion?

Scaling is necessary for business growth, but I find bigger wins in scaling intentionally and cautiously. In other words, I might scale my content 1.2x, do it really well, and achieve more business impact than if I scaled content by 10x.

Kelsey Loughman

About Kelsey Loughman

Kelsey is a Writer and Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Kapost, trading law school for marketing startups. Now, she geeks out over innovative content strategy, trail runs, kale chips, and the (occasional) legal drama.

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