Successful content marketing involves more than writing, designing, and producing stories. A well-run operation also involves strategizing, collaboration from multiple team members, and well-run feedback cycles. Business ROI is the objective, and you can think of content as your workhorse.

Ultimately, you’re using human creativity to scale relationships between people. It’s relationships—not the content or marketing mechanics behind them—that lead to transactional outcomes. In between moments of “discovery” and “purchase,” you can use storytelling to orient audiences toward an end goal.

When you think about all the steps necessary to support a content marketing program, it’s easy to get lost in a maze of details.

Where should you get started? What should your day-to-day look like?

Ultimately, the answers to these questions will look different for every individual marketer, team, and organization. It’s up to you to set up distinct workflows that align efforts to overall business results. You’ll need a mix of people-power, creativity, and technology to support you.

But what’s the right balance?

To answer this question, you need a documented process to support your content and business goals. One of the ways to build this process is to design it around barriers to your operations. The challenge of identifying these barriers is that you may not be able to see or anticipate them before making major strategic decisions.

Getting to a V1 Plan

As you design your V1 content operation, be prepared for change.

Let’s say that your company has built technology for the financial services industry, for instance. Your content operation will likely include a mix of writers, designers, editors, internal approvers, compliance officers, and lawyers. You’ll also need workflows to support:

  1. Creating your content
  2. Adding visuals
  3. Implementing an SEO strategy
  4. Integrating your efforts with a social media strategy

Imagine building your strategy from the ground up: you need to get various people and systems aligned together. Where do you start, and how do you make sure that you’re making the right judgment calls?

Don’t let your quest for perfection hold you back from getting started. One simple strategy is to start commissioning content, and then begin testing approval flows.

You can also start to share your content with various teams with basic instructions. See what processes confuse your teams. Gain an understanding of what barriers or points of friction naturally arise. Document what you discover, and continue repeating the cycle until your process smoothes out.

With this iterative approach, you can scale up your content operations over time. By starting small, you’ll also prevent potential key details from falling through the cracks. Practice by publishing one post. See how long the process takes you. Then gradually, speed up your efforts.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

No matter the size or complexity of your content operation, you’re not the first marketer tasked with building up your process. Other leaders have been in your exact shoes, where you are now. They’ve wasted money. They’ve struggled with inefficient processes or content that gets stuck in endless approval queues.

As a software company that’s built on a combination of strong technology and vetted processes, Kapost makes a lot of content marketers’ jobs easier. Our team put together an assessment, to help you figure out how to build your content operation.

With this assessment, you’ll gain an understanding of gaps in your content operation that you didn’t know you had. By understanding your gaps, you can architect potential bridges that prevent potential problems.

The biggest benefit to an upfront gap analysis is education. You can take smarter steps forward in building your content program, while also conserving time and financial resources. When it comes to your marketing spend, every dollar that you invest is valuable. Time is directly translatable to value. Especially if you’re building a content program from scratch or ramping up your efforts, it will be important to avoid pitfalls before they have a chance to occur.

Efficiency Is Everything

You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s okay.

An assessment can help you establish a baseline so that you can conserve your valuable brain-power to be more creative—to tackle the challenges that are truly unique to your organization.

Take the Content Operations Self-Assessment here.

After you finish this assessment, share it with a colleague to inspire dialogue. Once you finalize a strategy, your team can move forward in downloading Kapost’s Workshop Facilitation Cards, which guides entire marketing teams towards important, impactful conversations.

Don’t build your content in a silo. Even if you’re part of a small team, collaboration is key. As with journalism, more editorial voices and perspectives will improve successful outcomes. The more planning you can do upfront, the better situated you will be to execute and bring your marketing program to maturity. So what does “maturity” with content look like?

You’ll be able to directly influence revenue outcomes and process improvements in your business. You’ll save time and conserve resources. Content will be a revenue driver.

It takes time to build up to this vision. Save time by outsmarting the hurdles that have stopped others before.

Ritika Puri

About Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is an entrepreneur who founded Storyhackers, a company that helps business create impactful and inspiring content programs. She enjoys writing about data, teaching others things that she’s learning, and helping other business owners succeed. In past lives, she built enterprise analytics programs and created revenue streams for an ad tech company. She is also an advisor to a mobile app startup, Sortly.