Because the vast majority of any content marketing program relates to research, strategy, and analysis, some might call content production the “fun” part.
It is, after all, the point in the process when your uptight, left-brained strategists finally unleash a horde of neurotic, right-brained creatives to turn your plan into reality. (Sometimes the same person is responsible for both strategy and production—take it from me, you don’t want to hear the conversations going on in that head.)
In more defined terms:
Content production is the process of developing and creating visual or written assets, such as videos, eBooks, blog posts, whitepapers, or infographics.
The term might be useful in a broad sense, but the reality is that the details of content production vary wildly depending on the type of content.
For example, in addition to a manager/overseer for each piece:
A blog post generally just requires a writer. But a branded video, depending on the scale, sometimes requires a much larger team, including a writer, producer, director, camera operator, gaffer, audio engineer, editor, and possibly many others throughout the process.
A white paper will rely heavily on a writer and also require some light design, whereas an infographic will fall more on the illustrator or designer, requiring only light writing (although the writer often establishes the structure).
Nailing the Handoff
Regardless of the type of content, the more time you put into the handoff from strategist to creative, the better your outcome will typically be. A few tips for setting your creatives up for success:
1. Provide a Creative Brief
Most creatives prefer to work from a creative brief, which is simply a document outlining the project’s context, purpose, and deliverables. A creative brief should include:
- Background on the project (why you’re doing it)
- Audience demographics
- Description of the deliverable you’re requesting
- Resources (might include supporting statistics, similar content as inspiration, related articles, etc.)
2. Do a Kick-Off Meeting or Phone Call
Every now and then, introverted creatives might not think they need this part of the process, especially if you’ve provided a thorough creative brief. Don’t let it slide—there are questions that naturally arise during the course of a conversation that might not come up via email. And, as most of us have learned the hard way at some point in our careers, tone and meaning aren’t always accurately conveyed in a creative brief.
So make sure to talk with your creative(s) one-to-one before letting them race off to their caves to work. It’s the best way to ensure that everyone shares the same, accurate information and expectations for the project.
3. Provide Access to Subject Matter Experts
Particularly with long-form written content and videos, your creative team will need access to product managers and other subject matter experts for information gathering or on-camera interviews. Queuing up the best contacts in advance can be a big help once the content production process starts rolling.
Do you have more tips for successful content production? How about content production horror stories? Feel free to post your pointers and lessons learned in the comments!
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