7 Steps to Crafting a Content Production Plan that Rocks
High-quality content is key to your digital marketing strategy today.
Without it, you can find it challenging to capture the attention of consumers and turn them into customers.
Yet, it’s not always so simple.
You’ll need to start by devising a marketing strategy that will work best for your organization. After that, it helps to go one step further and determine the process for actually producing the content you will use.
In other words, you need a production plan to help enhance the workflow for content creation. Such a plan will save you time, resources, and even some frustration.
While every project will be different, applying this process will be beneficial and help you stay on track, especially if your plans are to scale your content production to meet new demands.
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Once you devise your content management strategy, telling you the what, how, and why to publish, it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of producing the actual content.
A content production plan is a defined process to not only generate high-quality content but to manage the overall workflow, from the initial idea all the way through to publication.
It can save you time, help you avoid inconsistency, accommodate communication between team members, and assist you in scaling your efforts when the time is right.
Of course, it’s not a one-size-fits-all plan but sectioned out to guide each type of content through the production process. These types of content may include website pages, blog posts, infographics, emails, interactive content, social media, video, and more.
Consider the following steps to crafting a fluid content production plan to increase efficiency and create the highest quality content for your organization.
1. Develop Content Governing Resources
For consistency across all content, you need to create resources for content governance. What this means is you need to establish guidelines for your team to follow when it comes to specific aspects.
A few common examples of such resources include the following:
A style guide includes guidance on things such as grammar, capitalization, spelling, use of acronyms, design, and so forth.
It depicts how you want your brand represented and perceived via the content (written and visual) you produce and publish. The guide keeps content consistent across all formats (webpage, blog, video) regardless of what team member creates it.
Editorial guidelines will inform team members in what voice or tone to strive for in each piece of content, who the intended audience is, and what purpose it serves.
This resource may include information onbuyer personas, content goals (e.g., stage in the buyer’s journey), keywords, and SEO practices that your content strategy identifies.
In some instances, templates will be invaluable assets to not only guarantee consistency but to save time conforming content to fit the format you want or need to achieve.
For example, by including a template for blog posts, your in-house or freelance writers will produce consistent content without missing essential elements.
2. Identify All Content Formats
Identify all the content formats that your team will need to create.
List them out: webpages, emails, blogs, videos, social media posts, infographics, eBooks, whitepapers, or any others that are relevant to your digital marketing strategy.
This step will show you how many potential workflow variations you will need and also help determine how many team members you require to complete each piece of content.
For example, you may include blog posts, videos, and infographics in your content marketing.
Blogs will usually require a writer and an editor, while video content needs several team members, from scriptwriters to video editors. To create infographics, you may need to bring in a graphic designer as well as a writer.
3. Map Processes for Each Type of Content
For each type of content that you plan to produce, map out the entire process, from initial research all the way through to publication. By doing so, you can create repeatable workflows that are easy to follow.
For instance, the process to produce blog posts may involve the following steps: research, write, edit, revise, review, approval, upload, approval, sign-offs, and publish.
Content can stall at different steps, so account for this also. For example, once at the review stage, be sure to include who can make the final decision on the content in this part of the process, so it doesn’t linger longer than necessary.
4. Assign Roles
Determine who will be responsible for each step in the process. For example, you may start with a freelance SEO writer composing the content before it goes to an in-house editor for the first review.
Depending on the type of content, you may need a variety of team members involved, including writers, editors, proofreaders, illustrators, photographers, videographers, or graphic designers.
Once you assign roles, be sure to communicate responsibilities to each team member also. Provide them with access to the style guide and any other resources you deem necessary.
5. Establish Timelines and Due Dates
Determine due dates for each step in the process and include these on your calendar or work schedule. To help with this, do your best to estimate how much time each step will take. You can always tweak this later on as you understand more about how each stage and team member contributes.
Also, consider your publishing schedule. Will your new blog posts go live each week? If so, determine how much time you will need before then to complete the content for it. You can do the same with social media posts and any other content that has a determined pace of publication.
6. Automate as Much as Possible
Automating as much of the process as you can will help to increase collaboration between team members involved in the production of the different types of content. It can also boost overall productivity by saving time and streamlining the process.
Automation can also help you track each step, so you can identify where changes need to be made.
Keeping track of your content, including drafts and final publication pieces, is essential, and one way to accomplish this is by determining the best way to inventory it all.
Start by selecting a system or program to organize all your content files. Find one that you can include working and final files, templates, images, logos, photographs, videos, audio files, website components, and so forth.
You may go with a simple one, such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Yet, higher priced ones such as CoSchedule’s Asset Organizer may be a better option for you, depending on your needs and budget.
Organize all content with file names and folders that make it easy to access what you need when you need it without having to spend too much time searching the entire inventory.
From here, begin to implement your plan. You will also want to consider how to measure the results of your content to determine where changes need making along the way to achieving your overall goals.
Content Production Process Examples
Once you have created your style guide and any other content governance resources and determined how to assign responsibility to team members, you’ll need to list out the steps for each type of content you wish to produce.
Here are a few content production process examples for different content types.
Create a content brief and outline for each blog post.
Send to the writer (via collaboration software)
Write the content adhering to the Style Guide and submit
Editor receives notice that content is submitted and begins the editing process
If revisions are required, the content is sent back to the writer
Final review, including SEO
Sign-off by owner (stakeholder)
Social Media Posts
Review subject matter or content brief
Compose social media post
Research and incorporate hashtags
A graphic designer or videographer creates visuals to go with the post
Obtain review and final approval
Schedule for publication on social media platform(s)
Research needs for a specific webpage
Review and edit
Revise if necessary
Send for approval
Upload to CMS
Review the Web Page Layout before it goes live
Wrap Up: Create a Content Production Plan that Rocks
Creating a content production plan can help your organization achieve its goals faster and avoid inconsistencies that threaten its brand reputation. It also helps to identify where you can benefit from working with outsourced help, such as with the experienced writers at WritersAccess.
Ready to find out more and see howWritersAccess can help? Start with the 14-day free trial to become familiar with the platform and discover how it can benefit your content production plan.