Even for the most industrious marketing department, scaling content is a tall order. Anyone can publish a blog post, sure. But consistently publishing high-quality content on a regular basis over a long period of time would take too much effort for most teams to do well. — which is why so many don’t even try. But, how do you scale your content marketing?
Many teams don’t even try to do the content well because most marketing departments aren’t structured like a magazine’s editorial staff.
Content marketing is only worth the effort if you go all in. Mediocre posts, infrequent publishing, and half-assed strategy will produce zero results. Doing it well demands a full-time commitment from a team of people. And we’re here to make sure you’re putting your effort into the right things.
Let’s assume you’ve created a strategy for the content you want to create. You know which keywords will deliver the most value from an SEO perspective. You have an idea what the monthly search volume is for the topics you want to write about. So how do you actually execute?
Here are six tips that will help your content-creation engine reach new heights.
- Hire an editor.
An editor is equal parts project manager and keeper of your brand’s voice. This is the very first hire you should make if you’re getting serious about content marketing. Before your editor takes a stab at reviewing someone else’s work, they’ll be responsible for creating a style guide. That’s no small project.
At JotForm, our style guide is a living, ever-growing document. It’s 13-plus pages that coach writers on correct usage and punctuation, how to write in JotForm’s voice and tone, and how to correctly mention the company’s products.
Creating a style guide will spark lively debates in the office on preferred usage and wording. In the end, you’ll have a resource to hand to every employee or freelancer who writes something on behalf of your company.
- Use a project management platform for your editorial calendar.
If your editorial calendar is a spreadsheet, you’re in trouble. A spreadsheet won’t be able to handle all of your content once you start scaling production. We ended up using Asana for our editorial calendar, but Trello, Paymo, and monday.com are also great options.
The editorial process needs to be surprisingly collaborative when you produce lots of content. On our team, we have strategists who enter ideas into Asana, writers who assign themselves to those Asana cards and write based off them, and editors who review the writing and then hand off pieces to an operations team that creates design assets and schedules the articles to go live.
It’s an orchestra of productivity and collaboration. And you need reliable project management software that can handle all of it.
- Outsource what you can’t handle in-house.
Even if you have in-house content writers who spend their days tapping away, it might not be enough to help you reach your goals. The good news is that finding talented freelance writers is easier now than it’s ever been.
This comes with a caveat: Don’t bargain hunt for discount writing. Instead, find content companies that specialize in writing SEO-friendly content and let them do their magic. Agencies are going to cost more than discount writers who advertise on self-service sites and turn around content in 24 hours, but it’s worth it.
- Invest in long-form content.
It can feel counterintuitive at first. Why is risk slowing down your production in order to write a longer piece of content? But the returns are real. A well-researched long piece that’s chock full of keywords will be a lot more authoritative in the eyes of Google than a short piece that was whipped together just for the sake of publishing something.
Our marketing team has published pieces of content that exceed 10,000 words. They were absolutely grueling to write, and it took a long time to see any search engine traction with them. But after a few months, our organic traffic started ticking up on those pages, and we’ve been getting hundreds of new signups as a result.
And of course, make sure your internal and external linking strategies include your long content first and foremost. These pieces should be a high priority.
- Seek subject matter expert guest authors.
The lowest effort way to scale content is to accept high-quality, free content from writers who know what they’re talking about. The benefit to the writer is exposure on your blog and whatever channels you use to promote the post. The benefit to you is better writing.
As a hypothetical, imagine you build software that makes it easier for baristas to hear customers’ names. You could create a whole sphere of content related to work as a barista, but finding a coffee shop owner or barista who has writing chops would give your content much-needed perspective. Their posts would be more relatable to fellow baristas and coffee shop owners than anything you could write yourself.
- Hire a videographer.
Any video with higher quality than a recorded smartphone clip is going to start getting expensive. But companies can’t be serious about scaling their content without at least considering taking the plunge into video.
There are two reasons for this:
- YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google. The same keywords you’re targeting for your written content will be typed into YouTube searches.
- Embedding videos on your blog pages actually enhances your content and keeps people on the page, which again looks good to Google.
Finding a good freelance videographer to keep on retainer is a good start. You want to be able to consistently produce videos the same way you produce written content. If it works well, consider hiring a videographer in-house to ramp up your production.
Over time JotForm’s marketing department transformed into a content marketing department. We’re not alone in that, of course. And each of the above steps enabled us to scale our content to over 100,000 words a month, yielding even more monthly page views.
The key to content marketing is to commit to doing it well. No half measures. Produce high-quality content, find what works well for your team, and then double down on it.