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Content marketing is a necessary activity for any brand wanting to get through to their target audience and boost revenues. Over the years, many organizations and entrepreneurs have invested plenty time and large budgetary allotments to vast digital marketing strategies designed to push out as much content as possible. However, in many instances, these strategies have led to unclear messaging, duplicated efforts, and even poor quality content.
The realization of this dilemma has led to the concept of content operations. Whether you run a company’s content marketing department or you are an individual blogger looking to boost readership, understanding what content operations is and how it works comes with benefits. So, let’s answer these questions.
Content operations definition
Sometimes shortened to content-ops, content operations broadly describes all the background activities that seek to coordinate people, technology, and processes around every aspect of content marketing. The main goal of content operation is to streamline every step – from ideation and creation to distribution and analysis – of all the content put out by an organization or brand. It is carried out internally and is geared towards achieving the following objectives:
Properly aligning content with the brand’s vision
Deriving best practices in engaging with members of the target audience and generating leads
Producing the right amount of content on a consistent basis
Identifying the best brand assets for client conversion
Coordinating all departments to develop a unified, collaborative content strategy
The importance of content operations
If you think about it, most organizations that create content already have some form of content operations system in place that dictates who produces what, the amount, and how it is delivered. However, in many instances it tends to be disorganized, haphazard, and not always in sync with the organization’s goals or the needs of its target consumers. As such, the content created can sometimes be not enough, too much, or simply ignored by the audience.
Whatever the case, well thought out content operations is important to ensure your digital marketing strategy is as effective as it can be. Further evidence of this can be seen by looking at blogs. Approximately 77% of people who use the internet read blogs. Even more profound is the fact that more than 60% of people who consume blog posts go on to make purchases after engaging with them.
How content operations works
For people just learning about content operations, the concept can seem complex and daunting. But there are three areas you should look at as a content marketer or business leader who has responsibility for coming up with an organization’s content strategy:
Decision making: People at the top level, including managers and organization leaders have governance roles in ensuring resources are available and that checks and balances are in place.
Coordinating: Have people in place who can orchestrate the strategy by having team members work together in a coordinated fashion, in pursuit of delivering a shared objective.
Executing: The execution part of the strategy ensures the content is being created and delivered in an efficient manner. Content creators know their role and are motivate to deliver based on the identified needs of the audience.
Still not fully clear on how content operations works? Let’s break it down further by looking at the main components – people, technology, processes – as well as their different roles and how they work together.
For content operations to work, it must be centered around people – those who the content is being created for and the ones creating the content. Let’s first talk about the former.
The customer: Successful brands are those which recognize that understanding the target customer is the foundation for any operational strategy, whether for content or otherwise. Putting the focus on the customer will help decision makers form clearer choices about resource allocation, suitable marketing campaigns, and measuring results to inform future strategies.
The content creators: The quality of your content relies heavily on the people producing it, whether it is writing articles, making videos, or designing social media images. Sure, their abilities can be limited by other factors, such as access to the right tools and information, but having in place the right people with the required capabilities makes things easier.
One way to ensure you have suitable people making up your content-ops team is by defining each role with precise job descriptions. If you already have a team in place, it is time to take a deep look into how each member works, and how they contribute to the organization’s content marketing plan. This will not only allow you to refine operational procedures as far as producing content is concerned, but you will have a better idea of who is responsible for what, as well as help eliminate any overlap or inefficiencies in the content creation process.
There are plenty of content marketing tools and platforms around, but it can be difficult to choose the best ones that suit your goals. In order to make the best decision, you may need to assess the needs of your organization and the team. Is it more helpful to have a single umbrella platform that centralizes the whole content operations process? Or is it better to include a suite of tools, each addressing a specific task?
Whatever the case, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on what technology solutions to invest in.
Task manager: A big part of streamlining content operations has to do with assigning tasks in an efficient manner. Utilizing task management software ensures team members are always aware of what content jobs are due next, what their deliverables are, and what tools they need.
Creating and scheduling: Getting out content to the audience in a timely manner is, generally, a challenge for many organizations. Tools such as Canva, HootSuite, Buffer, and others are designed to help you organize, create, and schedule your content delivery. Developing a content calendar is also wise.
Measuring tools: How will you know if your content operations tactics are working? You need analytical tools in place that can measure audience reaction, impression, engagement, etc. The more comprehensive your measuring and reporting tools of choice, the more data you will have to inform your decisions going forward.
Having worked out the people and technology you want to include in your content operations, you also want to define the steps on how they work together. What are the steps involved from the idea phase straight through to creation, publishing, and maintenance? Who is responsible for each step? How does each process fit in with the day to day running of the business?
You want to design your workflow so that your content operations is efficient, straightforward, and easy to follow. A good place to start is creating guides, templates, and guidelines for team members to follow.
Consistently telling the stories your audience is interested in requires a sustainable approach to delivering content. Paying more attention to content operations is helpful for any wanting to keep up with the changing needs of the customer.
Until next time!