How to create top quality content at scale.
The strength of a brand’s content is a key element for attracting and retaining the attention of audiences. A recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute found 80% of marketers believe content helps build brand awareness, with 75% saying it improves trust and 70% feeling it has a significant role to play in audience education.
Creating compelling content that informs and engages your audience – while also ticking all the right boxes from a search perspective – is key. But how do you maintain that consistency when you’re looking to create a lot of content in a short amount of time ? Let’s look at the fundamentals of producing quality content at scale.
Set clear content goals
Understanding what the content is there to do is crucial starting point. This is especially important when the project in question combines a high volume of content with a tight deadline.
This not only ensures that we are clear on the core fundamentals of content creation – target audience, purpose, etc – but also for ensuring that our deadlines and project plan are properly considered. It provides a level of transparency that means all parties are clear about the KPIs they’re aiming to achieve and – hopefully – exceed.
Know the brand
Initial immersion sessions with the client are crucial for a host of reasons, including:
- Gaining a more holistic understanding of the client and their audience
- Accessing existing market and target audience insights
- Learning the client’s tone of voice
- Building rapport.
Immersion sessions are also great for ensuring all parties involved know what’s expected when it comes to:
- Content format
- Version control processes
- Turnaround times.
Lastly, creating test content is a great way to stress test all of the above and to ensure things like brand tone of voice are being nailed.
Establish roles and responsibilities – and write them down
Before embarking on a project, particularly one at scale, it’s important to establish clear roles and responsibilities for each part of the process. These include:
- Content creation
- Content approval
- Imagery sourcing/resizing etc.
- Content uploads
- Stakeholders for approval
For a transparent understanding of role ownership, it’s useful to create a RACI chart. This sets out whether the people involved in each element of a project will be Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed when it comes to a specific task or decision.
The importance of a consistent team shouldn’t be underestimated, either. A lot of groundwork goes into helping everyone understand the ins and outs of a large project. Managing, maintaining and, hopefully, exceeding client expectations can hinge on keeping the same people involved throughout.
Plan and prioritise
As with any project, planning is imperative for creating quality content – especially at scale.
A key component of planning content is setting deadlines. This involves careful resource planning to make sure all work can be produced and delivered when it needs to be.
When looking at the overall content plan, prioritisation is also essential. It usually makes sense to work on the highest priority pages first in the knowledge that these hold the key to unlocking the biggest performance wins. Seasonal or time-sensitive pieces should also be high on the agenda.
Google rewards content that can demonstrate three fundamental qualities: expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Known as EAT for short, these guidelines should inform every piece of content you create.
Sourcing experts in a particular topic or subject area is an important part of making sure you’re baking these EAT credentials into your content, as is ensuring the accuracy of all the information you include.
Experts can come from many places, including:
- The agency
Expertise can be shared through knowledge-sharing sessions, asking the expert to write or review a content brief, or reviewing the content after it’s been completed – as well as any combination of those. Collaborating with a subject expert when it comes to collating authoritative sources is also a fantastic way to ensure accurate and reliable content.
Quality management and content tracking
Quality control and progress tracking are vital for content creation at scale.
This process includes:
- Briefing – a quality brief ensures content not only includes relevant keywords but also covers all the relevant information that the user would expect from the page
- Proofing – this stage checks for typos, grammatical/spelling errors and general feel
- Editing – an editor ensures the initial brief was followed and edits the piece to hit agreed targets and ensure overall quality.
Content tracking is a big part of this process. It’s essential with a large-scale project to keep track of where each piece of content is within the creation pipeline.
Ongoing project management
The ongoing management of a large project can be a significant challenge. However, with great planning and helpful tools, it can run a lot more smoothly.
There are several tools, both individually and in collaboration with others, that can be used to form a seamless process. These include:
- Microsoft Teams – great for saving files, catch-up calls and instant messages
- Asana – fantastic for briefing and having a view of where all content is in the pipeline
- Time tracking tools – such as JIRA or Fiori, are great for ensuring the timescales assigned for work are met.
For particularly large-scale content projects, project management experts can help ensure the smooth running of the account. These individuals keep things moving by creating documents, managing timelines, tracking content and organising meetings.
Brand Bible and ways of working
A Brand Bible is a key document that should guide you through the entire content creation process – from the first brief or synopsis to the final draft. Chances are that there’s already one in existence, but with any large project it’s common for new questions to present themselves along the way in terms of a brand’s positioning and approach.
Identifying these outliers, deciding the brand’s position and then reflecting this in the content is essential to ensure consistency from the first piece of content produced to the last.
Ways of working documents, which cover the processes that need to be carried out at each stage of the project, are also vital to ensure those responsible for carrying out each task are clear on how it should be done. These could cover:
- Writing a brief
- Uploading a page
- Sourcing imagery etc.
The critical thing here is to document all knowledge so it can be easily accessed by everyone who needs it. If documents need to be honed along the way, ensure you maintain good version control to avoid outdated processes being followed.
Without regular check–ins, things can easily get lost, quality can drop, and clients can begin to feel out of the loop. Good communication is a huge part of maintaining the quality of large-scale content projects.
Weekly internal content status meetings help clarify where work is in the process and if there’s anything that needs ironing out. Regular check-ins with the client allow both parties to ask questions and ensure full transparency, as well as helping to maintain that all-important client-agency relationship.
Space to reflect and review
Running at 100 miles per hour without pausing for breath can quickly see both content quality and processes veer wildly off course.
That’s why it’s important to make time for regular sense-checks to ensure everything is working as initially intended. Has anything changed since the content plan was agreed? Should priorities be shifted? Is there a stage within the process that needs to be refined?
For particularly large projects, racking performance as pages start to go live or social media posts are published can offer insights that will then inform the remainder of the project. What’s working well and what could be improved? These learnings can prove priceless in terms of shaping future content – as well as providing a chance to revisit and tweak existing content.
While large content projects may appear daunting, the benefits of creating a significant amount of content in a relatively short time period can be huge. It can be a great way to deliver a host of quick wins, as well as driving major performance improvements that stick around.
However, such projects can stand or fall on the groundwork that’s done before work starts, then the robustness of the processes and project management when they’re under way. Ensuring everyone understands the objectives from the outset – along with their role in helping to achieve them – is key.
The right expertise, along with the required levels of resource, are integral to the success of any project. But when projects reach a certain scale, the quality of the organisation and communication of those involved becomes just as vital.