You have a million tech tools at your fingertips, but they all seem to go in different directions. You know you can take greater advantage of AI and automation to accelerate your research, analysis, workflows, and content creation. But without a sophisticated content strategy, you are afraid that you will end up doing all the wrong things much faster.
Technology can be a great way to get your message across, but it takes human content experts to do it. Here are three ways to speed up your content production while staying efficient and informed.
1. Hire or work with Top Content Talent
Any solid content strategy starts with attracting top talent. You need writers who understand your brand and can develop the right plan of attack. If you have the budget, hiring an in-house content team has its advantages. You have a better overview and can work directly with your team to complete deliverables faster. Content creators can meet with departments such as marketing and design to develop unified concepts or exchange ideas.
Hiring contractors can be more cost effective, especially if your content needs are relatively limited. But working directly with freelancers involves extra work that your team may not be able to handle. Someone will have to find and screen talent, guide and of course handle invoices. For every freelancer you hire, you add additional relationship management tasks. You also give them access to the company’s secret sauce: sharing data, files and messages that would otherwise remain internal.
Many companies find a happy medium by partnering with specialist content agencies who can screen and hire talent to create content on your behalf. They also work with your team to develop a custom product content strategy that meets your organizational goals. It’s less practical than having your own content team, but you still get plenty of opportunities to provide feedback and request changes.
2. Monitor and optimize your content
Once you’ve decided how your content team should work, it’s time for a content audit. The team can review all your existing content (web pages, blog posts, social media, case studies, videos) and flag anything that needs updating. Once they determine which areas are missing, they can define focus areas for new content generation. Using tools like Ahrefs or BuzzSumo, the team can assess keyword usage and other metrics that could impact your search traffic.
After the audit, a good content team develops a strategy that best suits your brand and budget. Before jumping in to fill any gaps, they’ll determine which changes will bring the most ROI. For example, maybe your website is already packed with great content, but your audit data shows that no one is reading it. Instead of investing in freelance talent to drive more posts, you could focus on adjusting your internal linking practices. Once you’ve increased your web traffic, you can budget for new pieces.
Effective content audit and strategy enable your team to prioritize updates and additions in order of urgency and effectiveness. They can decide which pieces need light editing and link updating, which need rewriting, and which need to be discontinued. Since they work on the most critical projects first, you should see results right away.
3. Create and refine your style guide
Whatever form your content team takes, you need an up-to-date branding guide that documents your company’s standards for writing and formatting documents. These standards keep your tone and style consistent, lending credibility to your brand. Readers can be confident that they are getting expert advice from a unified, authoritative voice.
First of all, a good style guide should determine which of the important style books writers should rely on general reference. It should then list any major deviations in spelling, grammar, or style rules the company uses. It should then contain a list of commonly used words or phrases that can be written in multiple ways. For example, the guide should tell content teams whether to write “Covid-19,” “COVID-19,” or “the coronavirus.” Finally, it should include instructions about tone, such as the degree of formality or whether or not to use first-person statements.
A style guide isn’t just a clumsy tool for grammarians. It’s a way to give your business a cohesive brand identity, no matter who is writing your content. A style guide saves time by giving content creators a document to turn to with questions, avoiding unnecessary feedback loops. Whether most of your content is written by freelancers or an in-house team, a style guide can resolve differences and help them use a unified voice.
Voice, vision and values
There are so many strategies and tools to help your brand establish and communicate its voice. But ultimately, good content should align with your company’s vision and values. Keep your messages consistent with the promise your brand has always made to prospects and customers. Remind your reader why they keep coming back to your brand and aligning with its mission. Technical tools can make processes faster, but only human authenticity and involvement can generate true brand loyalty.