When it comes to content, it’s easy to think that your team should just make it and publish it. Simple. But, in reality, such an outlook is a very simplistic way of putting it – even if the substance of the content is excellent. In order to succeed at content marketing, you need to learn how to streamline your content creation and publication.
If you work with content marketers, you know that the going isn’t always easy. Priorities shift, project timelines shrink, and a bunch of other unexpected things can happen – sometimes all in the course of a day. So any way to save time and improve the workflow is a godsend to a content marketer.
However, content creation and publication don’t have to be painful experiences. They can actually be effective and enjoyable if you know how to engage the right way.
In this post, we will give you 4 things that truly work when it comes to streamlining your content publishing process. Let’s do this:
Table of Contents
1. Using automation
Technology can save you a significant amount of time. Use your human resources wisely and automate your processes with the help of various platforms and tools that turn daily to-do’s into literal no-brainers.
It’s time to say goodbye to those repetitive tasks nobody likes doing.
Technology also enhances your content experience delivery capabilities. If you use a piece of technology that can maximize the value of each content piece your team creates, you will get better results.
Marketing automation basically gives content marketers the ability to create and deliver consistent content.
Using tools like Zapier, you can connect countless tools you already use to automate effectively:
One of its main purposes is to deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right customers. It allows you to shift more of your energy onto more important tasks, it liberates your team from performing repetitive tasks and it instead gives them the chance to brainstorm new ideas and improve productivity in other areas.
We also think it’s essential to mention here that as opposed to the general opinion, automating processes doesn’t necessarily mean a huge investment. There are many affordable solutions out there that will help you work more efficiently.
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2. Working with an editorial calendar
Any organized approach to content creation requires an editorial calendar that will ensure your content gets published on time. Using Gantt charts, creating an editorial calendar will help you get organized and establish a workflow for your team in order to make sure you have what you need to get the publishing process going:
If you don’t follow a strict editorial calendar, you may not have anything to publish when you want to share an article with your audience or you may bundle too many articles together in a short period of time. All this could jeopardize the publishing process and set things off track.
Don’t know where to start or what to write about? Turn your frequently asked questions into blog posts, like Take Spruce does:
Working with an editorial calendar comes with many benefits. It will not only map out your month, including holidays and other buzz days, but it will also show you how many articles you will need to create ahead of time. It will let you take a big-picture approach when it comes to your content planning.
An editorial calendar will also help you visualize and organize your ideas so that it will be easier for your team to execute the overall strategy. You can also use it to keep track of industry trends, hashtags, or popular keywords so that your content strategy is always fresh and up to speed:
Being able to see all the planned content at a glance through an editorial calendar interface will help you recognize if your team is executing the strategy appropriately. How exactly? By helping you see the details of the daily publishing schedule.
Another benefit of editorial calendars is that they make your team more productive. When they put something on the calendar, they are more likely to get it done. It’s really just a soft commitment, but it gives them a plan to follow, which makes them more efficient. So, when the time comes, everything will be prepared and they just have to publish the scheduled piece of content.
Simply put, an editorial calendar keeps everyone on track to accomplish tasks and achieve goals. If you don’t have one yet, you should definitely get one!
3. Working with a house style guide
A house style guide is a document that offers guidelines for the way an organization’s content should be presented from both a graphic and language perspective. The purpose of a style guide is to make sure that everyone is on the same page about what can be published/cannot be published, inhouse rules, style considerations, etc:
House style guides basically ensure that your team produces consistent work. If everyone in the organization follows the same writing guidelines, articles are more likely to maintain consistency across various publishing outlets.
Another benefit of a house style guide is that it saves your team time by offering one place to look for answers—instead of having to constantly chase down one another to get the pieces of information that are needed. That doesn’t sound like a very professional thing to do now, does it?
A great thing about house style guides is that there are no rules for creating them. Your guide can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. However, make sure that it’s not extremely long because, let’s be honest, no one wants to read a multi-chapter book before writing and publishing a piece of content. Also, you can—and should—update the house style guide as the organization evolves.
“A style guide makes it super simple for our content team to create visuals and interactive content to improve our blog posts and make them easier to consume for readers. As an example when we write a blog post for Nextiva blog on What is VOIP we use the style guide to create an opening image to summarize what the article is about, and we continue with all the smaller visuals throughout the piece (images and videos) by using the same colors, fonts, and styles to make the entire post easy to read.” says Gaetano DiNardi, Director of Growth Marketing from Nextiva.
It’s important to mention that there are two types of guides: visual style guides and editorial style guides.
The visual ones are used to keep the graphics consistent and uniform across materials. The rules for these guides usually include applications and variations of the logo, color palettes, design standards in terms of look and feel, white space usage, and typography details (font families, sizes, line-height/spacing, etc.).
On the other hand, editorial style guides cover writing and formatting rules such as the company voice (active or passive; first person or second/third), tone (informal or formal), humor considerations, and grammar conventions (spelling, punctuation, words to avoid, etc.). We recommend you to implement both types of style guides (visual and editorial) in order to keep consistency across all content materials.
In the end, by providing a comprehensive house style guide, you can streamline the content creation and publication process. This guide also alleviates the time you would spend looking over your team’s shoulders. And more importantly, you can deliver the high-quality content your audience wants to see, resulting in measurable ROI.
4. Using Google Docs
Everything Google touches seems to turn to gold. And one of its products, called Google Docs, is no exception. Google Docs is a great tool that allows anyone to easily create and edit their own shareable document.
It comes with many benefits for content writers/marketers. But before diving into this topic, it’s also essential to talk about what prevents content marketers from streamlining the content creation and publishing processes.
Well, first of all, it’s important to understand that the content publishing process is strongly linked to the content creation process. And a crucial part of these processes is the tools you use. If your team doesn’t use the right tools for content development, there’s no way you can have a streamlined content publishing process.
Many content marketers use Microsoft Word for content development, but that’s not really a good choice. Microsoft Word is a powerful application, however, it can cause some issues when it comes to creating content:
- Compatibility problems: Sometimes one version of the tool won’t open files created in a later version. Also, the documents created on a Mac don’t look the same on a PC. These problems will not let your team have a happy collaboration.
- Formatting frustrations: It’s known that content does not paste very cleanly from Word into WordPress. Yes, it’s true, Microsoft Word has improved a few things, but the results are still very dependent on the templates and styles used within the tool.
- Large file sizes: Word documents can quickly become hefty, especially those with embedded images. And passing large files back and forth via email can be way too time-consuming for your team.
So if Microsoft Word creates all these problems for content marketers, you might wonder why they don’t transition from Word to WordPress? Well, there are many marketers who use WordPress for content development, but this tool also causes content problems.
WordPress is an amazing tool for publishing content, not for creating it. Developing the content in the same environment you’ll publish it may seem like a great idea, but there are some good reasons you might want to do it somewhere else:
- Reduced complexity and risk: It’s not safe to give a bunch of different people access to your WordPress installation. If you set everything up right, security shouldn’t be a problem, but if you make a mistake with user roles you could open yourself up to a whole host of problems.
- Clear separation of posts in development and published posts: If you work with guest authors it’s inevitable that some of the blog posts will get delayed or even abandoned. And it’s not fun at all to have those unfinished posts cluttering up your WordPress database.
So you might ask yourself, what’s the alternative?
The answer is Google Docs. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why this tool, in particular, is so well-suited for blog content development:
- Cloud-based — it conveniently maintains a backup of your content. This way your team can access the up-to-date posts-in-progress from anywhere, without an internet connection.
- Tracked changes — it automatically records every change someone makes to a document, so it’s quite easy to revert to any previous version of that post.
- Native collaboration features — it natively supports editing by multiple people, including in-document conversations via comments, edit and suggest modes.
And the good news is that there’s already a fantastic tool (cough Wordable cough) that helps you export Google Docs to WordPress with just a single click, formatting be damned:
When thinking about ways to develop and streamline your content creation and publication processes, try not to overthink it.
All of the things discussed here are pretty simple and adaptable, so just remember to organize, automate, and collaborate in order to save time without giving up quality.
When you adopt a process, content creation and publication are no longer an impossible mountain to climb. Yeah, it takes some time and effort to have an efficient process in place, but in the end, it’s all worth it.