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Overcoming content production challenges at scale

Overcoming content production challenges at scale

The biggest challenge for most content-centric brands is producing enough relevant and quality content at scale. Not only do they need content volume, but each piece of content needs to be optimised for different marketing channels, and provide a unified brand experience. Content management for a single marketing channel can be challenging enough - add to that the complexities of decentralised content production teams, a wealth of marketing channels, and the need for quality approval processes. 

Then when you want to scale your content production - things get even harder. 

Whether it’s scaling the amount of content you produce, growing your content production team, or increasing the marketing channels you use - any path you choose to scale your content can quickly lead to pain.

The first thing to really get to grips with is your required content cadence - and this is completely dependant on the types of content your brand needs to create, and the mediums and channels you will use to promote and distribute that content. Your cadence is going to be very different if you focus on long-form article content versus 30-second video clips. 

Your main focus needs to be on producing enough content that your particular audience feels they are always seeing fresh content that is relevant to them. This is your minimum cadence. You can create more content (but be careful not to over produce and drop quality levels) but you should never create less or you risk your content feeling stagnant.

However, producing compelling content at scale is hard.

There are some key tricks that leading brands are using to increase their content production without having to increase their content production team.

Cross-departmental Content

This is as simple as looking for internal content creators outside of your dedicated content production team. Hidden away in your HR, support or technology teams could be valuable content production assets, and many leading brands have seen great success with using less typical content writers from within their company.

The real benefit is that because they are internal staff they already know your customer profile and audience well, in addition to having brand alignment. The other benefit is that they will approach content creation differently to a professional copywriter, and this can provide a fresh new approach that is engaging and interesting for your audience.

However, once you find these valuable assets outside of your content team be sure not to overload them, unlike your copywriters this is not their main work priority. It is more valuable to spread the content load across 15 internal staff to create one highly valuable piece each than to try and obtain 3 passable pieces from 5 overloaded staff.

User-Generated Content

The power of user-generated content and social proofing are undisputed. It’s the new word of mouth for brands, and there are many different ways that UGC can be leveraged by a content-centric marketing team.

Get customers to create original content for you - unlike influencers, these are not professional content creators, but your raw, real and relatable customer base. What they may lack in content style they make up for in authenticity. Most brands have a dedicated pool of ‘brand-love customers’, this is the best place to start when it comes to asking customers to create content for you.

Make sure you reward your customers for participating, this does not need to be monetary - if they are a ‘brand-love’ customer then often some free product or a voucher is enough to make them feel that their contribution is appreciated, and be willing to create content for you in the future. If you focus on long-form articles but your customers aren’t the best at writing - do a deep interview and transcribe it. 

Think outside the box and pursue a medium that your customers are comfortable with, then simply convert it to a medium that your strategy focuses on.

Influencer Marketing

The use of influencer marketing in social (especially Instagram) has increased exponentially over the past year. But influencers are not just on Instagram or YouTube. Push the boundaries and think of the main influencers and thought leaders in your space, how do they communicate with their audience and how can you get them to communicate with yours?

Unlike your customers, content creation is usually something they do professionally and you need to be prepared to compensate them accordingly. Asking for their costs upfront can be a great way to communicate that you understand their value and are prepared to pay for the privilege.

Outsourced Freelancers and Content Platforms

When we think of outsourcing content production we usually think of using an agency. With the global increase in the number of freelancers and content creation specialists, it may be time to look further afield. Platforms like Freelancer, Upwork, and Fiverr enable you to connect with freelancers from a range of different backgrounds, skill sets and price points.

It is always worth testing out a number of different freelancers until you find the right fit, be prepared to throw a little money away on some that seemed good but didn’t deliver the goods. 

But once you find a great freelancer spend the time build a proper relationship, and if you want them to stick around make them feel like part of the team. Inviting them into your slack channel (or selected channels) can be a great place to start. There are also content production platforms like Scripted that review their writers first which should provide better content quality - but it really comes down to what writers click best with your brand voice and style.

The other thing to consider when implementing content production is that you need a clear production process. 

Your content production process needs to be a well-oiled machine that consistently delivers relevant and quality content. Especially once you start bringing in external content contributors; be they cross-departmental staff, customers or freelancers. Workflows and approvals are important, as well as having a centralised asset management system that ties into your content planning and resource management.

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