The expression “content is king” rings as true today as it did some twenty odd years ago when Microsoft’s Bill Gates coined it.
Bill knew the score and you should, too. Without top-notch content it doesn’t matter much what the rest of your business is up to.
That’s why it’s essential to have an effective content operations process in place.
What is content operations?
Content operations – or “content ops” – is a process that involves the combination of people, processes and technology that it takes to create and publish your content.
It encompasses the strategy, creation, publication and distribution of the marketing content you produce.
There are three integral components to content operations: people, processes and technology. Without any of these, it’s hard to create an effective content ops team.
It goes without saying but the people that produce your content – the strategists, the writers, social media manager and publishers – play an essential role in the content operations process.
As such, the key to producing quality content is understanding who is involved in the process and where they fit into the bigger content production picture.
You need to make sure to properly define the roles and responsibilities of your team members so that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Perform a thought exercise: think as if you were a newbie joining your team and ask yourself a few questions.
Do you understand exactly how the business produces content? Do you understand where to find the tools that will let you do your job? Do you understand the overarching workflow?
To make it easier for employees to answer these questions with a big ‘Yes!’, make sure any templates, conventions and style guides you use are available to team members and they understand how to use them properly.
Software is essential to the content production process – from scheduling tools through to data analysis and reporting. It’s worth finding out which tools will speed up the creation process and make your workflows smoother.
Software to consider:
- Scheduling tools: Hootsuite, OneUp, Typefully.
- Content creation: Google Docs, Canva, Frase.
- Project management platforms: ClickUp, Asana, Notion.
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Ahrefs, Hotjar.
Content operations vs content strategy
Strategy and ops are sometimes confused, but they are not the same thing.
In short: content strategy is the plan; content operations is how you put that plan into practice.
Good content delivery requires big-picture strategic thinking, but this overall plan can’t work without the implementation of that strategy and daily action. That’s where content operations come in.
The benefits of content operations
There’s little point in having a content strategy if your content ops aren’t in place to execute it. Clear content operations allows organizations to streamline every task and avoid confusion and process duplication.
Here are just a few benefits that content operations bring to your business:
- Production of high-quality content.
- Streamlining the content production processes.
- Smoother collaboration across departments.
- Consistency across channels/branding.
- Easier transitioning for new staff.
How to make your content operations more effective
Your job as a content operations manager is to make sure your marketing content is relevant to your audience and up-to-date. Sounds simple, but this can mean sifting tons of data to get to the stuff that’s the best fit for your marketing campaign and audience.
Plus, you’re likely to have lots of voices competing for attention and have input from a diffuse range of stakeholders and individuals. This can lead to confusion and data duplication. In fact up to 36% of marketing data finds itself repeated at one stage or another in the content operations process, and duplication is waste.
To make your content operations as effective as they could be, you need a unifying vision directing the management of the content.
But you can only achieve this by having a process that lets you see the bigger picture. That’s why it’s essential that your content operations do the following:
- Use a single, reliable source of information. You have to aggregate and reference a whole lot of information as a content creator. That’s why it’s important that you have recourse to a single trustworthy source of information that you can reference and be sure it’s providing the accurate and timely information you need to make sure your content is doing its job.
- Think about where your customers spend time online. Are they on social media, search engines, review websites? Marketing doesn’t just mean social media so don’t neglect your website, SEO, and mailing list. Some channels will require more time and effort, such as Youtube, and others have a specific audience, like Gen Z’s wide use of TikTok. Choose a diverse mix of channels to reach as much of your target market as possible.
- Simplify your workflows. Content management can be a plate-spinning exercise. You have lots of different jobs, all at different stages of production and all needing input from members across your team. To keep tabs on the stage of production and who has ownership of the job at any given moment, you need to have an efficient workflow process in place that gives you access to up-to-the-minute information on your production cycle. For example, figure out who has ownership of a task and when you can expect to see it move on to the next stage.
- Automate where you can. Workflow software is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to effective content production. Other parts of the process also require automation. Standardised and repetitive tasks are low-hanging fruit as far as automation is concerned. As a content producer, you will have to upload content to a number of different platforms repeatedly and at certain times of the day – automated uploaders and schedulers take the pain out of this tedium and let you get in with the important stuff, like dreaming up new marketing campaigns.
- Make sure each content piece has a goal. Every time you publish content, there should be a reason for it. Is it to educate, engage, inspire or convince? Do you want them to click a link or subscribe to your mailing list? Make sure you can answer these questions before you hit that ‘submit’ button.
- Demonstrate your value. Content operations is an important job, but it’s not always obvious where its value lies. That’s where analytics come in. A good bit of analytics software will let you drill down into your hits and leads, which gives you the insights you need that let you demonstrate your value. Use the data collected to direct your content strategy, producing more that customers are engaging with to support the growth of the business.
Talk to the experts!
It’s simple really. The purpose of content operations is increased engagement with your audience and growth of that audience.
At Growth Mentor, we have a host of experts on hand who are ready to show you how to make the most of your audience engagements.