Process. Not the sexiest part of the content marketer’s job. But definitely one of the most important.
Why? Because while a headline may make or break your blog post, a process makes or breaks your entire content marketing effort.
Which is why today I want to point out five major process mistakes that businesses make all the time—and why they’re so important to avoid.
What are these content pitfalls, you ask?
1. You haven’t put anyone in charge.
Without a Chief Content Officer or a Managing Editor, it’s easy for projects to go off the rails. If no one “owns” content, content becomes everyone’s second, third, or fourth priority. Decisions take forever. Content goes through revision after revision (and sometimes doesn’t get published at all). Stakeholders aren’t happy with the output. Or, even worse, published content gets ignored, along with all the lessons we can learn from its failure or success.
When it comes to content processes, one of the most important things you can do is give someone both the final say and the responsibility for content success.
2. You don’t have up-front buy-in from your stakeholders—in writing.
I’ve seen this happen too many times.
An excited content team goes to work on a project or a piece of content. They polish it, perfect it, and present it to stakeholders. And then they find out that it doesn’t work. The stakeholders aren’t on board for some part of the strategy, the content, the voice. And suddenly everyone is back to the drawing board, with a whole lot of wasted time on the books.
I’ve also seen stakeholders give verbal signoff and forget that they did.
You can avoid both of these problems by (first) involving these stakeholders in the content ideation process and (second) having a clear sign-off process in place. Make sure to add approval steps into your workflow before you spend your limited resources and budget on a new campaign.
3. You’re putting content before strategy.
When companies first hear about content marketing, they get a little excited—and rightly so. We’re seeing huge successes from content marketers across a variety of industries and it’s the kind of thing any company can do, big or small.
But too much excitement can lead to putting the cart before the horse. You don’t want to start creating content without thinking it through. Which is why we always advocate for a strategic approach to your content marketing.
Wondering how to sell your boss on slowing down? Check out A Business Case for a Content-First Approach.
4. You aren’t starting the process with content re-use in mind.
For every piece of core content you create—be it a major white paper or a gorgeous video—there are 10 other ways to use it and 10 other content pieces to create around it.
Take, for example, this blog post, which was inspired by our new eBook. We’ve already hammered out our recommended process for the eBook. We’ve got a gorgeous infographic on the topic. And so pulling those ideas into this post (along with a few others) was a no-brainer. It’s simple to do. And it adds value to our core content.
So this piece of content, plus our email marketing, plus our social media campaigns can all benefit from the same idea, inspiration, and data. (Which makes it a whole lot easier to fill up our editorial calendar.)
5. You’ve never written out your process.
Any business process works better when it is written out and distributed. Don’t rely on memory; put your process on paper and share it with everyone involved.
This is how you cut down on simple mistakes, process holdups, and missed deadlines.
Okay. So what now?
So, what’s next? Once you know what the process pitfalls are, how do you avoid them?
If you read my articles often, you probably already know the answer:
Building a great process, appointing an Editorial Board, and planning for content re-use are all part of having a great plan in place for your content marketing.
Ready to start the planning?
Grab some of our insights and process points in our brand new, free eBook: Blueprint of a Modern Marketing Campaign.