Supercharge Your Content Pipeline: How to Streamline Content Preparation & Production
If you’re tired of experiencing chaos or confusion when it comes to your content production and distribution, then it’s time to refine your content pipeline.
Today let’s discover the essential elements of a content pipeline, ways to prepare effectively and create a proven content streamlining strategy for optimal results.
What Is a Content Pipeline?
A content pipeline is the process of content creation including all its steps and stages. It allows you to optimize your content process, cutting off any dead weight or improving it.
By paying extra attention to this content procedure, you can minimize wasting resources and time. Saving you effort and headaches in the long run.
Your content pipeline can also be regarded as an organized catalog of result-driven content that plays a pivotal role in your marketing strategy. Over time this can help you navigate your team clearly through quarterly/yearly marketing plans.
The 3 P’s of The Content Pipeline Process You Should Know
Before you jump the gun and start planning your next content fix, we need to incorporate a few things first. When you’re creating a content pipeline, you want to ensure that you cover the three foundations of this process; preparation, production, and publication.
- Preparation. It is a stage of a content pipeline that includes identifying your target market and pinpointing a strategic direction. This stage is one of the most crucial of the three. Without proper preparation, you can end up running in circles or making an impact. This means brainstorming keywords, blog topics, content mapping.
- Production. It is a stage of a content pipeline that includes assigning roles and responsibilities, setting deadlines, and tracking progress. Once you’ve prepared all your content ingredients, it’s time to delegate and organize content for production. During production, you’ll need to write, edit and create deadlines for your articles to ensure the project is successful.
- Publication. It is a stage of a content pipeline that consists of determining when and where the articles will be posted and analyzing their performance to gather insight. This is where your focus is on reviewing, scheduling, publishing, and lastly, distributing your final article.
These are the three phrases you’ll need to implement to ensure that your content pipeline and resources are up to par with all your upcoming content activities.
Today we’ll speak about the first two; preparation and production.
How to Streamline Your Content Pipeline?
Streamlining your content pipeline is the act of churning out quality content, project after project, and let’s be honest, this can be a lot of work at times, especially when there’s little to no breaks in between. This means having a proactive content workflow to ensure that your pipeline is filled, well-oiled and consistent.
But as daunting as it may seem, having solid strategies can put you at ease. One of which is adding content management software or productivity tools to reduce friction or cost. So, it’s worth taking into account the following steps.
Start By Creating a Content Plan
A content plan is a simple but effective part of your content strategy for organizing and preparing your content. You can create a content plan by adding all types of content you want to produce or manage into a single spreadsheet or word doc. There’s no rule of thumb on how it should be created or presented as long as it works for you.
Add all the necessary data to the content plan that will help you track the process and analyze the results, e.g.:
- Project owner
- SEO keywords
By having all your blog content in one place, you can easily assign priorities, manage deadlines and evaluate the resources you have (people, budget, etc.)
A content plan should have the following listed in your spreadsheet:
- Content Type. What type of content is being created. This can be a guest post or an article to be published on your blog. You can go into further details with your content brief (which we’ll talk about later).
- Topic. What niche or area of interest is this content based on, for example: “Business Tips for Entrepreneurs.”
- Actual date. State when this content will be published. Feel free to edit it accordingly.
- Campaign owner. Who will manage this project or write this content.
- Content status. This is used to learn if the content is being created, edited, or published.
- Deadlines. When should this be the date when the project is finished.
- Notes. Other criteria you consider important.
Once you’ve selected your content topics and created the basic layout of your content plan, the next step is to define the deadline for each main stage of your article, such as
- First draft
- Text ready
- Publication date
Check once again whether the plans correspond to the actual resources you have and the time it takes.
Create Content Briefs to Created Detailed Task
Create a content brief to help you better organize content tasks as they start to fill your content pipeline. This document isn’t an extra step into your content workflow but rather a defining measure in your pipeline and team communication. This brief will host essential information for any project and help new team members ascertain the type of data to collect for content.
This brief should be the standard template that your team uses before embarking on each task. In the content brief, try to provide all the necessary details (that may also be templated and copied), e.g.:
- Target audience. Who is this content/article for, or who do you want to attract with this content.
- Relevant info about the company. What type of information needs to be highlighted for your team or the writer to take note of, eg: If this is a guest post, what are the writing guidelines.
- The general direction of the article. State the tone or message you want to use in the content.
- Main points to highlight. Point out what major points in the article need to be written about or covered.
- SEO keywords, etc. What keywords and SEO techniques need to be implemented in your content to increase domain authority.
- Examples. This is optional but helpful. Add any content examples that can help guide your writers or content creators.
A content brief also encourages you or your writer to perform detailed research on the structure or outline of the article beforehand. This allows you to approve, edit or remove sections (thus following your writing guidelines)before the article is created, helping you to manage your time and cut down any additional marketing expense you want to save for your team.
Manage Production in Your Content Pipeline
A common misconception is that if you’re not the writer, then you should only be concerned about the planning process for your content pipeline. But being aware of your production process helps far more with your planning and execution than you think.
When streamlining your content pipeline, which is mainly for the person in charge, you should regularly keep track of the content progress. Have honest conversations with your writers to ensure that you’re both on the same page with the produced content. This means checking in with writers and each member of the team on a weekly basis to:
- Remind and assist them in their role in the content pipeline
- Remind them of deadlines and delays
- Adjust and edit submissions before publications
- Avoid scope creep ( when deadlines are constantly being placed back)
For example, if you need to create an article on the topics alternatives to Mozilla Thunderbird, but they’ve never written an article on that topic you should allocate extra time for them to do the research they need or hire a technical writer to ensure a continual workflow.
If the same issues happen in different articles (e.g., style or logic issues, missing important parts of a brief, etc.) — think about the improvements, such as:
- Writing better guidelines
- Perform training for writers
- Hire better writers (sometimes this happens, too)
It would be best to consider managing other types of production (e.g., design, proofreading, editing ) in the same way to keep your content deadlines on schedule.
Make Content Workflow a Cycle
After you’ve begun your content pipeline’s production phase, don’t wait until your first article is finished before starting a new one. You want to churn out content while one is being written simultaneously. The next one is being prepared and researched for the next writer, brainstorming new topics (based on audience interests or keyword research), and creating briefs.
While this is happening, you should always check the results of your workflow cycle and add or remove any steps from your content plan. Questions to consider are:
- Are the current content plan and workflow meeting deadlines?
- What issues or hiccups do writers have during the content workflow that needs improvement?
- Are you setting realistic timelines for each segment of your content pipeline?
Lastly, make it a point to check old posts before creating new ones; some may only need to be improved and not entirely changed.
Streamlining your content pipeline means establishing a cycle of preparing, producing, and publishing content. It may take some elbow grease but the results and rewards are worth the effort.
Your content workflow should be a cycle of repeatedly brainstorming ideas, scheduling, producing, and reassessing performance. It should help to give your team or writers focus and stability to produce quality content without distractions or mayhem.
At the end of the day, you want to publish valuable content regularly to be top-of-mind to your audience. With a well-defined content pipeline, workflow, and content production plan, you can do just that on a regular basis.