In this article, we'll look in detail at a content creation process that can help you use your content team's resources to produce high-quality knowledge content efficiently and consistently. An approach like this can be designed in many different ways, but this is the process we use here at Zooma – and it's the one I recommend you use, too.
In part 1 of this article series, we looked at the content team itself – the different roles, the departments that should be involved, and the organisational prerequisites for effectively implementing this way of working.
In this second part, we're going to focus on the process itself – the daily, weekly, and monthly content creation routine and the pattern of meetings and feedback sessions you should follow to simplify and streamline your content creation.
Knowledge content is incredibly valuable, but it's not easy to extract your company's hidden knowledge from internal experts and present it attractively and accurately to your target groups. This is the problem that this whole content team method aims to solve, and it looks like this:
View a larger version of this diagram
For a fuller explanation of the different roles described in the image, take a look at part 1 of this series. Let's go through the process step-by-step, from the idea to the finished article.
Step 1: The idea
Every great article (or video, infographic, or podcast) starts with a great idea. All content team members should be encouraged to come with new ideas, because the best ideas are usually collaborative efforts involving a few different groups. The content board is often a good source of general topics and themes for new content.
Members of the content board come from marketing, sales, upper management, service and even R&D. This diversity means the team has a wealth of knowledge about market trends, new product roadmaps, events and conventions, and the strengths and weaknesses of different parts of the business. They can present these ideas to the content manager during content board meetings, who takes them to the content creators.
Content creators can also generate new ideas. In contrast with the content board, they will understand which topics have performed best in the past, what the audience is looking for on social and search and what content formats they like to consume. They can combine this knowledge with direction from the content board, and together with the content manager, they decide what content to work on and publish in the coming weeks or months.
Once a solid list of clearly defined content ideas is in place, it's time to move on to the next step.
Step 2: Gathering knowledge
It's not always necessary for content creators to interview external experts to gather knowledge for every piece of content. Content about more basic topics or topics that content creators already have a good understanding of can be created directly, possibly with an expert reviewing the final draft before publication. But generally, the best knowledge content is a result of content creators gathering knowledge through interviews and collaboration with internal experts.
We discussed the role of experts in the last article. Most companies have employees who have expert-level knowledge about what they work with, whether it's products, solutions, or services. However, it's rare that these experts are also expert content creators. That's why it's best that a content creator interviews the expert on the topic at hand, then ghostwrites the content based on the interview.
We have an entire article on the interview and ghostwriting process, so I'll give you a condensed version here. The content creator books an interview with the expert, typically an hour long. They get as much relevant information as possible on the article's topic from the expert, guiding them along the way, then they go away and work on a first draft.
Step 3: The first draft
This step is self-explanatory – using the interview material and their own knowledge, the content creator works on a first draft of the content. Even if the content creator creates the article themselves without interviewing anyone, at this stage they may still ask some quick questions to an expert or get informal feedback from the content manager on the article's tone and contents.
Step 4: The feedback session and adjustments
Once the first draft is complete, the content creator schedule a second meeting with the expert – perhaps not as long as the first meeting, but not too short either. Forty-five minutes to an hour usually works well. The expert will have received the first draft before the meeting, and they can use the time to offer corrections and suggestions that will hopefully turn the first draft into the final version.
For more straightforward articles that the content creator creates by themselves, it may be enough for the expert to quickly review the article over email.
The content creator then goes away once again and makes the changes. They can then send the updated version back to the expert for approval – they will then either approve the article or request more changes, which requires another round of adjustment or potentially another feedback meeting. They send the new updated version back to the expert, and this process repeats until the article is approved – although hopefully, it won't repeat too many times.
Step 5: Review meeting
It's good to have regular content review meetings to give each piece of content a final review before it's published. All members of the wider content team can join these meetings - at the start, each attendee is given a piece of content to proofread and check. This gives you a chance to make sure your content is free of embarrassing typos or errors that could harm your credibility.
Step 6: Publication
Publication is a step that is often overlooked. After all, the difficult part of interviewing and writing is now behind you, so it's just a matter of clicking 'publish', right? Once your article is live on your website, it will start drawing readers, but if you want to make the most of all the time you've invested so far, it's essential to work hard to promote your article in the best way.
Sharing on social media is an obvious promotion method, but don't just stop at posting the link to your company's LinkedIn page. Create graphics with excerpts or figures from the article that attract readers. Encourage employees to share the content on their profiles, especially those outside of the marketing team. Create short videos with the author to explain what the article is about and why it's valuable. You can even start a podcast where you expand on topics you've written about in the past.
On top of this, you should also be aware of SEO when creating the content – it's vital that users find your content when they're googling and not someone else's. Additionally, you should always be working to increase your number of subscribers – spending time and effort building a captive, loyal audience is an excellent investment.
Step 7 (and beyond): Back to the start
If you adopt this process, your content creation will become a predictable, ongoing process, and content creators will produce a consistent stream of new content. But the whole process is punctuated by a series of meetings – every time the content board meets, or other groups in the team collaborate, they generate new ideas and draw up new plans for the future, and the process begins again.
Content creation meeting routine
That brings us on to the backbone of this whole process – the meetings. Four regular meetings keep the content wheel spinning:
Content team meetings
These meetings can happen weekly and provide an opportunity for content creators to share ideas, tell each other what they are working on, and update the content manager on the status of ongoing content. In these meetings, the creators and content manager also plan what content should be produced next and when it should be published.
Content review meetings
These practical meetings can involve the content creators and content manager, but others are welcome too if they have an eye for detail. They typically take place once a week, and each participant is assigned a piece of content to proofread and check as a final step before the content is published.
Content creation meetings
The scheduling of these meetings may be different depending on who's involved. They can also be slightly longer – two hours, or even a whole morning or afternoon if possible. The purpose is to have a set time where team members can focus solely on creating content. You can even invite experts or members of the content board to these meetings – they can use the time to write drafts and outlines using their knowledge and experience, which can later be edited and optimised by content creators.
Content board meetings
These typically occur once a month. Here, the content manager can update the board on content performance and plans for future content, and together the board can set goals, decide strategy and long-term plans, and generate new ideas and content themes.
A typical routine for this set of meetings could look like this:
- Content team meeting – 1 hour, every Monday.
- Content review meeting – 1 hour, every Tuesday.
- Content creation meeting – 2 hours, every other Thursday.
- Content board meeting – 2 hours, first Wednesday of every month.
It's never easy to adopt a new way of working, and setting up a content creation process like this requires investing time and resources. But by using it ourselves and implementing it at some of our customers' companies, it's delivered excellent results in content quality, performance, and consistency.
If you'd like to learn more about content creation, make sure to take a look at our extensive content creation guide. The guide is also available as a downloadable presentation that you can save for later and share – click below to get it.
If you're interested in implementing a similar content creation process to this one in your own company, but you're not sure where to start, get in touch and we can give some advice.