Content marketers and SEO experts know that content is critical to the success of their campaigns. Even the best strategies need amazing content to fuel their results.
However, some circumstances may require content in far larger batches, ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of words per day. Think of eCommerce stores that need to rewrite an entire store’s worth of product descriptions, a service business that needs to write content for hundreds of location pages, or an agency that needs to create monthly blog posts for dozens of clients.
Creating quality content in bulk presents some unique challenges.
If you have a bulk content writing project on the horizon, this is what you need to know about ensuring your project goes off without a hitch.
What Constitutes a Bulk Project?
A bulk project refers to any content writing demand that requires a large amount of content in a short period of time. It follows that it often refers to projects that involve large numbers of content writers.
What constitutes bulk can vary from one company or project or another but generally, the requirements include:
- A large amount of content on a short turnaround time
- Content that requires a team of writers rather than a single content writer
- Consistency in tone and voice between pieces
- Consistent quality between pieces
- Affordable pricing to accommodate large-scale orders
- A way to store and publish large amounts of content
- Usually done with SEO in mind
Types of Bulk Content
Bulk content can come in a number of forms but generally involves similar content that needs to be reproduced across a variety of items with fresh, unique content specific to each item. It also usually has to fit into a defined template.
We typically see bulk projects from companies that are seeking to revamp their product descriptions, provide reviews on services that encompass many geographical areas, or who require landing or summary pages on a large array of topics.
A retirement community review site that covers the whole country, for example, will likely require a large amount of content in a short time span to cover thousands of communities – that can’t be accommodated by a single writer completing a few pieces a week. Other companies may require city pages, content to build a glossary of terms or an index of resources, or blog posts for agency clients.
The most common categories of bulk content include:
- Blog posts
- City or location-specific pages
- Category page descriptions
- Product descriptions
- App descriptions
- Review pages
- Social media posts
Bulk content may also be ordered by agencies with diverse needs, like companies that build simple websites and have a large number of clients.
6 Key Tips For Creating a Bulk Content Game Plan
So you know you need bulk content and you have an idea of what you want – but how you get there takes time and planning. These six key tips can help you nail even the largest bulk content writing projects.
Determine the Size and Scale of Projects
As the word bulk isn’t exactly quantifiable, it’s important to determine what exactly you need. No two bulk projects will be exactly the same, so knowing you need a lot of content is not the same as putting together a game plan you can use to guide your process. This can include:
- A rough estimate of word count
- The number of writers needed to accommodate your expectations
- A map of deadlines, like how many words you need completed each week or when the project needs to be completed
- A plan to hire writers if in-house teams cannot meet the demands of an expansive project
- An average quota of articles per writer in order to determine the appropriate team size
Define Quality Expectations
Quality is an important element of any kind of content creation. Google has been explicit about its expectations for quality content that it will rank well, so failing to adhere to best practices can be a dangerous game. Before you get started on your project, you need to have a basic idea of what caliber you are looking for with your work. If your pages or product descriptions are basic or simple, the best of the best may not be necessary. However, complex or technical information may mean searching for experts to ensure your needs are met.
Quality can be a sizable challenge, as Ron Stefanski, the owner and founder of PrisonInsight.com, knows well. He states, “the biggest challenge we have [in creating bulk content] is maintaining quality content standards. We’ve done our best to put a team in place that includes high-quality writers and an editor to approve everything, but there is always room for improvement.”
At the end of the day, quality requires a process. You need to know the level of quality you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there, from the guidelines you put in place to the writers you recruit, right through to who is going to edit the work and ultimately publish it.
Put Together a Style Guide
No two writers are exactly the same. From JK Rowling to Dostoevsky, all writers have a unique voice. However, in a bulk project, this isn’t always a good thing. In general, a bulk content project should read more like a unified presentation than a mishmash of different styles and preferences.
A style guide can help ensure all writers understand expectations, preferences, keyword use, formatting, word count, and virtually anything else necessary to the success of a project. A good style guide also provides context about the purpose of content and the target audience.
Andrew Barrett, Director of Content at Seniorly, explains the detailed information he makes available to the content team supporting his ongoing projects: “We provide important keywords, an outline for the content, important industry knowledge and facts that would inform their writing, and appropriate links to sources.” Ultimately, the more information is available, the better-prepared writers will be to meet expectations.
Assemble the Right Team
The team of writers you choose can make or break your project, so it’s important to choose wisely. Writers should be flexible, skilled, adaptable, and able to meet deadlines, regardless of the caliber of projects.
Writers can be hired on full-time, outsourced through freelance marketplaces, or onboarded through writing-specific platforms, like Crowd Content. Companies can manage teams themselves or go through a third party to oversee projects and handle editing, taking the burden off of a small marketing department. Regardless of methodology, choosing the right team is critically important to turning around quality work on tight deadlines.
Says Ron Stefanski, “if you want to be successful, you need a team to help. Don’t try to do all of this yourself for a long time. While I encourage people to start by doing this themselves so they understand exactly what’s needed and how difficult it is, outsourcing is crucial to scaling and having success.”
Keep in mind that a good team goes beyond writers. For those who don’t have in-house resources to serve in a support function, editors and QA pros are also highly valuable. Editors can make sure content meets style guides and best practices, while QAs can oversee formatting and publishing to ensure a perfect outcome.
Process, Process, Process
You’ve probably picked up on this based on the tips preceding this highlighting that you need multiple different types of team members, but making sure you develop a controlled content creation process is critical to the success of any bulk content writing project.
At Crowd Content, we often define several steps that every piece of content must go through before it’s delivered to a client and published:
- SEO research
- Quality Assurance
This varies a bit from project to project, but the key here is that you have focused team members responsible for each step. This helps ensure you get a consistent result and that your project delivers the results you expect.
Provide Consistent and Timely Feedback
Every team is only as good as its weakest link. When working with writers, clear, coherent feedback and regular communication are musts. This is particularly true in the early days of a project: as writers are getting used to your preferences and the tone and style of a project, they’ll need guidance to get as comfortable as possible with your expectations.
This means providing writing samples, offering editing to highlight where writers are succeeding and where they’re going wrong, and consistently providing refresher training to keep everyone on the same page. As metrics become available, it’s also helpful to provide samples of pieces that ranked well versus less effective content. By setting up Slack rooms or forums, it’s possible to stay in constant connection with writers, field questions, provide context, and offer updates in a timely manner.
Communication goes both ways, too. “As writers asked us follow up questions, we revised the creative briefs and informed the team of writers to review the revisions,” says Andrew Barrett about his team’s process of creating guidelines that got writers up and running.
Coordinating bulk writing projects isn’t easy, but the right strategy can go a long way. With these six key tips to ensure increased output, consistent quality, and ongoing improvement opportunities, you can prepare for even your biggest content writing aspirations.