Creative content is a big deal for online marketers. In 2021, the digital online advertising and marketing industry was worth nearly $180 billion. This market grows more than 15% a year, and there’s no sign of stopping or slowing down anytime soon. Thousands of marketers are competing for a share of this traffic, and your ability to stand out from the rest is the key to your success in a very competitive field. If you develop a good plan to scale content creation for your clients, you’re halfway to where you need to be.
Scaling is the key to a successful content creation strategy. Creative campaigns come in all sizes, from one-and-done landing pages to low-volume recurring blog articles to massive product description orders with tens of thousands of pieces to write. Projects can also suddenly ramp up or down, such as when a blog triples its volume or a retailer opens a new product line. Being the marketer who can handle that for a client is the skill set that keeps you growing.
What Is Content Scaling, and Why Is It Awesome?
Scaling is the ability to expand or contract your work volume as needed, ideally without your office erupting into panic, unexplained fires in the parking lot or dinosaur-killing asteroids hitting the Earth when the client orders a 10x increase in output. With a good plan in place to scale your content creation, you have the ability to get ahead of unpredictable changes and respond to anything the client needs.
Scaling content creation is part of an overall marketing strategy, and it helps to know what you’re doing from the outset. Something like 80% of B2B and 81% of B2C brands say they have a content creation strategy mapped out in advance of launching a project. Amazingly, the same survey found that more than half (55%) of brands admit they don’t have any way of knowing what a successful creative campaign looks like.
What to Look for in a Scaling Strategy
Good strategies to scale your content all have a few things in common. The best strategies take very little time to implement, guarantee consistent quality and have the potential to expand to meet increased needs quickly and affordably.
Tips to Scale Content Creation
While scaling your content creation is, indeed, awesome, how do you do it? Because changes in scale affect every part of the process, from initial planning to delivery of the finished product, your plan to scale should ideally take in every level. Here are some tips for planning and executing a scalable content rollout.
Stage 1: Planning Your Projects
Designing a scalable workflow starts with good planning in the early stages. The workflow you design early on will either save you or sink you later, when your needs expand. If you’re working with multiple clients, each of them probably has unique needs that don’t necessarily fit into a one-size-fits-all approach to project management. Keeping your project management loose and flexible, however, should give you the leeway you need to scale up or down.
This is where investing in good project management software is a lifesaver. You have a lot of options here. Excel and Google Sheets are decent mainstream tools to help you organize content calendars and export your publishing schedule. Excel has the advantage of being pretty much universal and accessible for almost anyone who’s used an office computer in the last 20 years. Sheets is a productive collab tool that encourages teams to work well together and push multi-stage projects along in a cloud environment.
CoSchedule is another superb project management tool you can use to plot whole campaigns and manage multiple creative teams. Operating in a secure cloud format, CoSchedule allows content creators and project managers to interact at every stage of a project, coordinate easily across projects and schedule deliveries and uploads to virtually any platform your clients are using. There’s even an option in the CoSchedule sidebar for creative workers to leave passive-aggressive notes to each other complaining about recent edits.
- Settle on a project management tool and stick to it for nearly every client.
- Gravitate toward cloud and remote tools, since they probably have more space and scalability than your own systems.
- Develop a workflow that’s simple enough to explain to a child so educating multiple clients about your capabilities is easy enough to be a selling tool in itself.
Stage 2: Formatting and Such
It isn’t always possible to develop a standard format that your projects should take, but wherever you’re able to standardize, you should. Granted, a client with 150-word product descriptions is going to have different needs than a 1,200-word blogging client or a 10,000-word white paper client. Try to aim for a general format that assumes as little as possible about the specific needs of your clients and allows a maximum of later customization.
- Adopt a simple, standard format that works for any kind of content, especially when it’s going live on social media.
- If you have to specialize, go for multiple templates, one for each of your most common client orders.
- Adopt a format that can be changed on the fly or expanded to scale up on short notice. You can also use a format already available from your content creation partner if you’re working with a platform.
Stage 3: Actually Writing
Writing is the hardest part of writing. Producing the content your clients need is the heart of any creative project, and it’s not as easy as it seems. Your targets here are for high quality and the ability to expand as your projects scale up. While this seems like a contradiction, you actually have several options for how you want to approach it.
Writing Your Stuff In-House
If you’re working in-house, you’re probably using your own employees as creative workers. Keeping writers on staff lets you train and develop content creators the way you need them to work, but volume is limited and expanding is almost always slow and difficult.
Outsourcing to Partners
Many digital marketing firms partner with content creators from outside. This can be a relationship with a single marketing firm, or it can include individual freelancers working under contract. If you’re partnered with an outside firm, you have the same scaling limitations as if you hired your own talent in-house, just displaced onto a different company for hiring and retention. If you’re working with freelancers, you have a lot of potential to rapidly expand, but managing a growing freelance workforce gets unwieldy above a certain level.
Professional Content Creation
One of the best options for scaling your digital marketing campaigns is to establish a long-term partnership with a professional content platform. This can be one of the most productive options for marketers of all sizes. Creation platforms work by recruiting and screening large numbers of writers and editors, building teams you can work with and then making them available to work on your projects.
Working With a Platform for Creative Content
The advantages of working with a platform are huge, and they appear at every stage of the development process. A good platform offers support from a project manager during the initial planning stages, when your campaign is still of indeterminate size and scope. Working together, you and your contact at the platform can plan the work throughput, devise the instructions and formatting requirements and craft a set of instructions for the workforce to follow when the writing starts.
When you’re happy with the design and flow of your project, you can upload your clients’ inputs to the platform. If you’re working with a manager, you don’t have much else to do here; the platform can deliver your finished product by the project deadline in whole or in parts, whichever you need. Some platforms have a feature that lets you manage your own campaigns and export the finished products to your CoSchedule or other publisher’s account.
The unique workforce platforms use allows you to build and retain teams of workers who are experienced with your projects, direct order individual tasks to favored writers or open your project to every writer on the platform. A standardized screening system controls quality and diligence with this option, so you get consistently high-quality results.
Perhaps best of all, you can scale content creation on a platform basically forever, easily shifting between one-off jobs and gigantic projects that move hundreds of thousands of workpieces from development to publishing. Even if your volume is changing on a daily basis, you always have the right number of workers for any given project, exactly when you need them and at the price you’ve agreed to pay.
Tips to Scale Content Creation on a Platform
Working with a platform to scale your content creation can be tricky to start, but it grows on you. Just remember some of the industry best practices for consolidating projects and scaling content through your platform:
- Plan well: Platform staff are there to help you, and you probably need the most help during the initial planning stage for a creative campaign. Work with a platform manager to design the workflow and build your teams. You can also bring billing or quality assurance concerns to your contact for resolution. When you’re scaling up a project, don’t forget to let the platform know so you have the support you need throughout.
- Set realistic goals: Some projects have quick turnaround times, while others take months of planning. Likewise, some short, simple workpieces take minutes to dash off and deliver, while others may take days and require associated social media uploads to coordinate at launch. Work with your project manager to set realistic goals about what can be delivered and on what sort of timescale.
- Choose your teams: Working with a platform, you can choose who gets to see your project. Build a team with handpicked creators, or open your project to everyone with an acceptable level of skill who’s registered with the platform. If you suddenly need to scale up, you have your choice of adding more members to the team or putting out the call to all available hands.
- Scale up: Scaling is a unique advantage you get with a platform over creating content in-house or with your own freelancers. Because the platform recruits, trains and manages its own external workforce of contract creators, you have basically all the tedious personnel work lifted and none of the management responsibilities attached to what should be a clean project. Expanding a project on-platform is genuinely as easy as loading more orders into the system and waiting for the final drafts to clear edit.
Crowd Content has the workforce you need to power your biggest projects. Find out about the services we offer digital marketing and content creation clients here. You can also reach out and contact us to talk about how our workforce of thousands of writers, editors and other professionals can help you scale content creation as much as your clients need.