Back when I started this series on content strategy I talked about how YOU need to be the king of your content strategy. It’s true that one person needs to be in charge and take control, yet you’ll still need to work with a team to accomplish your content goals. Through each step of the process you need to maintain open communication with your team internally, as well as be connected with any external factors that may push you to reshape your content. Use these tools below as you move through your strategy to stay organized and work efficiently.
First, have a team meeting with everyone involved to go over your editorial calendar. While you’re still in the planning process, allow each person to share his or her ideas.
If you get stuck during the brainstorming process, there are various sources you can turn to for idea generation—you just need to get creative. First, find out what people are already talking about. Use a real-time social search engine like Kurrently to look for a topic everyone is buzzing about and see what you can add to the conversation. If you have actionable tips to help or a contrasting perspective, use that as the starting point for your content.
Sometimes a hot topic already going viral on social media and in the news is better to stay away from because it is being overdone. To find fresh ideas, browse Quora for popular questions in your area of expertise. If people are searching for answers there, it is most likely because they cannot locate an existing blog post answering their question to their liking—that’s where you come in.
A final route is to capitalize on new research that no one is talking about yet. Pew Internet is a great resource for research and statistics in every category from politics to gaming. See what you can takeaway from the facts you find and determine an interesting, relevant way to present them.
In-person meetings are highly recommended for brainstorming, but you don’t want the collaboration to stop when you walk out of the room. Use a visual online creative board like Realtime Board or Popplet to organize and share ideas among your team members. Post what you’ve talked about in your meeting and then keep adding to the discussion through the development process.
Once your project manager selects which ideas will move forward, he or she should assign what each member of the team should be working on to bring the content to life. Consider using a project management tool like Trello, Asana, or Pivotal Tracker. These apps will help in tracking due dates and will give you space to discuss each assignment individually. This is the best way the project manager of your content team can monitor progress and clearly lay out who is responsible for what.
During content development, the content creator should be governor over his or her work. This does not mean, however, that the content creator should not periodically check virtual boards for new ideas or additional instructions. Further, setting up a Google Alert with keywords from your topic as you are writing/shooting video/designing etc., is smart because you want to make sure there is not new content coming out that will throw the content you are creating into question.
There are various tools you can use while you work depending on what type of content you are using. Look at this list of content types and their associated tools for some inspiration.
Then, if you are blogging on a WordPress platform, there are plugins created to help you as you write. For example, Zemanta finds related posts and images to give you suggestions on what you may want to cover or avoid. It shows you content to which you can link, too. Additionally, the Yoast plugin helps with SEO elements like meta descriptions and canonical links as you work on your post.
Once the first draft of content is complete, governance should pass first to the editors and lastly back to the project manager for final approval.
While quality assurance should never solely rely on automation, there are some useful tools that can be used as a starting point or second opinion. Check out the GrammarBase Chrome plugin—a free service that checks for Grammar, Punctuation, Style, Plagiarism, and Contextual Spelling.
Launch & Measure
The project manager should launch the new content once it is thoroughly reviewed. This is not the last step, though. The final part of the content process is to measure the content’s reach. I will cover how you should be measuring your content extensively in my next post.