Content marketing is a hugely growing industry and a key to succeeding in it lies in producing consistent, great content. Underlying that, is a need for writers—those who write the actual copy that is creative enough to be shared, over and over again.
I’ve never before seen such a need for good writers in all four years of running my writing agency. It’s very common that SEO agencies and businesses (of all sizes) now employ more than one writer to fill all their content needs.
When you manage a team to deliver and produce your content, one of the most important things on your daily list is to keep your team organized and working productively.
But when you don’t have a definable content delegation plan, this can quickly become a virtual impossibility.
Without a plan for content, your team can easily get tied up on small tasks that would be finished quickly, were they not so disorganized.
Fortunately, there are ways marketing managers can free up the content team and get more done with less stress.
5 Ways to Free up Your Content Team and Kick Into Full Productive Mode
1. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
The main reason you have a content team is to avoid doing all of the content creation yourself, right? That way, you can focus on things like building your company and overall growth and revenue strategy.
There is strength in numbers, and a great content creation team can get more done overall so you can produce more, better content. They can bring more opinions to the table and diversify your agency’s voice in a way that a single marketer or content creator never could. In order to use your team effectively, however, you need to focus on delegation.
For example, if you have a busy day filled with six blogs, 20 articles, a few white papers, and a podcast to fit in, you need to take a hard look at your team and decide quickly who can handle what and where each task should go. Ideally, you’ll match each task with the person who has the best skills to handle it.
Simple blogs without urgent deadlines, for example, can go to newer team members who are still building experience. Long-form content that needs to be professional and virtually flawless can go to senior content writers who are familiar with the ins and outs of SEO, as well as the industry jargon and themes that will be needed to finish the blog quickly. If you were to switch those two tasks around, the less experienced team member could spend all day slogging through material that is too complex, while the experienced team member would simply become bored and disengaged. Therefore, matching needed content with team members who have the skills to complete them streamlines your content creation process and makes for better material all around.
2. Consider Technical Skills
Say you needed a podcast done. A podcast is somewhat more involved than writing a blog due to the fact that it entails some production as well as content creation. Because of this, you should survey your team (if you haven’t already) to find out who has experience working with technical equipment. The task should then go to one of the qualified team members. Just like pairing an inexperienced writer with too-complex content will result in a 20-hour job, requiring team members to learn a technical skill on the spot will result in pressed deadlines and sub-par work.
3. Encourage Collaboration
Again, there is strength in numbers and one of the best ways to ensure that your team is being as productive as possible is to encourage qualified team members to work together to achieve a goal. There are many ways to do this. For example, you could have one team member edit another’s writing, adding detail, links and citations where needed; or you could have two team members break up extensive research into parts in order to get it done more quickly as well as produce higher-quality information.
You can also delegate routine tasks, like posting written and edited blogs to client websites or aggregating content to certain team members. While dividing up large tasks can certainly help get them completed quicker, delegating routine tasks (like posting and editing) to other team members can also free up an astonishing amount of time. The reason for this is, when nobody is saddled with all the work, people are better able to focus on the tasks that are immediately at hand—writing or editing a post, for example—which, in turn, allows them to complete each task quicker and more efficiently than if they were left to do it all on their own.
4. Set Goals and Time Limits
In major companies, it’s not uncommon for managers to develop employee incentives programs, designed to encourage employees to work harder, smarter, and more efficiently. If you’re looking to help your team work more effectively, it’s wise to consider a program like this as well. The reason employee incentives programs work so well is when people have a goal to work toward, they’re much more likely to actually achieve it. This means that if an employee knows he or she will win a small monetary bonus at the end of each month if he or she completes X number of content posts, you’re more likely to have employees who stay on task and remain organized.
Instating a daily to-do list is a great way to do this, as well. To-do lists keep people organized and lay out very clearly what someone needs to do on a daily basis. This allows employees to consult the list, identify the priorities and focus on those first and foremost. Additionally, the simple act of writing or viewing a to-do list allows employees to segment their days accordingly. For example, if a writer needs to complete five blogs and one e-book chapter on a certain day, the presence of the list allows the employee to visualize each task and how long it will take, and then dive in accordingly, which affords you a more organized team and more effective content production.
In order for either to-do lists or incentives programs to work, managers need to establish time limits inside their content team. Ironically, time limits actually work quite a lot like incentives and to-do lists on their own: they help writers organize tasks and assist in determining which tasks are urgent and which can wait until later in the day. Additionally, the presence of a time limit forces an employee to stay on-task and to avoid getting excessively tied up in one task at the cost of all others. This, in turn, cranks out high-quality, focused work and ensures that writers are clear about when things need to be submitted.
5. Lend a Hand
It’s pretty tough to get anywhere on time when you don’t know exactly where you’re going. The same is true for content creation. If managers want to get more out of their content creation team, one of the most important things they can do is be sure to lend a helping hand. This means providing example articles with assignments; offering specifics on voice, tone, word count, and client concerns; being available for questions; and communicating with the writer in order to make sure they fully understand the assignment and are capable of meeting the client’s needs. Whenever possible, provide your writers with example citations, helpful sources, additional information, and details. This helps ensure that writers aren’t wasting an entire day trying to ascertain the meaning of an assignment and can simply begin writing it instead.
Conclusion: Time Management 101
While it’s not always easy to lead a team, the foundation of being more productive boils down to time management. Time management, in turn, boils down to organization, collaboration, and a clear understanding of the tasks at hand. When employees know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing; are clear about the requirements and restrictions of any given job; and are capable enough, knowledgeable enough, and motivated enough to do a job, great work ensues.
In order to help their team be more productive, managers can provide strict deadlines, delegate tasks, provide helpful directional material and sources, and set goals and time limits for work completed. Doing these things ensures, in addition to being well-supported, your team is cohesive, clear, and collaborative. Additionally, doing these things makes managers more present in the content creation cycle, which in turn helps writers do their best possible work. It ensures that nobody is ever left behind, trying to figure out how the heck to start that blog post and what, exactly, they’re supposed to be writing about anyway.