Consistently creating content is hard, especially for small teams and businesses. Making sure you have a steady flow of fresh ideas coming in and polished content going out isn't something that happens by itself. You need everyone on your team working together, a process for generating inspiration and staying on top of what your customers care about, and a steady stream of production. It's a tall order!
That said, there are ways to make it easier! Here are a few tips to help get your team working in sync and producing fresh, relevant content at a steady rate.
Google Docs: Constantly swapping docs back and forth between emails is a recipe for disaster. It isn't hard to mistakenly slide the wrong copy to someone, save over the wrong draft, or end up with a heap of duplicates that make sorting through them a drag.
Get everyone on the same page by using Google Docs. This online editor might not include all of the options of a dedicated word processing program, but nothing is better for collaboration. Multiple users can edit a Google Doc in real time, mark changes, highlight areas, and see what other users are doing. Whether you're doing a brainstorming session in the office, or editing something remotely, Google Docs makes the job easier.
Create beats: Work to your strengths. If a particular staff member is particularly interested or experienced in a certain angle or idea, make that their domain. Have them write several posts on the topic and dig deeper into the ideas at play. Not only does this make the task more satisfying for them, it will also lend credibility and authority to your content over time as it becomes more and more knowledgeable.
Make an editorial calendar: The thing about content writing is that it almost always plays second-fiddle to everything else. It's so easy to de-prioritize content and let it slip through the cracks. This is especially true when it is a collaborative effort and multiple people start to slip, it can seem impossible to get back on track when everyone starts dragging their feet.
This is why any good content effort needs a little accountability and organization. Creating a content calendar of who is expected to have what completed by which deadline is essential for keeping things organized and running smoothly. Done right, it helps spread the work around so nobody feels overwhelmed, prevents a surprise lack of content, and helps you plan content that reinforces and works off each other.
Idea Generation -
Brainstorm together: Sitting alone at your desk and trying to come up with ideas for a blog or article isn't always easy. That's why it's good to dice things up with the occasional brainstorming session with co-workers.
Whether you have multiple people assigned to content creation, or its the responsibility of just one or two staff members, a quick 20 minutes or so of brainstorming ideas with the rest of the team can be beneficial. It will help point out blind spots in your writing, build great ideas out of iffy suggestions, and make content a little more fun for everyone involved.
Keep an eye on trends and keywords: Why focus on making more content when you can make more effective content? Keeping an eye on rising trends relevant to your audience will help your blogs or videos hit harder and reach more people.
A little keyword research can go a long way when trying to figure out what's hot. Services like Buzzsumo and EpicBeat's Epictions can help you identify if a topic has heat and offer enough free use options to support most small content creation teams without spending a dime.
Outline everything: Detailed outlines make writing a breeze. When you're coming up with an idea, try to sketch out the basics in point form and don't be afraid to build out from there. This is especially helpful if content writing isn't your number one priority and you need to frequently step away from the page. With a good outline, you can get right back to the job without wondering where you were going with the last paragraph.
Concentrate on production over perfection: Every author, screen writer, and blogger out there will tell you that perfection is the enemy. Now, this doesn't mean you should be producing sludge and just sling it out there into the world. What it means is its easier to turn something that sucks into somehting good than it is to turn nothing into something.
When you're producing content, concentrate on getting a first draft done as quickly as you can. You can always edit, tweak, review, and get a second opinion on it later. Getting too hung up on making a piece of content perfect right out of the gate is a good way to lose steam and eventually wind up with nothing.
Write multiple headlines: Whenever you make a piece of content, try and come up with a few different headlines for it. This serves two purposes. 1) You and your team can compare them and pick the best headline from the bunch. 2) It gives you options when you want to re-purpose that same content down the road. Whether you end up posting it to a different audience, or re-using it a few months later, having a different headline can help try different approaches and see what works best.
Make sure your meta tags and descriptions are on point: Take some time to optimize your title and description. This is a great way to improve your SEO and grab more visitors.
Make sure your title includes relevant keywords and try to keep your meta description concise and compelling. Google will display 156 characters for a description, that's basically a generous tweet. Be punchy and give people a reason to click.
Getting into the content creation mindset can take some effort, but once your team implements these tips into their process, the results will speak for themselves.