Content marketing generates 3x the leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. This comes from a 2017 study by Content Marketing Institute.
Since then, countless businesses (including your competitors) have started heavily investing in content marketing. The end result? An ultra-competitive content landscape in 2021.
In a channel that’s getting crowded day by day, not scaling your content efforts puts you at a serious competitive disadvantage.
If you’ve been looking for proven frameworks and processes to scale content creation, you’ll find this guide helpful. Let’s dive right in:
Why is scaling content important?
Scaling content production can help you increase traffic, drive more qualified leads, and improve brand awareness. Ramping up content has little to no downsides and unlimited upside.
As I mentioned, content (or organic marketing) as a channel has become oversaturated. This has led to a shift in reader preferences. Readers now want higher-quality content.
What does this mean for you? Scaling content is no longer about increasing the number of articles published per week. It’s also about pushing the bar higher when it comes to content quality.
Creating high-fidelity SEO content ensures that you’re not only driving quality leads but also higher search rankings (since Google has started prioritizing quality).
Here are five tips for scaling your content marketing program:
1. Systemize: Create a content workflow
First things first: create a content workflow so you can systemize content production.
To scale your content creation efforts, you’ll need to set up processes that allow you to ramp up production smoothly while also helping you maintain strict quality control. Without a proper workflow, quality can become an afterthought as the focus shifts towards quantity.
Here are the five phases in a content workflow:
An additional step after content creation would be content promotion. But how do you create a content workflow?
My recommendation is to start with Google Sheets. As you scale your team, things will get complicated which is when you should consider moving on to a project management tool.
I personally like using Airtable because it’s feature-rich versatile and offers a calendar view:
Airtable works exceptionally well for us due to a few reasons:
- Every piece of content has an owner in charge from inception to publication.
- All files and documents live in one centralized location for ease of access.
- My team has full visibility into our content marketing pipeline.
Want to go one step further? Systemize your entire content marketing operation by creating playbooks. This is where you document and templatize everything your team does regularly, like creating email newsletters, writing blog posts, tracking content KPIs, and more.
2. Do More With Less: Repurpose Your Existing Content
Among all the tips in this guide, repurposing your most successful content is the lowest hanging fruit you can target right now.
Content repurposing involves repackaging your most successful, engaging, or converting content and publishing it on a different channel, platform, or format.
Plenty has been written about this topic so I won’t belabor the point. But I’ll say this: you don’t need to keep churning out new content when repurposing existing content will do just fine.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Turn your research study into an infographic.
- Publish YouTube videos as standalone podcasts.
- Combine multiple blog posts into one gated ebook.
- Post your best visual content on a Pinterest board.
- Upload your webinars on your YouTube channel.
Apart from saving your time and helping you achieve scale, repackaging and publishing content on new channels in different formats helps you reach diverse audiences which means a higher ROI for the same amount of work.
New to content repurposing? Here’s a guide on repurposing content by Brain Dean to get you up to speed.
3. Pareto Principle: 80/20 Your Content Creation with AI
In the last few years, a plethora of artificial intelligence (AI) tools have emerged that help you create landing pages, craft ad copy, optimize content, and more.
I’ve tried a lot of AI-powered marketing tools. Most of them are hit and miss, but some tools can free up as many as 100+ hours each month so you can focus on high-leverage work.
Pareto’s principle roughly states that “80% of results arise from 20% of effort (or action).”
Instead of sinking hours into painstaking, manual research -- a tool like Topic can help you rapidly build content outlines (thanks to AI) so you can create content that ranks higher than your competitors and scale your content program without hiring more people.
Not only that, with Topic’s content grader to drive more traffic by optimizing existing content (which is always susceptible to traffic decay).
Here are a few more tools I highly recommend:
- Grammarly: popular AI-based proofreading tool.
- Pathfactory: B2B content intelligence platform.
- Crayon: market intelligence on steroids.
Start including AI tools into your content marketing workflow so you can scale your content creation efforts without needing to invest more time, people, or money.
4. Get Help: Outsource Your Content, Invest in Editors
“Based on my experience over the last 10 years: there is no correlation between content marketing budget and traffic.” -- Jimmy Daly, CEO at Superpath.
And I agree. A one-person content team can be as effective as a team of 10 people. However, in order to scale content fast, you’ll need to unconstrain your bandwidth. À la get help.
But don’t take my word for it. According to CMI’s 2020 report, 84% of B2B marketers outsource content creation:
To make a long story short, I recommend doing two things:
- Outsource content creation. Outsourcing writing to agencies, freelancers, or subject matter experts is a surefire way to ramp up production and save time without adding extra overhead.
- Hire an in-house content manager (or editor). If you aren’t either, making this hire is an absolute must. They’ll understand your brand inside and out, work with external vendors (or writers), and ensure external content meets your brand’s high standards.
When it comes to outsourcing content, here are a few options to explore:
- Hire an agency like Wordagents. They specialize in content creation and scale as your needs grow, it’s a no-brainer to outsource writing so you focus on strategy.
- Or hire a high-quality freelance writer(s). Operating on a shoestring budget? Even one freelance writer can effectively double your output.
- Create a guest blogging program. Inviting guest bloggers to write for your blog is a relatively low-effort, high-impact way to scale content. Just ask Hubspot.
Hiring freelance writers may be easy, but they may not produce quality work. I recommend cycling through a few to find one that works best. And don’t forget, you get what you pay for.
5. Narrow Your Scope: Write for your Best Customers
Something I learned fairly later in my content marketing career is that not all your customers are created equal.
Many companies spread themselves thin trying to create content that appeals to everybody. The result: content that drives little or no business impact. And if you’re not using content to drive business growth, you’re not doing your job right.
Instead of writing for everybody, why not write for your best customers? In other words, narrow your scope by writing for 1-2 key customer personas and forget the rest.
How do you define your best customer? Benji Hyam has a few criteria:
- Who are the customers that pay the most?
- Who are the customers that stay with you the longest?
- Who are the customers that you love working with?
- Who are the customers that have a high need for the product or service?
You can learn this by talking to your exec team, salespeople, customer support, or anyone in a customer-facing role. Don’t forget to check your analytics to gather any quantitative data.
Here are a few companies that successfully narrowed the scope:
- Animalz provides high-end content marketing for SaaS and tech companies.
- Loom’s content is focused on sales, design, product, and engineering teams.
- At Topic, we only create content that caters to content teams and agencies.
Creating user personas of your best customers (to reference often) also helps:
More Content Isn’t Always The Answer
Creating more content to drive long-term compounding growth is a maxim that still holds true. But, creating high-caliber content is what drives high-quality traffic, eyeballs, and leads.
When it comes to scaling your content marketing strategy, aim to maintain the delicate balance between quality and quantity of content produced.
If you manage to create an efficient content workflow, regularly repurpose top-performing content, leverage AI tools to optimize the content creation process, build (or hire) the right team, and write for your best customers. You’ll be able to produce high-quality content much faster than your competition.
What I’d love to know from you is how did you scale your content operations? How did it go? What did you learn? Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!