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How to achieve quality at scale in content marketing

As published in Forbes

You’ve started building out your brand’s content arm—you have a blog, your social channels are filling up, and you’re sending out a newsletter to customers and qualified leads.

And while you’ve started distributing quality content across these channels, you can’t help but think you need more. After all, a customer who sees just a few blog posts and some LinkedIn posts probably won’t get the information and value they need to keep engaging with your brand or using your product.

Scale matters. Below, I’ll share a road map to help you start scaling up your content arm. Investing in a comprehensive content strategy can pay off—and as you build out this larger content operation, you won’t have to sacrifice quality.

Develop A Strong Pipeline For Finding Writers

Great writers are out there—and it’s your job to find them. Given the topsy-turvy job market across roles, plenty of writers are out there and open to work—just waiting to bring your brand to the next level. LinkedIn is an obvious source, but working through recruiters and content agencies can also connect you with great writers and editors.

You can only scale if you effectively operationalize how you hire. Assess your resources and needs. Would you be best served by having a great team of in-house writers who know your brand like the back of their hand? Or do you have the latitude to partner with a content agency and work with contractors? Both approaches have their pluses and minuses.

Finding writers is one thing—the next step is evaluating their skills and seeing whether their skill set aligns with your team’s goals. A thorough interview process with an enlightening writing assignment will help you figure out whether they’re a fit. (And yes, compensating all applicants for take-home assignments builds trust and helps you in future recruiting efforts.)

Build A Clear Style Guide

Once you have new writers on your team, you need a style guide that is clear and useful—so that your team of writers can start contributing right away without getting bogged down by inconsistent directives.

Updating your style guide regularly can keep content fresh. If over time you find certain parts of your style guide to be unclear or unhelpful, it’s time to freshen it up. Think of the style guide as a way to direct your content strategy at scale—giving your team the single source of truth they need to keep creating great work.

Explore AI-Assisted Writing Tools

There’s no shortage of great AI-assisted document editors and writing assistants coming onto the market. Better yet, many of them come with free demos that can help you choose the right one for your needs. Whether you want something to help you generate first drafts faster or streamline the editing process, if you’re pushing for scale, you should at least explore your options.

These tools are still in their infancy and bound to evolve—so I advise against going all in on one tool just yet. Instead, think of this as an exploratory element of your content strategy, and consider providing AI-assisted tools as a resource for your writers if they want them.

And of course, handle these conversations delicately, as the discussion around labor-saving AI tools remains rather charged these days.

Repurpose Existing Content As Appropriate

Once you start to build up a solid catalog of content, it’s time to see whether you can reuse any of these pieces. No, this doesn’t mean you’ll just rearrange some words here and there and then hit republish. But you might find that you’re making similar points across a few pieces.

For instance, maybe you have three case studies that cite your product’s new mobile features. Why not pull those mobile points out and repackage them into a new blog post—perhaps “Three ways [our brand/product] is transforming outcomes on mobile”? (We’ll let your writers come up with a more exciting title, but you get the point.)

Now you’ve turned three case studies into a fourth blog post—without tracking down more interviewees, conducting research or having to think up new ideas from scratch. In short, a bit of resourcefulness can go a long way toward scaling your content operation.

Prioritize Evergreen Content

Of course, repurposing content is easier when content on your site remains relevant over a long period. If you’re constantly producing content that will be irrelevant in a month, you’ll always be taking one step forward but two steps back—producing a new article as two old articles fade from relevance.

You don’t need to make all of your content stand the test of time. Inevitably, your product or brand will evolve, rendering certain bits of content irrelevant. That’s just the sign of a growing business. But making sure that the content calendar includes topics that are a bit more general and widely appealing can ensure you always have a stable of pieces for customers to access and read.

Final Thoughts

Too often, brands prioritize quantity, trying to just fill up their blog and social channels with content. They don’t take the time to step back and remember that quantity and quality are possible. As I’ve shown above, it just takes some time investment in the early stages (nailing the hiring process and optimizing your style guide) and resourcefulness over the long term (by repurposing content and prioritizing lasting relevance). But once the pieces are in place, you’ll have a steady stream of content—and an audience to engage with it all.