Content Management Strategies for Agencies and Clients

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2016 by Dee Fowler
Content Marketing Life Cycle graphic

Content development is mostly about identifying an audience and regularly delivering a variety of informative, meaningful content. However, the means by which that content progresses from concept to publication is equally important. 

Agencies have to juggle often conflicting schedules of various stakeholders: vendors, freelance or part-time employees, full-time staff schedules. Clients may face challenges they don't think to share with the marketing team: regulatory concerns, the limited availability of a consultant, the often conflicting schedules of their staffers. The respective teams faced similar challenges, albeit for different reasons.

We re-grouped and decided to create a one-page, graphic illustration of the entire blog publication process. All the deadlines, all the moving parts are visible at a glance.  First, the ground rules: 

Centralize the flow of information

Email has its uses, but not for exchanging data about collaborative projects. Find a project management system (we use Basecamp) that permits the exchange of information regardless of travel schedules, vacation periods, or illness. Do you really want to search a colleague's desk in hope of finding an email password?

Identify the stakeholders

Do you have everyone's contact information? When are they available? It'll save a lot of time if everyone attends an organizing meeting at the beginning of the process. Trust us: even those who are initially reluctant to do so will understand why it's necessary once the discussion is underway.

Establish deadlines

Account for all the moving parts: how many days are allowed between content submission and invoicing? Check the agreements you've signed with anyone who could possibly contribute to the project: not just the writers, but videographers, illustrators, and consultants. Post relevant deadlines at each stage of the process.

Set guidelines

Are you subject to regulatory oversight? Who is responsible for keeping abreast of statutory changes? Are there any claims that should or should not be made? Any expert opinions or endorsements you should not seek. What is the brand's message? What points should the writers routinely make? Does the client want a call to action in each post?

Launch a talent search

We invite the client to audition a team of writers; those who will 'speak' for the brand. Hiring a team ensures that your client will have an uninterrupted source of content; regardless of individual workloads, vacations, etc. Once you've selected your team, the following process begins. 

Keyword Search
Utilize data from keyword reporting to identify search terms that are potentially beneficial to site traffic and conversions.


Title Stage
Once top keywords are selected, it's time to choose either topics or titles for your blog posts. Some clients prefer to do so, others delegate this element. You'll find it much easier to develop a month's worth of blog titles per cycle. Double that number when assigning concept/title development: you'll save time if the client rejects, half of your suggestions. 

Turnaround

Tell the client how many business (and automatically avoid holidays and weekends) days it will take you to complete this stage. Insert the deadline by which you require client response. Clearly state that titles/outlines/drafts auto-approve in the absence of feedback (approval or revision request). Any late changes will incur surcharges and/or posting delays.


Outline Stage
This stage offers a preview of the first draft and ensures that it will be consistent with your brand's message. If necessary, you'll have the opportunity to instruct the writer to more fully explore a point, request clarification, or emphasize certain information. Please let us know if you prefer certain formatting styles (footnotes, hyperlinks within body copy, etc.).

Turnaround

Tell the client how many business (and automatically avoid holidays and weekends) days it will take you to complete this stage. Insert the deadline by which you require client response. Clearly state that titles/outlines/drafts auto-approve in the absence of feedback (approval or revision request). Any late changes will incur surcharges and/or posting delays.


Writing Stage
Writers begin work on the first draft. They'll incorporate any edits regarding clarity or emphasis.

Turnaround

Tell the client how many business (and automatically avoid holidays and weekends) days it will take you to complete this stage. Insert the deadline by which you require client response. Clearly state that titles/outlines/drafts auto-approve in the absence of feedback (approval or revision request). Any late changes will incur surcharges and/or posting delays.


See above if a second round of revisions is necessary. Consult your writers and determine how long it will take to create a second draft.

Decide how many revisions are to be included in the cost of your content development services. 

Illustration/Image Selection Stage
Images capsulize the main points of your content and help attract attention. Bonus: artwork may be re-purposed as "evergreen" content elsewhere on the web.  

Wait until the client approves the final draft to commission a chart, infographic, or illustration. You may, however, want to begin image research when concepts are approved. Depending on the agreement you have with your client, build time for image approval into the editorial calendar. 
The illustration/image selection stage is informed by your content, so this is the final stage before publication. We'll follow the instructions you've provided throughout the process to choose the best artwork for your post.

Publication Stage
The agency-client contract should clearly state the terms under which content is published. If the client has that authority, post an alerts via your project management system when content is ready for publication. Wait until you receive a reply and post. Alternatively, uploaded content to your CMS and publish! 


Measure KPIs

  • Measure keyword ranking results, impressions and conversions against baseline and comparative timeline data.
  • Results inform future keyword research and blog posts

Send your client a report at regular intervals. Review and incorporate changes in your content development strategy.

 

 

 


To learn more about how Rare Earth's Digital Marketing services can help your brand thrive:

Contact Us or get your Free Digital Marketing Analysis

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