As you put together your content projects, you want some assurance that your projects will come in on time and will meet your expectations. Following a content creation-process based on best practices can ensure that your projects proceed as planned.
This process should include the following steps:
- Plan the project—all projects require that the content owners carefully think through their goals, their audience, and the messages they need to deliver.
- Schedule—set a schedule with deadlines for deliverables and reviews. The schedule lets reviewers know when to expect each deliverable and their deadlines. Reviewers should be prepared to provide good feedback at early stages rather than waiting for later drafts so you don’t end up rewriting the paper late in the process when you should be wrapping it up.
- Provide materials about the topic—give the writer any existing materials you may have. These can include relevant research studies, existing product collateral, PowerPoint presentations, competitive matrixes and positioning documents, existing white papers and more. Expect the writer to also conduct additional research on their own.
- Make content experts available to be interviewed—content experts should make themselves available to speak with the writer. They should be prepared to answer questions, such as why business decision makers should care about this topic? What happens to the business if it doesn’t address the issue or seize the opportunity? How have other large companies benefitted from tackling this issue?
- Expect a detailed outline—the writer should deliver a detailed outline that includes all points you want to make in the paper as well as the supporting facts, details and other proof points. Distribute this outline to all reviewers for their input. An outline gives you a checkpoint early in the content creation process to ensure that the writer has a firm grasp of the topic and that the draft is going in the right direction. It also provides an opportunity to get up front agreement from all key participants about the points to be covered. This ultimately can save time (you catch problems early on) and money (you can avoid the need for major rewrites late in the review process). And if the writer is assured that the piece is going in the right direction, they’ll be able to finish the draft more quickly.
- Review the draft—once the outline is approved, the writer should be able to quickly turn around a first draft. If the company does a diligent job of reviewing the outline and the first draft, subsequent review cycles should go quickly and include minimal changes.
By following a best-practices, content-creation process that includes multiple checkpoints and review cycles along the way, you’re far more likely to achieve the content you’re looking for.