What number of times has this statement been repeated in the past year?
- “I don’t know any great writers.”
- “No one is as good at creating content as I am.”
- “Content marketing / SEO doesn’t work in our niche.”
- “This agency doesn’t get our POV.”
- I can’t publish more articles per month without quality falling.”
Most likely all at once. Amiright?
There are no fingers to be pointed. They all have been used by me.
Here’s what you should know about the cliches that are so common:
They’re excuses. They’re all excuses.
We tell ourselves lies and excuses simultaneously
- We need to puff up our egos.
- Do not spend the time learning to build systems and delegate efficiently.
This article will show you how to fix your worst enemy in SEO and scaling content creation.
Your worst enemy in SEO is you. Here’s how to get it fixed.
Sometimes, the truth can hurt.
When it comes to content operations, you can recognize that your problem faster than you can get to your next revenue target.
Many companies fail to scale due to a lack of content operations systems.
Too many people believe that they will find the unicorn marketer, writer, or marketing expert, and all their problems will be solved.
The ones who just “get it” are the best.
It’s not like you ever thought about what it is or how to capture it.
It is hard to diagnose this issue if you haven’t seen it before. Here are some clues you can look out for:
- You regularly hit your own “glass ceilings”. Quality falls like a rock each time you increase quantity or volume.
- Because it doesn’t “sound right”, or isn’t “as good as possible,” your editors will rewrite everything that you writers have delivered.
- It takes too much time for senior and expensive people to read reviews, which causes constant problems in finding writers. Instead of only hiring top candidates, your company is stuck with the top 10% of applicants and must weed out the remaining 9%.
- Because each person would be describing subjective elements such as voice or tone in a completely different way, your team may give you contradicting feedback.
- Because they must correct image formatting and update primary sources, editors can spend hours on one piece. This means that their weekly output may be a fraction of what it should.
Do any of these sound familiar?
The biggest problem with this is the fact that they can sabotage SEO success, killing productivity, speed, and maiming your morale.
But don’t stress.
These issues have been occurring over the past decade, and we made the same mistakes countless times. We now know how to maximize operations.
This is an overview graphic. Then we will dive into each section.
1. Role specialization
Great writers are terrible editors and bad content managers.
The best writers are able to express the same idea multiple times, and in different ways.
Editors must be the exact opposite. They should strive for consistency and uniformity.
Managers are what keep the two big-picture and daily goals of the three aligned.
Also, it means that there are many different skills sets that can be forced into one person by too many people.
This is the Michael Scott issue. Amazing paper salesman. Humorous television character. Terrible regional manager.
The military is the most unlikely of all places.
Even professional kitchen organization was influenced by the brigade management system.
You can create hundreds of different items in minutes.
The content teams must be organized in the exact same way.
It starts by separating editors and writers.
As you gain in stature as well as resources you can continue to specialize and master every small part of the larger content operation machine. It’s like an assembly line for a factory.
A well-defined process would be helpful.
- Strategists focus on strategy.
- Planners plan.
- Writers write.
- Editors edit.
- Coordinate with the producers.
As you develop, designers and video specialists can be added to your team.
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2. Checklists for content quality
It shouldn’t seem like a trick question but often it is.
What would be the definition of “good content”?
Everybody talks about how important it is to have “good content.” It is a concept that can be defined differently by different people.
You’ll receive 10 answers if you ask 10 employees in your company.
That answer doesn’t suffice, as you might expect.
I’m sorry to be so blunt. The odds of landing safely are higher if you don’t have radar to guide you.
Documenting a quality checklist is all that’s needed right now. It’s not tomorrow, or next week.
It should also include the structure and details of the majority content. This includes word count, source preference, image criteria, as well as the finer points for sub-sections.
You’ll be able to work faster if you have a more detailed starting point.
- For writers to train.
- Editing time can be reduced.
- Boost ROI (better results with less investment).
The second lesson is to tell.
Your acceptable angles are a great example.
Make sure to be specific. List the things you love and don’t.
Because it brings everyone together, we’re talking OCD organizational levels.
Your life will be easier if everyone’s on the same page.
It is almost automatic to fire and hire. Everyone is aware of the expectations and aligned. There are no dumb questions and stupid arguments.
You never know. You might even get your weekends back to yourself!
These trickle-down effects can be magical.
Senior editors provide a guideline of one hour.
They should not spend more than an hour editing articles. If they do, it is a sign that the author has made a mistake. The problems must be reported and returned to the author.
We can then review the time of editors across different pieces, clients, or writers and identify operational problems at a moment’s notice.
Editors who spend too much time editing could be entitled to a raise. However, editors who spend too long editing may not get the pay rise they deserve.
3. Templates, shorts and outline templates that are standard
I’m sorry to break the news. However, no SEO or content manager can guarantee the exact results that you want.
All indicators that are not leading include traffic, rankings, customers, leads and traffic. These indicators are often generated after years of hard work.
This means that we should instead pay attention to leading indicators.
Take Exhibit A. Exhibit A.
The answer to your question is what you are looking for already!
An analysis of search intent can help you determine what the users are looking for when they enter a query. These answers are available from Google, which is a good thing.
Begin with people Also, ask questions once you have typed in your query.
The next step is to look at Related Searches in the SERP. This will allow you to compare the suggestions and form sections that are similar to each other.
When you perform this often over dozens (or even hundreds) of queries within your space, patterns will begin to emerge.
Check out, for example, the Table of Contents in these Investopedia articles on compound interest or promissory note.
It’s almost the exact same structure
You now have the first content template.
These article structures are uniform and can be used for multiple queries.
It also allows you to standardize article structure across hundreds of thousands.
If you were to have 1,000 subjects for content over the next 12 months, these could be broken down into 10 groups each.
Each of the 10 groups might have a different template (so, 10 templates).
You’ll then standardize your content briefs. These will become the backbone for all of the outlines you write. They feed them every detail, from subheads to keywords, and word counts.
Assume we are about to create an article about “content planning.”
This will help you to pull together your content by using all these points of information.
- People also ask questions.
- Similar Searches
- You can read some of our top content.
- Content graders can provide semantic keywords.
Your writers will love standardizing content planning. They won’t have to look at blank screens trying to create fluff.
Because they are experts in the design and layout of content, editors will be delighted with you.
You’ll be loved by your SEOs and marketers because you are balancing the difficult task of creating interesting content while still ranking well.
Your bosses and clients will be proud of you, because the product you originally planned is exactly what it will end up looking like.
Your ultimate success is almost certain if you continue this practice for many months or years.
Just wait to see how fast Google rewards your hard work.
4. Guidelines and resources
Shades of grey are not for romance novels or movies.
They are not interested in high-performing content machines.
Consider your voice preference and tonal preferences. Ask 10 people again and get ten answers.
Here’s a simple tip. It can sometimes be easier to see what you don’t like than what you like.
Consider the following:
It’s fine. It’s not great. It’s a bit boring and generic. It’s fine.
Rewrite the sentence as follows:
Endurance International Group (EIG) has just acquired this company. It’s sometimes called “Where Good Web Hosts Die.”
Are you sure? Probably.
It might be liked by some, but not all. Its vivid language (“gobbled-up”) and powerful words (“Go to Die”) are great choices for any conversational brand or satirical one.
is a good model.
You’ll need to make guides that cover everything, from terminology to vocabulary.
These words, phrases, or expressions are unique to you and your industry. They will be distinctive from any direct or indirect competition.
For instance, do you prefer:
- Are you looking for a “Profile photo” or an “avatar?”
- Are you looking for “Examples” or “Use Case”?
- Do you want to click or press?
You don’t have to choose one. You only need to choose one and be consistent.
These supporting documents should clarify all intangible and unwritten principles that your team practices, even if you don’t know it.
Last, but certainly not least: You should make a list that your authors can access and one they should avoid referencing (in case they publish inaccurate, misleading or confusing information or other untrustworthy material).
You can quickly stamp out any unwritten or immaterial items one-by-one, just like you play Whack-a-Mole. Pretty soon the only greys left will be the questionable, kinky ones that are available in your spare time.
5. Parallel and batch processes
Let’s get to the end.
Professional kitchens can serve multiple dishes at once using the brigade system. They are able to cook them all to perfection simultaneously.
They can do more using parallel and batch processes.
Think of a grill line cook. Imagine a line cook at the grill, preparing 5 different steak cuts for five tables. They may be doing this at 5 different temperatures and with 5 different cooking times.
Sounds exhausting, right?
They are so exhausted that they cannot simultaneously prepare pastries and salads. This is the role specialization described in step 1.
Imagine 10 people working in the kitchen at once.
This is how content operations work. You might have one team (writers and editors, SEOs, designers etc.). One team might be working on a content project, while another group (writers editors, SEOs and designers) is also involved. Working on another.
You are responsible for leading this chaos choreography. Your job is to ensure that the correct teams have the right systems in place so your quality and output remain high.
Instead of trying to micromanage, meddle or control everything, now you can look back from a high position and monitor the process while making small adjustments at key points.
Five key steps to scale content creation and optimization
The content is always subjective.
You might like short, snappy, snarky sentences. Your boss may prefer something more formal and precise.
It doesn’t really matter.
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you and all your coworkers are on the same page.
This simple, yet often overlooked point can cause content problems daily and negatively impact your long-term SEO performance.
The following steps will help you optimize your content operations:
- Specify roles in your production process.
- Solidifying quality standards, and examples to illustrate each point
- Production should be standardised from the initial idea through to the final product.
- To clarify intangibles and to document supporting sources,
- It is possible to implement parallel and batch processes, so that everyone understands what they need at all times.
This is not always fun or easy. You will need to get used to it.
It’s the only way you can break down your own self-imposed limitations and achieve the long-term success that you desire.
These opinions are not necessarily those of Search Engine Land, but they do reflect the views of the guest author. Here are the names of staff authors.
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