Content Operations Framework – How To Build One

More and extra entrepreneurs of all ilk – inbound, outbound, social, digital, content material, model – are requested so as to add content material operations to their listing of duties.

You should get your arms round:

  • Who is concerned (and, I imply, each who) in content material creation
  • How content material is created
  • What content material is created by whom
  • Where content material is conceived, created, and saved
  • When and the way lengthy it takes for content material to occur
  • Why content material is created (the driving forces behind content material creation)
  • What sorts of content material does the viewers need
  • How to construct a framework to deliver order and construction to all of this

The evolving expectations imply content material entrepreneurs can now not focus solely on the output of their efforts. They should now additionally contemplate, assemble, implement, and administer the framework for content material operations inside their organizations.

#Content marketers can no longer focus solely on the output. It’s time to add content ops to the mix, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

What precisely are content material operations?

Content operations are the large-image view of every thing content material-associated inside your group, from technique to creation, governance to effectiveness measurement, and ideation to content material administration. All too continuously on the firms – giant and small – we seek the advice of with at The Content Advisory, content material operations are left to evolve/occur in an natural trend.

Teams say formal content material operations aren’t essential as a result of “things are working just fine.”

Translation: Nobody needs the duty of getting everybody aligned. No one needs to take care of a number of groups’ rationale for why the way in which they do issues is the fitting/greatest/solely technique to do it. So, content material groups simply go on saying every thing is ok.

News flash – it’s not.

It’s not nearly who does what when with content material.

Done proper, content material operations allow efficacy and effectivity of processes, individuals, applied sciences, and value. Content ops are important for strategic planning, creation, administration, and evaluation for all content material varieties throughout all channels (paid, earned, owned) and throughout the enterprise from ideation to archive.

A proper, documented, enforced content material operation framework powers and empowers a model’s potential to ship the very best buyer experiences all through the audiences’ journeys.

A documented, enforced #ContentOperations framework powers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible experiences, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t must be as daunting because it sounds.

What holds many content material, administrative, and advertising groups again from embracing a proper content material operations technique and framework is without doubt one of the largest, most difficult questions for something new: “Where do we start?”

Here’s some assist in excessive-stage, straightforward-to-observe steps.

1. Articulate the aim of content material

Purpose is why the group does what it does. It’s the raison d’etre and inspiration for every thing that follows. In phrases of content material, it drives all content material efforts and needs to be the primary query requested each time content material is created or up to date. Think of it because the guiding star for all content material efforts.

In Start With Why, writer Simon Sinek says it succinctly: “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year, says @SimonSinek via @CathyMcKnight and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Define the content material mission

Once the aim of the groups’ content material efforts is evident (and authorized), it’s time to outline your content material mission. Is your content material’s mission to draw recruits? Build model advocacy? Deepen relationships with prospects? Do you may have purchase-in from the group, significantly the C-suite? This will not be about figuring out what belongings shall be created.

Can you speak about your mission with readability? Have you created a singular voice or worth proposition? Does it align with or immediately assist the next, company-stage goal and/or message? Hint: It ought to.

Answering all these questions solidifies your content material mission.


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3. Set and monitor just a few core targets and key outcomes

Once your content material mission is in place, it’s time to set out tips on how to decide success.

Content belongings are referred to as belongings for a cause; they possess actual worth and contribute to the profitability of your corporation. Accordingly, it’s good to measure their efficacy. One of one of the best methods is to set OKRs – targets and key outcomes. OKRs are an efficient purpose-setting and management software for speaking targets and milestones to realize them.

OKRs sometimes establish the target – an total enterprise purpose to realize – and three to 5 key quantifiable, goal, measurable outcomes. Finally, set up checkpoints to make sure the final word goal is reached.

Let’s say you set an goal to implement an enterprise content material calendar and collaboration software. Key outcomes to trace would possibly embrace:

  • Documenting person and technical necessities
  • Researching, demonstrating, and deciding on a software
  • Implementing and rolling out the software.

You would preserve tabs on components/initiatives, corresponding to securing price range and approvals, defining necessities, working by means of procurement, and so forth.

One thing more: Make positive OKRs are verifiable by defining the supply and metric that may present the quantifiable, measurable end result.

Make sure objectives and key results are verifiable by defining source and metric, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

4. Organize your content material operations group

With the OKRs set, you want individuals to get the work carried out. What does the construction appear to be? Who studies to whom?

Will you utilize a centralized command-and-management method, a decentralized however-supported construction, or one thing in between? The group construction and group should work throughout the assemble and tradition of the bigger group.

Here’s a pattern organizational chart we at TCA developed for a Fortune 50 agency. At the highest is the content material operate earlier than it diverges into two paths – one for model communications and one for a content material middle of excellence.

Under model communications is every model or line of enterprise adopted by these collectively linked groups: content material – marcom, social/digital content material improvement and administration, middle of excellence content material – artistic chief, middle of excellence PR/media relations, buyer relationship administration, and social promoting.

Under the content material middle of excellence is the director of content material technique, supervisor of content material site visitors, initiatives, and planning, digital asset operations supervisor, viewers supervisor, social channel and content material specialist, artistic supervisor, content material efficiency and agility specialist, and program specialist.

Click to enlarge

5. Formalize a governance mannequin

No matter how the operational framework is constructed, you want a governance mannequin. Governance ensures your content material operations observe agreed-upon targets, targets, and requirements.

Get a senior-administration advocate – ideally somebody from the C-suite – to preside over organising your governance construction. That’s the one technique to get recognition and price range.

To keep linked to the group and its content material wants, it is best to have an editorial advisory group – additionally referred to as an editorial board, content material committee, or keeper of the content material keys. This group ought to embrace representatives from all of the practical teams within the enterprise that use the content material in addition to these intricately concerned in delivering the content material. The group ought to present enter and oversight and act as touchpoints to the remainder of the group.

Pointing to Simon Sinek once more for knowledge right here: “Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive, it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.”

6. Create environment friendly processes and workflows

Adherence to the governance mannequin requires a line of sight into all content material processes.

How is content material generated from begin to end? You might discover 27 methods of doing it at present. Ideally, your purpose could be to have the bulk (70% or extra) of your content material – infographic, commercial, speech for the CEO, and many others. – created the identical or in the same method.

You might have to do some leg work to know what number of methods content material is created and printed at present, together with:

  • Who is concerned (inner and exterior sources)
  • How progress is tracked
  • Who the doers and approvers are
  • What occurs to the content material after it’s accomplished

Once documented, you possibly can streamline and align these processes right into a core workflow, with allowances for outlier and advert-hoc content material wants and requests.

This instance of a easy approval course of for social content material (developed for a worldwide, multi-model CPG firm) consists of three tiers. The first tier covers the method for a social content material request. Tier two exhibits the method for producing and scheduling the content material, and tier three exhibits the storage and success measurement for that content material:

Click to enlarge

7. Deploy one of the best-match expertise stack

How many instruments are you utilizing? Many organizations develop by means of acquisitions, in order that they inherit duplicate or overlapping performance inside their content material stacks. There could be two or three content material administration programs (CMS) and a number of other advertising automation platforms.

Do a expertise audit, remove redundancies, and simplify the place attainable. Use the inherent capabilities throughout the content material stack to automate the place you possibly can. For instance, should you run a marketing campaign on the primary Monday of each month, deploy expertise to automate that course of.

The expertise to assist your content material operations framework doesn’t must be fancy. An Excel spreadsheet is an appropriate beginning place and might be one in every of your most vital instruments.

The purpose is to simplify how content material occurs. What that appears like can differ significantly between organizations and even between groups inside a company.

Adopting a sturdy content material operations framework requires cultural, technological, and organizational modifications. It requires sponsorship from the very prime of the group and adherence to company targets in any respect ranges of the group.

None of it’s straightforward – however the payoff is greater than price it.

Updated from a November 2021 put up.

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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute