What is Content Production: Defining a Content Production Process

Are you planning to ramp up content creation? Wondering how to organize the content production to maximize results?

Table of Contents

It goes without saying – Content is the backbone of the majority of digital marketing strategies today. It doesn’t matter whether you focus on reaching the target audience through paid ads, engaging website visitors, or focus on attracting search engine traffic, you need content. 

The problem? Getting all those different types of content – blog posts, images and other visuals, social media posts, etc. – takes time and effort. And needless to say, without a strong content production process, it’s easy for the whole thing to just fall apart at the seams. 

This guide will teach you how to prevent it from happening by defining a content production process for your brand. 

We’ll discuss what content production is, how the process should work, and a step by step framework for defining it for your organization. 

So, let’s get to it.

What is Content Production?

We’ve used two terms when introducing this guide – content production and the content production process. Although both seem almost identical, they refer to two different things. 

So, let’s begin by defining what each of them is. 

The term – content production – refers to a whole set of activities with the aim of creating information to reach, connect with, and engage a desired target audience. 

Note that we said, reach, connect, and engage, not to build an audience. This is where production differs from a content marketing strategy, which focuses on creating an audience. 

When you engage in content production, your goal is to connect with specific people, as defined by your audience personas.

For that reason, a typical content production focuses on creating three types of content:

  • Educational. These assets help the audience overcome specific issues or challenges. Because of the focus on problem solving, these pieces of content tend to target audience members at the Top-of-the-Funnel stage of the buying process.
  • Emotional. This content uses the principles of emotional marketing to tap or elicit a singular emotion like happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, etc.
  • Commercial. Commercial content targets Bottom-of-the-Funnel audience members, engaging them in a buying conversation and bringing them to the point of purchase.

Content Production - Tools to Use

Before we discuss the content production process, and steps you need to take to create one, let’s briefly go through some tools you’ll need.

#1. Digital Asset Management Platform

FACT: Most content types – blog posts, webinars, product visuals, etc. – require quite a lot of media files. 

Depending on the type of content, these could range from brief documents, style guidelines, visual assets, brand assets, text files, images to videos and more. 

Without a way to store, organize, and access those assets, your content production process will, most likely, fail eventually. Or the production will be taking an enormous amount of time. 

A digital asset management software like CELUM lets you store all assets you need to produce great content. With CELUM, you can organize all files, and add context with metadata, assign tags, and more.

CELUM’s powerful search capabilities let you create flexible node structures and organize assets in collections to make them instantly searchable. 

You can also categorize files based on a variety of formats and use-cases, and more. 

#2. Content Collaboration Software

A content collaboration platform is a tool that helps companies achieve two objectives: 

  • Facilitate collaboration between everyone involved in the content production 
  • Boost productivity by streamlining most of the content workflow.

And it’s another tool without which any content production would simply stall. With a content collaboration software, however, you can expect:

  • Faster production and fewer mistakes
  • A far greater creative input from everyone involved
  • Greater engagement, streamlined process, and more.

#3. Online Proofing Process

I’m sure we can both agree on this – collecting feedback and getting approvals are by far the most problematic aspects of the production process. 

Even though most people involved in the process are happy to contribute, many of them procrastinate on these tasks, often into infinity. 

But often, a major reason for this is a lack of systematic approach to online proofing. Luckily, tools like CELUM offer all functionality that you need to manage the marketing approval process successfully:

  • Advanced feedback. CELUM allows you to provide feedback on any file type, including videos. You can annotate images, video clips, audio files, and any other common file format. 
  • Collaboration. With CELUM, everyone involved in a project – be it an in-house creative team or an external vendor – can collaborate and get things done easily. That’s because, with CELUM, you can set advanced roles and responsibilities and also use Robots to automate many tedious management tasks. 
  • Proofing workflows. The tool features robust templating capabilities allowing you to create workflows for different project types. This way, you can ensure consistency and quality for every project. 
  • Revision history. CELUM gives you access to a complete revisions history to compare different versions of files and monitor how projects evolve. 

What is the Content Production Process, Then?

This term, on the other hand, defines the process you use to manage content production. It outlines how your organization takes any piece of content from a rough idea to a completed, published content asset. 

Of course, the production process will differ depending on the type of content you produce. Similarly, the number of people involved in the process will be different depending on whether you create a blog post or a branded video, for example. 

Creating a blog post might require just a writer and editor. Shooting a branded video will involve many team members, from screenwriters, the camera crew, editors, to the entire marketing team. 

For that reason, your content production process might include different setups and workflows for different types of content. Nonetheless, the overall production flow will be similar across those different assets:

  • The process typically begins with identifying the idea for the content. You also define the target audience early on, and specify how the finished asset will look like. 
  • The process will, then, focus on collecting assets, briefing, creating initial drafts, revisions, until it reaches the stage at which what you’ve created is ready to go live.

Let’s see how you could define it for your organization. 

Developing a Content Production Process

In this section, you’ll discover what steps you need to take to define how content production should be happening at your organization. 

In short, defining the production of content involves:

  • Identifying goals for different content assets
  • Defining where you’ll store content assets
  • Building content inventory
  • Setting up processes for feedback, approvals, and sign off
  • Outlining steps in the content production process
  • Setting up the content production schedule

Let’s go through those steps in more detail now.

Step 1. Identifying goals for content assets

Remember how we talked about how different assets require different processes? You’re about to see why it’s so important to understand this. 

You never create a content asset without a clear goal for it. What’s more, many assets share similar goals. SEO content helps you rank better and drive organic traffic. Product-led content lets you position what you sell in the right context for the audience. Videos engage them further, and so on. 

Identifying the reasons why you create this content will help you define:

  • Who needs to be involved, and
  • What timelines could you realistically schedule for each asset?  

ACTION: List all the typical content types your organization creates. Define goals for each of those. If an asset could have two or more objectives, mark them as separate assets with a single goal for each.

Next, define who do you need to reach the objective, and how long it might take to complete the project, on average, given all the stakeholders involved. 

Step 2. Define where you’re going to store all assets

If your organization already uses a digital asset management (DAM) system, then, most likely, that’s going to be your content hub. If it doesn’t, research the available solutions and decide on which tool to implement. 

TIP: In this post, we’ve covered the best DAM systems on the market today.

Step 3. Build the content inventory

As part of this preparatory process, you also need to define where you’re going to store all drafts and finished assets. 

If you’re using DAM software like CELUM, you can store them in the same way as you do with other assets. Other products might offer other options. Also, your organization might require you to keep it all on Sharepoint or another system. 

So, before you begin working out the actual process, research where you need to hold these assets as well. 

Step 4. Outline all steps in the content production

This is where working on the process actually begins. Your first action is to define how it should happen to move an asset from an idea to a completed piece of content. 

Typically, the process includes elements such as:

  • Ideation, a point at which you identify an idea as a new content potential. 
  • Briefing in which relevant team members define the scope of the project
  • Research and asset collection to organize everything teams – be it graphic designers, writers, video makers, etc. – need to complete the project
  • Project planning and set up in the project management tool to assign tasks and due dates to specific team members
  • Content creation to produce the first draft 
  • Reviews and revisions to fine tune the draft and get it ready for publication
  • Final sign off confirming that the asset meets the brief requirements and is ready to be shown to the audience
  • Routing to relevant channels for publication. 

Naturally, your process might include additional steps. Perhaps you need to run all content through the legal team to ensure compliance. Or maybe your review process needs to involve various executives, and so on. Maybe there is another department that needs to review assets at a particular stage of the production… 

So, don’t rush through this stage. Take your time and define all the necessary steps that you need to be taking to produce content. 

Step 5. Set up content production schedule

With this step, you need to circle back to the exercise you did at the start of the process – Identifying goals for the content. One of the factors you considered back then was how much time, realistically, would you need to create different types of content. 

We’re going to merge this information with all the steps in the process you defined in the previous step. 

Look at those steps, and decide how much time you need to complete the brief, create the first draft, or get everyone to provide feedback on it. Then, use that information to define content production rules, for example:

Task

Briefing

Project Planning

Objective

Signed off brief

Assigning tasks to the project management process

Timeline

2 days

1 day

This schedule will help you or anyone else responsible for managing projects to set them up with relevant due dates, and get the production moving smoothly. 

TIP: CELUM allows you to create workflows and automations to ensure that every project follows the schedule you specified. 

Want a Powerful Content Production Process?

Check out CELUM, the no. 1 digital asset management, content collaboration, and online proofing software on the market.

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