How To Scale Content Creation

Published on

July 18, 2023

How To Scale Content Creation

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It's been a while since you started thinking about scaling content creation for your company. 

You feel like you aren't putting out enough content to drive the amount of traffic and leads you're hoping for. You think that publishing more content will lead to finally hitting all those keywords, outranking your competitors, and increasing your bottom line. 

So, you sit down to come up with a plan to start creating more content pieces per month - without, of course, having to go over the allocated content creation budget.

The first thought that comes to your mind is, “Well, we can use an AI writing software to create outlines based on our keywords list and then generate the content pieces.” 

Your next thought is, “I’ll get John and Debbie to create a content schedule, edit the articles created by AI a bit, and publish them to our website.” 

Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it? 

Not exactly. That’s a plan with a lot of potholes. Sure, you’ll end up with more content, but it’ll be content that isn’t helpful to anyone. It may help you rank, but it won’t help you get more ready-to-buy leads.  

Scaling content creation isn’t just a question of producing more content pieces. It’s a much more complex process - if you aim to do it well. 

So, let’s explore what scaling content creation really means and how to create an efficient process to do it in a way that creates results.  

What Does Scaling Content Creation Mean?

Typically, scaling means decorrelating infrastructure from the output. In business, this often means increasing revenue without increasing costs as much

When it comes to content creation, scaling means churning out more content without increasing the time and money needed to create it. Ideally, to scale content creation, you’d want to increase the content output from however many pieces you’re producing now to twice as many per month without incurring too many additional costs. 

This would mean having to create more content in less time. And sure, higher content velocity leads to more exposure and brand awareness, which translates to more credibility. 

Ultimately, producing more content can bring more leads to your business at a faster pace. 

But given that most brands already struggle with content creation - it’s a peculiar and tough process after all - speeding it up is very challenging. 

Often, it means sacrificing “quality” (I’ll tell you what I think about quality content in a minute) for quantity, which leads to producing content for the sake of producing more content. 

This approach leads to creating content that isn’t helpful to anyone and that no one wants to read.

The kind of content the internet is already overflowing with.

Addressing Content Quality and Quantity

When it comes to content creation, I’ve seen two highly contrasting approaches. 

One - focused on quantity - where the company decides to generate a ridiculous number of articles per month/year. They take on the “the more articles, the more chances of ranking for our target keywords” approach. 

The other - focused on quality - where the company decides to generate only high-quality content, which means they won’t publish as many content pieces since it will take more time to produce each one. 

I think both approaches leave a lot to desire. 

Firstly, because churning out a high quantity of content (especially with AI) means regurgitating content that’s already been published a thousand times on the internet. And we all know that regurgitated content sucks

Secondly, because there’s no such thing as “quality content.” “Quality” is a subjective word that can’t really be defined. 

To me, there’s only helpful content or non-helpful content.

It either helps solve a problem - or it doesn’t.

Addressing Content Quality and Quantity

So, what’s the right approach? 

Producing helpful content without focusing as much on either “quality” or “quantity.” 

But producing helpful content doesn’t make scaling content creation easier. If anything, it makes it even harder. 

There’s no cookie-cutter approach or a shortcut you can take (if you’re thinking about using AI as a shortcut, I’ll tell you why that’s a terrible idea later). 

Creating content at scale comes down to having solid processes, great resources, and an unshakeable force of will. 

Should You Scale Content Creation With AI-Generated Content?

“But Vince, I can just scale content creation by using AI to generate hundreds of content pieces per month.”

Yes, you can. 

But it doesn’t mean you should. 

AI has been taking the market by storm and conquering the world of content creation like wildfire. While the technology isn’t new, it’s becoming more and more integrated into, well, everything, and it promises impressive things. 

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not against using AI in content creation. It’s a great tool that can greatly speed up the process. 

But I’m against using it as a shortcut for content creation. Many companies think AI is a way to cut costs. 

Why would you hire content writers if you can just generate blog articles with ChatGPT or any GPT-4 powered model (yes, all content writing tools use the same underlying model) and copy/paste them to your website? 

If that’s what you plan on doing, here’s a question: 

Do you think you’re smart enough to be the only one with that idea? Given the growth rate of generative AI, it doesn’t sound likely.

Then comes another question: if everyone is doing it, or trying to do it, how valuable will this approach be?

In other words, if you think doping is a great way to enhance performance, but everyone’s doing it, doping just becomes a must-have.

This is a great example of regression to the mean.

The first guy to use LLMs (Large Language Models) for content generation had a huge advantage - but it’s not become the norm.

Even if you use AI to help with content generation, you still need expert content writers and editors on your team. AI is only a tool. 

And as with any tool, it can only yield great results if it’s used by experts. 

Hammers can both be used to build houses and murder human beings. Same for AI.

(If you think AI can’t murder human beings, look into how AI is used in modern warfare or political destabilization - but we digress).

Let’s look at how to scale content production in detail.  

Step 1: Establish Why You Want To Scale Content Production

The first step is to take a step back. 

I’m a huge fan of speedrunning, a discipline which is all about taking the time to go fast.

Sounds cheesy (probably because it is), but it’s a useful skill to learn.

Why do you want to scale content production in the first place? What will more content help you achieve?  

Maybe it’s getting more traffic to your website, generating more targeted leads, or creating more brand awareness. Whatever it is, make sure that it aligns with your business objectives. 

If you’re looking to leverage content marketing to boost sales, you need to keep in mind that it’s incredibly hard to measure how content impacts your bottom line. 

That’s why you need to define what success looks like for you and how you’ll measure it when it comes to content creation.

As long as you’re clear on your objectives and expectations, scaling content creation can be a very rewarding process in itself.

Laying down clear goals will also help you validate your approach. If your goal is “we want our brand to be well known and recognized as a leader in the space”, it may be time to question whether you’re backing that objective up with sufficient budget - just sayin’.

Step 2: Make a Solid Plan With a Budget

The second step is to make a solid plan and establish your content creation budget. 

Making sure you have enough budget to scale content creation is paramount. Trying to scale content production without sufficient budget to cover the costs will lead to cutting corners.

We’ve already established how effective that is.

You’ll end up with a poor production process, bad writers and editors, and content that’s detrimental to your brand.

Or worse - you’ll resort to generating entire blog articles with AI, which will lead to regurgitated content pieces no one will read. All of this will hurt your brand reputation.  

But let’s assume you have a sufficient budget allocated to content creation. Once you do, it’s time to figure out the process. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Who will be in charge of content creation? 
  • Can your team handle the additional volume of content pieces per month?
  • Do you need to hire more content writers or other team members?  
  • Who will be responsible for hiring writers and managing them? 
  • Who will edit the content, create illustrations, and publish?

A good content production process consists of a series of small steps you must take care of. 

And the more organized and structured the process, the more efficient the content production.

Take the time to map out your process, estimate how long each task should take, and who will be responsible for it.

Yes, it sounds super annoying - and it is.

But it’s the only way to do things well.

Step 3: Craft a Content Plan/Calendar/Workbook

Now that you have an organizational plan, it’s time to make a content plan. 

Most brands start crafting their content plans by researching keywords and then ideating content topics based on those keywords. 

As we’ve approached before, that’s a bad idea because it leads to creating content whose only purpose is to rank for keywords rather than be helpful and help solve problems.

The best approach to content creation is to start the other way around: start by researching your target audience problems and ideate content that will help them solve those problems. 

I won’t dive further into this in this article, but we’ve got a few dedicated guides on SaaS SEO, Keyword Research, and crafting content strategies that you can read to get started. 

With that said, your content plan isn’t just a list of ideas. It should be a more detailed plan that includes at least these key elements for every content piece:  

  • Content Format (blog, guide, podcast, video, etc.)
  • Suggested title
  • Target keyword and volume, if applicable
  • Content pillar
  • Content tactic (interview, round-up, thought leadership, how-to, etc.)
  • New or existing content rework
  • URL or suggested URL
  • Some notes

You can create your content plan (or calendar) in any format. The document structure doesn’t matter much as long as it provides the necessary information for each content piece and helps you and your team keep up with the process. 

Here’s an example of a content plan document we use for our clients:

An example of a content plan document we use to scale content creation

Step 4: Document, Document, Document

One big difference between publishing two pieces of content per week and several dozen per month is establishing solid processes. 

From the very beginning, you need to start documenting everything. 

This will make your life and your content creation process a thousand times easier and more efficient.

This means establishing clear brand voice guidelines, creating a writer hiring procedure complete with a compelling job post, paid tests, and clear evaluation criteria (more on that later), and creating SOPs for editing, optimizing, and publishing content.   

Every single procedure must be mapped out. This will allow you to onboard new team members easily and make sure deadlines are met.

The way you structure those documents doesn’t matter that much. You can use tools like Notion, Slack Canvas, or others. What matters for smooth content production is that everything is properly and meticulously documented.  

💡 A very good technique to make sure procedures are documented is to record a video of yourself explaining how to do a certain task and ask the person responsible for this task to watch the video and turn it into a step-by-step document. Recording a video will only take 15 to 30 minutes of your time, and you’ll end up with a detailed video, a documented SOP, and a team member who fully understands how to perform the given task.

Step 5: Solidify Your Content Team

Once you’ve mapped out your processes and created all the SOPs, it’s time to make sure you have the right people on your team to handle the increased content volume. 

This likely means you’ll need to hire more editors and content writers. Hiring writers is an art, and it’s important to get it right. Choosing the wrong people can break your entire content production process. 

Hiring Writers

To find the right content writers, start by posting a job offer. You can use Upwork, LinkedIn, or any other job board. Even Facebook groups are a great place to find writers. 

After you get a few candidates, shortlist the most interesting ones. Ideally, jump on a quick call to get to know them. If you think they might be a right fit, make them do a paid writing test. 

I insist: never hire a writer without a test. It’s a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter if it’s your great aunt’s brother-in-law who wrote a beautiful poem for your niece’s wedding last summer.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a top-rated Upwork writer with an outstanding portfolio. Always ask them to write a paid test before hiring them.

I insist on paid, because any writer worth their salt will - and should - look at you with disgust at the idea of working for free.

Then, have your editor review the tests and decide who’s the best fit to join your team. 

When hiring writers, you shouldn’t only rely on the quality of their writing. They can be great writers and yet be a terrible fit. 

Aside from being talented writers and storytellers, they should ideally understand content marketing and be able to follow briefs, and stick to deadlines. 

And trust me when I say that only the top 5% of freelancers deliver on time and communicate clearly. Lack of communication and missed deadlines are the most frustrating thing when building a content writing team and can destabilize the entire process. 

Hiring writers is a long process as the truly good ones are scarce. It takes around 10 tests to find 1 good writer - and that’s fine. 

Hiring Editors

Once you’ve got your writers, you need a good editor. Your editor should usually be part of the in-house team. They’ll be responsible for creating content briefs, editing content and optimizing it for the search engines, managing deadlines, publishing pieces, and managing writers.

Your editor should have great attention to detail and a good eye. 

They need to be able to spot typos and inconsistencies in each article and make sure every published content piece is consistent with the brand voice guidelines. 

Step 6: Automate As Much As You Can

The last step is to automate as much as you can. 

It’s optional, but the more you automate your content creation process, the less time-consuming it’ll be to create each piece of content. 

The way you automate your content production will depend on a few factors, such as the type of content you make, your processes, and your budget. 

But here are a few ideas on how to automate content creation: 

  • Automate document creation (3 mins per doc x 100 docs a month = 5 hours of work per month)
  • Automate publishing to your CMS (Wordpress, Webflow)
  • Help with brief creation (if it’s doable within your line of work - be wary with this one)
  • Automate tracking (spreadsheets)
  • Automate checking for indexation after a post is published
  • Etc.

Automation is not a must, but it’s what can take your content creation to the next level. It can speed up the process and make scaling much more efficient. 

You don’t need it, but it’s a good thing to have if your content creation process and budget allows it. 

Scaling Content Creation Is a Process 

Yes, you can use AI to generate more content pieces per month. That’s an easy way to scale content creation. 

But if everyone starts to do it, we’ll get flooded with more regurgitated, boring content pieces that no one will read anyways - and there’s already too much useless content on the internet. 

Many brands who end up choosing this shortcut overlook one key thing: the content you produce doesn’t only contribute to your Google rankings. It also creates your brand reputation. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you churn out 100 content pieces per month if none of them are helpful to your visitors. In the long run, it’ll hurt your reputation as a brand. 

And to start creating more helpful content pieces at a faster pace… well, that’s a process that requires meticulous planning and execution. 

Vince Moreau

I'm the CEO & founder of ScaleCrush. You can often find me ranting way too much about BS marketing advice, fluffy and regurgitated content, and calling out gurus. I also happen to have my very own unoriginal thoughts about the stuff we're going through.

Marketing gurus are lying to you. Am I?
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