Content Marketing Operations: The Muscle Behind Your Marketing Strategy

Mar 26th, 2021 Marketing

Whether your company is new or old, big or small, content marketing has probably been on your radar more than a few times. It’s a great starting point for marketing, a natural solution to garner awareness and education about your brand, and currently, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. 

That being said, just because it is a good first step and a basic piece of the marketing puzzle doesn’t mean it’s as simple as it sounds. Intentional, successful content marketing needs more than just solid content writing, it needs quality, scalable content operations. We’re peeling back the curtain and explaining exactly what goes on to make a successful content marketing strategy run.

Let’s back up.

What is content marketing exactly?

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience.”

- Content Marketing Institute

The ways in which this content can be distributed could be one of many things:

  • Social media
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • White papers
  • Email newsletters
  • Webinars
  • Courses
  • Quizzes
  • The list goes on...

So all of these are your puzzle pieces. Which pieces and how you use them form your marketing strategy, and your marketing strategy informs your content operations. This is what we’re breaking down today.

What is content operations?

Just like operations in any industry or specialization, content operations hinges on the people, process, and technology that get the job done. The goal of content operations is to orchestrate your content marketing to operate efficiently with high quality, scalability, and consistency. Basically, it makes sure content marketing runs smoothly while also moving the needle toward your business goals.

Why does content operations matter?

Creating consistent, high-quality content is hard. (This is just one reason why people hire marketing companies, no?) There’s a lot of content to be created—chances are you don’t just pick one option off of that list above. There is pressure to make sure it is performing. And since there are so many pieces of the content puzzle, it sometimes feels like there is never enough time to write the things between all of the research, interviews, editing, sourcing, posting, distributing, sharing, interacting, tracking, analyzing. Oh, and then the process starts all over again. (Overwhelmed yet?)

It can feel daunting to keep your head above water to make sure everything is posted on time. Being so involved in these small details makes it hard to see the bigger picture and be able to fine-tune your process. This is why content operations exist—to make sure companies have the right people, process, and technology (well, and maybe time too) to make the best, most strategic content marketing moves for success.

What (and who) do you need to make content ops happen?

At Kicks, we’ve got a Marketing Manager, Marketing Strategist, and a Content Strategist all working together to make sure our clients’ content marketing is in tip-top shape. The marketing manager/strategist is focused on the bigger goals like KPIs, brainstorming ways to improve and add upon the content and campaigns, and project managing the whole thing (though they may write and create some as well), and the content strategist is focusing on the content specifically in regards to the brand, the audience, and what types of content are best for each specific client. These are the people in charge of content operations in our neck of the marketing woods.

As far as what is involved, there are four core things needed for any content operation to run smoothly.

  1. Strategy
    • Your strategy is not your operations and vice versa. A clear, written-out strategy helps everyone from stakeholders to content creators in understanding the mission of what we’re doing here. The strategy is easy to know if you are the content strategy person, but everyone in this process should be privy to that information for clarity and guidance.
  2. Workflow
    • This looks different for every marketing company and department, but basically, ask any project manager to give you a basic rundown on a content production workflow. From research to writing to posting to analyzing (and everything in between). These steps need to be clearly identified and established to ensure efficiency and timeliness. 
  3. Tools & Tech
    • This list could go on forever, but think anything that you will need to plan, create and distribute any kind of content. Some of our favorites include Adobe Suite, Grammarly, Hootsuite, Mailchimp, Databox, Google Suite and so many more. You can read about some of our favorite tools that help keep us on top of things here.
  4. People
    • Having the right people in the right places is probably your most important puzzle piece. You need the right people in the right places to make all of this work. Including (but not limited to) a marketing strategist and/or manager to inform your goals and objectives, a project manager to make things run, and content creators to write, design, record all the content you need to produce. 

All of this to say, there are lots of puzzle pieces to the masterpiece that is your content marketing strategy. With the right people, process, and tech you’re more likely to reach your goals. More than anything, having your content operations process down to science helps free up more time for strategy, and that’s when we start to see results jump even more. Content operations got you drowning? We’re here to help.

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