5 Ways to Speed Up Your Content Editorial Process


By: Daniel Tolliday

Posted: March 3, 2016 | Content Marketing

If you ever find yourself banging your head on the keyboard wondering why there are so few hours in the day to produce content; don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

Content marketing is an important part of a strategic marketing mix, building brand awareness, establishing thought leadership, elevating your messaging, and engaging your audience. But content takes time to produce and get out into the world. Sometimes, it can all come down to the way you manage your team and the content they produce. So, use this blog as a guide to speed up your editorial process without compromising the quality of your content.

Let’s get into the five ways you can speed up your content editorial process:

1. Set Predefined Roles Within Your Content Team

Whether you’re working with an internal team or external freelancers, it is critical for you to define specific roles for each process and determine who does what. If there’s only one person planning the calendar, producing all the content, and measuring its effectiveness–it’s likely that you’ll fall behind and that person will get worn out.

This doesn’t mean that one team member can’t be used for more than one role; it just depends on your budget and resources. For example, your analytics manager may be able to write content about marketing analytics or your social media listener might have awesome design skills that you can leverage.

Below are some common roles associated with content marketing teams:

Content Strategy

  • Director/Content Strategist: This is where it all begins. The director or content strategist is often someone high up in your organization that is experienced in digital marketing strategy. They will have created your content strategy and now it’s up to your content team to follow through and implement it.

Production and Editorial Management

  • Content Manager: Often called the ‘Content Marketing Manager’ or ‘Chief Content Officer’, content managers are responsible for overseeing the entire process–from start to finish. When an organization implements content marketing into their arsenal, the content manager is usually the first person hired.
  • Managing Editor: The role of the managing editor is quite diverse and they often wear multiple hats. A typical day might involve editing several pieces of content, managing writers, and even working with the content manager to plan and update the content calendar.
  • Social Media Listener: How is your content performing on social media? Your social media listener will be able to tell you. Whether they’re using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, they will provide you with regular reports detailing how your content is performing on social media.
  • Analytics Manager: Working closely with the social media listener, analytics managers help measure the effectiveness of content once it is published. They play a key role in proving the ROI of your content marketing activities and should have solid data and website analytics abilities.

Content Production

  • Content Writers: Whether they’re internal writers or external contractors, the number of content producers you need will depend on the quantity of content you wish to produce. Be sure to enable your writers as much as possible with resources, detailed briefs, and transparent writing guidelines to save editing time.
  • Designers: What good is an article or ebook without a sexy design? A good designer is worth his weight in gold, as they are often the difference between a solid piece of content performing well or not at all. If you don’t have the budget for a professional designer and want to save extra time, you can explore using a tool like Canva (more on this tool shortly).
  • Proof-readers: Many content teams share the workload when it comes to proofreading. Once an article has been edited, for example, it’s always good to get a fresh pair of eyes onto the piece for extra quality control.

2. Clearly Communicate Content Goals and Guidelines

This is a key factor in speeding up your editorial process. Each piece of content should have a brief and your writing team should have access to a content guidelines document. Not only will this help them write faster, it will help the managing editor breeze through the first draft.Here are 4 questions to consider before sending anything to the content producer:

  • What is the goal of your content?
  • What themes or topics should it cover?
  • Who will be reading the content? Think titles, industries, and company size.
  • Are there any useful research links or existing assets that will help?

It makes sense to provide your content producer with as much information as possible. It saves time and makes everyone’s jobs easier.

3. Repurpose Existing Content

For each asset you produce, you should be able to leverage it to create at least 5-6 more pieces. One simple ebook can be turned into:

  • A SlideShare presentation
  • Tweets (using quotes from your ebook)
  • An infographic
  • An image for social media
  • A blog post

Webinars are also great for repurposing your content as they often cover a broad range of topics.Imagine if you have already written 5 ebooks; that’s around 25-30 extra pieces of content just sitting there waiting to be produced, which is a huge time saver. And speaking of time savers–there’s none better than a valuable editorial tool.

4. Use Editorial Tools and Templates

Sending emails back and forth is a huge time waster; especially when an asset requires multiple rewrites. Fortunately, there are tools out there to help simplify and speed up the editorial process.It is important to note that you should not get too wrapped up in using tools, especially if you’re looking to save time. Sometimes, a simple spread sheet and word processor is all you need.Let’s take a look at a few (of the many) valuable time-saving tools:

  • Trello: The days of overflowing inboxes are coming to an end–thanks to editorial tools like Trello. This tool allows you to organize content projects and have your writers upload drafts, comment on projects, and even track the time it takes to complete each task.
  • Google Docs: With Google Docs, your editor can add comments directly into each document. Hosted in the cloud, there’s no need to store the files anywhere–they’re stored securely on Google’s servers. Once it’s finished and ready for publishing, you can save the document onto your computer.
  • BuzzSumo: Having trouble with content ideation? BuzzSumo allows you to search for the best performing pieces of content on the web. You can rank them by LinkedIn shares, Facebook likes, and much more. This gives you a clear indication about what type of content works best for your target audience.
  • Canva: If there was one time-saving tool I personally couldn’t live without–this would be it. Canva includes templates for every type of visual graphic imaginable (Facebook and Twitter cover images, for example), and images can be easily tweaked for uniqueness within seconds. Not to mention it’s free, too.

5. Utilize a Content Calendar

As one of the most effective ways to speed up your editorial process, content calendars save time by revealing the bigger picture. Usually managed by the content manager or content editor, it should include content goals, useful links, and show you what is due and when.But how do you map out your content calendar? Fortunately, there are a variety of free tools available:

  • Google Calendar: With Google Calendar, you can create your own version or download one of the many templates available online. Simply create a new calendar and start filling in your content ideas and what marketing objectives or company goals they map to. The best part of using Google Calendar is that you can receive notifications to your phone and desktop when your content is due!
  • Excel Spread Sheets: This is perhaps one of the easiest and most effective ways to manage your content editorial process. Set up columns for the due date, publishing date, writer’s name, keywords, notes, and any other information relevant to your needs–and remember to use one tab for each week or month, depending on how much content you are producing. This reduces clutter and makes it easier to navigate through.

But, if you’re looking for a more robust content management experience, there are many content platforms that can help you manage your content process from start to finish—from building an editorial calendar to tracking the production progress to publication and more.

Using tools and calendars are effective time savers and a great way to give you a complete perspective of your content creation process. But what you really need to remember is to stay focused on one task at a time and allocate tasks among your team when there is an overload of work. After all, they are only a limited amount of hours in the day–and time management is something everyone must deal with.

What tactics or tools are you using to save time in your editorial process? Let me know in the comments below!