If you are planning to grow a sizeable content-based business, it is very important that you create a process or a standard operating procedure (SOP) for each channel that you plan to use. This will not only ensure that your content maintains quality as you scale, but it will also allow you to easily delegate certain aspects of the content development process if they are no longer serving your 80/20 approach.
Contrary to popular belief, you can delegate many components of content development. Maybe not the actual writing or podcasting (although you can get help with that), but many of the other steps between the idea for a content piece and its publication can be delegated.
For most of my content businesses, we use a shared notebook in Evernote for all of our SOPs. We have a very specific SOP for the publication of a blog post that lists all of the steps involved, and indicates who is responsible for each step. Just to give you an idea, here is a sample of how the blog post SOP might look:
- Determine topic for blog post.
- Author to draft blog post in a Google Document.
- Author to share the draft blog post with another Author for review and editing.
- Upon completion of review, article is submitted to the Content Manager for importing to the website.
- The proper SEO steps are performed on the article (see Chapter 4, Section 5 for more details on this).
- A photo is added.
- The post is tagged properly.
- Author then does a final review and publishes the post.
- The team then shares the post through social media.
This is just a quick sample, and not the entire document, but it is representative of how we build our SOPs. It looks pretty straightforward, and in many ways obvious, but you might be surprised how easy it is to miss a step when you aren’t following a process. We also have a separate SOP for articles that are written by guest authors, which includes e-mail templates for reaching out to them.
Having good processes in place will also allow you to introduce automation into your business wherever possible. Automation is when things happen automatically (get it?!) without you having to do something. For example, when we book a guest on The Engineering Career Coach podcast, the guest fills out a form with their biography and talking points as part of our process, and then he or she gets redirected to a calendar where they can book an appointment. I am not even involved in that part of the process, yet the appointment just shows up on my calendar. I will talk more about automation in the chapter on monetization.
Your SOPs will become the backbone of your content business. They will eliminate redundancy between team members, save you time, and — most importantly — allow you to delegate steps in the process, which will be critical to your ability to scale your content business beyond yourself.
Start creating your SOPs today!
Author of The Content Marketing Equation