At CONCURED, we love content. Content is not only our king but our whole reason for being. We love brainstorming topics and researching and writing articles to help you, our dear reader, be a better content creator. Because we know the value great content can deliver, we want to put the best content-related content and products out into the universe. We believe that by leveraging the power and capabilities of artificial intelligence, content marketers of all industries can learn exactly what type of content their audience craves to better engage them and see a higher return on investment. It all leads to creating a solid content schedule that you and your content team know will be successful with your audience.
But sometimes events happen—good and bad—that are unplanned and require content to be immediately created and posted. Sometimes the turnaround is a few hours, far short of the weeks you have spent planning content for months down the road. How do you manage to create such content and ensure that it will resonate well with your audience?
It's all about incorporating prioritization tactics into your content strategy.
The Issue of Last-Minute Content
As content marketers, we hold these two truths to be self-evident:
- Planning your content in advance is an absolute necessity and ensures that you have optimal time to create content that will resonate with your audience.
- Number 1 is often thrown out the window.
In life, things just happen. More often than not, we are completely unprepared for these situations. And it isn't because we never expect them to happen to us, but because we don't necessarily consider it a priority or we have too much else to focus on right now that we think, "Oh, we'll just do it later."
And then the figurative (or actual) pipe bursts and we are suddenly scrambling for time to create content (or money, because we suddenly find ourselves in need of $1,000 worth of repairs and a drenched basement but barren, practically nonexistent "rainy day" fund).
That's where the idea of prioritization tactics come in: You don't have to panic when you suddenly find yourself swamped with requests for content you hadn't planned on creating. Instead, you will turn to the predetermined criteria and use them as a guideline for handling any sudden content requests.
Learn How to Prioritize Content
When prioritizing your content, there are some steps you need to take well before you ever come across a situation in which you need to decide if you should accept, hold, or reject a request for content from someone in the company.
We look at content prioritization in terms of three items:
- The 80/20 Rule
- Prioritization Criteria
You need to create a set of guidelines and determine your prioritization criteria first as well as implement an 80/20 rule for your team. We will go over the "how" for both the creation and implementation of all three items.
The first thing you will want to do is to create a set of guidelines that your team will follow when making decisions about the type of content projects to take on. These guidelines are not to be confused with your prioritization tactics, which we will discuss momentarily. Instead, this set of guidelines is really just a detailed outline of the goals that your content marketing team strives to meet and the principles to which all team members adhere when they are creating content for the organization.
To Create the Guidelines: When it comes to creating your timeline, think of your goals and principles. Your goals may include generating leads, engaging your audience, or creating stronger brand awareness. Your principles may include ethical/moral obligations (If it impacts the health/finances/etcetera of our audience, we will determine how to best prioritize it) or your company's mission/vision/values (It speaks to or is a prime example of our company's mission and therefore must be considered.
To Implement the Guidelines: Talk with your team about these guidelines. Make sure that they understand that these guidelines must be consulted upon receiving any request. Have these guidelines readily available, and consider making print outs for everyone to keep at their desks. Once your team uses them and becomes more familiar with the guidelines, they will start to memorize them and be able to quickly filter through the requests that come in.
The 80/20 Rule
The idea behind the 80/20 rule is that 20% of your content is responsible for 80% of the traffic, leads, sales, etcetera that is generated.
To Define the 80/20 Rule: There really isn't much to do in terms of the 80/20 rule except for understanding what it means. The work for this item will come when implementing it.
To Implement the 80/20 Rule: To manage content requests, you can include the 80/20 rule as part of your selection guidelines. If the content requested will help you reach your goal or is on a topic that shows the most return on investment, it's one you want to consider taking.
Prioritization criteria are the final area of consideration. Once you've decided that a content request is valid (based on your guidelines), you need to determine how to prioritize it among all your other requests and predetermined content schedule.
To Create the Prioritization Criteria: Now is where you establish what takes precedence in terms of the requests that your team agreed to take on. These criteria will vary among teams and companies and will focus on prioritizing content that helps you reach your goals. Such criteria may include:
- Overall impact (The impact may be on lead generation, sales, etc.)
- Cost (Weigh your return on investment; you may need more time to better strategize the content to reduce the cost of creating it.)
- Resources (Do you have the staff, time, capabilities, etcetera to successfully, easily, and/or cost-effectively execute the request?)
To Implement the Prioritization Criteria: When determining what content gets priority, you will refer to your pre-established criteria. Some content may meet the same criteria in terms of prioritization, so look for the one that sets them apart (e.g., one is cheaper to produce). And for other content, it won't matter how much of the criteria it meets if it checks the box for the criterion that prioritizes it as an absolute first.
For example, you could say that the ethical obligation to report something means it takes precedence above all else. If you work for a medical device company, an urgent recall needs to be handled immediately; all other requests for content like advertisements, news articles, or graphics get pushed, momentarily, to the side.
The Biggest Prioritization Challenge
You may find that adhering to everything you have defined and established as part of your processes may not often be followed, especially when they are newly implemented. Sometimes we feel a need to just say "Yes" to everything that comes our way, and while it seems like a good thing (making people happy, producing more content), you overextend your team and resources and risk putting out terrible (or not as effective) content.
Once you and your team become more familiar with the criteria and begin to use them when it comes to content requests, applying the criteria will become second nature. Your team will be able to seamlessly turn around any request for content that comes its way.
Other Items to Keep in Mind
Even though you have your prioritization criteria in order, there are two more things to keep in mind. They are:
- Learning how to say "No, but.." (or, "Not right now.")—Sometimes, suggestions are bad. ("Bad" being subjective, but by this we mean the request is confusing, it doesn't align with the company's goals, etc.) But don't disregard it completely. Work with the requester to get a better picture of what it is that they need and see how you can make it so it does fit within your guidelines. And your prioritization criteria will help you say, "Yes, but not right now."
- Being realistic with your time—Your guidelines, the 80/20 Rule, and your prioritization criteria will help you strategically select content on which to focus, but remember that you only have so much time to get things accomplished. If you don't have the staff or other resources to get multiple high-priority pieces of content out, you'll end up creating lackluster content. Therefore, it's better to be honest with yourself and others about the amount of time it will take to fulfil a specific content request.
When you have a plan in place to deal with sudden content emergencies, they won’t feel like emergencies. Use these prioritization tactics so you can stay flexible with your content calendar and keep on top of sudden trends.