(Edited by Lance Buchanan)
Do you want to create an efficient content workflow that metamorphosizes into long-term, measurable returns for your business?
Imagine this: You submit a request for high quality content to your team which is delivered in a timely manner and exactly what you were looking for. You start seeing returns almost immediately.
Sounds like a pipe dream, right? We thought so too until recently.
What’s the secret?
It’s simple: a content lifecycle that works.
A “content lifecycle” is defined as: “The stages of a content object progresses through from its creation to its deletion. These stages depend on the role of the observer.”
Search the web and you’ll find quite a few varying opinions on the specific stages that should be a part of any content lifecycle – it’s really up to your own discretion which stages you use. Some list as few as two phases while others name as many as twelve. The key is to remain consistent in your strategy regardless of which phases you choose to follow.
Below, we’ll take a look at the most commonly utilized stages of a content lifecycle for SEO marketers and how it has been instrumental to our own content marketing success. These seven stages are:
Okay, so what exactly do each of these stages entail?
Stage 1: Ideation
While there are some variation in the middle stages of the content life cycle, nearly everyone agrees that an ideation or organization phase must come first.
During this stage, everyone involved in the production of the content should be on the same page. Rules for the content’s creation and optimization should be established. This also means creating an idea for what the content is meant to accomplish, studying sample personas, nailing down language, etc.
Basically, this is where your content ideas match up with your core business strategies.
Stage 2: Creation
The capturing stage is also often called the creation stage. This is where the content is actually created or authored by writers, designers, videographers or other members of your team. All of the organization and established production ideas/goals created in the first stage should now be implemented.
This stage typically requires the most time. To get the best final results, give your content creators space to develop high quality information based on your objectives.
Stage 3: Contribution
Much of the contribution stage returns to the guidelines and rules drawn up in stage one.
During the contribution stage, many individuals will be handling, editing, reviewing and adding to the content. For this reason, it’s important that all involved are informed as to the content’s purpose, voice and the specific clientele the content is being created for.
Sometimes, having many eyes on a project can cause the content to lose focus, so centering on the original vision for the project during this stage is critical.
Stage 4: Storage
Sometimes referred to as the repository stage, storage refers to how your content will be stored.
For example, your content can be stored as unstructured text or simply as XML elements that have been tagged with metadata. Whether you choose a database or file system (or a combination) to store your documents, be sure to keep your business’s needs in mind.
File-based storage systems may not provide access to large quantities of content, whereas a database can make it easier to monitor your content from start to finish.
Before you decide, it will pay to weigh your pros and cons.
Stage 5: Versioning
Versioning is essentially a way of editing that allows for criticism to be both applied and redacted in the easiest way possible. Throughout the content lifecycle, the many individuals contributing to the project will have differing opinions on how the content can best serve its purposes, and errors will certainly pop up from time to time.
Versioning allows you to track the evolution of your content throughout the lifecycle, make fixes in language or grammatical errors without compromising the entire piece and returning to a previous draft if necessary.
Stage 6: Publication
Publishing can take many different forms. Your content may be viewed as an article, blog post, landing page, email campaign, video, infographic or even a podcast depending on your target audience and the purpose of the content itself. Like the thousands of different species of butterflies that are known to exist, there are many different types of content – each with its unique benefits and purposes.
Once you’ve settled on a content format, make sure to test it on a variety of publication platforms to make sure the quality is top notch (mobile vs. laptop, Chrome vs. Firefox, Android vs. iPhone, etc.).
Stage 7: Analyzation & Repetition
Once your publication goal is met, it’s time to preserve your content and learn from it. Some content will be eliminated, but others should be archived as part of your business’s “institutional memory.” In other words, this saved content should be saved as a testament to your business’s capabilities and knowledge for future repetition.
Analyzing your published content will help you and your team learn for the future. Noting how well your content accomplished its goals can help eliminate future mistakes and offer insights into how to prepare for similar goals in the future.
Once the next content project comes about, the cycle repeats on and on!
To learn more about the best ways you can optimize your content and marketing strategy, continue browsing our blog for titles such as “How to Apply the Scientific Method to SEO Content Marketing: A Mad Scientist’s Guide” and “Mastering the Art of Persuasion in SEO Copywriting.”
A quick shameless plug: If you’re business can benefit from a content strategy and workflow, contact us to take advantage of our comprehensive SEO content marketing services.
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