Extracting content from your company can take many forms. As marketing manager, you may produce it all yourself, commission freelancers, leverage your internal experts to create content for you, or a combination.
Personally, I love working with enthusiastic internal producers. They’re best placed to identify the customer pain points and needs that guide content commissioning. However, using internal creators comes with more challenges than doing it yourself or hiring external resources.
It’s very easy to put your team off. Taking a heavy-handed approach to editing can crush your colleague’s confidence, while being too stand-offish can result in content that’s not aligned with your goals.
You need to balance allowing your creators the freedom to pursue their creative thinking with just enough guidance to ensure the result is suitable.
Here are six things to avoid when managing internal content creators.
1. Getting involved too late
Completed content arriving in your inbox is great, but only if you can use it in your marketing. You will have to break the bad news to the author if the content is unusable. They have spent time and effort on this and will not thank you for your feedback. You may never be able to re-engage them.
Encourage everyone to share their ideas early and to write notes or bullet points for review. Preparation mitigates the risk of the content they create not being suitable for publishing under the brand. It also means you can gently steer them in the direction you need them to go.
2. Taking too long to review
When someone submits an idea or piece of content for review, don’t take too long to give them feedback. The longer you take to get back to them, the less engaged they become. When you finally provide feedback, they will have moved on to other tasks and may take their time getting back to you – if they even bother.
As part of your editorial process, set a standard for how long it will take to get back to someone once they’ve sent you content. Do your best to stick to this. If you can’t, make sure that you let them know there will be a delay.
3. Not setting expectations upfront
People can become upset or frustrated if you’ve not clearly communicated the editorial process. They’ll be more reluctant to produce content for you and will let others know that it’s a difficult process.
When someone comes to you with an idea, ensure they understand the editing process and how long it will take. Make your commitments to a timeline and get them to also commit to a timeline (depending on client work, of course).
4. Being too heavy-handed during the editing stage
Heavy editing with no explanation can make people understandably defensive and upset.
If your changes are small, you can send the content straight back to them for review. If you must make more significant changes, such as re-ordering or adding content, sit with them and discuss why you are suggesting those changes. Help them to understand and allow them to object or offer alternative solutions.
5. Being indecisive
Don’t be afraid to kill ideas or content if they’re not going anywhere; these take up unnecessary time and effort.
If you’ve started on content, but it appears to have hit a wall, stop and think about why. It’s unlikely to be the process; it’s more likely because the idea lacks substance or a clear brief.
If content is too far along to stop, suggest it’ll be more suitable for personal social media feeds, and you’ll share it from there.
6. Not involving peers
People often like to work with others and look up to particular people within their peer group. If you’re not involving these people, you’re missing a trick.
Consider reviewing some content at a peer level before you do your editing. This will save you time and could make for a better-quality article. Encourage working in pairs or groups and discussing content ideas in team catch-ups. Offer to attend their meetings to talk about content with them.
Avoid these common pitfalls and head these tricky situations off at the pass while keeping your keen producers still keen, engaged, and feeling valued.