In order to get the most out of your content marketing efforts, you need a content pipeline that can scale with your business and be adaptable as your business changes.
Well-planned content pipelines allow you to plan, execute, and promote content in a way that not only satisfies your readers but also helps you to achieve your marketing goals.
In this article, we will discuss the best practices for setting up an effective content pipeline for any SaaS or B2B business.
What is a Content Pipeline?
A content pipeline is a system to manage the creation and delivery of content across your organization, with a focus on process improvements.
It also includes setting up schedules, linking content types to industry knowledge, and creating templates for reuse.
A content pipeline streamlines the process of sharing marketing-related content across your organization.
By having all marketing-related content geared toward a specific audience and planned to go out on a schedule, you can achieve consistency of messaging that drives trust, leads, and sales.
Why Create a Content Pipeline?
Content pipelines are essential marketing tools that really help move the needle.
By creating one, you can produce, deliver, and track your content for a specific B2B audience.
In the B2B world, consistency is critical in order to build brand recognition and sales and this is the very purpose of a content pipeline.
Below are the benefits of having your own content pipeline:
- Ensures that you have a strategic content strategy (not just random blog posts)
- Improve time management and communication across your content team.
- Helps you and your team members stay consistent
- The production process is seamless (no confusion at all)
- Your content is always current and relevant
- Content-related tasks become more manageable (with advanced project management tools like Monday or ClickUp or Asana)
The 4 Ps of Content Pipeline
Let me briefly walk you through the 4 Ps of a content pipeline, so that you understand how they work together.
Content preparation or planning comes at the forefront of the content pipeline.
A good plan can help you streamline your content workflow and achieve results faster.
In this first stage, you will have to build a few key processes that will stand as a foundation on which your content pipeline will sit and grow.
A few of these processes are:
- Creating your user personas
- Looking for SEO keywords (informational, transactional mostly)
- Brainstorming content topics
The content production process can be described as an assembly line and it does not include the writing process only but many aspects of content production itself such as:
- The writing team (in-house or freelancers)
- Creating the content (including featured images, thumbnails for videos, infographics, etc.)
- Proofreading of articles
- Transcription (for video content and podcast)
- Repurpose old posts
At this stage, you are promoting your content to your target market via channels you’ve agreed on.
To get optimal results from your promotion campaigns, you need to know where your audience hangs out the most.
It’s true that nowadays, all distribution channels have content for almost all niches and industries under the sun.
However, it will be wise for you to focus on 1-2 channels first because it takes time and lots of patience to start seeing results from your articles or social media posts.
So, handling 5 social media accounts at a time can lead to burnout and breakdown.
Reassessing performance is a must in every business.
You measure the effectiveness of your content through tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to continually improve upon it.
You may need to adjust your strategy and tweak the content to meet the needs of your audience.
Measuring the performance of your content pipeline allows you to make better-informed decisions in many areas.
By analyzing the right metrics, you’ll be able to judge if the content type you are pushing out resonates well with your target audience’s interests or if you should produce more content and so on.
How to Set Up a Content Pipeline
1. Create Your Persona(s)
The very first and most important step when structuring your content pipeline is the preparation of your persona(s).
A persona is a marketing term that describes a fictional character that represents your ideal customer or reader.
It helps you to understand who you are talking to (which is crucial in B2B when it comes to content).
Make sure that you spend enough time developing your persona, as it will be the foundation of your pipeline.
If you have a large business with various products or specific services, you may have different personas.
In order to start creating a persona, it is best to collect as much information as possible about your ideal reader/customer.
This can range from the type of personality they have, their location, their industry, and the number of employees they have.
It can also be useful to know what else interests your audience, which will help you structure content and make sure that it’s not too dry or uninteresting for your readers.
Below is a basic checklist when creating a persona:
- Who your target audience is (job title and level, the industry they are in, what they do, etc.)
- What they are looking for in their marketing journey.
- The role they play in the organization (V.P., C-Suite, etc.).
- What they care about, want, and expect from you and your company. This will help you personalize content.
- How you can help them to overcome their pain points
- The language that resonates most with your target audience
Knowing your audience, its needs, desires, and pain points is fundamental for a successful content pipeline. So, invest time in it!
2. Ideating Content Ideas
Ideating content ideas is an essential step and for good reasons.
It is needed to better understand how users and potential buyers interact with content in their respective industries, which will come in handy when building your content strategy.
This step is based on:
- Content assets that you currently have.
- Existing buyer personas and segments.
- The role your content plays in the industry.
- Content gaps between you and your competitors
- Problems that your customers face.
- How you can benefit from them meeting their challenges.
The answers above will help you understand the trends and patterns of your industry, therefore helping you concoct the best content.
Researching prospective content topics at this stage is extremely important as it allows you to start to organize your thoughts, find holes in the market, see trends and prepare high quality content.
When ideating new ideas, it’s good to use a project management tool like Monday where you can easily communicate with your team and give yourself a better overview.
Also, repeatedly brainstorming ideas with your team is advisable because you can use the input from different people to get more perspectives about the content you want to develop.
The most important thing about ideating content is that it must not be just another boring blog article.
It’s about creating content or repurpose content that creates a connection with your audience based on their needs, interests, and problems.
Your goal is to create an emotional bond between them and your business.
Knowing your customer from every level will help you achieve that goal.
3. Setting Up The Writing Team
Publishing content that stands out from the millions of blog posts, YouTube videos and even podcast shows requires a great team, period!
When it comes to creating quality content that will resonate with your target audience and will give value to them, you must choose the best team members who are experts in the field.
Content is a combination of words, graphics and visuals. Your writing team must be united on what is written so that it doesn’t sound like a jumble of thoughts, sentences and words.
If your organization is big enough, then you can split out responsibilities.
You need to take into account at least a few of the following essential elements for a healthy content workflow:
- Writers need to be able to create content around the persona you have created.
- They must understand what the best practices are for writing for your target audience and industry.
- They should also stay up-to-date with trends in your field — don’t forget that content marketing is always evolving.
- They must be able to follow the proper writing guidelines for the content you are creating.
- They must also pick up on topics and ideas that matter most to your industry, prospects, and customers.
- Your writers need to have a strong knowledge of SEO, how and where to use your SEO keywords, and search engine best practices. This will ensure that they create content that both humans and the algorithm love.
Moreover, it’s also an excellent idea to have a leader in your writing team.
This person will serve as a guide who will manage production of content and will ensure that high quality content is produced and also all writers communicate effectively with each other.
4. Setting Up the Editorial Calendar
In order to run an effective content calendar, you need to be organized in all the content-related activities.
When setting up your editorial calendar (content calendar), you should adjust it for medium, content topic, and length.
Also make sure that content guidelines are included as well as setting deadlines for every article so that everyone knows what is expected from them.
You should also make sure that everyone is on the same page so that you meet your content goals.
5. Publishing & Distributing Content
Once you have created your content, you will need to publish it across different channels.
This process is definitely an important stage of the content pipeline process.
A few tips to keep in mind before hitting that publish button:
- You will need to publish a variety of content. This means that you need to plan ahead, have flexibility and be able to adjust.
- Don’t expect all content to be successful, so it’s good to have a mix of different types of content.
- Multiple channels are necessary for distributing content and should be covered by your editorial calendar.
- Have a clear call to action.
- Be consistent with the message that you are sending out and make sure that it is always aligning with your company’s mission.
Finally, you’ll want to evaluate your content pipeline and make sure that it is working for you.
This way, you’ll be able to tweak it and make improvements as necessary for optimal results.
And with this, the content pipeline process is complete! You have now created your own content marketing plan that will help you create a steady flow of quality content for your brand or business.
After all, content pipeline means establishing an effective content creation process. It allows for more creativity and productivity, as well as more brand engagement and visibility.
Remember that a content pipeline is a sort of content creation process that takes your ideas for the sole purpose of bringing your business in a strategic direction.
You will then be able to refine those ideas into complete content pieces for content marketing objectives such as increase brand awareness, generate leads and even increase sales.
Creating a content pipeline offers you the opportunity to create more, better and more effective content for the goals of your brand or business thereby increasing the return on investment from your content marketing strategy.