Content operations best practices: Create stronger content at scale

Producing quality content is inherently collaborative. Whether you’re writing editorial for news media, creating content for social platforms, managing b2b editorial on a company blog, or reporting research findings to the world, the process of producing content requires the expertise of multiple stakeholders.

How do you orchestrate so many moving parts without sacrificing the quality of the content itself? By establishing world-class content operations.

What are content operations?

Content operations are the people, processes, and technology required to bring content to life. Streamlining content operations involves interrogating the how of work—the workflows that take your team from planning and strategy, through execution and creative production, to promotion and performance.

Investing in content operations helps create space for your team to focus on deep, creative work by streamlining manual tasks like handoffs and stakeholder approvals. It also makes it easier to keep your content aligned with larger goals—whether that's improving search rankings, increasing lead generation, or growing brand awareness.

In this blog post, we cover three best practices for content managers to consider. See how Margaret Jones, Head of Content at Airtable, helps her team focus on quality and creative work by streamlining operations. And watch Aron Korenbilt, Airtable whiz, demo these best practices in the product.

For more detailed descriptions, download the full webinar with Margaret and Aron.

Best practice #1: Don't compromise your single source of truth

According to recent research that surveyed more than 300 marketing leaders at large organizations, marketers must consult an average of 9 sources to find up-to-date information on marketing activities. This endless searching leads to many frustrations—more time in meetings, more time on manual updates—but it also means up to 36% of marketing data is duplicated across multiple sources.

Up to 36% of marketing data is duplicated across multiple sources.

Data duplication makes it tricky to understand which information is most accurate and up-to-date. As Margaret explains, this confusion becomes even more pronounced when multiple stakeholders are involved.

Creating a single source of truth is a major step forward in strengthening content operations.

In this next video, Aron demos managing movie releases and the campaigns tied to their promotion. As he walks through the Airtable base, it becomes clear: having one place to capture your all-important data (like status, stakeholders, information, and drafts) helps teams stay aligned throughout the entire content production process.

Best practice #2: Ruthlessly automate

Automation emerged as a key trend in this year’s marketing trends report. In fact, there was a 35% increase in automation usage between 2021 and 2022. Most tellingly, teams who automate data synchronization are almost twice as likely to meet their objectives and goals, compared to teams who only sync data manually.

When it comes to content operations, Margaret says it’s most important to build the muscle of automation—encouraging your team to look for areas of improvement and take ownership over streamlining their own workflows to reduce time spent on manual, repetitive tasks.

In Aron’s demo, you can see how this level of automation happens in Airtable.

He shows how you can standardize the tasks associated with different deliverables, and automate the creation of easy-to-follow, cross-functional workflows whenever an asset type is selected.

Best practice #3: Make insights accessible

If you’re a leader in content, you’ve likely felt the anxious frustration that comes when leadership asks, “Why are we investing in this specific content asset? What results can we expect?” You’re not alone; the trends report found fewer than 1 in 3 marketers find it easy to prove the return on investment from content and campaigns.

But the bigger question is often: Where do I start? As Margaret explains, the breadth and depth of data we have at our fingertips can feel overwhelming. Attempting to dissect and report on all this data can quickly become cumbersome—especially if you’re pulling some data from spreadsheets, other data from decks, and additional context from emails or Slack. This way of working makes it difficult to turn data into real insights that inform future decisions and direction.

In this demo, Aron takes us back to his movie campaign example to show how to surface specific datasets for certain stakeholders. This means Margaret might see a detailed view of assets and deliverables, but she also has the ability to send her manager a more high-level overview of budget, team capacity, and content performance.

Typically, the more collaborative the content creation process, the stronger the content becomes in quality and performance. Investing in content operations allows your team to collaborate more closely with key stakeholders, without getting bogged down in updates and approvals. Streamlining operations helps move your team from ideation to delivery to produce content the whole organization can be proud of.

For a deeper dive into content operations best practices, download the full webinar with Margaret and Aron.