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Content Marketing

How to Implement Content Automation and Scale Your Content Program

content automation

Content can be a big lever in business success and the content marketing space is constantly evolving. From new analytics tools to new formats and, of course, generative AI tools, marketers constantly to adapt.

However, everything comes down to producing better content for your target audience, in a cost-efficient manner, with a high return on investment.

One of the challenges with content is the whole process of publishing one piece of content, regardless of the format, goes through a process that takes a long time due to delays and tedious, manual tasks.

Fortunately, as artificial intelligence becomes has more clear applications in marketing, we’re finding that there’s an opportunity to automate parts of the process of content creation.

While the entire process of content creation can’t be automated (yet), let’s talk about how to streamline parts of the process with content automation tools so you and your marketing team can scale your content program 

This article won’t touch on marketing automation platforms or email marketing tools as those topics are written about to exhaustion. Instead, we’ll focus on the act of content creation.

The Process

The content production process, regardless of format, usually follows the following steps:

1. Strategic planning

This is perhaps the only step you can’t automate as it requires alignment with business goals and making judgment calls and tradeoffs. Planning should take the most time when developing a content program as it provides the guardrails for the next stage, ideation.

If you’re looking for help with content strategy, we can help.

2. Ideation

Once you have a content marketing strategy in place, you’ll have the guardrails within which to ideate. This is usually done through brainstorming topics related to the products you’re selling, relevant keyword research mapped to the buyers journey, and competitive research.

Now, this process can be streamlined using tools like Keywords Everywhere, Ahrefs, and AI content generation tools like Jasper and ChatGPT.

For example, using Keywords Everywhere, you can see a bunch of related keywords while during your Google searches.

Ahrefs can also help you uncover additional keywords (with more conservative search volume data than Keywords Everywhere).

Then you can layer on tools like ChatGPT to curate additional keyword ideas. Heck, you could even start here and then confirm search volume using Ahrefs.

content automation

And as part of the ideation process, you can ask ChatGPT to come up with headline ideas:

3. Research

While much of research could be “automated,” or at least heavily assisted with tools, I recommend indexing toward manual research.

Here’s why: The content industry is plagued by a lack of originality. To go beyond that, you need to infuse more of a human-centric approach.

Many articles are simply rehashed versions of content that already ranks high in search results, with little to no new ideas or perspectives offered.

This repetition makes it difficult for readers to find valuable information and fails to push the industry forward in terms of innovation and progress.

It’s critical for marketers and content creators to strive for originality in their work to produce valuable and informative content for readers.

Fortunately, that’s where you can stand out.

Your research could be as deep as producing through a survey or digging into proprietary data to produce data-driven content.

Or it could be simply sharing original thoughts, either from you or interviewing subject matter experts for hot takes.

While Google search and AI tools can help you get a high-level understanding of a topic, they won’t help you dig into the nuances or understand the contrarian opinions of experts in the space.

The main thing is to not just rely on Google searches or AI tools to do all the thinking and researching for you. You miss a lot that way.

4. Writing 

Starting is, at least for me, the hardest part of writing. Staring at a blank page and wondering what we first words should be.

I frequently get paralyzed with a bunch of questions: Should I start with an intro? Or the first topic I want to hit on? Which topic should I start with first?

What I’ve learned is, just jump in and start somewhere and let the process take you along. When I started writing this article, I actually started with the example content automation workflow below before I wrote this process explanation.

What helped me get over the cold start was using AI tools to help automate the outline creation. You can see below that I didn’t go with the exact outline, but it helped give me a great starting pont.

5. Revising

As you review what you’ve written, you’ll find opportunities to rephrase, remove, or add sections.

AI tools can help with this process if you’re stuck figuring out how exactly to communicate something.

Here’s an example:

6. Editing

If you’re not already using Grammarly, then I hope your self-editing is impeccable.

If not, I strongly recommend it. Rather than try to catch all your grammatical errors on your own, or rely on only human proofreaders, Grammarly helps you catch all the grammar and punctuation errors and helps you avoid silly mistakes.

7. Publishing

This is probably the most annoying part of the process because it’s the most manual and least creative part. I know people often have drafts sitting around because the thought of manually uploading and cleaning up the article, and uploading photos in their blogging platform feels like too much effort.

Fortunately, there are tools like Cloudpress, Wordable, and Mammoth .docx converter that help streamline the process of uploading content o your CMS. 

8. Optimization

SEO should be top of mind as you produce content. Once content is published, you’ll want to monitor how the content performs and occasionally find opportunities to optimize your content library.

Tools like Clearscope can help with this. However, these tools can also lead to keyword stuffing rather than making helpful editorial updates so use these tools thoughtfully.

Types of content that can be automated

There are many types of content to produce but each one goes through the same process outlined above. The main different is, depending on the type of content, each step might take more or less time.

  • Blog posts might take more time in the research and writing stages, especially when you’re producing new high-quality content. 
  • Social media posts might take more time in the ideating stage. Then multiply that by the number of social media platforms you have to produce content for. You can use these tools to generate new content ideas for each social media platform.
  • Email campaigns might take more time during the writing, revising, and editing stages to get your copy just right.
  • Landing pages might also take more time on the revising and editing stages
  • FAQs might take more time during the research phase as you gather data on what questions customers and prospects as most frequently
    • Another use case for ChatGPT in content automation is to generate responses to frequently asked questions or customer inquiries. This could be useful for businesses that receive a large volume of customer inquiries and want to automate their response process.

Tips for successful content automation

Use tools to enable you to focus on high-leverage activities.

Tools are great at helping us complete monotonous tasks and information gathering but it can’t do the thinking for us (yet). Keeping that in mind, I recommend using these tools to help you with time-consuming, low-leverage, repetitive tasks so you can focus on high-leverage activities like interviewing subject matter experts.

Don’t blindly trust tools.

Tools like Jasper and ChatGPT are still new at the time of this writing and quality control is still a concern. These tools might even present incorrect information which you wouldn’t be able to confirm unless if you already know the correct information. Always fact check and review what you get from these tools.

Insert human intervention at the most important points.

Not everything can be automated right now (perhaps a good thing), and it’s important to insert a human judgment call at the most important points of the process including the planning and research phases. These are the areas where you are able to control how your differentiate from competitors and other content being produced.

Conclusion

These content automation tools are just that, tools. The benefits of content automation are in the time savings through making your process more efficient.

They won’t do the thinking for you, but they can help you think and ideate as part of your creative process.

Content automation is worth investing in to save you and your team time so you can focus on high-leverage activities in scaling your content program and business.

David Khim

David is co-founder of Omniscient Digital and Head of Growth at People.ai. He previously served as head of growth at Fishtown Analytics and growth product manager at HubSpot where he worked on new user acquisition initiatives with both the marketing and product teams.