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How to Build a Content Creation Engine - Playbook & Template

9 minute read | Aug 19, 2022
marketing, management

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Here is a playbook with example templates you can use to build a marketing content creation engine that scales.


5 steps to create a marketing content creation engine:

  1. Objective: Set a Marketing Objective
  2. Keywords: Plan Topics by SEO Keywords
  3. Productivity: Track Team Productivity
  4. Measure: Measure Page Performance
  5. Train: Train your Team

1. Set a Marketing Objective

Your job as a marketing manager is to motivate your content team to do their job well. It starts with a focused mission and goal.

Write out a 1-pager setting out your team’s marketing objective, why you are doing this, how you are doing this and your guiding principles.

At the beginning of each quarter, set out a goal and focus area for your content creation - this will shape your planning and set your discipline.

Marketing Objective - Example Template

Mission The mission of the content team at [company] is to reach the 99.99% of people worldwide who experience the struggle of [struggle your company solves] and who have never heard of our solution.

Objective To achieve our mission we will focus on creating high quality content that people who experience this struggle would search for.

The two primary metrics our team can directly impact are organic visits and new signups.

How The audience of people searching for a solution to or better understanding of their struggle far exceeds those searching for the services our company performs.

We aim to be the leading authority people find when they are searching for a solution to their struggle of [struggle your company solves].

Our Principles

  • We are white-hat: we respect the rules that search engines, forums and video platforms promote. If it feels like a hack, it’s probably a hack. We emphasise quality work over black-hat techniques
  • We are here to solve struggles: our mission is to reach potential people who experience a struggle our solution can solve. Therefore, we will only produce and distribute content that is relevant and helpful to them
  • We are data driven: keyword research and data helps us prioritise our efforts. Measuring key metrics (rankings, visits, conversion rates, time spent on pages) help inform us where to double down our efforts

Q1-202X Goal

  • Focus content topics this quarter: [list topics]
  • New high quality content pages: [100]
  • Organic visits: [10,000]
  • Goal: [1,000 new signups]

2. Plan Topics by SEO Keywords

Before you start writing any content, plan your topics based on keyword research.

Keyword research is used to find out within the Google search engine what questions people are asking and how many people are asking it on a given monthly basis.

Follow the SEO keyword research playbook to prepare a spreadsheet with four columns tracking the following: keyword term, monthly search volume, topics and competition.

Keyword & Topic Tracker - Example Template
Keyword Avg. Monthly Searches Topics Competition
Food Safety 60,500 Food Safety High
Food Safety Manufacturing 70 Food Safety Low
HACCP 246,000 Food Safety, Regulation Medium
HACCP Plan 8,100 Food Safety, Regulation Low

3. Track Team Productivity

Assign your content team topics to research and publish new pages based on your SEO keyword research. Track productivity based on quantity and quality of content published by each teammate.

Your job as a marketing manager is to set a target as to how many new pages each team member should publish each week. A good rule of thumb is to budget for 75% of a teammates working time spent on content research, writing and publication and 25% on individual learning, self-study and improvement.

Adopt a points-based system when deciding how much time a piece of content should take to write if written by an experienced teammate. Topics with higher volume keywords and higher competition should take longer to write (e.g. 4 points) vs topics with lower volume keywords and lower competition (1 point).

Set new starters lower content targets to hit per week to ensure quality is maintained. Use a spreadsheet to track content completion vs assigned scores against each teammate. Disciplined tracking will help you as a marketing manager identify top performers and where an individual requires more training.

Team Productivity Tracker - Example Template
Week Kelly (Snr) Assigned John (Jnr) Assigned Kelly (Snr) Completed John (Jnr) Completed
Week 1 4 2 4 1
Week 2 4 2 3 1
Week 3 4 2 5 3
Week 4 4 3 3 2
Total 16 9 15 7

4. Measure Page Performance

Track your published pages and their key performance metrics. Update this monthly.

Use a combination of Google Search Console, Google Analytics or any tool you may be using for tracking (e.g. Amplitude). These tools are all free to use and easy to learn.

Key metrics you should track include page views, SEO clicks, SEO impressions and conversion goals (e.g. signups, e-commerce purchases, demo requests).

Content Performance Tracker - Example Template
Page Date Published Teammate Keyword Vol Views Clicks Impressions Goal
web_url 04-04-22 Kelly 10,000 500 400 1,000 20
web_url 05-04-22 John 2,000 100 20 500 2
web_url 05-04-22 Kelly 12,000 1,000 900 10,000 100
web_url 06-04-22 John 1,000 20 20 100 0

5. Train Your Team

Andy Grove in his seminal book “High Output Management” makes the case that “when a person is not doing their job, there can be only two reasons for it. The person either can’t do it or won’t do it; they are either not capable or not motivated”.

“If you accept that training, along with motivation, is the way to improve the performance of your subordinates, and that what you teach must be closely tied to what you practice, and that training needs to be a continuing process rather than a one-time event, it is clear that the who of training is you, the manager.”

Andy Grove (Final Chapter in High Output Management “Why Training is the Boss’s Job”)

Hence it stands to reason that your most important job as the marketing manager is to motivate and train your team.

Here are some helpful guides you may use to improve your own understanding of content marketing which you may apply and also train your team on:

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