The Ultimate Guide to Content Collaboration
Content collaboration 101
As a content marketing manager, strategizing your content plan is an involved process not just for the content team, but often involves other departments and even external organizations.
You might ask yourself:
- How do I find new ways to produce memorable content?
- What tools can I use to make collaborating easier?
- How can I best utilize my team's skills and experience to create engaging content?
To help answer these questions, and many more, we’ve put together this guide with some ways to encourage content collaboration in your workflow.
Let’s jump straight in!
What is content collaboration?
Content collaboration is the process of creating, sharing, and receiving content to encourage collaboration of team members and decision-makers. In other words, it’s when you have multiple people working together on a single piece of content.
Here are just a few benefits:
- Collaborating on content gives you access to more resources. Maybe you’re a great writer but are less visually creative. By teaming up with someone else, you’ll create even higher-quality materials. It’s a win-win!
- Spelling error? Pixelated icon? Oh no! Working with others on your content creation catches mistakes and adds perspective to your project.
- Working with different people on projects can help grow your brand or service. Collaborating with a YouTuber? Or another brand? They can help grow your audience and vice versa.
Ways to create content collaboratively
Before we go any further, it’s probably important to clarify what kind of content can be created in a collaborative way.
When you think of content, written text might be the first thing that comes to mind. While this is definitely a form of content, there are many other formats such as imagery, videos, and audio. In this section, we’ll go over each format and how you can integrate other teams into your collaborative workflow.
Looking to switch up your written content on your blog or social media platforms? Then you've likely heard of guest posting.
Guest posting is a blog article or social media post written by someone outside your typical team. They are usually another blogger, an expert in the field, a content creation agency, or someone with a large following in the topic. Guest posts are valuable tools for reputation marketing for a number of reasons, like getting your brand mentioned or occupying branded search query results. But most people use them to embed backlinks.
A guest posting success story is Gregory Ciotti, a marketing strategist for HelpScout. At the time, this company was quite small and Ciotti used guest blogging to grow the HelpScout email list to +36k subscribers in 14 months. In one of these blog posts, he explains his tactics to gain such a significant amount of followers, such as picking "winning topics,” avoiding writing burnout, and creating content without a shelf life.
Text-based content collaboration is beneficial because it gives you more content to publish, increases traffic and reach, and provides your readers with a fresh point of view. Keep in mind that guest posts are sometimes abused and used sneakily to improve ranking in Google (if they even can!). So if you choose to use them for content collaboration, make sure they are of good quality, genuine, and reflect your brand's core values.
Infographics are a great example of content collaboration in imagery. Infographics combine words and images to squeeze a lot of information into a picture. They can be a powerful marketing tool: studies have shown that verbal or textual information paired with visuals is more likely to resonate with audiences. The Wharton School of Business found that people who used visual language in a presentation were perceived by audiences as more effective than those not using visuals.
When creating an infographic, you as the content marketer might be better at researching and condensing the information to the vital points rather than creating the graphic itself. By involving a graphic designer--either on your team or a freelancer--you can be sure that your infographic will come out polished and eye-catching. That’s where collaboration comes into play. Both parties have useful skills that make the overall project better.
Video content can be used across a wide range of platforms and channels, such as YouTube, Instagram, website pages, or even internal systems. They also can easily be reproduced into audio, articles, and graphics, making them even more versatile. Video production is rarely taken on by a single individual, or even team: filming content for your website or social media platform usually involves multiple people. From pre-production to post-production to promotion, you can be sure that a variety of expertise will be involved, even in something as seemingly simple as a TikTok.
A contemporary way to bring video collaboration to life is in the workplace. Zoom is a widely known video platform that supports remote meetings and check-ins. But an even newer idea is video commenting and asynchronous storytelling. With Collato, you can respond back to any content with a short video comment, so everyone gets a face to the feedback. Additionally, you can walk anyone through your project content with a video to form a mini-presentation!
Thinking about deviating from the more traditional content forms? Audio is a great alternative. In fact, podcast audio content has recently sparked wild popularity. According to Forbes, in 2020, an estimated 100 million U.S. Americans listened to a podcast each month, and that number is expected to grow to 125 million by 2022.
If you have your own podcast or are invited as a co-guest, you can have casual (and oftentimes humorous) conversations about topics in your industry to raise awareness and bring new perspectives to the table. Having varying views, experiences, and stories from differentiating collaborators can only benefit the content of your podcast.
How to use a content collaboration tool
Alright, so content collaboration seems great in theory, but how can you easily and seamlessly work with other people on a project?
The trick is to find the right content collaboration tool!
While there are many online platforms that encourage teamwork, Collato is specifically designed to help teams collaborate on content throughout all stages of your project. Let us give you a quick rundown.
We’ve already talked about the different content types for collaboration, such as text, imagery, and videos. With Collato, you have the opportunity to create each type on the platform.
- Write text like you would on any other document. Of course, you have all the text formatting features you could need, from font colors to checklists.
- Drag and drop pictures into your project to create mood boards and image galleries or to show off your marketing campaign images, sketches, or creative ideas.
- Upload videos that stakeholders can directly watch and comment on. You can also record a video right on the platform to verbally present your ideas to all collaborators.
There are often many technical barriers that prevent teammates and stakeholders from getting involved in a project. Most of the time it’s an issue of accessibility (or lack thereof). Conveniently send your entire project, or just the parts you want, to anyone with a simple URL. They can fully contribute to the content without worrying about making an account or remembering a password.
When someone shares a project with you or makes edits on something you’ve sent, you’ll receive a friendly email from Collato giving you the latest updates. Or you can log into your account to see all recent activities on your timeline if you don't want your inbox clogging up.
If you're looking for more detailed information on how Collato can support your next marketing endeavor, check out our Product Tour page. Or find out more about our super rad features on our blog The Inside Scoop.
Tips for successful content collaboration
You might be a marketing genius, only to realize that the thing holding you back is getting your team and stakeholders on the same page. Here are three tips to help you create a collaborative culture around content creation.
1. Make content relevant
Whether it’s those in your office or outside stakeholders, it’s likely that people are stretched thin over a lot of different priorities. So when creating content together, it’s important to make sure you play off of their strengths rather than fitting them to your assignment. That way, they feel more relaxed throughout the process.
For example, your copywriter might be more comfortable producing written content rather than filming videos or recording podcasts. Find ways to collaborate with your team in a way that is relevant to their skills and experience.
2. Create a plan
Make a plan that everyone on the team can understand. An Excel spreadsheet or Google calendar with vague thoughts and expectations isn’t going to cut it. Using a content collaboration platform like Collato can help clarify every objective and smooth out your team's workflow.
Organizing a content strategy that has specific goals and objectives (with descriptions and explanations!) can go a long way in helping your team understand what you need from them. Hopefully, they can share your vision and come up with ideas to make it even better.
3. Motivate your team
In addition to relevance and a clear direction, motivating your team can be just as effective for creating content. This looks different for every company and team, but could include assigning tasks, asking questions, requesting feedback, or acknowledging good work.
With the right motivation, your teammates can confidently contribute to content creation within your organization. And when each person is eager to share their opinions and stories, it fosters a positive work ecosystem and drives your marketing strategy towards its overarching goals.
Now it’s Your Turn
After reading this blog, you now have everything you need to try out for yourself. If you still need some help getting started, check out Collato's free Content Planning Cookbook--with 7 recipes for successful content collaboration!